BY JOSH MERLO
He’s watching you – Big Brother, that is. Your every move is recorded, digitized, analyzed and then spat out of the Ministry of Love to the Thought Police. If you act – or even dream – against the benevolent Party, you will disappear.
Welcome to the United States of America in 2013. If you experienced no cognitive dissonance after reading that final line, if it seemed like a conferrable reality that America has become no different from Orwell’s Oceania in “1984,” then somewhere, somehow, the average person’s image of the U.S. governm..ent has been hijacked.
“But what about the NSA, the Affordable Care Act, the Patriot Act, the use of drones on U.S. citizens, the No Child Left Behind program, the HHS mandate, and the total infiltration of our private lives?” you cry out. Yes, what about those? Besides being nearly entirely antonymous with the true horrors of Orwell’s dystopia, these are legitimate measures of a legitimately appointed government that are meant to foster goods in the overall community. Key the dispersal of this discussion into partisan shouting matches over what is actually a public good and the further dispersal of these fights into petty arguments about platforms.
Luckily there is an ultimate trump card that can silence all the bickering: the Founding Fathers – men of virtue, of vision, of pride, of prowess, of skill and of stature. Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Madison and Adams are the birthing minds of the American experiment. Well, to settle the problem of big government, let their grandeur and authority be invoked. Let them declare stridently from their graves, “Death to the federal government!”
Oops – minor historical detail that was forgotten: The majority of the Founders were in favor of a strong central government.
The system of confederated states created in 1781 by the Articles of Confederation would soon be replaced by the Constitution in 1789, a document that framed a centrally controlled, not state-controlled, federal system. The most ardent federalists (those supporting the Constitution) were John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison; together, they produced a set of essays named the “Federalist Papers,” in which the stronger government of the Constitution was defended against opposition.
To look toward specific acts, though, that illustrate a favoring of “big government” over “states’ rights,” the actions of these persons of interest need to be more carefully reviewed. Hamilton created the Bank of the United States, sparking a constitutional and ideological battle with the state-centered Democratic-Republicans.
George Washington levied federal militias into existence to put down uprisings; he also all-but invented the presidency.
Adams used state powers to make sweeping immigration changes and to suppress political opposition.
Even Madison, who became a Democratic-Republican, allowed for the continuation of the Bank, the enlistment of an army, and other defense measures during the War of 1812. After the war, he endorsed heightened taxes and multiple internal improvements.
Even Jefferson himself, although an activist in his eyes for the oppressed states, would exercise massive federal power. Despite questioning the constitutionality of the central government’s doing such, he purchased the Louisiana Territory from France.
All these men seem to combine into a fair representation of the Founding Fathers their actions illustrating an expression of the dominance of the central – or federal – government’s role over that of the individual states.
Therefore, it can be justly concluded that the ominous evil of big government is not some new phenomenon emerging to devastate the American dream. Rather, the idea of having a strong, overarching governmental body with power to control the states and check the common mob is as old as American herself.
So buck up, big government supporters. You’re in good company, as in the pantheon of the Founding Fathers themselves.