Friday, June 18, 2010

The Surrender of the Republic

The Senate Votes for Suicide—Theirs and Ours

While everyone is concerned about the big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, something much more ominous just happened: the United States ceased to be a representative republic. It happened on Thursday when the Senate voted to abdicate its central powers to the executive branch. Not that it was billed in such momentous terms. In the news, it was reported merely as the failure of the Murkowski Resolution.

What did the Murkowski Resolution say? It said that

"Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act and that such rule shall have no force or effect."

Note what this vote was not about.

The Senate did not actually vote on whether or not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The debate in the Senate was not about what form those regulations should take, how strict they should be, or even whether the science behind those regulations has been discredited by Climategate. The vote was simply over who is in charge: the legislative branch of government, or the executive. As the bill's chief sponsor, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, argued:

"Politically accountable members of the House and Senate, not unelected bureaucrats, must develop our nation's energy and climate policies."

Or to put it simply, legislation should be made by legislators.

In our system of government—or rather, in our former system of government—there was a division of power between the legislature and the executive. The legislators, who answer to the people directly, had the power to write the laws, to decide exactly what should be controlled by government and how, and the job of the executive was to implement those laws. Our nation's Founders knew that if the executive branch could both write the laws and enforce them, there would be virtually no limits on its power. They knew that a system in which all power is concentrated in one institution—an institution that is not composed of the representatives of the people—is a form of dictatorship.

That is precisely what we now have, if the EPA can write its own rules on carbon dioxide...
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