‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’
Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, 1871.
“It takes but a little thought to realize that the power to decide when words mean what they say and when they do not is the power to do so whenever one wants, for whatever purpose. After all, the reason that kings have traditionally opposed constitutions is that if a constitution has any meaning at all, it is some kind of restraint on government. But if government can decide that the constitution contains things that it does not, and allows things that it forbids, then adieu to the rule of law.
“By 2010, some in the Ruling Class felt confident enough to dispense with the charade. Asked what in the Constitution allows Congress and the president to force every American to purchase health insurance, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi replied: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?” It’s no surprise, then, that lower court judges and bureaucrats take liberties with laws, regulations, and contracts. That’s why legal words that say you are in the right avail you less in today’s America than being on the right side of the persons who decide what they want those words to mean.”
Angelo Codevilla, The Ruling Class: How they Corrupted America and What We Can Do About It, 2010
More quotes from this will follow. Strongly recommended read.