Matt Krause On The Proper Role Of Government In A Pandemic – Foundations Of Freedom: Who really has the power to make important decisions like “shelter in place” during these times? Do we really need to understand exactly what kind of government we have? Are there any silver linings to this crisis? Tune in to hear Matt Krause help us answer these questions and more!

Air Date: 03/26/2020

Guest: Matt Krause

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

President Thomas Jefferson said, “€œI know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.


Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live and its Foundations of Freedom Thursday here at WallBuilders Live. Of course, we’re always looking at the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. No hotter topic right now than the Chinese coronavirus and the impact on our lives, our economy, the entire nation and of course, tons of questions about the constitutionality of how a lot of this is being handled the right way to deal with what seems like it’s unprecedented. But we cover this over the last couple of days. There’s nothing new under the sun.

We face things like this both as a people here in America, but certainly throughout history and so trying to, you know, step back and get some of that perspective of how things have been handled in the past, what’s worked well, what hasn’t worked well. And then look at specifically in our nation on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday, what is the proper role of government, which government as well, the feds, this the State and local. So, a lot of great information over the last couple of days. We’re going to dive further into that today. Matt Krause, State representative from Texas will be with us a little later in the program.

Constitutional Quarantine Videos

We have more information at our websites, and There at, there’s also a video series on the constitutionality of quarantines as we kind of walk through some of these big questions. Who has the authority to do these things? How far can they go when? And you know, is it proper for them to do these things? Well, what’s the criteria got to be? So, that you can look at some of those things at our website today, as well.

And then we also encourage you to take some positive action during this time at home. Get on and get some good materials to share with your family. Start diving deep into wonderful history lessons about what made our nation great in the first place. And folks, it’s going to be really important during all this to remember what makes a great nation and causes freedom so that when we come out of this, that we make sure we preserve those principles. Not when we come out of it that we preserve those principles, during it, but certainly on the other side of this, that we have a reminder of what makes a wonderful society and government and what made America great in the first place. So, to learn more about that.

Constitution Classes

And then of course, you can host a Constitution class right now. Make the most of your time, not just listen to Foundation of Freedom Thursday, but actually helped to restore these freedoms. You can do all of that online, it creates community. It’s a great way for you to interact with folks right now and really study the Constitution as we all should as citizens anyway. You can do that for free. Go to, sign up as a Constitution host. We’ve got a special right now for while you’re at home to give you a free license to be able to be a constitution host and do that and we teach you how to do it on Zoom. So, check all that out at

Alright, David, Tim, let’s tackle some of these questions here on Foundation of Freedom Thursday about, you know, constitutionality of the reaction of government. But before we can even do that, we need to know what kind of government we have because we’re hearing a word that we haven’t heard for a while that we used to hear all the time, federalism, the difference between the feds and the states and how that works in our system. So, maybe we need to first start with just a quick history government lesson on what is federalism and how do people today in America perceive that?



Yeah, Rick, that’s a great question. Federalism, very simply, is the acknowledgement that there are different types and levels of government and it looks at the way that they cooperate with each other. And like the old axiom that good fences make good neighbors, you need to know where your boundary lines are and where your property lines are so that your neighbor doesn’t say, hey, you’re over in my turf. No, this is the fence. This is your turf on the other side. That’s the way it is with federalism.

So, we have Local governments, we have State governments and we have a Federal government and national government. Each one has fences around certain things they’re supposed to do. And so the Federal government is supposed to do things that the State and Local governments cannot do. In the Constitution, we call that enumerated powers. There are 17 items the Constitution says, this is what the Federal government can do that the States and Local governments cannot do. So, that is like coin money. That’s to punish piracy on the high seas, that’s etc.

So, 17 different areas is what the Federal allowed to do. That’s the first step, federalism. The next step is what are the state governments allowed to do? Well, under the 10th Amendment, anything that’s not one of those 17, is what the States can take care of. And then you look to the Local government and say, well, what can cities and Local governments do?

State Constitutions

Well, that depends on the State constitution, just like the Federal Constitution sets up the relationship between the federal government and the States, the State constitution sets up the relationship between the State governments and the cities and municipalities.

