Americans Have Always Distrusted Government

Originally published on May 31, 2013.  Over a year later, nothing has changed…

It should come as no surprise that Barack Obama is a man of the left.

As such, he tends to downplay American exceptionalism and overplay his global worldview. As a partisan politico he has elevated opponent bashing into an art form. But his latest scree against conservatives was historically unhinged.

On May 5, 2013, President Obama delivered the commencement address to Ohio State University graduates. His subject was citizenship. Most of the speech, like most commencement speeches, was innocuous and unforgettable. That is until he stated that conservatives mistrusting government is on par with viewing our constitutional system as “as a sham.”

He advised the graduates to “reject those voices.” Here’s the complete paragraph:

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices are also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

What Obama fails to understand or acknowledge is the fact that America finds its historical genesis mistrusting government, not because it was a sham, but because it should’t be trusted with the people’s liberty. The voices who created the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were the same voices who warned “that tyranny [was] . . . lurking just around the corner.”

And it was. Those voices who distrusted government in 176, 1787, and 1791 trusted the people as the only source of security of their God-given gifts.

So, especially in the face of the IRS and the AP/James Rosen scandals, if the graduates of Ohio States, or anyone bothering to take Obama’s words seriously, wish to reject the warning voices of today then they might as well reject their history. Let them follow in the steps of America’s post-American president and reject these voices:


For who are a free people? Not those, over whom government is reasonably and equitably exercised, but those who live under a government so constitutionally checked and controlled, that proper provision is made against its being otherwise exercised. —John Dickinson, Political Writings, 1767–68

I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature and that power, whether vested in many or few, is ever grasping, and like the grave cries, “Give, Give.” —Abigail Adams to John Adams, November 1775

A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is nature to abuse it, when acquired. —Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

1 2Next page
Back to top button