Disproportionate Power

December 6, 2009

I found the excellent response from Lee Jamison in the comments section of this post on Cafe Hayek.   Thanks Lee Jamison.  Very well said.

Martinbrock makes a comment down the way that clssical liberals oppose disproportionate power. It is a measure of the fog in which they live that their political solution to diproportionate power is… disproportionate power.
Professor Boudreaux makes a great point here. Political liberals are essentially gullible fools, convinced that there is an easily identifiably group of better, more intelligent people to whom we may grant vast political power for the healing of the world. No such group of people exists. In every group of people promising the salvation of the world and the economy through their auspices there are equal populations of avarice and criminality.

I am as much, if not more, of a classical liberal than the vast majority of political liberals but I recognize political liberalism as a sham, a means of getting disproportionate power without even having to prove the posession of any practical skill. I also recognize in mega-corporate capitalism the exact same grasping for a consolidation of disproportionate power. What politcal liberals fail most completely to recognize is that these two strains of power-mongers have far more in common with each other (else no company would be too big to fail, would it, Martin?) than they have with the common population.

The genius of the American political system as it was designed was not that it handed power to the right people. It was that it understood the powerful could be used to counter each other’s greed for even more power. Fools now take the fruits of that balance for granted, seeing only flaws, and seek to eliminate the balances that hobble those who flatter us and promise us paradise, if only we will let them lay a few chains on us.

I share Lee Jamison’s appreciation for the genius of the American political system or more specifically, the Constitution.  The Founders wanted to creat a government that protected against disproportionate power from others and itself.  They did this because they had experienced government with disproportionate power and felt it hurt its citizens .

However, the reality is that we’ve moved far beyond the Constitution.  We’ve given more power to the government than the Founders ever desired.  Part of the problem is with speical interests.  Much legislation has been bought by special interests.

The other problem is the igorance of the electorate of the purpose of government and the reasons the Founders attempted to design a limited government.  This ignorance also comes in the form of hubris that we know better than the Founders.


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