Term Limits, Civil Disobedience, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Is it too late to establish term limits? Who should term limits apply to? Is debt keeping people from civil disobedience? Was the 2nd Amendment racist? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and more – on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!

Air Date: 08/26/2021

Guest: Rabbi Lapin

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

Rick:

You find your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us on WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, which is that one day a week where we take your questions via email, they might be about the Founding Fathers, the founding documents, maybe a particular policy being debated in states or in the federal Congress right now and what the Founders might have thought about that, and how to measure that against those principles of liberty that we talked about here on WallBuilders Live.

So Foundations of Freedom Thursday is always a good day of the week for us here at WallBuilders Live. And you can get more of those Foundation’s programs at wallbuilderslive.com. They’re in the archive section, go back week after week, and you’ll get a ton of great questions from the audience. 

And we think some pretty good answers too. And some of these questions, man, we had to go do homework because you asked some great stuff and we love learning right alongside with you.

And speaking we, that’s David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian, and our founder at WallBuilders, Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders, and I’m Rick Green, former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. 

So again, wallbuilderslive.com, make your contribution while you’re there, that sure helps us to add stations, to speak truth, to train legislators and pastors and young people and all the different things that we do. So thanks for coming alongside us there and donating today at wallbuilderslive.com.

Alright, David, Tim, let’s jump in. We’ve got quite a few questions. We’ll see how many we can get to. First one is from Perry. I don’t see a state, so Perry, wherever you’re from, thanks for sending in the question. First comment is “Love, love, love the show.” So not just loves the show, but love, love, loves the show. 

And said “Why did our Founding Fathers not implement term limits? Are we too far gone in the big business of politics to have any hope of instituting them? Why would a politician today vote yes to eliminate their own job?”

A Face Off

David:

Rick, you and I, should we face off right now on this? And…

Rick:

I think we should do. If we arm wrestle for it, would that work? Or do we just intellectually arm wrestle for it?

David:

Oh, that’s cheap. I had shoulder surgery, and now you want to arm wrestle me. Once I have surgery, now where to go?

Rick:

Exactly, you’re right. I take every advantage I can get.

David:

Where to go, bro? Where is step up the man about this?

Rick:

Yeah. Yeah. So here’s the fun thing about this one. This is one of those process issues that’s not a principle of liberty issue. And so there are pros and cons to both ways to approach this, right, which is why we have fun on the program.

It’s one of the few things we get to disagree on and have some fun debate. It’s also always the number one issue of Patriot Academy, where the kids line up and oh, boy, do they go at it over term limits. But anyway, so let’s talk about it. First of all, why the Founding Fathers didn’t, right, before we get into why we think it would be good or bad today? What did the Founders say about it?

Term Limits for Unelected Officials

David:

And let me say right up front, that one thing that you and I both agree on is we both support term limits. But I support term limits for unelected officials, and you support them for elected officials. So we’re both in the term limits.

But here’s the reasoning that I use. The Founding Fathers initially under the Articles Confederation had term limits. They said you could only serve for a certain period of time, whether it be committee chairs, or whatever, they rotated around.

And that’s why throughout the Continental Congress, you find that there is a new president of Congress every year essentially. You had a new one in 1774 and then a different one in 1775. Although John Hancock served two terms, I think, he’s really the only guy who did two consecutive. But everybody else served one year term as president of Congress. So they had term limits.

And then when they came to the Constitution, they remove that. And there was some discussion back then, and they said, you know, really term limits is putting a limit on the people. That’s telling the people who they can and can’t elect, and they’re saying that certain people can’t be on the ballot and the people won’t have their choice. We think the people should be the one to decide how long someone should be in office.

Because if you are a Roger Sherman out of Connecticut, Founding Father, just a wonderful guy, he was in Congress a long, long time, and he did a wonderful job. And then you find other congressmen who didn’t stay in Congress very long because their people sent them back home. So they really put that back in the hands of the people.