So, following those two Constitutions, you know where the boundaries are, you know where the fences are. And when you come to a crisis like this, you say, okay, we’ve got two documents we need to consult. We consult the US Constitution to see what the feds can and can’t do and we consult the State constitution to see what the Local governments can and cannot do. That is called federalism. This is also what Thomas Jefferson, Founding Father referred to as the vertical separation of powers between the three branches of government, the legislative, the executive, the judicial. You have checks and balances horizontally.

But between the levels of government, Federal, State, and City or Local, you also have checks and balances. And so, the state governments can check and stop some of the actions of the federal government that should not be occurring as the cities can with the State. So, that’s a form of checks and balances. But that’s all the system of federalism.

Big Government


And the perception out there is sometimes different. Right? I mean, a lot of people tend to because of the involvement of the federal government in our lives so much over the last 50 years in the increase in that, they tend to think that’s who they go to, their congressman and expect the President to solve all of their problems.


Well, this is a problem you have not just with citizens, but with legislators. Before this pandemic started about three months ago, we did a national poll on the concept of federalism. What do people think? And what do legislators think is the role of the federal government in certain areas, certain issues, whether it’s abortion or marriage or environmental regulations or health care or roads and highways or criminal behavior, whatever? So, we took a bunch of these topics that the Constitution deals with. And we said, alright, people, who do you think is in charge of this, the State or the federal government? And then we asked the same question to legislators. Now, as far as we know, we’re the first poll that has done this in the modern era to actually ask legislators what they know about the Constitution in these areas.


And the answers are really pretty, pretty amazing in several areas when you look at what”€¦ For example, 88% of legislators think the federal government should control immigration. Well, that’s pretty much what we say today. But it’s interesting, only 48% of the general public thinks that. So that’s a huge difference between legislators and general public. But when you come down to health care kind of issues, only 38% of legislators think the federal government should be dictating what happens with healthcare, national healthcare. And so that’s an issue where we are right now. Which is striking to me that two out of three legislators do not think the feds are supposed to be mandating what happens inside the States when it comes to health care. So those are the kind of issues that come up with federalism. And the Constitution does give us some pretty good guidance on this stuff.


And this was something that Founding Fathers also were very well aware of, is the limitations of a federal government can do and why there are so many issues that local control, local government is better suited to handle than is the federal government. And so even though we’ve lost a lot of that concept today, this is something that now we’re having to rediscover, to re-navigate of what is really the best solution to these problems, to this crisis. And right, this is part of what we are seeing now with States come in and do things and some people are saying with the government, the federal government to do it or these are all just conversations that have now come back to the forefront and we get a lot of these questions, right, with what my State is doing. Is that constitute? Is that legal with what President Trump is doing? Or what should the house the senate do? These are now pertinent questions, again, because of what we’re dealing with in culture.

A Warning from Washington


Yeah. And Rick, one of the really interesting warnings regarding maintaining these lines of federalism came from George Washington in his farewell address. In the final address he gave the nation, he gave about a dozen warnings. They were designed to keep us on track, keep us strong constitutionally. And he said, look, there’s going to come times when it’s going to seem like one area of government needs to violate a certain provision order for the common good, whatever that is, that maybe now is the time, the State should give up all their authority to the federal government, let them control this pandemic. Maybe that seems logical.

But here’s what George Washington said. He warned the people. He said, let there be no change by usurpation that is getting into an area, that’s not assigned you. He said for though this, in one instance, maybe the instrument of good, in other words, it may work really well right now. He said this is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. A crisis comes up, we give away power we should never have given away and instead of maintaining that separation of powers, that jurisdictional federalism, we give away powers we shouldn’t have. Well, they don’t give powers back once they’ve got them.

Pay Attention During the Pandemic

And so, this is one of the real things to watch in this pandemic is that we don’t cross the lines and for the sake of convenience and ease give away powers that we can’t get back later. And that’s the constitutional aspect of what’s going on.


Yeah. And you know, as we go to break, just thinking about from a very practical perspective, if people are saying, thinking to themselves, yeah, but wouldn’t it all work out better if it was all coordinated at the federal level? Because I’ve even heard some of these governors, say that in some of the more, you know, left leaning states. But just think about this for a practical perspective, do you want to give power to a government that’s way away from you, that that power then allows them to, you know, infringe on your liberty to the point of literally isolating you? Where do you want your due process to happen, at this faraway federal government or at the local level? And that was the Founders”€™ view that these police powers like this would need to be at the Local and State level, precisely because you want the due process to be at the Local and State level so that you can get relief if you’ve been wrongly, you know, isolated or whatever it might be.

