You Should Barely Know the Federal Government Exists

By: Mike Maharrey

Thomas Jefferson called the Tenth Amendment “The foundation of the Constitution.”

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

This tells us the federal government was meant to be very limited. In fact, you should barely even know it exists.

Yet here we are — obsessing over virtually anything and everything as a do-or-die national issue.

In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson warned us, “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”


Because power corrupts. And as Lord Acton said, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sadly, Americans have let politicians in Washington D.C. have almost absolute power. States have become mere subsidiaries of D.C. Your rights are now subject to the whims of the political class – whether headed up by Team A or Team B.

They may be fine people (or not) but you can’t trust even your favorite politician with power. You can’t and shouldn’t trust any of them. And ultimately, if you give them power, it will corrupt.

The Constitution was intended to prevent that.

The founding generation established the Unites States by a written Constitution because they did not trust politicians with power. They wanted it limited. And they wanted those limits explicit.

You probably have an owner’s manual for your car or truck. Hopefully, you’ve read it. If you follow the instructions, it will increase the life of your vehicle. You disregard that owner’s manual at your own peril.

You may get away with using a different kind of oil or ignoring those maintenance schedules for a while, but eventually, it will catch up with you, and you’ll find yourself waiting by the side of the road for a tow truck.

The Constitution is the owner’s manual for your government. You ignore it at your own peril. And trust me, allowing politicians to exercise unlimited power over your life will be far more painful than a towing bill.

The question is what will you do with this information? Will you put the owner’s manual on your shelf and forget about it? Or will you apply it to your politics?

The Constitution should stand at the center of your political activity. Before asking, “Should the federal government…” you should ask, “Can it constitutionally…” Consult the owner’s manual and if the answer is, “No!” oppose that action.

And I mean oppose that action even when you support it in theory.

That’s just what George Washington advised in his Farewell Address, “let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

James Madison followed that advice on his last day in office, vetoing an infrastructure spending bill he was in favor of because he saw it as an exercise of powers not delegated to the federal government in the Constitution.

That’s the kind of integrity that’s almost non-existent in Washington D.C. today.

A friend of mine said something once that was pretty funny and really wise.

Don’t ever give a politician any power you wouldn’t want your ex-spouse to have.

Most people are more wrapped up in party, policies and personalities than they are in principles. So, when their guy or gal is in power, they don’t worry about things like limited government or constitutional restraints. They enjoy the fact that their guy can get stuff done and implement policies they like.

There’s a huge problem with this approach to politics.

Your guy or gal isn’t going to be in charge forever. At some point, the bad guys and gals are going to win an election. And when that happens, every little bit of power you let your guy have will be in their hands.

The problem isn’t who’s in charge. The problem is that the power exists to begin with. Never forget, every power you give government will eventually be in the hands of people you don’t like.

We must insist that the politicians follow the Constitution every issue, every time, no exceptions, no excuses. Abide by the owner’s manual.

Live by it.

Or watch your freedoms die by it.