Skipping Down the Road to Serfdom

Thursday, December 30, 2010
By Paul Martin

by Duane Colyar

As noted by the author in a previous column, over 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher and historian, Thucydides, wrote in the History of the Peloponnesian War that power, once granted, will always expand to control what it can. Recognizing the wisdom of Thucydides and other political philosophers, and knowing that concentrated power always leads to tyranny, our founders attempted to create a federation of states where the power of the central, federal government would be severely limited to a handful of legislative and executive duties, all specifically enumerated in a constitution. The individual states or the people would retain those powers not specifically granted. Yet, in spite of the brilliant efforts of James Madison and company, the power granted to this entity called the United States almost immediately began to expand, slowly transferring prerogatives that once belonged to the states and people to the federal government, an erosion of power that continues to this very day. The Founders did not succeed in their attempt to circumvent Thucydides’ principle.

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