The View From 1776

Arbitrary Exercise of Power

In the long battle between the English monarch and his subjects, beginning with Magna Carta in 1215 and extending to our 1776 War of Independence, the thrust was to restrain the rulers within a framework of checks and balances that tended toward fairness.  One term, arbitrary, was frequently used to characterize unfair exercise of political power.

Political structural safeguards against arbitrariness were essential aspects of our Constitution.  Increasingly since the 1930s New Deal, under socialist Franklin Roosevelt, those safeguards have been destroyed. Ever more power has been taken from states and local governments and usurped by the Federal government.

That process has reached new depths of degradation in the Obama administration.  Treatment of bondholders in Chrysler and GM was of the same order as arbitrary seizures of money and property by monarchs, from King John to James II.  The proposed effective take-over of Wall Street by Federal bureaucrats is more of the same.

Read Michael Barone’s Gangster Government Becomes a Long-Running Series.