March 4, 2010
by Harry Browne – [Adapted from his book, Why Government Doesn’t Work]
America once was unique in all the history of the world.
It wasn’t its natural resources, the character of its people, or its beauty that made it special. Other countries could boast of similar things.
The essence of America was an abundance of something rarely found in other countries: freedom from government.
For centuries the peoples of the world had been ruled by kings, queens, tsars, shahs, ministers, satraps, chiefs, rajahs, emirs, warlords, parliaments, senates, legislatures, assemblies, gangs, and freebooters. They made extravagant demands upon their subjects.
An individual couldn’t refuse their demands. The rulers could take from him whatever they wanted; command him to work, fight, or kneel; and forbid him to do anything that displeased them. The government was all-powerful.
America’s Founding Fathers established something unprecedented – the first government strictly limited by a written Constitution to a short list of activities. The federal government was authorized to do only what was specified in the Constitution. Anything else was to be done by state or local governments, by the people themselves acting outside government, or not at all.
The Constitution didn’t limit what citizens could do. Its only purpose was to spell out – enumerate – what was permissible for the federal government to do. And anything not authorized was forbidden to the federal government. Complete Story: