The importance of protecting the Constitution

James Buckley writes at National Review Online that people must understand and respect the Constitution’s safeguards in order to protect them.

In my view, the serious problems we face these days are in major part the result of our abandonment of the Constitution’s limits on federal authority. American independence was won and the Republic created by a remarkable generation of men who turned a rebellion against the British crown into a transforming moment in human history, one based on the revolutionary proposition that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with fundamental rights that no government has the moral authority to set aside. But with the gaining of independence, the Founders faced the formidable task of creating a government that could operate effectively while respecting and protecting the liberties for which the Revolution had been fought.

The architects of the American Republic had no illusions about human nature, which is the one constant in human affairs. From their study of the history of free societies reaching back to ancient Greece, they understood that the drive to accumulate power, whether by an individual despot or a parliamentary majority, was the historic enemy of individual freedom. They therefore incorporated two safeguards into the Constitution: its system of separation of powers with its checks and balances and the principle of federalism.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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