Whether anyone admits it or not, most human beings seek a peaceful existence free of disorder and unhappiness. We live our lives day by day trying to make ends meet, enjoy ourselves, and carry out our time on this Earth to the fullest extent possible. But despite all of these attempts, obstacles still present themselves.
Historically, government is an obstacle to happiness. There is a careful balance humans have long sought between the security the state provides and the happiness we seek in freedom. To a degree, we require safety because threats do exist. As the world has become more globally connected and technology has grown more advanced, these threats become greater.
At what point do we decide the loss of freedom is worth it?
Ambition can make leaders, but it can also break them. It can be a driving force for determined individuals who seek to achieve a goal, but unchecked, it can feed ego and lead to destruction. Power feeds more of the latter and for this reason, checks and balances in government are necessary.
Central to the philosophy of freedom in our Constitution are checks and balances as well as separation of powers.
The Bill of Rights help maintain a level of freedom from government and keep them in check. History shows us as government centralizes and power becomes concentrated, tyranny accelerates. Checks and balances are meant to keep each function in working order and prevent it from overstepping its boundaries. Separation of powers also aid in this.
But these functions fail if the Constitution is not respected.
Tracking the course of American history, we find that the country has begun to slip as the government became more centralized. The government bureaucracy expanded, foreign policy became more aggressive, and the value of the currency decreased. These were all things sought to be prevented in the Constitution, but ultimately failed to work because liberty became an increasingly obsolete idea.
The loss of liberty has placed Americans in a greater degree of danger.
In tracking United States history, the frequency and extent of war has became greater as government became more centralized. The ambition of certain leaders became gradually unchecked, leading to the United States military being used to achieve foreign political goals.
The inevitable result of a decline in limiting government is a rise in intervention abroad.
The rise of war has multiple negative implications. Aside from military families losing loved ones, the country itself descends into darkness. During World War 2, American citizens were placed in internment camps after being suspected as spies, merely because of their Japanese heritage. During Vietnam, there was a draft that forced people into a conflict against their will. During the Afghan invasion and the second Iraq conflict, executive orders became more prominent while the USA PATRIOT Act was passed and the NSA surveillance state grew worse.
All unchecked power only grows worse. It doesn’t decline or stay the same, it always seeks more.
History paints us a picture of a world worsened by tyrants and government. The more concentrated the power, the more easily hubris can become uncontrollable when unchecked. The only path to peace in society, if society itself truly wants it, is through the philosophy of liberty .