Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

They Saw The Enemy And It Is Government

July 22, 2010 by  

Healthcare bills, energy bills, rules on how much water toilets can use, regulations on acceptable light bulbs, education bills and most every topic Congress discusses these days go far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned as the role of government.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 14, “In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws. Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.”

And what are those enumerated powers? Most can be found in Article I of the Constitution. Briefly they are: power to lay and collect taxes, pay debts and provide for common defense and general welfare, borrow money, regulate commerce with foreign nations, establish uniform rules of naturalization, and uniform laws on bankruptcies, coin money and regulate its value, fix the standard of weights and measures, provide for punishment of counterfeiting, establish post roads and offices, promote progress of science and useful arts by establishing copyright laws, constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court, define and punish piracies and felonies on the high seas, declare war, raise armies, provide and maintain a navy and make rules for government and regulation of the land and naval forces, provide for calling forth the militia and for arming, organizing and disciplining it and to make laws necessary to execute those powers.

There are very few others found in other places of the Constitution.

As Madison wrote, anything the government does beyond those enumerated powers means government is overreaching. And it’s this overreach that has finally begun to draw the ire of many—including those who now consider themselves a part of the Tea Party movement or who identify with it.

Our Founders wanted to limit government because they saw how oppressive it could become. The future they saw and warned against is our present.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “They Saw The Enemy And It Is Government”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at

  • s c

    Madison and Jefferson (and many others) were true visionaries. What passes for leadership now in Washington is pre-programmed bilge, and should never be confused with true vision.
    People who praise Big Government are in dire need of psychiatric therapy, as they never allow for the possibiity that their ‘Savior’ would turn on them.
    Because Americans never heeded the advice of the Founding Fathers (avoid political parties and do not tolerate career politicians), America finds itself at a crossroad that could have been avoided.
    Now, ANYONE can be a prez. ANYONE can be in Congress. And, it is highly likely that ANYONE can be on the Supreme Court.
    In effect, Americans have extremely low standards for those they elect. Every day since The Anointed One was foisted on us, that point is proven on a daily basis. If only we could have 300 leaders in Congress and one more true president.



    • Perry Peltonen

      Arthur,looks like most veterans i have spoken with think a rev. is in order, gov. is too big powerful and corruptand worse every year , life quality has steadily declined for the average person since the 60s

    • 45caliber

      The biggest fear I have of revolution is not that we wouldn’t win but that the battle would degenerate until it would basically be every man for himself.

      What I fear is people like the new black panthers, who want to kill all the whites, the KKK that wants to kill all the blacks, both groups who want to kill all the Mexicans, everyone wanting to kill all the Muslims, etc.

      Most of those people are good. But to kill all would cause a degeneration in our way of thinking too. A degeneration to the point that we may come to the point that if the other person is a stranger – kill them.

  • hopalong


  • glenda buck

    I wholeheartedly agree with Arthur on his opinion as to the direction in which our country is going, but not on the CAPS. My eyes aren’t great either, and for me, the ALL-CAPS type runs together and is frustratingly harder to read!!!

  • Radman

    A small but very important error was made in paragraph 3 this article; an error in wording that would appear to justify federal intrusion into an area where the constitution clearly limited it. Unlike “the common defense,” the Contitution says that the federal government can PROMOTE, not PROVIDE FOR “the general welfare.” What the Obama administration is doing now constitutes horrendous micromanagement of “the general welfare” and not promotion thereof.

    • Bob Livingston

      Dear Radman,

      The preamble uses the words: “…provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare…”

      However, if you read Article I, Section 8, you will see that it says, “…and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…”

      However, it is clear from reading Madison and Jefferson that general welfare did not extend beyond the specific enumerated powers. As Madison wrote: “With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

      Best wishes,

  • Joyce from Loris

    For the sake of my grandchildren, and my children, I am ready for a revolution. I look at my beautiful, happy little ones, so full of wonder and bliss. I am so sad they may not know the world as I knew it. I remember growing up as a poor child. We did without many things, but we learned to work, to improve our life and prosper. We would never had known this if we had lived under the slavery of welfare. Welfare continues to keep people down, to keep them in poverty. It does nothing to instill the desire to achieve. Our constitution provided that for us, until they took it away.
    I want to save my country from socialism, not just for me, but for my precious grand children.