So this is where you know, Rick, you and I’ve talked about this. But where I am is at the time of the Founding Fathers, you did not have the bureaucracy we have today. And so many congressmen today do not read the bills they vote on, they have staff read that, and staff make recommendations. Any given session of Congress is between 10,000 and 13,000 pieces of legislation introduced.

Already this year have been two pieces, over 2,500 pages long. There’s no way congressman is going to do all that, and read all that. So staff does, and the staff tells him how he should vote on these issues. And he thinks he trusts the staff, and he does, otherwise he wouldn’t hire them.

Staff With Agendas

But this is where you can have staff with agendas much more than congressmen with agendas. And the staff guys can say hey, vote for this because I think this is good or whatever. I think we should have term limits on people who serve in government but don’t have elections to be accountable to the people. So when you have bureaucrats like over the Department of Justice, you have long term prosecutors who’re deciding–

Well, that’s illegal, but it’s a Democrat and I don’t want to prosecute, it make us look bad, or, hey, this is a Republican, let’s go after. That should never happen. And those are the guys we can’t get out. And that’s where I want to see term limits, is if you’re not elected by the people, you should only be allowed to serve in government for a certain length of time.

Rick:

Alright. Well, you know, I was just thinking about as you were describing that. It’s so true that that bureaucracy has gotten so big and has so much power and no matter who you are, when you go in, whether you’re there for two years, or 20 years, you’re just up against it. And so, you know, I think both of us, I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I think both of us would say the system itself with or without term limits needs reform. The real problem is that Washington DC is doing a whole bunch of things it was never designed to do.

David:

Now, hang on, Rick. Hang on, don’t put words in my mouth. I’ll say it for you. The system needs reform. Therefore, I said the same thing you wanted me to say. But I agree with you totally.

Rick:

Yeah. And I mean, that is even that is far more important than getting term limits, is actually taking power away from the federal government, and getting it back to only doing those 17 enumerated powers that the Constitution says is supposed to do. And that would be far better than getting term limits. But I do think this is one the Founders made a mistake on. And I think part of it was on the judicial side, as much as the congressional side, not limiting how long someone serves on the bench with a specific number of years.

A Different Value System

I think the 22nd Amendment is served as well in limiting the president to two terms, and I think it would serve as well in Congress. I also think the founders, you know, it was just such a different value system back then, that if you had somebody like Patrick Henry serve for governor four or five terms in a row, man, that was so different than a Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi. And so it’s just such a different culture now, and they get a hold of that power in Washington and then become almost impossible to defeat.

And then the last thing I’ll say is even for the people that serve, you know, man, I’ve watched so many friends go in and 10, 12, 15 years, it just wears you down, and you become part of the problem instead of staying part of the solution. There’s very few guys like our mutual friend, Phil King, he’s one of the few that I’ve seen stay in there for two decades and still be really effective, and strong on principle. But in fact, you all state rep, maybe that’s why because he’s got you all hold his feet to the fire.

But anyway, so yeah, I think this is secondary to the bigger issue that we push with Convention of States to remove power from the federal government completely and bring it back to the States. But I do think it would help in the long run to rotate that leadership and have a different person represent that district every, you know, at least 10 years, let’s say.

David:

And by the way, Rick, let me jump in. Because federal judges are not accountable to the people, it doesn’t bother me if we put a 10 year limit or an 8 year old limit or something. Because if you’re not accountable to people you should be and you should be limited in power. So I’m with you on that aspect.

They System Must Be Reformed

Tim:

Well, guys, I think that’s the key was the accountability of the people. Because if you look back at the Founding Fathers era, you know, I mean, Rick, you mentioned that you think that’s one of the areas of Founding Fathers messed up, here would be the counter argument to that. Is back in the Founding Fathers era, what was the voter participation rate?

It was extremely high, right? Where if you go back to even somebody like a Daniel Webster, who is kind of like the generation, the kids of the Founding Fathers, right, that’s kind of where his he is in the generation spectrum of Founding Fathers, he grew up knowing Founding Fathers, he becomes a very significant player and leader.

