Question: What forces have shaped America?
Grover Norquist: Well you certainly had during the American Revolution leading up to a desire for more individual liberty and a severing of the ties with Britain on the sense that they were trying to impose taxes and regulatory regimes on the American people and making them less free. As long as England was the mother country and they left the colonies alone, “Ah the Queen, she’s fine. The King, he’s fine. Who cares?” But when they started to reach in and encroach on people’s self-governance – their ability to run their own lives – they broke with Britain. Over time, all governments want to grow. There’s always some people who like to live off the earnings of others. You know dukes, and earls, and kings, and aristocrats who think it would be a good idea. Or I guess the Egyptian ________ – the civil servant class that became the dictators because they’re and they became the government workers and they said, “Hey, we’re the government. Start paying taxes more.”
So there’s always a danger that bureaucracy will use the power of the state, or class will use the power of the state to run other people’s lives, steal their money, and enrich the rule of class. So our job in America is not to seize power, but to destroy power. The Constitution was an effort to chain down and destroy certain powers. They didn’t say, “The right people will decide what church you go to.”
They said, “Nobody will decide what church you go to.” That’s the destruction of power, not the maintenance of power and not the accumulation of power – the destruction of power. Who will decide what you’re allowed to say? No one will decide what you’re allowed to say. Not, “We’ll elect that guy.” Or, “We’ll have the king’s son will be that guy. Or the high priest . . .” Nobody will be that guy. And so there’s a whole list of things that the state simply shouldn’t, can’t do. And of course states don’t like to be told that, so they try to find a way around. And when you put a leash on the state, it very quickly finds out how long that leash is and then tries to strengthen it, lengthen it.
Recorded on: September 12, 2007