    • 45caliber

      The original idea of welfare was to provide a way to balance our production with our sales. Too much production will lower prices so much that producing those items ends. It was supposed to be temporary – less than five years.

      But the Democrats discovered that these groups on Welfare could be manipulated to vote for them by offering – and giving – freebies to the unwashed masses. And now we’ve ended up where we are today.

      • Angelwannabe

        45caliber___ Exactly!_ welfare have become a way of life, instead of a hand up in hard times.

  • slickporsche

    I think Arthur has some very good points. History does have a habit of repeating itself in many ways. I personally believe we are nearing the eve of revolution. Us citizens of the United States Of America can not tolerate what is happening to our republic. Voting will never be enough, because of the nature of the beast. We now have a government, Democrats, and Republican that does not care what the people want. Over the years, our tax money has made them nearly all powerful. Our bill of rights and the constitution tell us to rid ourselves of a government like this. WE need to follow our constitution.

    • 45caliber

      Nice, slick. Are you the one who will start calling for everyone to join you in an attack on Washington – and go to jail for it? Most of the conservatives have been to war – it is you liberals who won’t go for fear you might come back contaminated by conservativism. We have seen the after-affects of war. And we don’t want to see it again, particularly in the US.

  • Bob B

    SIZE MATTERS ! I’m at the big print stage of my life .

    Revolution ? Get informed and vote , but be sure to take some friends who

    may not usually vote . And , yes , find out how they’re going to vote before you go !

  • Russell

     The demise of democracy will be at the voting booth.
    I have listened to a few conservatives pundits giving their blessing on capitalism while
    condemning socialism, but none have explained why.
    “Democracy depends on a well informed Electorate”
    Over forty percent of the people receives a largess from the government, (welfare, food stamps,
    housing Subsidies, etc) The liberal democrats promise more government largess. Who are the
    people going to vote for? How many people do not pay federal income tax? The same liberal
    democrats promise to cut taxes on the poor and soak the rich.
    Summery: Capitalism promotes greed, socialism promotes laziness. The greed of
    capitalism is controlled by the competitive enterprise system, while nothing controls the laziness
    of socialism. When the two are mixed, the control of greed in capitalism is lost and the laziness
    of socialism remains.
    Does the constitution allow the politicians to favor one person or group over others?

    • 45caliber

      To answer your last question, no it doesn’t. But several Supreme Court decisions disagree with that. That is why many of us are concerned about people like Sotomayor who says that we should have a “living” (changing by court decree) Constitution instead of a rigid one.

      With any rigid law everyone is treated the same under that law. But if a judge can use “empathy” to make a ruling, the law is no longer followed since the judge can rule either way at his/her discression.

      You are right about the voting booth being the deciding choice. But you are talking only of people who get “freebies” from the government. If you include ALL people who the government supporsts (workers too) at fed, state, local, and school levels, the number of people gets close to 70% of the existing population. And the government can control those votes too by promising nice pay raises. So keep your fingers crossed and pray a LOT.

  • CJB

    Hey Radman, the Preamble says promote the general welfare, but the phrase in the clause says provide for the general welfare. What one must do is go back to Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention, as he references the debate and it was well understood by them that the general welfare meant just that. The general well being of the nation as a whole. Not to take from the public treasury, every dime to cast upon the poor, as they new together that to get people off of any assistance, requires them to not be comfortable in their poverty.

    Madison and Jefferson were the most vocal about the general welfare clause and warning against using it to gain partisanship at the ballotbox.

    They should have had the phrase repeat the Preamble though, as it would have made it much easier.