Losing Liberty

So just thinking from a practical perspective, you may think you want one size fits all federal, you really don’t. Because with that one size fits all, comes the ability to take away your liberty and you want the relief to be able to fight back, to keep that liberty if necessary to be at that Local level. So that’s just kind of a practical perspective on it. Let’s get to a specific perspective on it. In fact, Matt Krause is a State legislator that is looking at this from, you know, who’s got the power, the State or the or the Feds? We’re going to have him when we come back from the break. Stay with us you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Moment from American History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Over recent years, elections and politics in general have become increasingly partisan. One party is pitted against the other as each advances his own stereotypes. President George Washington believe this was detrimental to the nation. He declared, “€œLet me warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party. It’s common and continual mischiefs are sufficient to make at the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms. It kindles the animosity of one part against another. And governments purely elected, the spirit of party is a spirit not to be encouraged.”€

Therefore, in this year’s elections, do not allow political party to be a deciding factor. Vote for each candidate according to the principles and policies that he individually represents. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1808REBUILD.

Power is Inherent in the People

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe Constitution of most of our states and the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of press.”€


Welcome back WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Back with David and Tim Barton. And also special guest, State representative, Matt Krause. Matt, appreciate your time, man. Thanks for coming on.


Hey, thanks for having me.

Welcome Matt Krause


Well, we’ve been talking about, you know, federalism and what the feds should be doing versus what the state should be doing. So great to have you on. You’ve got a great understanding of that and also a measured approach to this whole thing. Texas is kind of taking this a little different than some of the states, instead of a complete shutdown, lockdown, everybody at home, it seems like Governor Abbott has got a much more measured approach. We’ll see where it all goes. But apparently, up there close to where you live in Dallas County, total shut down. So, you know, does government have at the State and Local level, the authority to do this based on State statutes?


Yeah, you know, I listened to an argument by a brilliant constitutional scholar named Rick Green a few days ago.


Oh, you got low standards, brother, but thanks.


Who had laid out a pretty compelling arguments that under state statutes, although some people may say it’s a little gray, I think it can be interpreted where, in extreme times, extreme measures, it can be taken, how far those can go. I think, could certainly be debated. But the fact that these governors, mayors, county judges have increased ability during these times of crisis, during these times of natural disaster, emergencies, I don’t think you can question that there is more broad powers given to them during these extreme times?

Draconian Measures


Well, you raise a really important question in one of your posts about the fact that, what do we base those decisions on? Right? So if we’re going to go with some of these more draconian measures that you see in California, in some other places or even specifically in Dallas County now, what data are you basing that on or whatever it is? I think that’s what has people the most uneasy right now. Is saying, okay, yeah, of course, we want to stop the spread of something that’s going to be, you know, catastrophic. But what are we basing this on and should we go so far before we really know what this thing can do?


That’s right, I think, every decision that’s being made and again, I don’t envy some of those individuals having to make these tough decisions. But the information that they have that they’re basing those decisions off of needs to be accurate, needs to be informed and verifiable. In Dallas County, what was a little concerning is the chart that they’d seem to use to justify, needing to do the Shelter-in-Place order seems to be a flawed data metric, taking into assumptions that things that are never going to come to fruition, putting something in place for a limited amount of time when even their own chart says it has to be longer if you’re actually going to do something about this problem.

Informed Decisions

So, if you’re going to put information out there and say, this is what you’re basing your decisions off of, it needs to be reliable so that the citizens know that this is an informed decision, not just a knee jerk reaction.


And Matt, you represent cross one of the big things for people to understand here is the difference between Federal powers, State power, Local power. At first, everybody was looking to the federal government to solve all these problems immediately. That’s just not the way we’re set up and that’s actually a good thing.


That’s right. That’s right. I think that’s exactly right. For a long time, we’ve forgotten what the concept of federalism was. Because the federal government just continue to subsume more and more power and control over our everyday lives. We finally have an administration that understand, hey, what works in Texas may not work in New York; what works in Mississippi may not work in Maine. And by allowing the different States and localities to do what they need to do, we’re actually enabling and empowering us to get through this crisis even faster than if DC was trying to navigate all of those terrain from its central location.

