"What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part [the necessary and proper clause] of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them ... the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers."
--James Madison, Federalist No. 44, 1788
Dear Mr. Madison:
I greatly appreciate all you tried to do for us in the founding of our nation. But in specific reference to your words above, I have some complaints.
You placed some hope in the executive and judiciary departments to check Congress in attempts to usurp their powers. But you must have suspected that this remedy would not always be successful, because, in the end, you rely on the people and elections to “annul the acts of the usurpers.”
But what if elections become vast, expensive marketing operations? What if many of those who might protect liberty simply cannot afford the expense of marketing themselves?
What if the people become lazy and indifferent? What if by a self-imposed ignorance they lack that ability to recognize of understand cases of misconstruing the Constitution?
What if the people become addicted to the largess that can be provided to them (for a time, at least) by the very usurpations that you fear? What, my dear sir, if they become the very way they are in the Year of Our Lord 2012?
On further review, sir, I withdraw my complaints. We cannot rightly expect you to overcome our rampant stupidity.
I am humbly yours,
Kent B. True