Well, if you go back and look at some of what he said about elections, where he talked about every single person in the entire city, the entire county voted in that local election. When you have that level of voter participation, you’re going to have greater levels of accountability. And when you have greater levels of accountability, then it’s easier to fight off some of this bureaucracy where people are not being tainted the same way.

Also, if you go back in the founding era, where they’re not in Washington, DC, or the state capitals for the vast majority of the year, where they’re actually having to live at home and talk to the people about what decisions they’re making, what they’re voting on, the legislation they’re writing, the accountability makes a big difference of even this conversation in general.

And this is part of where as you guys mentioned, there needs to be a change in the system, where the system is definitely broken, there needs to be reforming the system. And part of the reform is helping bring accountability back where we the people can once again be in charge.

And dad, even as you mentioned some of this bureaucracy, it doesn’t matter who the President is. You have issues inside the FBI. You have issues inside the Department of Defense Department of Justice. You have issues inside of there. And so to your point, this is where it would be really good to get some turnover inside of there, instead of just being in this bureaucracy, this incestuous circle of their agenda going forward, regardless of who the leader is.

Accountability is Key

And this is, guys, we’ve talked about it so many times, one of the things that we were really grateful for President Trump for was helping expose just how deep the swamp is, because we’ve talked about it on some level for literally decades. And I think even for us, it was a little bit of a surprise on some level, how much of a swamp there was. I think we were probably less surprised on many areas. But it’s something that now a lot of people are recognizing how much of a swamp there is. And that’s why we’re seeing so many people rising up wanting to get this control back. So there is accountability again.

So I think whether it’s term limits or not, the bottom line is there needs to be accountability. Term limits are certainly one way to get accountability. Voter participation is another way. But accountability, I think, at least in my mind, is the key issue we’re dealing with.

Rick:

As you were talking about that, I couldn’t help but think about the debate over the size of the Republic, and the fact that we’ve gotten so large that accountability is so much harder now, like you were saying. I mean, when they ran for office back then, they almost had contact with everybody that was going to vote in their particular race, especially at the local level, but even in many times those races for Congress. Whereas today, you know, most people never get to meet their congressmen or certainly their US Senator. And it is so much harder to hold them accountable and to participate in that way. And, of course…

David:

But Rick, let me throw out a thought on that. I mean, you’re making a great point. But here’s my question. How much more accountable will the federal government be, if it only dealt with 17 issues, instead of the 5,423 that it does?

Rick:

That’s right. Oh, that’s right.

Tim:

And if Americans knew what those 17 issues were.

Americans Knew the 17 Issues

David:

And see that’s the other part is it would only deal with 17 issues, if Americans read the Constitution enough to know that it’s only authorized to deal with 17 issues. If it only helps…

Rick:

Yeah. And all those other issues would be back home with your state legislator or your local county commissioner, who you could hold accountable better.

David:

And think how much easier would be to hold the federal government accountable if there wasn’t a Department of Education, if there wasn’t Department of Health and Human Services, if there wasn’t a Department of Commerce, if there wasn’t a department of all the departments that exist if there wasn’t agencies like the EPA and all these other?

All these things that are supposed to be at the state level where you still have access to your elected officials much easier, I mean, think how much easier it would be to control the federal government if it only dealt with issues that was supposed to. And that all goes to your point, as you were making, you know, it’s just hard to make them accountable when it’s so big.

Well, they’re big, because we the people aren’t holding them to what they’re bound to do with the Constitution. And that’s only 17 areas. That’s it.

Rick:

Then, can you imagine if they actually got down to just those 17, we’d have bills that were short enough to read? I mean, the people voting would actually read the bills they were voted on, just like you started with, David, at the beginning of this discussion.

So yeah, man, there’s a lot of structural things that definitely need to be done, even more important than term limits. I’m still going to support the term limits because I love the fact that I get to take us to break and have the last word. Because John Adams said, without term limits, they become ravenous beasts of prey. Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

THE AMERICAN STORY

Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have here at WallBuilders called The American Story. For years, people have been asking us to do a history book, and we finally done it. We start with Christopher Columbus and go roughly through Abraham Lincoln. And one of the things that that so often we hear today are about the imperfections of America, or how so many people in America that used to be celebrated or honored really aren’t good or honorable people.