Trump’s Proactive Decisions


As a State legislator, you know, what do you think about both the proactive decisions of the President and the restraint that he’s shown to not cross constitutional lines? Because I’ve seen some governors that you know, are just lambasted him constantly, making it more difficult to come together if you will. But I mean, you’re a State legislator, how do you feel about how he’s leading the Federal effort versus letting the States do the things that they’re empowered to do?


Yeah, you know, I think it’s kind of funny. Some of the governors and other elected officials across the country who were being the most negative and critical of the president are the ones and other times who are saying, hey, leave us alone, you know, get out of our way. But now they’re craving and asking for that federal guidance. And I get the need to know, have a unitary plan so everybody can be working. And I think the President has done that by having the CDC give guidelines that we should all be implementing and we should all be striving toward such as social distancing, good hygiene, staying home as much as possible. I think that’s good. For it comes down into the real nuts and bolts of how you’re going to help people in your State, in your county, in your city. Obviously, the county Judges, the mayors and the governors know more how to do that.


And so as a State legislator, I’ve appreciated the President’s ability to Governor Abbott, in our case, kind of dictate how we’re going to respond to this crisis. But this is not only allowing us to respond to it the way we need to, they’re also giving support and backing us up and giving us the materials, supplies and everything needed. And so, I think that strikes the right balance and I’ve been pleased that the Trump administration has gone that direction.


I wondered if a guy like you this worked, you know, to have less government, have government the right areas, but proper jurisdictions and all those things, what do you think about how quickly both the feds and the states are rolling back regulations? They’re going, oh, wait a minute. This is actually in the way of us having a solution, whether it’s allowing for more hospital beds or the testing, you know, of the virus to not be micromanaged by the CDC, but letting states and companies or you know, all of a sudden you’re having to get rid of this regulation. We should have been doing that a long time ago.

Silver Linings


That’s right. That may be one of the silver linings that comes out of this entire thing. Is we look back on the last six to eight weeks to three months, however long this lasts and say, you know what, why did we have that trucking regulation that didn’t allow people to take this from one place to the next? Why did we have these restraints on nurses who could practice and do this, but just didn’t have the right supposed licensing or credentialing that obviously helped a lot of people?

So, I think we’re going to look back and see that, yeah, we did have a lot of unnecessary regulations, because you’re going to see that rolling back the regulations didn’t hurt anybody, in fact, it greatly helped the system. Again, that could be one of the positives that comes out of this big picture once we get through it.

Red Tape Removal


I was surprised, I didn’t even realize they were, you know, Federal and State restrictions on telehealth where you could do some of these things online. Or they had to get, you know, President Trump had to sign legislation, removing restrictions on health care workers being able to use industrial masks where, you know, now all these companies are unloading their warehouses and given those to hospitals and nurses and letting them use them. But, man, yeah, I think you’re right. That might be one of the good lessons we get out of this. A lot of those regulations hurt more than they helped.


Yeah, that’s exactly right.


What would you say to not just your fellow Texans but people across the country about, you know, a balance between, yes, we need to have in some ways some level of public trust here that the people in the rooms that are dealing with all of this are doing the best they can to make the right decisions. So let’s not panic, let’s not, you know, overreact, let’s help and follow a lot of these guidelines that are being given. But at the same time, be wary and be thinking about your constitutional protections and those things as well. And don’t think that you just want to give your life over to government to take over. There’s kind of a balancing act we got to do here.

Use Common Sense


Yeah, it is. And the more dire the situation becomes, the more in the natural tendency, I think, is to say, okay, let’s just figure this out, let’s get it done. But as everybody on this call knows and who’s listening to us today, that once you give up some of that freedom, it’s hard to get that back, even once things returned to quote-unquote, normal. And so I think the best thing we can do as individuals is to be proactive and use common sense as individuals. The more we can social distance, the more we can stay at home, the more we can put in measure those things in place that actually lessen the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, so to speak, the less the government will have to do that.

And I think that’s what we’ve talked about a long time our Founding Fathers do that. That if you can’t self-police yourself, then somebody is going to have to do that for you. They always talk about morality. They always talked about that sense of morality that drives you, that should constrain you without the government having to do it. In this situation, if everybody becomes a responsible citizen, does things that they need to do to stop the spread of the virus, the less the government will have to act and the more your constitutional freedoms will be, not trampled on, but not even infringed upon at all.