  • ATucker

    I have to agree a revolution is festering and will eventually burst. Many like Glenn Beck have called for peacefull resolution, yet when we have fringe elements on the far left ignoring the common people and their wishes, doing all in their power to distort the truth and a president acting more like King George than a true President then what is left? It frightens me. Today the left is now trying to have the Public Option replaced in health care even though we were told it would not be placed in the bill. Is there reresentation there? Our elected dictator’s attitude seems to be “damn the torpedos, full steam ahead.” I would not be surprised at any outcome especially in a powder keg like Arizona where the Government is usurping a states legal rights. Unfortunately this is only the beginning.

    • 45caliber

      What I am hoping for is that agitators will not come up with some “crisis” so Oblama can declare martial law and postpone elections “for the duration”. If we can have an honest and fair election in November we have a chance to start back away from socialism. It will require at least one house gets a GOP majority and it will require a lot of new faces since both parties have people who wants control of a socialist state.

      That is about the ONLY peaceful way I see to solve our problems now.

  • 45caliber

    Many of the original Founders wanted a Confederation rather than a Federation of States. But the argument was that a Confederation didn’t require states to act together if one was attacked.

    But they were very firm that the Federation was NOT to take the place of state laws. No federal control over the states was to be allowed at all. There was some argument about establishing a federal bank but this was ruled out because that would give the federal government control of the money – which would give them control over the people.

    Lincoln was a Federalist – and proud of it. He wanted Federal power over the states with Congress being the deciding factor for everything. When the Civil War came about, one of the reasons the Southern States withdrew was that the North controlled the Congress well enough to pass a law forbidding the Southern states from industrializing. They were to remain agricultural since that was their “historic” place. Further, all produce such as tobacco and cotton, the only two crops the South could get any money for, had to be sold to a Northern merchant at a price established by Congress and only that merchant could then sell in Europe.

    This was a flagrant violation of the 10th Amendment and the Southern states withdrew.

    After the Civil War, the Federal government quickly expanded their control by passing a lot of laws to ‘govern’ the defeated Southern states. By the time their control was withdrawn, at least ten years later, the idea that the Feds were the real power had been established.

    It is only now, over a hundred years later, that any states are again calling for a reduction of the federal government and a return to the use of the 10th Amendment.

  • 45caliber

    Oh, and for those of you insisting that the Civil War was fought over slavery – that was used by the federal government to insure they had plenty of young men to fight for them. It is difficult to convince someone to give their life for you to be able to make more money. There were about 1200 slave owners in the South – but over 300,000 men died fighting for the South. I can guarantee you that very few of these men cared enough about keeping these slave owners rich to risk their lives for them.

  • michael

    Truly, I wish Benjamin Rush, Milton Friedman, & other founding fathers could speak to us out loud.

  • Erik


  • Ted Crawford

    Further proof that the North had little real interest in freeing the slaves can be found in their immediate reaction to Lincolns’ issuance of The Emmancipation Proclamation! Blacks in the north were hunted down ,shot to death, beaten to death, hung, burned alive and in many other ways put to death! It was, widely feared that the freed slaves would take all the jobs! Slavery was, in deed, the spark that lit the Civil War, but States Rights was the tinder that kept it burnning!

  • John Linnell

    When one considers that the Dis United States is by far the greatest terrorist organization in the world its about time the rest of us got off our arses and put them in their place. Looks like the Chinese will have to do it and can easily shut down the USA financially by just calling in their loans. No money equals no bombs, guns, armies etc. History shows that all these “superpowers” eventually come to a bad end. What I feel sorry for is the wonderful peace loving and friendly Americans I have met over the years. Apparently and unfortunately a small percentage It is basically the government, president, judicial system, senate and house that is rotten to the core and should be thrown out completely at once. Problem then is finding HONEST CARING PEOPLE to run the place as it was originally intended in your unmodified constitution. However you do have state governments, some of whom are not too corrupt and could be allowed to run until re-election when they too would need to be replaced.
    Good luck. Unfortunately Canada is going the same route but I wont be here too much longer and slowly dying painfully of aspartame poisoning. Just wish I had never brought kids into this hell hole.

