Because of their understanding that each one of us is capable of evil given the right circumstances, the framers of The Constitution of the United States devised a unique system of checks and balances between the three branches of the federal government: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial – presented in that order in the Constitution. It also “guarantee[d] to every state in this Union a republican form of government . . .” (Article IV, Section 4), so each state would have the same checks and balances as the federal government.
But the Constitution, without the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights, was not acceptable to the majority of state delegates; it was even seen as tyrannical by some. So the framers set about drafting amendments that would ensure “basic human rights” as they saw them. The First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech, the press, and religion, and the Second Amendment regarding the bearing of arms are subjects of intense debate and litigation to this day. But the amendment that grants us the most freedom from tyranny and oppression is the Tenth Amendment:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Those framers of the Constitution who saw the danger of concentrating unlimited power in a central government made up of sinful, fallible people, insisted that this amendment be included before ratification. The localization of most powers to “the States respectively, or to the people” created a much greater check on absolute power than the checks and balances in the branches of the federal government. Localization of power gave the citizens a direct voice in government and made elected officials more accountable to the voters.
The lesson is this: concentration of power in the hands of sinful people is evil and dangerous. That’s why we should be alarmed when politicians in Washington, D. C., expand the powers of the federal government.
Over the decades, Congress has created regulatory agencies with the power to impose myriad restrictions on the American people without the consent of Congress or the voters. Laws that infringe the rights of the States and individual citizens are being upheld by federal courts that insist that the Constitution is an organic, evolving document, and that it means what they say it means. Our Constitutional rights, particularly those enshrined in the Bill of Rights, are being eroded through the machinations of the very people who swore to uphold them!
God opposed the Tower of Babel because it centralized power and thus concentrated evil:
Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth." And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. And the LORD said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:4-6)
Beware of a centralized government so powerful that nothing they propose to do will be impossible for them!