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A Government By, Of and For Whom?

How is it that the American people want smaller government and less government spending, but the government is growing and spending faster than ever?

That’s one of the questions pollster Scott Rasmussen is asking in his new book, The People's Money.

Or take health care. As a Weekly Standard review of Rasmussen’s book points out, Americans believe the solution to the health care problem “is to shift power away from politicians and bureaucrats so that individuals can have more control over their own lives.”

Yet Obamacare does just the opposite. It centralizes decision making in the hands of bureaucrats, who don’t have to answer to the people.

What is going on? Rasmussen points out something I’ve been sensing and talking about for a while now: and that’s the growing gap between the ruling elites and the people.

For instance, a recent survey by the National Journal shows that 59 percent of our nation’s political insiders believe that the American people don’t “know enough about the issues facing Washington to form wise opinions about what should be done.”

Yet as Rasmussen notes, 73 percent of American voters “trust the American people more than America’s political leaders.”

This gap between the ruling elites and the people is shocking and dangerous.

It reminds me of what my friend William F. Buckley once famously quipped: “I'd rather entrust the government of the United States to the first 400 people listed in the Boston telephone directory than to the faculty of Harvard University.”

His pithy observation reflects a very American sentiment: that the people have within them a certain wisdom, a sense that they know how to run their lives and manage their affairs better than anyone else — including the elites, and especially the government.

Now, of course, our founders built our Republic with checks and balances — restraining not only the authority of the central government, but also the fleeting whims of public opinion. They created a constitutional republic built on a principal called ordered liberty.

The very survival of our republic depends on the consent of the governed. Abraham Lincoln said it well; our government is a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

But look at where we are today. The ruling class, increasingly cut off from the daily lives of ordinary Americans, has become an elites governmental equivalent of the Pharisees: “they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” That’s from Matthew 23:3-4.

And the American people are fed up — from the Tea Party to the Occupy movement. The people are not being heard. This is unsustainable.

As Christians, we must be engaged, we must raise our voices. Today, I want to invite you to join me in Lansdowne, Virginia, for our “Break the Spiral of Silence” conference, March 30-April 1. Join with me, Joni Eareckson Tada, Robby George, and other great speakers. We have details for you at ColsonCenter.org.

And while you are at ColsonCenter.org, be sure to see my “Two-Minute Warning” on why we must speak out — especially when it comes to the sanctity of life.

If we stay engaged and stick together, our voices will be heard.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.

Publication dateFebruary 29, 2012

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