    • s c

      JL, have you considered for one moment that what you see is exactly what you’re supposed to see? This world is not only a stage, it is filled with actors and actresses who work for someone else, work for themselves or have not a clue for whom they work.
      I’m sorry you have a health problem caused by aspartame poisoning. There should be a way to treat it, if you’re willing to stay away from mainstream ‘medicine.’
      As for the US being the world’s greatest terrorist organization, that’s the same “reasoning” Muslims use. It might feel good, but you’re looking at the surface, and not looking any deeper. I suspect Canada will get sucked into the coming disaster, if only because your leaders and ours work for the same people.
      Let the scumbags enjoy it while they think they have it. In this world, NOTHING lasts forever.

  • ATucker

    Our founding fathers did leave plenty of directions for this country, their thoughts, hopes and advice, and don’t forget warnings. They can be found in the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Federalist Papers to name a few. Our problem is the insurgents(liberal progressives) don’t care. For years they’ve been working in the background like unseen vermin userping our very way of being just to get their dasterdly veiws of how our country should be directed. They view the Constitution as a living evolving thing that should change with the course of time. Personally, I say “not true” our founding fathers, who I believe were divinely inspired, foresaw these obstacle and left their warnings and guidence in the above documents.
    In Cowiche, Wash. Highschool history has been melded with English and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are taught as examples of English Liturature. The teachers unions have bastardized our history and worse our children and their understanding of our country’s beginnings and the reasons for. My own brother stated “why should we follow the teachings and words of white, slave owning atheists”!
    This whole debacle is not going to end well unless America wakes up. I believe it’s exactly what Barry O wants. He knows he cannot win in 2012 and if America rises up in defience then Martial Law is the next step. Hope I’m wrong and just another conspiracy nut job but I’m trying to see all possible avenues our blessed Dictator can move and so far, after giving the government control of a huge chunck of America’s economy, then what is next? Room 101! Double plus good.

  • s c

    It was very disappointing to see how few responses were submitted for this topic. A Tucker, tell your brother it is illogical to have faith in those who have no use for the Constitution and see it is a ‘living’ document. When they claim the Constitution is a ‘living’ document, it’s their way of claiming that it is WRONG to have any standards.
    It is a first-rate example of the diseased thinking that so typifies the inferior, progressive (antisocial and sociopathic) mentality.
    Without standards, we get anarchy. An anarchy sifts and sorts those who are ‘good enough’ to be seen as friends of the governmment. It leads to continual anarchy, and must end in the destruction of civilization.
    Only children and evil agenda-driven sociopaths can find reasons to become progressives. It is a hellish tool, and and unless we consider its source, we have no chance to survive it and destroy it.

  • ATucker

    S C,

    That is why i refuse call liberal or progressives but insurgents for that is what they are, they do and their goal. I still have hope for America and hopefully the Left Coast will follow.

    • s c

      ATucker, I can only hope that the ‘Left Coast’ manages to pull its collective head out of its collective arse before that train disaster hits the mother of all stone walls. As long as Comrade Arnie is their governor, California will be living on borrowed time.
      I would like to think that Arnie has some doubts about following in JM Keynes’ footsteps. Keynesian economics has always failed, but that doesn’t register with progressives. If I lived there, I wouldn’t be there for long.
      Maybe if people start to see what’s coming, they’ll tell Arnie to hose himself before they leave. He belongs in Hollywood, where he won’t contaminate California politics.

  • mavis

    What I want to know is where is all that money from the
    tarpt fund, stimulus fund, recovery bill, extention of unemployment benifits, bailouts, social security fund,
    education fund, I got mine now you get yours fund, and
    all the other stupid funds this government is sponsoring.
    Lets appoint a bunch of just regular old Americans to research this and just find out where it is, they would have unlimited ability to issue warrants for court appearence
    so the culperts would have to tell their stories under oath and there would be no taking the fifth ammendment.
    The ones that were found guilty would forfeit all their
    assets and sentenced to life time service to the people.
    Wages starting at minimum wage. That’s my solution open to any other suggestions.mehpensacola,fl


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.