“In the eyes of democracy, government is not a good; it is a necessary evil” (194).
“This is seen very clearly in the United States, where wages seem in a way to decrease as the power of officials is greater” (204). –Alexis de Tocqueville
An analogy has been crystalizing in my mind the more I speak and the more I teach on the American government, so I wanted to share it with you today. It’s something I’ve said before but I’m hoping that laying out in such simple terms will help better develop and reshape your political mindset.
In the United States, both in reality and theory, the people created the government that we currently have. And the people created this government to do a job for the people.
“Furthermore, the people in America obey the law not only because it is their work, but also because they can change it when by chance it hurts them; they submit to it in the first place as an evil that is imposed by themselves and after that as a passing evil” (231).Alexis de Tocqueville
To protect us and our private property from each other. Otherwise, we’d have no liberty because we’d always be living in a state of constant fear.
Now, think of this practically, we hired government to do this job for us; therefore, as government’s employers, we have to pay government (hence, taxation) to do that job.
Now, here’s the kicker.
From a purely business/transactional perspective, what job in the world doesn’t have a job description?
No really, think about it?
Every single person who is ever hired to do a job, is hired to do a specific job, which is why they are given a job description and why they’re hired in the first place.
No one is hired to simply get paid and then “do whatever they want”. Right?
And yet, we “hire” our “public servants” and act like they can “do whatever they want”.
Do we not?!
This is so critical for us, as Americans and government’s employers, to grab ahold of.
We hire them, we pay them and we can fire them, and yet when they are “applying” and “interviewing” for the job, we rarely hold them up to the standards of their job description during this vetting process, nor do we expect them to stay within any confined behaviors once they’re in office.
This is an egregiously dangerous method of management and employment. Employees, especially ones given immense power, are going to do all they can to push the limits of that power. And that brings up another point, there better be limits to that power.
Power without limits is arbitrary power and arbitrary power is, well… limitless power.
But what good are limits if those who are meant to impose the limits don’t know the limits they’re suppose to impose? Further, what good are limits if those who are meant to impose the limits don’t enforce those limits?
What good is a job description if it is never used by the employer to limit and guide the employee?
“In the United States, therefore, they did not claim that a man in a free country has the right to everything; on the contrary, they imposed on him more varied social obligations than elsewhere; they did not have the idea of attacking the power of society in its principle and of contesting its rights; they limited themselves to dividing it in its exercise. They wanted in this manner to arrive at the point where authority is great and the official is small, so that society would continue to be well regulated and remain free.”Alexis de Tocqueville
So, I ask. What good is our U.S. Federal Constitution, our state constitutions or our local charters, if we the people, government’s employers, neither know or care to enforce those job descriptions on our employees, government?
For example: what good is our government’s job description if we ask or debate about how our federal government can “fix healthcare” or “education”, both topics not within our federal government’s job description?
They, government, have no incentive to stay within their job description if they know that we, their employers, don’t even know their job description.
We really need to get back to basics. It’s simple.
Government is our employee. Government works for us, we don’t work for them. They do a job for us and we pay them to do that job. We gave them a job description, The Constitution, to both confine and define their power in that job.
“Often the European sees in the public official only force; the American see in him right. One can therefore say that in America man never obeys man, but justice or law.” (90)Alexis de Tocqueville
It’s time we start acting like government’s boss before we all get the wrong idea that they’re our boss and this wrong idea becomes reality.
The Liberty Belle
7 thoughts on “Employer (The People), Employee (The Government) and Job Description (The Constitution)”
At this point that horse has left the barn! The general belief in both the populace and the GOVERNMENT is that they are our bosses. This is currently the sad case in practice too. My prayer is that you, I and others, can re-establish that proper relationship between Citizen and Government, as you so aptly describe.
“A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well as speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppose each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.” ………………………….James Madison in Federalist Paper 10
You stated the problem about half way into your essay. They are called “PUBLIC SERVANTS” but have acquired such power they have come to believe the public is their servant. The fact of the matter is no where in the Constitution are political parties mentioned. A country run by a oligarchy is a democracy in name only, even if the citizens are free to vote for competing oligarchic factions.
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Wow this makes my brain hurt. I have been screaming kicking and scratching for 40 years or more trying to get we the people to be WE THE PEOPLE. I am so grateful for what you are doing thank you. As for me I have been in this battle for a long time and I am about ready to throw in the towel.
This is why we have elections however to get this thinking back to the people is a challenge. With all the ways in which people get their information, some are convinced the government is the boss thus who would make the best boss in any given position. TV and social media brain wash people’s thinking. I canvass with election information for voters in my Precinct. Some voters have gone off the deep end in thinking. The challenge is getting them back to reality regarding who is the boss and who is the employee and the guidelines ser in our US Constitution are the Gold Standard. Great article thank you.
Another very timely repost! Great article thank you. Thank you gain for sharing your knowledge, pointing out the obvious and asking questions of us that should open our eyes. Been trying to tell our “employees” this for years, to little avail.
As Howard Snook says above, and I’ve stated previously, I am also so grateful for what you are doing thank you. I’ve been in this battle for decades and I am so grateful that someone as young as yourself, and your generation, has taken up the battle to retain and preserve our Freedoms!!! From a 3/4 Centurion
While I agree with the sentiments expressed in this post, I think that the ugly truth is that our society is, in fact, a docile flock ruled by a “soft tyranny”. It is largely due to our ignorance as an electorate (as per the rational-ignorance effect), rabid partisanship, and a numbing willingness to get “informed” by sources that are overtly biased (e.g. NPR and FOX). Moreover, especially in terms of Congress, it is difficult to figure out for whom legislators are agents. Are their main principals deep-pocketed rent seekers and their lobbying minions? The rabid zealots who get those candidates through the primaries? The party leadership who gets them through general elections? The wealthy donors who they call for half the work week soliciting donations for the next election cycle? While I cannot say who, exactly, is the primary principle for whom legislative agents act on behalf of, I do know its not one group – “we the people”.