“Climate change is literally an existential threat to our nation and to the world.”—President Joe Biden.
President Biden’s remarks on the climate “emergency” are yet another example of the radical progressive strategy to pose agenda items as undeniable crises that warrant fundamental change to our nation. What Biden and congressional Democrats do not account for was the U.S. Constitution.
The Framers anticipated fanatical majorities and intentionally crafted an arduous journey from bill to law to prevent majorities from rapidly altering our nation.
James Madison explained that the Congress must be restrained from using majorities to subjugate and persecute minorities. Society must be “broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority.” In other words, Congress was not intended to adjudicate societal issues on the fly with simple majorities.
When problems involve harm to American children, even legislators who normally disagree with progressive radicals lament the limits that Congress must operate within. One modern dilemma that frustrates conservative legislators is social media addiction.
TikTok saw an 800% increase in American users from 2018 to 2020, a figure that only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Users, a quarter of whom are ages 10-19, spend an average of 26 hours per month on TikTok. Studies have shown that social media use is linked to mental and physical health concerns now common among young people, like body image disorders, anxiety, and disrupted sleep.
So why has Congress failed to address social media addiction? Two Senate bills attempting to tackle this issue were introduced in the last three years, but neither gained much traction. Rather than jump to the conclusion that our legislative process is broken, we should first ask whether Congress was intended to solve such issues at all.
The Framers never intended Congress solve problems like social media addiction. State governments and Americans themselves retain the power to safeguard health, safety, and welfare through the Constitution’s 10th Amendment. The Framers limited Congress to safeguard the people from federal prying into every facet of life.
There is no reason to believe that any effective solution to social media addiction can or should come from Washington.
But if not Congress, who can address this serious issue affecting American children? State and local governments are better positioned to provide relief. Federalism allows each state to experiment with different policies, and this ingenious system may uncover a response to social media’s grip on our children. However, lasting solutions will ultimately require more than just state relief. Families and community organizations, such as churches, should work with parents and children to address social media addiction. In any case, this should not be handled by Congress, no matter which party controls a majority.
The suffering of American children deserves our utmost attention and care. However, we should not fall into the trap set by the radical left—where checks and balances are seen as a hinderance rather than an integral part of the system our Framers created. An overreaching legislature is dangerous, even when you agree with the policies they enact.
The left argues that its agenda mandates radical change, but the future of our nation depends on the strength of the people, not a restructuring of the Constitution.