The entire Bill of Rights is an example of government restraining itself. The Constitution is an example of that.
Our entire short history is a narrative of how the government erodes the Constitution and that basic idea at every opportunity. Hardly a model of restraint.
Let's not nit-pick, it's an exercise in futility. By permission I meant he's not going to be killed or tossed in jail for saying that, that should be obvious.
"Our entire short history is a narrative of how the government erodes the Constitution and that basic idea at every opportunity"
Selective memory? Let's just forget all the examples where basic rights have been expanded to people. How about the restraint shown when women won the right to vote? Or when black people became officially recognized as people? It was in fact the government that enforced these laws and sent in military personnel to protect black kids from the angry white masses during desegregation.
It has rules and procedures in place on what each branch of government can and cannot do. Etc. Sometimes they break these rules, yes, but that's getting back into the same nit-picking of whether mudil had "permission" to speak his mind. For the most part these rules are followed, and for the most part when they're broken there are consequences.
The government created laws and amendments that clearly demonstrated restraint. How could it do this? Because our government, while imperfect, isn't (yet at least) completely in the hands of some aristocracy, and it has over the years both limited and expanded its powers.
"The Government" is also not an individual entity with a single consciousness that's out to get you. It's a synecdoche that refers to a large group of _elected_ officials. If there's something wrong, the entire country shares the blame.
To view it through a monochromatic lens is to ignore history and to be cynical for cynicism's sake.