In helping to dedicate his school?s new constitutional studies center, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn decried the modern growth of government. A recent issue of Imprimis recounts the following passage from Arnn?s address:

As the government has grown, it has become a powerful interest in the everyday affairs of the nation. Increasingly, bureaucracy is a factor in every operation our citizens undertake. In the management of our businesses, in the accomplishment of our jobs, in the rearing of our children, and in the very caring for our own bodies, there now are rules too numerous to count. Ominously, these rules now seek even to intrude into the electoral processes by which our free people choose their representatives.

These rules originate in laws passed by Congress that are much too long for anyone to read. After these laws are passed, they are enhanced, expanded, interpreted, and complicated by regulatory agencies. We forget therefore the words of the Father of the Constitution, James Madison:

It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

All these developments, so long entrenched in our politics, are presented by their proponents as a natural extension of the original principles and the original institutions of the nation. Doubtless those who argue this also believe it, but it cannot possibly be true.

Arnn described the influence of government growth in American higher education during a 2007 presentation in Raleigh to the John Locke Foundation?s Shaftesbury Society.

Click play below to watch Arnn?s entire presentation.