norml17 - Page 10
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keep some modicum of control over the federal bureaucracy, z8 we have had
to cope with what amounts to a fotknh branch of government that was not
even a gleam in the eye of a founding father or framer of the U.S.
Constitution. The checks and balances, and separations of powers, so
carefully analyzed and argued over m prevent the concentration of power
(and inevitable tyranny) simply do not exist for the f_ fotwth branch°
The medical marijuana issue is a sad but typical example. With impunity,
without a hint of even a threat of reprimand or punishment to mLv of the
actors, they have taken 20 years to accomplish nothing but to begrudgingly
assimilate research, then arbitrarily ignore it, at the expense of people
suffering tmimaginable agony, relievable only by breaking an arcane and
arbitrary laWo Tyranny does tend to follow unlimited power, and here, it has.
More than a hundred years after the ratification of the U.So
Constitution, Washinggton's constittufional framers had a different gleam in
their eyes. They saw clearly that power concentrated either in govermment or
in private hands (corporations) would inevitably lead to erosion of personal
fights and liberties°
The Washington delegates to the Coustitutional Convention had seen
what was done to individual rights under a century of interpreting the U.S.
Constitution, and they were not happy with the results. For example, they
saw the concept of "natural law" twisted from a guarantee of personal liberty
to an inkposition of laissez-faire economics, under the guise of "freedom of
contract;" that is, natural law prohibits the courts from interfering with the
right of a laborer to contract for his labor, and never mind that the laborer
starves while the company owner thrives. 29
In addition, the Washington delegates had more recent, localized
experience with territorial government. In the tumultuous decade be_bre the
Constitutional Convention, WasNngton had grown from a vL_tual wiIderness
with 75,000 settlers cut off from the national capital by a month's travel time,
to a state of 350,000 citizens who could reach the east coast by a three-day
z8 Ixmr_,_ration_.xkNalur_ Chadha, 462 U.So 919 (1982). TNs case is cited in teethes
by Prof. David Skover of the Universi_' of Puget Sound School of Law as "the second me_t inane
decision ever har_ded down by the Supreme Co,afro"
29 Chartes Haines, The RevivN of Natural Law Concepts 220 (1930).
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