Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Government for Men Not Angels


In The Founder's Key, Dr. Arnn discusses the interrelatedness of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A great many people know the first words of the Declaration, but fail to read the middle paragraphs. This is where Jefferson and the other formulators of the Declaration set forth the reasons for the break with Great Britain. In these paragraphs they set out the concepts of separation of powers, representation and the limited scope of government that formed the basis of the Constitution. The men who authored the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were under no illusions that men are not angels. Men have passions and desires that keep them from always espousing the noblest course. Therefore, the government to be fair to everyone must have a set of restraints that keep the branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial from individually usurping the power that is allocated to all three.

This is a very readable book, one that everyone interested in the issues of government should read. Dr. Arnn does an excellent job of presenting material from source documents: the Declaration, Constitution, and Federalist Papers. He also includes these source documents in the book. You don't have to take his word for what is being said. You can read it for yourself.

He makes a particularly good case for the problems with the encroaching bureaucracy we find ourselves enmeshed in today. The bureaucracy has no system of checks and balances. They make the rules, administer them and judge them. This is a prescription for abuse of power, particularly since the people who work in the bureaucracy are not angels. They are people with their own set of premises and desires that have not received the consent of governed.

I highly recommend this book. Whether you agree with his premises or not, you will at least have an understanding of what they source documents say and not be led astray by spurious reasoning. Knowing what is contained in the material will set you free to form your own opinions.

I reviewed this book as part of the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze Program.