Our Founders ‘Shut Down the Government’ Rather Than Bow to Tyranny

By John Zmirak Published on September 25, 2023

The Western Journal reports:

The House of Representatives reportedly will be voting on individual appropriations bills next week rather than a continuing resolution as a stopgap measure that would keep the government open.

NBC News political analyst Jake Sherman posted on the social media platform X on Thursday that Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and other Republicans came out of a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying that bringing individual appropriations bills is now the plan.

“Gaetz said that he’s advocating for pausing consideration of the Pentagon spending bill and moving to bills that cut spending,” Sherman said.

“[Gaetz] posted an exhortation that former President Donald Trump shared on Truth Social urging Republicans to use the power of the purse to place a check on President Joe Biden’s “weaponized Government that refuses to close the Border, and treats half the country as Enemies of the State.”

“Use the power of the purse and defend the Country!”

The Last Line of Defense Against Tyranny and Civil War

I’ve written here before about how the “power of the purse” is the last line of defense against tyranny before the desperate measure of armed citizen resistance:

Our founders decreed that all spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives — the humblest branch of government, whose members serve for only two years, and are closest to the people. No judge with a lifetime tenure, or six-year termed senator, much less a president, can write the bills that actually pay for every bayonet, bullet, and piece of printed paper used by the State.

Our founders remembered that the only thing which restrained the kings of England from ruling like Pharaohs or tsars was the “power of the purse,” held tight by the elected members of Parliament. They knew that kings like Charles I and even Charles II had tried to govern without consulting the legislature — and saw how it worked out in countries (like autocratic France and Spain) where kings got away with that.

That’s why such a seemingly minor piece of procedural machinery as “Who originates the funding bills?” got spelled out in our Constitution itself. The founding fathers knew that this provision was written in the blood of past rebels against tyrants. It had taken centuries to firmly establish this crucial check on monarchs in Britain. They weren’t going to leave such a thing to chance here in America.

The Democrats held that purse tight to their chests during the Reagan administration, frustrating his plans to aid the Contras. Republicans tried to use it to rein in Bill Clinton, but one governmental shut-down Newt Gingrich attempted got him roasted in the press. So they threw that power away.

The GOP Establishment Will Fight … For Ukraine, Just Not for Us

Instead, Republicans just as much as Democrats have lazily allowed the real business of government — deciding what to fund or defund — to be done by staffers and lobbyists in backroom meetings. Our Chamber of Commerce hirelings cannot be bothered poring over the grubby details of whether to fund Jack Smith’s prosecution of Trump, or the FBI’s harassment of conservative Christians. They’re too busy following Ukraine’s latest counter-offensive against the Russians. Meanwhile, according to non-partisan poll service Rasmussen:

More than two-thirds of American voters are worried that their country is turning into a police state – a tyrannical government that engages in mass surveillance, censorship, ideological indoctrination, and targeting of political opponents.

And so we end up with the grotesque spectacle of a Republican House yawning and rubber-stamping the Deep State hunting conservatives, while our borders yawn wide open for human traffickers and terrorists. Except … for Matt Gaetz and those who follow him in the Freedom Caucus. If our democracy dies, historians will place the blame on the other Republicans who didn’t.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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