One of the things we acknowledge quickly in the book is that the entire world is full of people who are sinful and need a savior, because the Bible even tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And yet what we see through history, and certainly is evident in America is how a perfect God uses imperfect people and does great things through them.

The story of America is not the story of perfect people. But you see time and time again how God got involved in the process and use these imperfect people to do great things that impacted the entire world from America. To find out more, go to wallbuilders.com and check out The American Story.

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

We’re having some fun around here debating some good issues. And thank you for sending in the questions to open up our topics for us. You can send those in to radio@wallbuilders.com, radio@wallbuilders.com. And this next question comes from George and he’s referring to the fact that we’ve talked about civil disobedience and people pushing back on the mask mandates, and the vaccine passports, and for some people it’s going to cost them their job. I mean, we’re not saying it’s easy. We’re just saying that some of the things that are likely to have to happen in this particular environment.

Civil Disobedience

So George said, “Listen, we’ve been warning folks they’re going to have to do this, but I think we’ve missed something. We’ve been telling people to resist, but we’re not taking into account that for the majority of people, it’s too late. They’re in a trap.

“They live above their means. They have no savings. They have no preparedness. We have people that work for the GSA and there’s no other jobs that will pay them as much as that will, so they can’t fight back.

“They’re afraid of literally going bankrupt if they do so: their houses are completely leveraged. These guys are trapped. And with the stimulus checks, they just happen, it continue to happen, they’re buying more toys instead of paying down debt.” So he said, “I want to be able to tell people to resist, but at the same time I don’t know how they can.”

Wow, George, good question. And David and, Tim, I mean, he’s right in many ways. I mean, we’re definitely at that point economically in most households, and it makes it harder to be able to push back. It really maybe comes down to how much of a price are we willing to pay for liberty. But boy, we put ourselves in a tough spot to be able to fight back.

David:

Let me throw out something that is kind of unusual for the current era in which we are. I’m going back to a previous era when I was little younger than I am now. And at churches, we taught budgeting courses, we taught debt and finance courses, we taught courses on how to get savings account, what percentage your church…

Rick:

And churches, you’re saying churches, that type of things was being taught?

Teaching Finance

David:

I’m talking about churches. And I still have the textbooks that we use in those churches that were written by Christian finance authors.

Tim:

Let me also point out this was before Dave Ramsey.

David:

That’s right. It was. It was.

Tim:

Because now I mean, Dave Ramsey is something a lot of churches, and I’m saying a lot, maybe not a lot in the scheme of the fact there’s 384,000 churches or senior pastors in America. But there are many churches that will offer a Dave Ramsey course and Dave Ramsey will talk about the debt snowball and paying off your debt and tithing and savings, and he’ll give some basic things.

But even that is not the same depth and level as some of those things, dad, that you’re pointing out. So on some level, there’s some churches still doing something there, but it’s certainly not the way that you remember it grown up.

David:

It’s not the way it was and the church did that. And by the way, I’ll also point out that in high school, we had finance courses on everything from balancing checking accounts and balancing accounts to budgeting, and only 25% of your income could be spent on housing and transport. I mean, we had all these percentages in minds as citizens growing up, because schools taught us finance and budgeting and practical finances, how to stay out of debt, how to have a savings account.

Why Aren’t Churches Covering It?

Churches did the same thing. And churches should, because we talked to this program many times, and we’ve covered many Bible verses, talked about biblical principles of economics. Whether they be debt, or income, or interest, or management, or whatever else, the Bible’s full of that.

So tell me why churches should not be covering this right now? They should be. This is need in the nation and the Bible covers it. So why aren’t churches covering it?

Or even more churches having courses like Dave Ramsey courses, Tim, like you mentioned? I mean, this is something where we have not prepared the church, but having said that, people should still be able to prepare themselves. If no church in America teaches finances, people should still get the Dave Ramsey stuff and read and see, they need to be financially independent because that’s where freedom comes from.

