James Madison is the Issac Newton of political science. He was the first architect of power who instinctively understood that institutions are endowed with personalities that transcend the personalities of the occupants of the office. He uniquely recognized that the Legislative Branch would resist gratuitous wars because its members have everything to lose and nothing to gain. In contrast, the Executive Branch personality is hyper-kenetically inclined towards perpetual pointless wars because they aggrandize presidential power and promote secret government that evades accountability to Congress, the judiciary, and the people. The war power is the most imperative to constrain because it is inherently the nemesis of liberty and due process. Before Madison, the chief concern of liberty advocates was on identifying and training benevolent dictators or enticing philosophers into politics. There was no appreciation of institutional personalities. There has been no one since Madison became an ornament in the heavens in 1836 who has mastered the art of diffusing power to frustrate tyranny, which is why we have come full circle back to July 4, 1776 confronting an Executive Branch wielding limitless power to fight perpetual wars with perpetual surveillance of the not-yet-guilty. We have squandered Mr. Madison's irreplaceable genius through intellectual indolence and preoccupation with childish fun.
Bruce Fein is Chairman of the American Freedom Agenda, founder of Bruce Fein & Associates, Inc., and The Lichfield Group, author of Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy, and weekly columnist for The Washington Times. Mr. Fein graduated with honors from Harvard Law School in 1972, clerked for a prestigious federal court, served as special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel and the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, Assistant Director for the Office of Legal Policy, Associate Deputy Attorney General, General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission, Counsel to the Joint Congressional Committee on Covert Arms Sales to Iran, Visiting Fellow for Constitutional Studies at the Heritage Foundation, Adjunct Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Guest Lecturer at the Brookings Institute. Mr. Fein specializes in constitutional and international law, is a frequent witness before Congress, and is a regular guest on national television and radio.