[Part I – “CPAC: Brits Seek Independence (and so should we)” – highlighted Britain’s current rebellion against the European Union. Americans would do well to emulate their growing fervor for freedom.]
We have seen why so many Brits seek to flee the European Union, whose centralized, supranational government prevents Britain from protecting itself from the immigration crisis and terrorist threat contained therein.
In the wake of the terrorist attack in Brussels (HQ of the EU), National Review noted the inescapable nexus between the E.U.’s policies and the fruit of those policies. The Editors wrote (emphasis added):
“In one part of the city reside EU bureaucrats who continue to promulgate their fanciful transnational ideals, increasingly against the evidence; in another part are roiling ghettos populated largely by Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East, many of whom have a very different vision for the future of Europe … A half century of effectively open borders, a refusal to require assimilation of immigrants into a robust notion of European culture, and an unyielding fidelity to multicultural pieties have resulted in cities fractured along ethnic lines and, as Brussels officials have admitted in the hours since Tuesday morning’s attack, overwhelmed by potential terror threats.”
Terrorism is not the only threat posed by edicts from the European Union. Freedom itself is at stake!
Prototype World Government
Steven Woolfe, a Member of the European Parliament, offered his insight into the dangers of a centralized government within a supranational context. Those insights are extremely relevant to the ongoing battle for power within the United States between the various branches of government as well as the struggle over federalism vs. statism. Hint: Liberty is losing.
According to Woolfe, the European Union has become a “super state in which control over the power of the laws is held in Brussels by unelected civil servants.” The bureaucratic state – unelected and unaccountable to the People – enjoys an ever-increasing degree of control over the lives of the citizens of the European Union.
I asked Woolfe how that came about. He explained, “After the Second World War, people quite rightly no longer wanted to have their children murdered in wars against each other. So they decided that they wanted to have an organization where countries come together to sort out their differences, a little bit like the United Nations.”
However, the founders of the European Union sought the abolition of “populist governments” who are elected by the people. To achieve that goal, they created “the European Union, in which the body called ‘The Commission,’ made of up civil servants, made the laws for the whole of Europe.”
Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic, highlighted the consequence of these “two interrelated phenomena” (emphasis added): “the European integration process on the one hand, and the evolution of the European economic and social system on the other – both of which have been undergoing a fundamental change in the context of the ‘brave new world’ of our permissive, anti-market, redistributive society, a society that has forgotten the ideas on which the greatness of Europe was built.”
Woolfe added, “What they did over a period of forty years, they slowly took powers, through different treaties, from each of the nation-states.” Woolfe contends, “The European Union is becoming like a colonialist empire. It’s almost like the prototype of a world government.”
The Unbridled Power of Bureaucrats
Who runs this proto-colonialist empire? Bureaucrats!
As Woolfe put it, “Imagine the idea that civil servants – not elected politicians – can make your laws. Imagine that those laws can never be changed, can never be repealed. Imagine that government lobbyists and government affairs are the ones that talk to these civil servants and tell them what laws to initiate. That’s exactly what happens in the European Union. There is no people power. It’s very much bureaucratic power.”
Woolfe argues that the European Union is in embryonic form what globalists have always wanted to achieve. Woolfe almost sounds like a Bernie Sanders because he discerns a collusion between corporate Europe and the bureaucrats who make the laws.
Woolfe put it this way: “Many of us would argue that the fact that you have the large corporations who can game the system by basically negotiating their own laws with civil servants who then pass it down to the nation-states to enact. And if you’re a citizen in Germany who wants to have controlled borders, as you can see people flooding into Europe from all over the world in the migration crisis that we have, you’ve got no one who can stop it because you have no governments who can control it. It’s the EU that does it. If you want to have lower taxation, if you want to have less regulation, you can’t change your politicians to do that because it’s the civil servants – the Commission – that is making those laws.”
Woolfe concluded with a warning to America, one that is, sadly, decades too late. He queried, “And just think how dangerous that is to the United States if this idea crosses the Atlantic.”
Origins of the Statist Welfare State
In the 1870s, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck created the modern welfare state, with its byzantine bureaucracies and labyrinth of administrative laws. Bismarck’s model became the blueprint for Western European nations and also for progressives in the United States of America. At the heart of his model is centralized planning by elites made up of the self-anointed “best and brightest” who think that they know better than we do how to live our lives.
Philip Hamburger observed, “This German theory would become the intellectual source of American administrative law. Thousands upon thousands of Americans studied administrative power in Germany, and what they learned there about administrative power became standard fare in American universities. At the same time, in the political sphere, American Progressives were becoming increasingly discontent with elected legislatures, and they increasingly embraced German theories of administration and defended the imposition of administrative law in America in terms of pragmatism and necessity.”
John Daniel Davidson has observed that “The father of American progressivism, Woodrow Wilson, saw this coming.” Wilson “thought the U.S. Constitution was outdated and that America needed a professional, Prussian-style administrative state, and that the chief hindrance to this in America was popular sovereignty.” Wilson believed that “expert administrators” were superior to the will of the People.
This is, of course, the antithesis of the individual liberty for which the Founding Fathers fought and the apotheosis for all those who oppose the Constitution and the framework of our Republic as envisioned by its Framers. Dennis Prager recently noted, “The size of the federal government and its far-reaching meddling in and control over Americans’ lives are the very thing America was founded to avoid.”
Either the rule of law by representative government or law by executive and administrative fiat will prevail. They cannot coexist. Peaceful coexistence is a myth.
