Federal Agencies, Licentiousness, Tyranny, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Which federal agencies are worth keeping? Which 3 federal agencies should be shut down ASAP? How can licentiousness lead to tyranny? What is the relationship between freedom and responsibility? Could a Convention of States remove a sitting President? How does David Barton remember facts so easily? Tune in to hear the important answers to these questions and more on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!

Air Date: 02/17/2022

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture

Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending against all hazards and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”


Welcome the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live. We’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I’m here with David Barton. He is America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us. 

He’s a national speaker, and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You can learn more about all three of us at our website, wallbuilderslive.com, wallbuilderslive.com. That’s also the place to make a one-time or monthly contribution. 

When you donate, it allows us to amplify the voice of truth here at WallBuilders Live, and it’s a chance to train more people in biblical and constitutional principles. So please check that out today at wallbuilderslive.com.

Another way you can help get that truth out there is simply sharing the program. So just go to the website, grab the link to that particular program that you’ve enjoyed and share it with your friends and family, email it out, put it on social media. However you can share, we would greatly appreciate it. 

That’s a great way for you to be a force multiplier in this culture war that we’re in, where we’re literally fighting for the heart and soul of America and what America is going to look like for our children and grandchildren.

And here at WallBuilders, we are all about bringing back that foundation, that biblical foundation that makes a constitutional republic strong. And to do that, you got to know right from wrong, you got to be able to dive into the foundations that make a nation great. You know, if you put good principles in, you’re going to get good results. 

Bad Principles =  Bad Results

You put bad principles into a culture in a society in a community, you’re going to get bad results. And we see the bad results happening right before our eyes. We can turn it around if we come back to those good principles, and you and I fight for them. But we got to know those foundations. We got to know the foundations of freedom.

Alright, David, and Tim, lots of questions to get to, good ones today too. We’ll see how many we can get through. First one is coming from Jeremy. He says “The size in overreach the federal government something I think many Americans are concerned about”, myself included. “I believe many federal agencies are unconstitutional and should be either greatly reduced in scope and size or shut down completely, if you could. Which three federal agencies would you shut down first and why? Thanks for all you do and keep up the great work. Thank you, Jeremy.”

Jeremy, thank you for sending in a great questions. David and Tim, wow, that would be hard to pick just three, right? What would be the top three, I guess. If you just right off the top of your head, not just a federal agency that’s unconstitutional, but it’s probably doing the most damage, and if we could get rid of it, would be good for America?


I think I misunderstood the question. Was it the top three or the top 3,000?


That’s right. That’s right.

Which Departments Must Go?


If I’m going for the top three, I’m going to say right up top, it’s going to be the Department of Education, then it’s going to be OSHA, then it’s going to be EPA. And I would say Department of Education. And I say these because these are regulatory agencies. Department of Education, I think, represents a bad mindset for the rest of us. And I’ll take Texas example, used to be that most states including Texas, had a lot of the local community school districts, and then they went to consolidation because that saves the state more money. And so we’ll combine these five community school districts in one major mega district.

And so what happened is you took away the community districts where you had the communities and the parents involved, and etc. And now you have these mega districts in Dallas or Houston or whatever. And you just can’t get involved if you feel like you can. So that’s a big thing. And then the federal government comes in and now says, and we’re going to tell you how to do this because you do take our money. And because you do, we’re going to actually not only make it not community, we’re going to make it federal education standards.

So I think the whole concept of federalism is shot by things like the Department of Education, so I’d get rid of them. I think OSHA is because, again, is regulatory what we just saw with COVID. Here, you got an agency trying to take over all the private businesses in America and tell them how they’re going to run and how they’re going to operate.

80% of private businesses are mom and pop operated businesses, they’re small businesses. They’re usually businesses with 15 or less employees. And now you get the federal government taking over all of private business, not to mention all of public business. So I think that’s a really bad thing, that again, violates federalism, in the sense that the federal government is not supposed to be over everything.

And the EPA is the other one because that violates private property rights. EPA comes in says, you know what, in our case here in Texas, back when we had ranch in Central Texas, and for seven years, we were not allowed to cut, brush off that ranch because the EPA said we think there’s a yellow breasted warbler somewhere on your place, and you just can’t do anything. It’s our land. And if that stupid bird is not smart enough to fly away when we cut out his tree, if it is in the tree, it ought to be extinct anyway.

