Tracy Oppenheimer of Reason TV recently interviewed Frank Buckley, an author and law professor at George Mason University. Buckley contends that the power of the presidency has strayed from what the framers intended:

Presidential Power and the Rise of American Monarchy: Q&A with Author Frank Buckley

“America is dropping like a stone in rankings of freedom. As power accumulates in one person, expect that to continue,” says Frank Buckley, George Mason University law professor and author of the new book, The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America.

Buckley sat down with Reason TV’s Tracy Oppenheimer to discuss how the U.S. presidency has evolved into what he calls “something like an elective monarch.” He says that this is not what the framers of the Constitution had intended, nor did they conceive of the modern version of the separation of powers.

“A parliamentary regime was more or less what the framers wanted…as far as the separation of powers is concerned,” says Buckley “instead of a device to constrain a president, it’s one which immunizes him from criticism by Congress.”

Here’s the video:

With all that in mind, John Daniel Davidson of The Federalist has a recommendation for you and your family this holiday weekend.

Read the Declaration of Independence:

Suppose you and your family decide to celebrate the Fourth according to the old custom this year, and at some point between the burgers and fireworks you gather everyone together and read the Declaration of Independence out loud. Once you get past the familiar opening—“When in the course of human events,” etc.—you’ll get into the list of grievances against King George III, “a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Most of us are less familiar with this section, but the list follows a standard rhetorical structure: it begins with the least severe crimes and gradually ramps up to the worst.

About two-thirds of the way down, you’ll notice a few injuries and usurpations that have a certain resonance today, like “imposing Taxes on us without our Consent”—think Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty, which was only construed as a “tax” by the Supreme Court after the fact. The accusation that King George “erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people” should call to mind the deliberate targeting and harassment of conservative groups by the IRS, possible evidence of which was apparently “lost” when former IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed.

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