The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday is why our government must maintain a balanced center. The Founders understood well that the government of their new nation needed to be firmly in the center of the political spectrum, neither moving to the left and tyranny nor to the right and anarchy.
James Madison described the duties of the central and state governments: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite…. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."
W. Cleon Skousen explained why the Founders wanted to keep the "American eagle" sitting firmly in the center of the political spectrum. He said that the "fixing of the American eagle in the center of the spectrum was designed to maintain this political equilibrium between the people in the state and the federal government. The idea was to keep the power base close to the people. The emphasis was on strong local self-government. The states would be responsible for internal affairs and the federal government would confine itself to those areas which could not be fairly or effectively handled by the individual states."
Skousen included a wonderful picture with the "American eagle" in the center of the Founders' "yardstick" marked with tyranny on one end and anarchy on the other. He explained that other men advocated for a separation of the functions of government into three departments - legislative, executive, and judicial, but the Founders were the first to build a government that might be considered to be a three-headed eagle, with each head representing a department. Here he included another great picture of an eagle with three heads - one head facing left, one head facing forward, and one head facing right.
Skousen explained that the central head represents the legislative branch and has two eyes representing the fact that the House of Representatives and the Senate must work together and see eye-to-eye. A second head represents the executive branch and its authority centered in a single, strong President. The third head represents the judicial branch with the responsibility to guard the Constitution and interpret its principles.
"The genius of this three-headed eagle was not only the separation of powers but the fact that all three heads operated through a single neck. By this means the Founders carefully integrated these three departments so that each one was coordinated with the others and could not perform independently of them. It was an ingeniously structured pattern of political power which might be described as `coordination without consolidation.'"
Skousen continued with his description of the Founders' new government by using the symbol of an eagle. He indicated that the eagle's two wings are to be used together in order to keep the eagle flying straight. One wing "might be referred to as the problem-solving wing or the wing of compassion. Those who function through this dimension of the system are sensitive to the unfulfilled needs of the people. They dream of elaborate plans to solve these problems."
The second wing "has the responsibility of conserving the nation's resources and the people's freedom. Its function is to analyze the programs of wing #1 with two questions. First, can we afford it? Secondly, what will it do to the rights and individual freedom of the people."
I think that you can agree with me that the American eagle is no longer flying straight. The head representing the executive branch has grown too heavy with usurped responsibilities, such as the President issuing Executive Orders, making "recess" appointments when Congress is not in recess, and even refusing to answer a subpoena to appear in a court hearing in
over his eligibility to appear on the state's ballot. Our current President has actually asked the Legislature to give him more authority! The Legislature is not functioning properly as shown in their failure to pass a budget for over 1000 days; the two Houses are definitely not working together or seeing "eye-to-eye" as they argue over everything and complete few issues of the peoples' business, becoming the least effective legislature in history. The Judiciary continues to legislate from the bench instead of just guarding and protecting the Constitution. The compassionate wing has pulled some of the feathers out of the conservation wing and caused our nation to go deeply into debt as well as destroy some freedoms of the people. Our American eagle is definitely not flying straight! Georgia
The Founders clearly outlined the responsibilities and powers of each part of the government when they framed the Constitution; if the government was working properly the American eagle would be flying straight and strong. It is way past time to move the balance of power in the government back to the center. We need to elect more representatives who are constitutionalists and will obey the law of the land. The most important thing we can do is retire the current occupant of the Oval Office and replace him with a constitution-loving American!
Many of the ideas and quotes for this article are from Skousen's The Five Thousand Year Leap - 28 Great Ideas That Changed the World, pp. 22-24. Do you own a copy of this book yet? I recommend that you obtain one as soon as possible and that you study it until you thoroughly understand it.