The EPA, FBI, CIA, and More

So I mean, the whole craziness of not being able to do anything without proper property because the EPA says, oh, water drains here, or there’s a bird here or we think there’s a cave salamander, some That’s nonsense. And so, that’s all again putting the federal government on charge of all of our individual things, our community. Those are the three I’ll choose. So how about you guys?


I think those are really good suggestions. Anytime we talk about abolishing something from the government’s, it’s hard for me not to think about things like the IRS, other agencies, administrations, things under the federal government. Certainly, my number one would be education, just for the butchery of what they’re doing.

But now, I mean, you can look inside the Department of Homeland Security, you can look inside the FBI, you can look inside the CIA, and you see so much crooked behavior happening from, I don’t know, maybe the better question would be what agency would you keep? Because that’s where it would be fascinating to say which ones are doing a good enough job to keep them around? And it could be some of these things maybe are like the VA hospital where by and large, it’s a good idea.

Obviously, we want to take care of our military veterans. But some of the VA hospitals are so poorly staffed and poorly operated, and the waiting list is so long, and it’s so terribly running ineffective and inefficient. It almost makes more sense to do away with and start over doing it the right way.

And so to me, it would be interesting to say which agency would we keep because I think it would be easier to come up with a list of three than just saying a list of the three we want to get rid of, because I would tend to lean toward almost every single agency, every single department that we are doing. Because most of them, and I’m saying most of them relatively, because we don’t know what all of them do in great detail, in the sense of there’s a lot of things behind closed doors.

And so some of the things if we found out more of what they were doing, and I go, oh, I kind of liked that about this. But what we know about most of them, most of what they do ends up being more damaging, more destructive, more tyrannical, more overstepping of jurisdiction, power and authority that’s not constitutionally given to them. They end up doing more negative than positive in a lot of these areas.

The Justice Department


You know, it’s interesting, you say that. Because in going back, and okay, which agencies are really necessary. And I think part of it comes down to how well they operate. Now, go back to the Founding Fathers, and Washington started with 5 cabinet level departments. Now we’ve got 19 today, but he had 5. And so as you look at the 5, why would they choose those 5? And were they needed, and was a yeah, they probably were. But I wouldn’t keep those same 5 today just because of the way they’re operated, not because it’s not a good idea.

And I’ll tell you in the last year or two, I’ve really soured on the Justice Department, because for a while it was nonpartisan. And for a long time, it didn’t care what side you’re on, it’s just going to follow the law. And we saw about the middle of Trump’s term that they stopped following the law and started following agendas. And they started going after agendas and making their own agendas. And they pick and choose who they want to prosecute and who they don’t want to prosecute and a lot of things we were waiting for reports that never came out because they just didn’t want to go after those individuals, even though they broke the law.

So it’s a real strange thing, Tim, even with that, there’s some agencies that want to keep. But if I kept them, I didn’t want to rebuild them from the ground up, kind of like Washington had them. The way they are now, I’m kind of with you, there’s not any I’m sure I want to keep. I think I’d start over with a whole bunch of them.


Well, looking at things like Health and Human Services, and looking at the Center for Disease Control in the way they’re doing things now, it’s a political arm. It’s not actually doing things they’re supposed to do for the benefit of the people. They’re doing things to benefit their team, which is part of tribalism. They’re doing things to promote a political agenda. And that’s where there’s just so much corruption in so many of these agencies, that for a lot of them you really need to just eliminate them and start over on some level.

OSHA, Etc.

Now, that’s not a really good answer. I’m looking through the list of some of these cabinet level departments. And it’s hard for me necessarily to come up with three. There’s so many of these, that I would like to do away with. Rick, do you have a top three different than what my dad suggested?


Man, I mean, he really nailed my three because first of all, education, of course, what three of us do and what we’ve done for decades that is the one that is we’ve seen destroy the country in so many different ways. And then of course OSHA right now because of the out of control expansion of their power that was attempted. And man, I can’t forget, you all may not even remember this, God was knitting our hearts long before we ever even met.

Because when I was in law school at UT, that was what I did one of my papers on was a another property owner in the Central Texas area that had the exact same problem you all did, and her property was devalued from a million bucks down to 30,000 because all she could do with it was make it a bird sanctuary for that, yellow bellied or golden chick or whatever was called.

So, those kinds of things being done by the federal government and coming in and controlling people’s property is just so unconstitutional and evil and wrong and bad economically. So I think I’m going to pick the exact same three. It’s a great question. Really appreciate that question coming in from Jeremy.

