Who Are the Most Powerful People in America?

A new video from Prager University about a lot of powerful people who shouldn’t be:

The genius of America is that it was set up as a representative government, but increasingly, Americans are ruled over by leaders who are unelected, and very powerful. Columbia Law Professor Philip Hamburger unmasks the people who are really ruling our lives.

Philip Hamburger is the Maurice and Hilda Friedman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. A leading scholar of constitutional law, his books Separation of Church and StateLaw and Judicial Duty, and Is Administrative Law Unlawful? are all considered “must reads” in the world of legal scholarship. He is also President of the New Civil Liberties Alliance, which fights the administrative state. To join the new movement for civil liberties, visit the New Civil Liberties Alliance.


From the transcript:

If someone suggested to you that Americans should reject representative government and return to the rule of kings, you would laugh.

“This is America,” you would say. “In our revolution, we got rid of monarchy.”

And, of course, you’d be right – but only to a point. Monarchy is making a comeback – though not in the way you think.

Let me explain.

A king is one person. Get rid of him and you might get your freedom back.

But what do you do when the nation has come to be controlled by thousands of little king – almost supreme in their specialized fiefdoms – who have vast power over your life, much as a king might?

Good question, because that’s what we’re up against.

This regime is called the “administrative state.” Its little kings are unelected “bureaucrats,” officially known as “administrators,” “secretaries,” or even “czars.” And, make no mistake, they are very powerful. Their decisions affect us every day. The FDA, the FCC, the SEC, and so on and so on.

Put together almost any three or four random letters and chances are you’ve stumbled on a government agency. These agencies and the people in them shape our lives – often for the worse.

Many farmers in California lost their livelihoods because the Fish and Wildlife Service decided that the delta smelt (a tiny fish) was more important than the farmers’ water supply. That decision may have been right, or it may have been wrong. My point is simply that the decision should have been made by our lawmakers – who are accountable to us at the next election.

Those farmers are among the millions of hard-working people directly hurt by the administrative state.

And many more millions have been indirectly hurt – such as all those discouraged from even starting a business by miles of bureaucratic red tape.

This is not an argument against government regulation per se, but against regulation imposed by bureaucrats rather than by our elected lawmakers whom we can hold accountable at the next election.

Here’s the larger danger: As bureaucracy grows, individual freedom diminishes.

How did we get into this mess? And, more importantly, how do we get out of it?

Read more: Prager University