When the Constitutional Convention met to craft a new government that would supplant the Articles of Confederation they did so feeling a tension.  A tension between making the federal government too powerful, and thereby taking away individual liberty and making it too weak where it can’t protect liberties that we have (they can protect and promote our liberty, but government can’t “provide” it).

James Madison who was one of the chief architects of the Constitution of the United States wrote about that tension in The Federalist Papers:

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.

Our federal elected officials have seemed to have forgotten the obligation they have in the Constitution to control themselves.  We need to remind them.

Source: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by Mark Levin

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