Next question before we had to break is from Adam in Virginia. He said “I’m currently reading “Original Intent” by David Barton. It’s very informative. On page 67, David writes, “The exercise of any freedom without responsibility, more often than not leads to licentiousness and often to tyranny. Can David please explain how licentiousness can lead to tyranny? Thanks so much. WallBuilders is so important to our country and the world.” Adam, thank you so much for that question. Fantastic topic, guys, we might spend the rest of the program on this one. David, your response?

Freedom and Responsibility


Well, if I can jump in first, because this is the topic when we do our summer programs, this is one of the topics that I cover in fairly long detail going into the reality. When the Founding Fathers said, like John Adams said, our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people, it’s wholly inadequate than the government of any other. When George Washington said in his farewell address, that the pillars of our prosperity were religion and morality, that they were indispensable supports to what we were doing in America, they had a fundamental and foundational position of morals being necessity.

And I’m using two very obvious examples of Washington and Adams and some pretty noted things that they wrote. But we could literally go through, almost every Founding Father at some point talked about the foundation of morals and why it was so important. When Benjamin Franklin was governor of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson in Virginia talked about this, we can go through so many noted Founding Fathers who talked about the reason morality was so important. And the reason is, if there is no morality, you tend toward licentiousness.

If you don’t have the moral compass, that helps you internally know what is right and wrong, if you don’t have the internal restraints to say that some things are immoral, and I shouldn’t do those immoral things, if people are just guided by their emotions, by their passions, their desire, right, this kind of base animal instinct, or as the Bible even talks about the flesh, if we’re guided by our sinful human nature, it leads to tyranny. Because when you have people doing awful, evil, sinful wicked things, it takes a bigger, more powerful force to shut them down. And there generally is someone leading that bigger, powerful force.

And this is where tyranny so easily pops up. When there is no rules, when there is rebellion, it’s easy for somebody to offer a suggestion of a solution and say, hey, let me step in and I know how to fix this. And first of all, we need more police, we need more military.

Rights and Duties

But what you see is that somebody steps up into a position of authority and it tends to grow that idea of government. Because there’s only two ways to control people, internally or externally. And if people don’t have the internal moral constraints to govern themselves based on making their own good decisions and having good behavior, then you need a bigger, stronger government. And the bigger, stronger government there is, when there’s no underlying moral foundation, that’s what leads to tyranny.


And part of the question I thought was really key too because in reading the quote from “Original Intent”, we do write that they exercise the freedom without responsibility more often than not leads licentiousness. Now, freedom without responsibility, I think that’s a key thing. The Founding Fathers, whether it be James Wilson, or so many others talk about you really don’t have rights without corresponding duties. I mean, we’ve talked before that, sure you have a right to freedom of speech, but you know what, you have responsibility to tell the truth and not just shoot off your mouth and defame someone or label them or slander them, etc.

You also have the right to keep and bear arms. But you know what, you have the responsibility not to shed innocent blood. Just because you got the right to own a gun doesn’t mean you can do what you want to with it.

So there’s always constraints put around that. And that’s why the Bible talks about what it calls the law of liberty. Liberty is protected through laws or responsibilities. And that’s what we used to have was just laws that would give you that kind of protection.

And when you don’t have that, if you have freedom without responsibility, you see exactly what you see throughout world history, probably the poster child of this would be the French Revolution. And this is what the Founding Fathers particularly pointed to where part of their motto was freedom. When they finally got freedom, what they did do? They kill each other.


Now that I have freedom, I’m in charge of the government, and you guys didn’t agree with me. So you 40,000 are going to get executed, the guillotine. And so lots of freedom there. That’s what it was all about was freedom in France. And freedom without responsibility will lead to licentiousness, and that is doing what I want, doing what makes me happy, and that will cause tyranny.

And that’s why you always have, as Tim said that religious and moral foundation that helps you understand your duties and your responsibilities. And once you get that, then the exercise of freedom with responsibility really truly is liberty.


Fantastic answer, guys. Great question, Adam, thank you for sending that in. We’re going to take a quick break, folks. If you have a question you’d like to send in, please send it to us at [email protected], it’s [email protected]. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.


Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today.

And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things, like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.

Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people. But the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out, wallbuilders.com, The American Story.

Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”


We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today, that’s our chance to answer as many questions as possible. And you can send those questions in to [email protected]. Next one comes from Jedidiah.

Convention of States

He says “I was thinking today about a Convention of States and the power they have. I was wondering, can it convention the states remove a president from office through impeachment? If not that way, could they do it in the same way that Congress could remove Judges, simply remove the office then reinstated and hold a new election? I don’t know and would like your expert opinion.”