Look at History


That is so good, man. That’s such a good point. I mean, and that’s, you know, from what I’ve been reading, the 1918 Spanish flu and the other situations even close to what we’re dealing with now, that’s where there was success. Where the people themselves said, okay, I don’t have to go do this thing, so that when you did have to go do something, you still had the freedom to do it. And so, I love how you just described that.

And from what I’m reading, there weren’t these Shelter-in-Place orders as much as, you know, stop going to the party, stop, you know, going places you don’t have to go, stay home when you can. And that way we limit it as much as possible and flatten the curve without having to destroy the economy. So that measured approach, which I’m thrilled to see our governors is doing exactly that in, you know, I mean, I’m sure, on a lot of those calls and discussions and whatnot. And so, I would, I would say high marks for our governor in Texas and a lot of those state officials that are taking that more measured approach.

Praying for those in Security


Yeah, that’s exactly right. Again, I don’t envy the governor, but I think he’s taking the right approach. And a good reminder for all of us, especially as believers to be praying for those in authority over us. They need it now more than ever. And so, we just need to keep that at the forefront of our mind


Matt, appreciate you, brother. Thank you for coming on. Man, appreciate your time and look forward to getting you back and get some good reports on how we get rid of more of those regulations.


That’s right. We’ll get to work on that next session after all this blows through. But appreciate the work you all are doing. Thanks for having me on and God bless you. 


Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

Constitution Alive!

Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution, but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know, but it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.

Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green and it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall, in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders library, where David Barton brings the history to life, to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

We call it the Quick Start Guide to the Constitution. Because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizen”€™s guide to America’s constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at

Questions of Power

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œIn questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”€


We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us. Back with David and Tim Barton. Now guys, obviously, want to make sure we get this right in terms of not giving up power to the federal level just because we want a quick solution. 


Yeah and it’s really important that we don’t. And again, like everything else in history, like we covered throughout this week, this pandemic is not the first pandemic to ever hit the world. Go back to what we did two days ago where you read that CS Lewis quote on atomic threats and you just stick the word in there, coronavirus. It’s the same thing from 1948.

So here we are today looking at an issue, but it’s not the first time we’ve dealt with this issue. If you go all the way back to 1775 when the colonies were looking at the micromanagement of the English, British Government over the colonies, one government telling all 13 colonies what they had to do, when they had to do it, how they had to do it on every issue and that’s the ultimate of federal control, the king controlling everything then. At that point in time, Massachusetts wrote Resolves in 1775 and Ben Franklin had an interesting point in it. And I’m just going to read what he said and then reread it.

Ben Franklin’s Wisdom

He said, “€œMassachusetts must suffer all the hazards and mischiefs of war rather than admit the alteration of their charters in laws by Parliament. They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”€ Now let’s take the first line and change it.

For the States to suffer all the hazards and misuse of the coronavirus rather than give up the state and federal constitution, he said, “€œThey who give up essential liberty in order to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”€ It’s just not worth giving up what we have for a temporary fix when you’ll probably never get it back later. And that’s the lesson they understood way back then in 1775.


And we certainly need to know it today. Let’s not give up liberty for, sometimes it’s not even real safety, it’s a perception of safety that’s not even actually there. So, let’s be vigilant. Let’s be smart. Let’s be wise. You know, these are difficult times, no doubt about it.

Matt Krause On The Proper Role Of Government In A Pandemic

And we really need to use some wisdom. Let’s make sure we know our constitutional rights as the most important thing. Know those rights so you’ll know when they’ve been violated and be the better prepared to defend and assert them as John Jay said.

We can do that you can do that, you can be a part of teaching other people those things. If you go to today, we’ve got a free license, so this is not going to cost you anything. You can sign up as a Constitution host today and get a free license to be able to host our Constitution classes where David Barton and I go through the entire constitution. We walked through all of those things with you in the library there at WallBuilders in Independence Hall where the Constitution was actually framed.

You can use that class to host your own class online for free. So, go check that out today at and then go to for other resources that you can use right now in your home. You need to be watching these weekly cool programs that David and Tim are doing in the library right now, sharing that with your friends and family. Check it all out at You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.