from National Review, Defend the American Experiment by Protecting the Constitution by James Buckley:
In my view, the serious problems we face these days are in major part the result of our abandonment of the Constitution’s limits on federal authority. American independence was won and the Republic created by a remarkable generation of men who turned a rebellion against the British crown into a transforming moment in human history, one based on the revolutionary proposition that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with fundamental rights that no government has the moral authority to set aside. But with the gaining of independence, the Founders faced the formidable task of creating a government that could operate effectively while respecting and protecting the liberties for which the Revolution had been fought.
The architects of the American Republic had no illusions about human nature, which is the one constant in human affairs. From their study of the history of free societies reaching back to ancient Greece, they understood that the drive to accumulate power, whether by an individual despot or a parliamentary majority, was the historic enemy of individual freedom. They therefore incorporated two safeguards into the Constitution: its system of separation of powers with its checks and balances and the principle of federalism.
I strongly recommend reading the whole article.
This tension between the limited government of the constitution and the reach of the current administrative state is in my opinion the heart of the reason for our congressional disfunction, and our national division. Democracy is frustrated by regulations from an administrative state beyond accountability to the voters.
Unmasking the Administrative State by John Marini gets into the details of the principles and reasons the framers designed a limited government and the threat to constitutionalism that comes from Progressivism and the administrative state. The framers like Hamilton were careful to distinguish the roles of government from administration. Likewise Marini distinguished the need for the permanence of the constitution from the adaptive role of the government. The principles of physics do not change, but the design of the airplane does.
The French and the American revolutions differed in the priority given to liberty over equality by the Americans. The French made equality the priority and trampled liberty in its quest to a bloody and disastrous end. The roots of Marx and Engels lay in the radicalism of the French Revolution.
It was in pursuit of and the priority given to liberty that governed the framers’ design of the constitution. It is that priority that is threatened by the administrative state.