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ARTICLE

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty

MARCH 01, 1957 by JAMES MADISON

Of All the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bring­ing the many under the domination of the few….

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war … the power of raising armies … the power of creating offices….

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of con­ducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted.

The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.

The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents.

From "Political Observations," 1795.

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March 1957

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Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
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