Reid must have skipped school the day O’Callaghan taught about limited government

Mike O’Callaghan may well have taught Harry Reid at Basic High School about anarchists, but I seriously doubt he ever taught that “government is inherently good.”

While earning his  master’s degree in 1956 at the University of Idaho — before taking a job teaching history, government and economics at Basic — O’Callaghan probably learned that most of the Founders thought government was inherently evil and had to be constrained and limited for liberty to be secure.

But Harry takes to the floor of the Senate and says:

“When I was in school, I studied government and I learned about the anarchists. Now, they were different than the Tea Party because they were violent. …” The Tea Party is “doing everything they can to throw a monkey wrench into any form of government — whether it’s local, whether it’s state, or federal government. That’s what it’s all about. …

“Government is not inherently bad; government is inherently good. That’s why we have a Constitution and that’s what we direct the activities of this government based upon.”

No, we have a Constitution to rein in the reigning power.

Mike O’Callaghan

In 1998, O’Callaghan wrote a column for the Las Vegas Sun talking about constitutional restraints. The former governor of Nevada quoted U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan’s opinion striking down a presidential line-item veto: “The separation of powers into three coordinate branches is central to the principles on which this country was founded. The declared purpose of separating and dividing the powers of government was to ‘diffuse power, the better to secure liberty.'”

O’Callaghan called the line-item veto bill “the act of a lazy and gutless Congress. The members of that august body should face up to their responsibilities and eliminate unnecessary spending. Anything less is unacceptable.”

He praised Reid for voting against the bill.

But we now have a Congress that thinks it can tell us what health insurance, light bulbs, toilets, cars and electricity to buy, as well as how to run our schools, our businesses and our lives.

James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper No. 51:

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

In Federlist Paper No. 47, Madison wrote:

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

 Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter:

“Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words “general welfare,” a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think, or pretend will be for the general welfare. And what is our resource for the preservation of the constitution? Reason and argument? You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns encircling them.”

Madison also argued:

“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. … Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense“:

“Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamities is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer! Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise.”

Jefferson also said:

“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”

Here are the words of another teacher:

22 comments on “Reid must have skipped school the day O’Callaghan taught about limited government

  1. nyp10025 says:

    I disagree that a democratically-elected government is “inherently evil.”

  2. So, we don’t need a Constitution to prevent a tyranny of the majority?


  3. Wendy Ellis says:

    Government as the “necessary evil in its best state,” described by Thomas Paine, is plainly verging on intolerable.

    Harry Reid is but one obvious example proving the truth of Madison’s words, from Federalist 47 above… “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

    Harry Reid inspires fear and distrust of government. Dr. Walter E. Williams needs more air time.

    Our state senators in the NV Legislature, have unanimously voted in support of SB252. In a letter I received from Sen. Mo Denis, in response to my vehement opposition of this bill, he says,

    “I believe that the expansion and use of renewable energy resources in Nevada is essential. Energy policy has far-reaching implications for our economy and environment and there are a number of reasons we look at alternative energy sources including efforts to reduce pollutants and greenhouse gases, to reduce the amount of toxins that are by-products of energy use, and to preserve many of the natural resources that are currently used as sources of energy.”

    I realize that this is at the state level, however, the excerpt from Thomas Jefferson’s letter above was an eerie warning of what we should expect “for our own good,” from government.

    SB252 will be heard by the Assy. Cmte. on Commerce and Labor at 1:30 pm on Monday, May 6. Now that it has been scheduled, comment and exhibits may be submitted for the record. Unfortunately, I will be on an airplane at that time. I will submit written testimony. But, as Jefferson wrote, “Reason and argument? You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns encircling them.”

  4. nyp10025 says:

    I believe a Constitution is an important if not essential bulwark against tyranny. but we have had a Constitution in place since 1789. So I do not believe that a democratically-elected government is inherently evil.

    It should be noted, however, that the UK does not have a written constitution, and it seems to function just fine.

  5. Reasonable people don’t seek public office.


  6. Since Harry has managed to delay a bill that would create hundreds of jobs in Lyon County in order to extract his Wovoka Wilderness Area for his “green” contributors, it might be interesting read what one of Reid’s friends said about what Las Vegan O’Callaghan thought about rural Nevada:

    “I remember almost 40 years ago driving across the state with then-Gov. Mike O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan’s driving habits did not include going one mile over the 55 mph speed limit, so we had a lot of time together for him to teach me the ins and outs of Nevada and her politics.

    “O’Callaghan was one of the very best Nevada governors — ever. I remember very clearly his lecture to me — somewhere between Battle Mountain and some other major metropolis outside of Las Vegas — on the necessity for Southern Nevada to pay a bit more than its fair share so that those in the rest of the state could have a fighting chance at survival.

    “After all, he would say, we are one state, and those of us with plenty have plenty more to give; he believed that we are better off as a state working together than working against our rural neighbors.”

    That was in Brian Greenspun’s March 24 column.

  7. Vernon Clayson says:

    I missed that melancholy editorial by Brian Greenspun, actually I’ve missed all the Sun editorials for many years, I open that pamphlet only to read Dilbert then it goes in the recycle bin. Is he sure governor O’Callaghan was driving, didn’t he have a highway patrolman as chauffeur?

  8. Come to think of it, he did.


  9. Rincon says:

    Was O’Callaghan a liberal? A Conservative wouldn’t advocate having one half of the state paying for more than its share.

  10. Vernon Clayson says:

    Meant to mention Harry Reid’s memory of school days, he damns the tea party with faint praise, apparently because they aren’t as violent as the unnamed anarchists but have the same intentions, apparently deposing him and his ilk through non-violent assertions. Okay, that sounds rambling but that’s my intention, trying to sound like Harry requires rambling, I believe I was very close.

  11. Steve says:

    Mike O’Callaghan was a Democrat.
    That was this is now.
    Today’s liberals are nothing like yesterdays Democrats.

  12. Steve says:

    Remember when Harry said the Tea Party would be gone by the next election?

  13. He was a liberal.


  14. Steve says:

    Correction! That was THEN this is now.

    dyslexic me.

  15. Reid is following Rule No. 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Beat it like a drum, over and over again.

  16. Athos says:

    Would that be Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals?

    If so, I don’t believe old Saul was known for his belief in liberty and justice, was he?

  17. That would be the rules and, no, he believed in winning.


  18. Just another FF quote about the Constitution: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

  19. Athos says:

    Where have you been, danielwalldammit? Are you saying it’s right and proper to tear down all Jefferson Statues and erect Saint George Floyd and Harry Greid monuments?

  20. Alternatively, you could learn to read.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with that advice daniel

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