The Power to Control

John Grove published an excellent piece on political power the other day at Law and Liberty. If you don’t read that website, you’re missing out. It’s one of my favorite intellectual corners on the Web.

It’s a great piece because Grove channels M.E. Bradford, and you can never go wrong when you rely on the man who forced George Will into an apoplectic fit.

Historians miss the importance of power as a motivating factor in American politics. It drove the “sectional conflict.” At its core, the North vs. South dichotomy would not have been possible without the desire to control the spoils of government.

Calhoun understood this well, which is why he favored the “concurrent majority.” The Constitution only matters to those who are out of power. They use it as a shield and a weapon against their political opponents and then conveniently abandon the document once they control the general government.

Some partisans don’t care about it and openly say as much. Think modern progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and George W. Bush (daddy Bush told the Congress that informing them of military action was simply a “courtesy call”).

Grove warns conservatives that their desire to “own the libs” might come with unintended consequences. This is also a lesson for the left. If you create an apparatus that wields the power to control, it ultimately has the power to destroy, even your sacred cows.

Decentralization is the key–and perhaps something like Calhoun’s concurrent majority that could protect citizens from abusive government.

I discuss Grove’s piece on episode 554 of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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