OXON HILL, Md.—Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, used Prince Harry’s remarks on American politics to tear into the bureaucracy that has turned the once-limited U.S. federal government into a ravenous behemoth.
Speaking at The Heritage Foundation’s 50th Anniversary Leadership Summit, Lee began by praising the “limited government, free markets, [and] individual liberty,” which he called “absolutely instrumental in shaping the American landscape.”
These principles will “help America stretch another 250 years into the future,” Lee declared, dismissing the criticisms the American system faces from bureaucrats and aristocrats around the world.
Conservatives in Congress and the Supreme Court have acted to return the U.S. to the principles enshrined in the Constitution, taking heat from foreign celebrities and progressive advocates. In 2022, Prince Harry of the United Kingdom’s Royal Family lectured the United States in front of the United Nations regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the abortion precedent Roe. v. Wade, returning the issue to elected leaders on the state and local levels.
The prince lamented what he framed as “the few weaponizing lies and disinformation at the expense of the many. And from the horrific war in Ukraine, to the rolling back of constitutional rights here in the United States, we are witnessing a global assault on democracy and freedom—the cause of Mandela’s life.”
Lee mocked Harry, stating, “[I] love being lectured on democracy by an actual prince.”
Speaking at the leadership summit, Lee pointed out the irony of the pampered great-great-grandson of King George III instructing Americans on representative democracy.
“Americans deserve to be in charge of their own destiny and their own government.”
In the vein of combatting governmental overreach, Lee listed the measures the British government took in the late eighteenth century to restrict liberty in the American colonies. Americans today are once again facing the excessive taxation without representation, restricting and censoring press, and “hordes of officers” sent to drain American resources that sparked the Revolutionary War.
Lee told the crowd that these echoes of King George’s tyranny inspired him to run for office in the first place. He claimed that two constitutional protections maintained the legal protections of citizens by maximizing individual liberty and minimizing governmental overreach: the “vertical” protection of federalism and the “horizontal” protection of the separation of powers, outlined in the U.S. Constitution.
“The federal government has a limited purpose– think of it as a home owners association but with an army. It has to cite something within its charter, its Constitution, to act.” He lambasted Congress for giving away its responsibilities over its originally outlined duties to the overreaching, eternal, bloated agencies that began tearing through the United States with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s.
Specifically, Lee outlined a 1942 case in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture began unconstitutionally regulating internal trade and production of resources like wheat by tying thin, connecting threads in an attempt to claim that individuals growing wheat “affected interstate commerce.”
“Congress could not not only regulate interstate trade, but any resource that could affect interstate commerce,” Lee said (emphasis original). “What was supposed to be a dynamic described in Federalist 45, outlined by [President James] Madison, was now a pyramid flipped on its head.”
Today, Lee says the U.S. federal bureaucracy places individuals with no civil servant ability in cushy, lord-like positions: “It’s really good for bureaucrats, lifetime individuals who couldn’t be elected to dogcatchers, are treated like emperors, or at least like princes.”
Lee closed by praising The Heritage Foundation, claiming it is “needed more than ever.” The senator from Utah said a “a better, bright, and more prosperous” future for the United States relies on individual liberties, federalism, and the blessing of “Almighty God” on America.
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