So Jedidiah is actually thinking outside the box here, which I think is good, and basically saying, okay, we were stuck with this president for three more years, if there’s not an impeachment by Congress. Is there some other mechanism? What about actually an amendment to the Constitution? I’m not sure what he’s talking about in terms of what would be created as the tool. But could the constitution be amended to remove a particular president?


Yeah. And let me just kind of define Convention of States for a minute. Because Convention of States, while it works outside the federal government boundaries, it works within constitutional boundaries. And therefore the only thing that a Convention of States can do is proposed constitutional amendments. It can’t impeach. It can’t remove Judges. It can do anything. The Constitution explicitly gives out authority only to the Congress to do that.

Now, what the Convention of States could do is come up with a constitutional amendment that says, hey, we’re going to let the states do this as well, if you get two-thirds of the states or whatever it is. But at this point, the answer to the question is really pretty simple no, you can’t do that through Convention of States. All you can do is propose amendments to the Constitution, and get that before the state legislatures.

Proposing Amendments

You can’t do any other kind of action. You can’t do any kind of discipline. You can’t do any kind of advocating or creating anything new. All you can do is come up with constitutional amendments.


And just one point of clarity, all they can do is proposed constitutional amendments. Convention of States doesn’t unilaterally change the constitution or add an amendment to the Constitution. They propose amendments, then it have to be approved by 38 different state legislatures, actually, by the legislatures of 38 states, to be more specific. It has to be in both chambers of the state, or come back to Congress, there’s a couple different ways to actually approve amendments.

Nonetheless, all Convention of States can do is propose constitutional amendments, because this is one of the fears that sometimes people have of Convention of States, where the runaway convention, they’re going to change the whole Constitution. All they can do is propose amendments. It’s the American people that get to vote on whether or not they like that amendment or state legislators, etc, etc. There’s couple options there. Nonetheless, it’s proposing of amendments that we’re talking about.


Alright, guys, well, next one is from Brenda. She says, “Good morning”, I guess she wrote in the morning, “I am absolutely in awe of David Barton’s ability to retain massive amounts of historical information. I love studying American history, not just because it’s so much fun, but because I also like to write sadly. I’m not anywhere as good as retaining what I learned. I take copious notes and save them in files, but then that gets to be a giant mess.

So my question is this, Mr. Barton, in absolute sincerity, do you have any tips or tricks you have used in order to retain memory of these huge amounts of historical information? I want to become so much more efficient at studying American history because there’s so much to cover and learn in a lifetime. Thank you to all of you, the WallBuilders team, love listening and learning.”

A Barton Brain

Brenda, I want to ask that question too. David, how in the world do you remember so many, not just the names or the dates, but the quotes, the stories, all of it? I’ve been at dinner with you and just thrown stuff at you that we hadn’t talked about in years and you still remember that stuff. The filing system in your brain is ridiculous. I want it. How do you do it?


What I’ve got is a brain given by God that God has given to everyone. I would say that what I’ve got is not necessarily exceptional, but what I’ve done maybe is used some techniques that have helped train that brain. Because I believe firmly that God gives everyone the capacity to do certain things. Surely, some are better than others, athletics, etc.

But mention athletics, I would go back to coaching days, and one of the things you really drill into your team is muscle memory. You do drill so often and use them so much that when you get tired in the fourth quarter of a game, your body kicks in and does what it’s supposed to do not because you’re thinking about it, because you trained it to do that.


Let me clarify. So Rick, when we talk about quarters, that’s what basketball and football uses…


Not innings? We’re not…


How many innings are in a quarter? How innings are played in a quarter?


I was afraid that might have been confusing for you.


How many at bats do you get in a quarter?


Right. So, let’s think about like after the seventh inning stretch, right, so your last couple innings when you might get tired, you still want to have those proper mechanics.

Building Memory Capacity


Yeah, I would say that would be for pitchers and not for the guys in the field: they’re staying around all game anyway. So, they don’t get tired out there. It’s just the pitchers, the catchers. So you want muscle memory so that it kicks in and it does itself, and there’s certain triggers that kick in. And so one of the things I found was to start memorizing Scripture with just I mean absolute accuracy, and I also throw in the numbers like the Bible verses.

So if I were to say Psalms 119:165, my brain instantly says, “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165, I trained myself to start with the numbers up front because that’s a different kind of memory work than remembering someone’s name. Now you’re remembering numerical facts, which that gets into numbers and remember numbers and etc, phone numbers, addresses, whatever it is.

