The Return to Enumerated Powers America
It probably isn’t lost on most readers that conservatives aren’t always the best at articulating grand visions for the future or for the course of the country. Conservatives are very good at diagnosing problems and lobbying for the negation of those problems, but not always good at crafting an alternative solution or visionary agenda to counter these problems, the problems caused by leftists. Woodrow Wilson had his “14 points” and the League of Nations, FDR had the New Deal, LBJ had The Great Society, and the World Economic Forum has the Great Reset.
If America makes it to 2024 (and I say “if” because, at this point, it is not guaranteed that American civilization will survive until the next election, as it may collapse for any number of reasons before that time), it is clear to me that a grand vision that is equal to or exceeds the left wing grand visions mentioned previously is needed, as a conservative alternative vision in 2024 may be America’s last shot at saving itself from plunging into the abyss. That is why I am proposing something like a return to Enumerated Powers America.
What does this mean? what might it look like? It’s simple: America must return to the pre-“progressive” era of the early 20th century. American government must be reduced to the size it was for the first century and a half of its existence, it must be restored to the ideal government that the founders laid out in the Constitution, and must never again be allowed to go outside of the size or scope that the founders envisioned. Government, in essence, must return to only performing the duties that the Constitution explicitly demands and allows them, and absolutely no more. It must be a government that looks like the one described by the Enumerated Powers in Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution.
According to the Constitution, the federal government is only supposed to have 18 inherent powers. These powers are reserved for the federal government because they are things only the federal government can do, with the idea that the individual states can do everything else on their own, without the federal government intruding on their daily business. Clause 1, for instance, states that, “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the united states, but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Notice that the founders only intended for enough tax revenue to be raised to A.) pay the national debt and B.) provide for the common defense, which means fund the military. Nowhere does this clause mention entitlement programs that will go insolvent in a few years and are increasingly bankrupting the American people, like Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP (food stamps) etc, schemes which have become mandatory for some reason.
In clause 11 of this section, the Constitution grants the federal government the power to go to war if, and only if, it formally declares war, with the consent of congress: “to declare war, grant letters of marquee and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.” That means that, technically, the Biden Administration’s proxy war with Russia, and the endless supply of military armaments to the Ukrainian military from the United States military could be construed as unconstitutional, because Biden never actually declared war against Russia. Other powers granted to the federal government include things like maintaining an army, a navy, militias, establishing post offices, etc.
What do the Enumerated Powers not permit the federal government’s control over? Well, issues like education, healthcare, energy, the environment, transportation, tax collecting, and so forth clearly do not fall under the constitutional purview of the federal government. So that means that nearly all of the existing administrative state can and should be overhauled, dismantled, and abolished. There are 15 cabinet offices in the Executive Branch of the US government. All but 5 (the departments of State, Treasury, Defense, Homeland Security, and Justice) should be abolished, because these five departments are the only ones that are relevant to the federal government’s Enumerated Powers…and the only ones that do anything remotely close to the duties of the federal government.
All the rest of the administrative state (the departments of education, energy, transportation, agriculture, commerce, labor, health and human services, housing and urban development, veterans affairs, and the interior) and the additional agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, should be abolished, immediately. That is a monumental task and an uphill battle, but we are discussing a vision that may take a long time to be implemented. On the top of the list, the Education and Environmental Protection agencies must go first. If someone cannot tell that the Education department must be done away with, for instance, which is the reason that things like Critical Race Theory, Comprehensive sexuality education, and social-emotional learning are being taught in public schools, and the reason that public schools are not motivated or incentivized to change anything no matter how much pushback they get from parents, then they are not paying attention. Parents and good teachers should be demanding the abolition of the DOE.
And the reason that all these other departments can be expunged from the government is because the Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights clearly states: “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” The Constitution clearly does not permit the federal government any say over how the individual states determine their policies or govern themselves in relation to education, energy, their environmental landscape, or nearly anything else that the modern government seeks to control. Why are so many so blind to these obvious facts? These ideas are not revolutionary; the only time they were revolutionary was when a small group of American patriots first unveiled them to the world in 1790. Ever since then, they have served as the basis for the freest and most prosperous nation in the world, if not the history of the world.
And what has happened since the turn of the last century? Congress, who the Enumerated Powers primarily applied to, has ceded most of their constitutional authority and power to the administrative state, and have allowed the administrative state to expand unabated and exponentially since then, to the point where a few government agencies staffed by unelected bureaucrats are making the bulk of the laws today that all Americans have to follow. The only way for the country to survive is if Joe Biden’s America returns to Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin’s America, Enumerated Powers America.
Graphic credit: public domain