Tim:

Well, it’s also distinguishing the difference between your wants and your needs. And I think it’s something in America that we have definitely confused over the last many decades, a lot of wants and thinking it’s a need because we’re trying to keep up with the families next door, keeping up with people at church, keeping up with people at work. And so we need the newest iPhone, we need the newest laptop, we need a nice vehicle, we need all these things. And that need has shifted in what really is a want, and we’ve just re defined that terminology.

Instead of recognizing wait a second, for the vast majority, the history of the world air conditioning was not a thing. I mean, genuinely. I can think of my grandparents and there would be times that they would just not have the air conditioner running, right?

Passing Down Sound Economic Advice

And I mean, just their mindset was so different, going back to growing up kind of era of the Great Depression, and things that they had gone through and dealt with and experienced.

And I remember, my granddad was making a very good living and financially, he was very stable and he wanted a building project. And he said, okay, we’re going to go out to this old used lumber pile, and we’re going to go pull nails out, and we’re going to straighten the nails, and we’re going to see if we can scrape this lumber together. And I remember I was like, 12 or 13, and I was like, granddad, do you have enough money?

Can we just go buy new nails and new wood? And he’s like, no, we’re not wasting anything. There’s a different mindset that today a lot of people are financially better off than they realize; it’s just that they’re spending so much of their money chasing their wants, not recognizing you don’t need those things to survive.

And if you really get down to it, now I think the point of the question in the comment is very valid. A lot of people have leveraged themselves in such bad ways where the Bible talks about the borrower is servant to the lender, and then they’ve made themselves kind of a slave in this economic financial perspective to the people that hold their loan, and they have to pick up those loans paid off and they don’t want to lose their house or whatever the case might be.

And this is where even Dave Ramsey has some guidance on this along the way. Dave Ramsey is not the only guy out there giving good economic sound advice, and there’s probably a couple things that Dave Ramsey says we might disagree with, and that’s totally fine. I have disagreements with people as we will point out on the program, we don’t even always agree with ourselves all the time. So it’s totally okay to disagree with other people on some basic issues.

Wants Vs. Needs

With that being said, most Americans are so much better off than they realize. It’s just they’re spreading themselves too thin chasing wants, replacing what in their mind is a need, they’re putting that want in that box, and they’ve changed the terminology. We need to get back to recognizing that a lot of these benefits we have in America are genuinely just benefits, and not necessarily the needs we have. It’s not the food. It’s not the shelter, right. It’s not the basic necessities to get by.

But with that being said, that shouldn’t be something that a lot of us listening we should be thinking, how can we improve ourselves financially. And we would say, as faith-based people, the first thing is, follow basic biblical principles. Make sure that you are tithing: every dollar that you earn, 10% of it goes to church.

Make sure you have a savings account. If you are tithing and savings, and then you are living off the other 80%, you’re going to be pretty solid, and you’re going to be okay, that’s just some basic, solid foundation to start with.

But definitely, dad, as you mentioned, there’s some really good advice that they can go. If their church doesn’t teach, if they don’t find it in their school or their college, they can go find this advice somewhere else. They can pursue good economic basic principles that are biblical, that are practical, and they can help improve their situation.

Rick:

And when we don’t do that, we put ourselves in a situation where we really limit our choices, right? I mean, that’s one of the worst things about debt, is now when the crisis comes, you have less flexibility, you have less resources, you have less options on the table, which is really what George is referring to, the option to be able to practice civil disobedience or to be able to get a different job that may not pay as much, but you’re free to breathe or not have to make medical decisions you don’t want to make, it just remove so many of your options out there when you don’t have those good finances, those biblical finances.

Does the Second Amendment Have Racist Roots?

And it was the church, I mean, even government policies used to not encourage you to live beyond your means, and instead encourage you not to. But man, we have changed so much of that in the American culture. But hopefully, the church can be the place where we restore these principles. Guys, we’ve got time for one more question. You’re ready for it?

Tim:

Let’s do it.

Rick:

Alright, so here it is. It’s our last question of the day. It’s from Steve in Idaho. Steve, thanks for sending in your question.

