Dissolve the Government: An Idea More American than Apple Pie

Ben Heckman | @benheckman_

The 2020 election is just around the corner and each candidate wants to grow the government more. Beto O’Rourke wants to take your guns, Trump is continuing endless wars overseas, and even the supposed libertarian Bill Weld wants to re-enter the Paris Climate Accords. Is all hope for preserving our freedoms and liberties gone? 

Dissolve the Government

Adam Kokesh, however, takes a different tune. He is running on the platform of completely doing away with the federal government. His platform on his website reads, “When elected, I will swear in, walk to the White House, and sign one executive order. This executive order will lay out the process for dissolving the federal government in a peaceful, orderly manner.” Whether or not this plan is pragmatic is another discussion. What is undeniable, however, is that this idea is more American than you may think at first. 

Famous English philosopher John Locke laid out several justifications to dissolve the government in his Second Treatise of Government, a work that the Founding Fathers drew from heavily in establishing the US. They are as follows: when the executive acts on arbitrary will instead of law, prevents the legislature from meeting or freely deliberating, arbitrarily changes ways of the election or the electors, and if the executive or the legislative delivers the people to a foreign power. This raises the question, has the US government fallen victim to any of these? The answer is yes; the US government has on more than one occasion acted on arbitrary will rather than the law. 

American Abuses

In 2015, the Obama administration began supplying the Saudi Arabian military with arms, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, so that they could continue waging a civil war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen. This civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis since the Holocaust. The estimated number of civilian and combatant deaths since early 2016 is between 56,000 and 80,000, a devastating figure. Even more devastating is the knowledge that your tax dollars helped and are continuing to help fund this.

Donald Trump, though he ran on the platform of getting out of these costly wars, is not helping the situation in the slightest. On April 16th, 2019, Trump vetoed a bipartisan congressional resolution to completely end the US’s involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution grants Congress the exclusive authority to declare war. But both Obama and Trump’s actions were declarations and acts of war that came to fruition without approval. We can rightly classify this as an instance of the US government acting on arbitrary will rather than law, a reason to dissolve the government as it currently stands. 

The American-ness of dissolving the government does not end there. Let us take a look at one of the country’s highest authorities, The Declaration of Independence. There is a line in the second paragraph that reads as follows: “Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” 

There you have it. The idea to dissolve the government is more American than apple pie. Maybe Kokesh, among others with similar views, is not insane after all. Maybe this idea will have the same journey as the idea for the Green New Deal, which started as a third-party concept during the 2012 election and eventually made its way into the mainstream. Maybe, just maybe, we will see the dissolution of the federal government in our lifetime. And if we do, it will be the most American action taken in a long time.

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