Bureaucracy Comes of Age (17 of 20)

“The influence of the crown has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished.

This was a resolution directed by the House of Commons in 1780 against the tremendously popular George II. Translated into a modern objection in this nation it would read. “The influence of the federal government and therefore of bureaucracy, has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.”

The centralizing of the powers of government is equally bad in any age. The development of the common law has been the process of de-centralizing the government from a sovereign to the people. One of the basic principles of the common law is that free men have the absolute right to local self-government, and also the right to be free from interference and coercion from a central and non-personal government. Our forefathers fought a revolution because that right was infringed by a despot.

No man or group of men has ever lived upon this earth with sufficient wisdom, ability and talent to operate a large civil government from a central seat of authority, and have that operation result in justice and equity. The burden is too great, the conditions too unalike. Woodrow Wilson expressed his view on this by saying that, “Uniform regulation of the economic conditions of a vast territory and a various people like the United States, would be mischievous, if not impossible.”

Economic and social conditions vary throughout the Union. The climate and the prejudices of the people are nowhere the same. This condition prevailed when the Union was born, and it prevails even more so today. It was freely recognized by the framers of the Constitution, and it cannot now be denied.

The people who ordained and established the Constitution took great care to see that they delegated to a central government only those powers of a national concern and which were manifestly outside the province of a state government. The 13 states existed and had their own constitutions and delegations of sovereignty, and were actively administering the local affairs of the people years before the national government was created.

The federal government was empowered to coin money, declare war, regulate customs and interstate commerce, handle the mail, govern foreign affairs, and such similar things as should be done by the colonies as a unit. The states retained the police power, the control of marriages, wages and hours, labor, manufacturing, crimes, and all matters of domestic and international government.

It is only in a limited way that the federal government ever should come in contact with these matters. The only constitutional provision that ever permitted the national government to exercise control over the internal affairs of the states was the 18th amendment. Since the repeal of that amendment, the federal government has no authority to enter into the internal and domestic affairs of a state unless the state forsakes the republican form of government, in which event the president must take steps to restore it.

Statesmen and politicians seldom directly challenge the doctrine of state sovereignty. But under the guise of the commerce clause the Congress has circumvented many sovereign state rights. To some extent a planned economy has been imposed upon the states by the federal government.

This has been a process of doing by indirection what cannot be accomplished by open process. One of the common procedures is to appropriate funds for a certain purpose, say the care of the aged, and then allot those funds to the states only on condition that certain regulations and standards set up by the Congress are put into effect in the state.

The effect of this is to withdraw the rights of local self-government from the states and to make them inferior to a central government whose uniform regulations cannot be made to apply fairly to all peoples and conditions. Social security, wage control, child labor, the control of manufacturing and industry are matters that should come under the sole supervision of the states. The interstate commerce clause should apply only to goods in actual transit between states.

The recent trends have been toward centralization. But the remedy is simple. It consists in sending to Congress men who will strictly construe the powers of the federal government; men who will desert the pork barrel and champion state rights.

Congress is in a position to preserve local self-government by rejecting laws which pertain to the domestic and internal affairs of the states. The loss of local self-government provides an easy approach by which the rights and freedoms of the people may be attacked and infringed. If the people were fully aware of this danger they would require their Congress to preserve the integrity of the states and diminish the influences of the federal government.

This Article was serialized in 20 segments
which appeared on the editorial page (page 4) of
The Deseret News, 19 March 1945 through 10 April 1945.

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