You do not have self-government when laws passed by the Congress - signed by previous presidents, and approved by the federal courts - if the president can waive and refuse to enforce whatever sections he does not like, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.
Barack Obama, for example, has refused to carry out sections of the immigration laws that he does not like, unilaterally creating de facto amnesty for those illegal immigrants he has chosen to be exempt from the law.
The issue is NOT the wisdom or justice of this president's immigration policy, but the seizing of powers not granted to any president by the Constitution.
You do not have self-government if President Obama succeeds in having international treaties under United Nations auspices govern the way Americans live their lives, whether with gun control laws or other laws.
Obama's "citizen of the world" mindset was revealed in 2008, when he said "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times . . . and then just expect that every other country is going to say OK."
The desire to circumvent the will of the American people was revealed even more ominously when Obama said to Russian President Medvedev - when he thought the microphone was off - that, after he is reelected and need never face the voters again, he can be more "flexible" about missile defense.
There are other signs of Obama's contempt for American constitutional democracy, but these should be more than enough.
Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the voters again, and can appoint Supreme Court justices who can rubber stamp his power grabs?
Will it still be America in 2016?
Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in California. His website is www.tsowell.com.