He said “Thank you for your faithfulness and following the biblical mandate to tell the truth in love. There was a letter to the editor recently in our local newspaper, which was entitled “The Second Amendment was a Racist Document”. Here’s a quote from the letter “On a recent episode of Democracy Now,” there’s problem right there, Professor Carol Anderson discussed her book ‘The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America’, that describes how the Second Amendment was written to empower local militia groups to put down slave revolts and protect plantation owners.

She writes, the Second Amendment is, “rooted in fear of black people to deny them their rights, to keep them from tasting liberty.” Do you have historical facts that could be used to respond to her allegation? Thanks again, for all you do. And may God continue to bless you and the WallBuilders ministry.”

Steve, thank you very much for your question. Boy, it seems like every issue is couched in terms of race these days. And this is just another one of them. So guys, what about this idea that somehow the Second Amendment was designed specifically to allow slave owners to repel and put down slave revolts?

Slave Revolts Weren’t a Thing

David:

Well, you’re talking about plantation owners is specifically what she’s mentioned. I’ll point out that before there were the plantations, there were decades and there were centuries of American history dealing with the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. Go back to the pilgrims, who were really the first abolitionists if you want to say so, they were huge anti-slavery guys. They were huge gun guys as well.

And Massachusetts was a huge pro-gun area, and they were a huge equality state. In 1780, having banned slavery, they weren’t having slave revolts. And they were making sure that everyone had the right to keep and bear arms.

And if you go more into the Civil War era, I’ve read articles where that generals out of the Civil War, who were on the union side who had black troops under them made sure that they use the Second Amendment to help those black troops make sure that they had guns when they got back into the south so they could fight against the Confederate racist who wanted to hurt them. I mean, I give you example after example after example after example. You go through the Second Amendment the time the Founding Fathers wrote it, the slave revolts weren’t a thing.

Tim:

Yeah. And what’s significant about this is remember the Second Amendment was part of the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was done with the first Congress under George Washington. And if you go back to that Congress, and what you are then arguing is that the members of that first Congress, those were all or at least the majority of, right, whatever it takes to get this done at that point, you know, maybe it’s two-thirds or three-fourths, because that’d be a veto-proof majority on what they’re doing.

And so you’re arguing or at least the argument would be that of those 90 members of the first Congress, the vast majority of them had to be pro-slavery. And so this is where I just want to ask some basic questions.

Of those 90 members of the very first Congress, how many can you name and which ones, and then do you know that we’re racist? And I will wait for your answer because I’m pretty sure you might come up with one name like a James Madison, you’re not going much further, and you definitely don’t know their position on race.

Term Limits, Civil Disobedience, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom

And I actually can go through and give you many of the individuals who were there, and the fact that they actually were abolition leaders, and they actually promoted the idea of ending slavery and the abolition societies they supported.

This is where if you start to learn the facts, a lot of these things are not substantiated with evidence, it’s easy to disprove. But when people don’t know the history behind it, it’s easy to mislead people who don’t know the truth. Lies can mislead people. But truth always sets free, which is why we’d say look, ask some basic questions in pursuit of truth. And when you start asking questions, very quickly they will not be able to answer very basic questions.

Rick:

Steve, fantastic question. Thank you for sending in. And guys, would it be fair to say that this almost applies to any principle of liberty, any freedom that you have has been abused by someone in history?

And you could go find that one example, pull it out of context, and say, oh, see what happened when you gave people the, you know, free speech was only for this racist group over here, because this racist group over here actually spoke, right, and when in fact, it’s for everybody.

And you know, it just seems like that’s what’s happening with a lot of this critical race theory stuff, is we’re literally pulling one example out, and then trying to say that’s the whole reason for the Constitution or for America, or in this case, the Second Amendment. Very, very flawed logic and exactly what Tim said, not using truth and using a lot of false information to be a part of it.

So really appreciate Steve sending in that question. Folks, we are out of time for today. Send your questions into radio@wallbuilders.com and get more information at wallbuilderslive.com. That’s also where you can make that one-time or monthly contribution. Thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live.