Absolute Power Wielded by Statists
In contrast to statists who favor administrative law, our Founders and Framers opposed the exercise of absolute power. Hamburger noted, “They feared this extra-legal, supra-legal, and consolidated power because they knew from English history that such power could evade the law and override all legal rights.”
Consequently, “Americans established the Constitution to be the source of all government power and to bar any absolute power. Nonetheless, absolute power has come back to life in common law nations, including America.”
Administrative law, wrote Hamburger, is extra-legal, supra-legal, and consolidated. It is in defiance of our system of checks and balances which is expressly designed to limit and diffuse power. According to Hamburger (emphasis added):
- “Administrative law is extra-legal in that it binds Americans not through law but through other mechanisms – not through statutes but through regulations – and not through the decisions of courts but through other adjudications.”
- “It is supra-legal in that it requires judges to put aside their independent judgment and defer to administrative power as if it were above the law – which our judges do far more systematically than even the worst of 17th century English judges.”
- “And it is consolidated in that it combines the three powers of government – legislative, executive, and judicial – in administrative agencies.”
Hamburger added, “Administrative adjudication evades almost all of the procedural rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It subjects Americans to adjudication without real judges, without juries, without grand juries, without full protection against self-incrimination, and so forth.”
Power of the Pen, Phone, and Judicial Activism
Jonah Goldberg concurs, writing, “The growth of the administrative state and the encroachment of federal law into every nook and cranny of local life has been a century-long project of the Left.”
What President Obama couldn’t get passed in Congress he has sought to enact through the power of his pen and his phone. He has bypassed Congress through unconstitutional executive actions on immigration and other matters. Further, he has politicized the IRS, EPA, HHS, Justice Department, Homeland Security, and other federal agencies to target his political foes and implement his contra-Congress agenda (the will of the People be damned!).
Even before the advent of Obama administration, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn lamented that “We live in a more liberated age, the age of bureaucratic government. Here rules abound in such profusion that they seem to overbear the laws of nature themselves. So it is with honoring the Constitution these days. We honor it more avidly than ever in the breach of its restraints, but at the same time we pay it the respect of mandatory, hectic, and empty observance. Except for our dishonoring of it, we have never honored it so much.”
Moreover, for decades, several activist Justices have tilted the Supreme Court away from the Constitution and toward unbridled power by non-elected bureaucrats. Goldberg noted, “in many respects the Supreme Court is now more powerful than the presidency. It’s certainly far, far, far less democratic. We appoint justices for life and many of their decisions cannot be overturned by the Congress, or the people, short of a constitutional convention.”
Death of Federalism and Freedom by the Stroke of a 1,000 Pens
Obamacare exemplifies and is representative of all that is wrong with administrative law. Case in point: The whole power of the federal government is intractably opposed to and wielded against charitable work performed by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
David French pointed out (emphasis added) “it’s important to understand that the Sisters are not challenging a law passed by Congress. Instead, the contraception mandate is a rule concocted by bureaucrats. When Congress passed Obamacare it intentionally passed the statute with a number of vague directives that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) interpreted and expanded through the regulatory rulemaking process. Thus, the Obamacare statute itself does not contain a contraceptive mandate. Instead, it merely requires employers to ‘provide coverage’ for ‘preventive services’ for women, including ‘preventive care.’”
These unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats have “exempted vast numbers of employers from its requirements – sometimes for mere convenience. It grandfathered existing plans that did not cover contraceptives, exempted small firms, and exempted ‘religious employers.’”
However, they define that term “so narrowly that it applied mainly to entities such as churches and synagogues, not to religious schools, hospitals, or charities – entities that are motivated by faith, often require employees to share the organization’s faith commitment, and ordinarily receive much the same level of religious-freedom protection as houses of worship.”
A Time for Choosing
Ronald Reagan’s famous 1964 speech, A Time for Choosing, should be revisited by all lovers of liberty. The 2016 election is of paramount importance and freedom itself hangs in the balance. Indeed, this election is about survival. Will we elect a fraud and a mountebank, Donald Trump, or an official Democrat candidate (Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders) – statists all?
Update: The current tyrannical nature of the Obama administration and its rule imposed by unelected bureaucrats to force the American people to adopt a radical agenda foisted on them is perfectly illustrated by the Justice Department’s edicts regarding transgender-friendly bathrooms. Rich Lowry calls it the Bathroom Putsch. Lowry decries “middling bureaucrats [who] impose their will on the nation,” writing, “The transgender edict is a perfect distillation of the Obama administration’s centralizing reflex, high-handed unilateral rule, and burning desire to push the boundaries of cultural change as far as practical in its remaining time in office.”
Update: The absurdity of the bureaucratic state is epitomized by federal, state and local governments who are currently waging a war on illegal lemonade stands run by children! Kevin Williamson notes, “We are ruled by power-mad buffoons.”
Update: Wesley J. Smith writes: “The political left loves the Bureaucratic State because it allows unelected and democratically unaccountable “experts” to be in control–for our own good, of course.” Smith exposes how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is invading your privacy and intruding into your health care!
 Vaclav Klaus, “The Crisis of the European Union: Causes and Significance,” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, July/August 2011, http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-crisis-of-the-european-union-causes-and-significance/.
 Philip Hamburger, “The History and Danger of Administrative Law,” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, September 2014, http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/the-history-and-danger-of-administrative-law/.
 Larry P. Arnn, “A Return to the Constitution,” Imprimis, Hillsdale College, November 2007, http://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/a-return-to-the-constitution/.