But then you have the content. And so what I would do is start with the address of the verse, I would then use the verse and then give the address at the end. So I would go over and over and over and that till it was on my mind. And then in my Bible, in the margin of my Bible beside that verse, I put a little letter M there, and I circled it. And that was to tell me that I’ve memorized that verse.

But what I’d find is two weeks later, when I was reading that again, oh, I remember I didn’t remember memorizing that, so I’d have to stop and memorize it again. And so you have to do it so many times that it becomes part of your memory, and then you can pull it up. It’s like having a library of books in it, when you need it, you can pull it up. So doing it with letter accuracy, doing it with numbers as well as words, and then going over it periodically months later, or years later helps retain it.


Well. And I would say with that, so the one thing that we learned growing up in the Barton household was certainly Bible memory was a very significant foundation to memory work in general because you’re training your brain. And so Bible memory is a really great way to train the brain. But one of the things that we definitely believe is that God honors the Bible memory work by helping you then be able to retain things in business and family, whatever else. Because, right when you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then everything else gets added unto you, which is Matthew 6:33.

Bible Memory

So when you are making sure that you are putting the first things first, which should be as a Christian, we put our faith first, and so if we’re going to spend time developing this brain muscle, let’s make sure we’re putting in the right things into it, and so thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against it, we’re going to make sure that I’m putting the right things in. And that is laying a foundation that then God can honor and bless the work that is going on.

So God can bless that development of that muscle memory in the brain, but also on top of it is, dad, it’s not just that you have memorize these things. It’s one of the things that everybody who’s ever been a teacher knows is as you begin to teach these things, you are able to retain them better because you have to be able to recall them, you have to be able to communicate them in such a way, in such a fashion that it’s understandable for people. And then as you mentioned, you want to be very accurate with what you are communicating.

And so the two things that that I have learned in the Barton household growing up that are vital for this retention of whatever kind of factual information the case might be is you start with Bible memory, spend time in the Word of God, learn the Word of God, hide His Word in your heart, memorize the Word of God. And dad, as you mentioned, the way that we learned growing up was you would say the reference, you would say, the verses and then you say the reference at the end, and so all those things combined, but then certainly teaching it is a big deal.

And so for anybody who wants to do a better job at retaining facts, you don’t just have to commit it to memory, you then have to be able to communicate it to somebody else. Because the more you teach it, the more you are able to retain what you’ve memorized.


And I would say start with bite sized chunks. I mean, don’t try to eat the whole steak at once, just to take a little bit off the corner. So say, okay, I’m going to memorize a Bible verse a week. That’s doable for anybody. And you’ll find that that starts at and then you say, okay, I’m going to make it two a week or three a week or whatever. And you’ll find that you retain knowledge in all sorts of places, things that you hear will come back to you later. I heard it on the radio, I forgot that stat. It’s great.

Federal Agencies, Licentiousness, Tyranny, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom

But when you do this, also, be prepared to have to go back and review every once in a while, because I’ll say man, I remember something that Sam Adams said and I have to go look it up. Oh yeah, I memorize that five years ago. And so you have to go back and refresh. So it’s not something that comes without work. But as the Bible tells us in Proverbs 14:23, all hard work produces profit. And so this is something worth putting time into. But that’s some of the kinds of things that we do around it to help us retain and help us learn. And Tim, I think you hit exactly right, you have to teach others as well.


Great question from Brenda, great being with you guys today. What are your names again? I’ve got a lot of work to do, folks, a lot of work to do on this memory thing, and it is so good. And I’d love the whole, even just the basic idea of God’s Word not coming back void and just there’s something special about putting that in your brain, in your heart, and how much that strengthens that muscle and then the practical, just tools that you guys are given, just awesome, awesome, good stuff, and so valuable.

And guys, I know this sounds crazy, but I sometimes lately have thought about the whole Corrie ten Boom story in the hiding place and how they couldn’t get Bibles. And the ones that had verses memorized could share those and literally writing them out on pieces of toilet paper.

I mean, all of those things that happen in that totalitarian situation, the value of people knowing God’s Word and for each of us to have that in our heart and minds, you just don’t know where the world’s going to go sometimes. And we’re so spoiled to have a Bible on every shelf, right, in every corner of the house and so easy to get to. Boy, we probably need to come back to that discipline of putting that Word in our hearts and minds.

Thanks so much for listening today, folks. We appreciate you listening to Foundation of Freedom Thursday. You can send your questions in to [email protected]. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.