October 26, 2008

Voter Education for Liberals Volume Vc

When we last discussed the political views held by our Founders we saw that they believed that men created a government to preserve their common interest. That government had to be virtuous and it existed only as long as it met the common goals and interests. The Government of England failed in all three aspects, so the People of the American Colonies declared themselves free of that said Government.

It is important to understand that the various colonies did not view themselves as a collective. Because of the way they were chartered and established, each colony looked at itself as a separate state that shared a common geography with other colonies. This is an essential point. A person who lived in Albany viewed himself as a New Yorker. A man from Williamsburg was a Virginian. The thirteen colonies might have been in revolt, but as thirteen separate states all battling a common enemy. The Continental Congress realized it was in their best interest to present a common front, to maintain a Continental Army etc., but only as a convenience.

During and after the Revolution the States operated in a loose confederacy under The Articles of Confederation. This form of government gave us a very weak Federal power. The States had an equal say in all matters and the President's role was akin to the modern Speaker of the House. The government had mo authority to regulate commerce between the States or to collect taxes. It was an administrative forum for the collective whole, at best. It did not work and finally the Constitutional Convention met to create what we now call The Constitution.

In the interest of time and space we will skip the details. The Constitution creates a government of Jefferson's principles. Look at the Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Does that not fit the ideal of government as we discussed previously? Governments are established by men to achieve a common goal? Read the whole Constitution and you will find it meets the other two criteria as well.

Now Jefferson did not like the opening words "we the People". He felt that ultimately the citizens of the United States would began to feel as if the Federal Government was the primary governing body. Jefferson believed "we the States" was a better fit. How would the dialogue before the Civil War and since changed if Jefferson got his way?

Anyway, the Constitution is unique in that it is a limiting document. It spells out specifically the powers of each branch. Moreover the founders were geniuses. The added a means to change the Constitution to fit the exigencies of the times. We have done that 27 times. There is no need for a 'living" document, the Constitution is plain in its language. In addition, the Founders added further safeguards of our liberties. The first Ten Amendments are known as the Bill of Rights and they were added as a condition of ratification. Many of our founders remained convinced a strong government tended to tyranny and wanted safeguards of individual liberty.

Most of the Bill of Rights were put into place to keep the events leading to the Revolution from repeating. The right to free speech and Press and assembly were included. These were taken away by the king after the Boston Tea Party. The Federal Government could not establish a State Church. Many of the colonies were formed by individuals who left England to escape the Church Of England. As it was armed private citizens that fomented the resistance and helped win the victory, the Constitution included the Second Amendment -- the Right to bear arms. Madison wanted to make sure the People could overthrow the Government if it too became tyrannical.

Protections to keep the Government from quartering troops and from forcing you to testify against yourself were included. You had a right to face your accusers in court.

Finally, the founders included the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. These are the most important of the Bill of Rights and the most abused and ignored by our current Federal Government:

Ninth Amendment – Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Tenth Amendment – Powers of states and people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

If you have followed along this far, you have to agree the Founders only intended a small Federal Government. The ensured its powers in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

So where do the "Heartless Conservatives" get their position? Right there, in the black and white English words of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Later Courts and Presidents and Congress have added to their powers. But how can you say Welfare and No Child Left Behind and Social Security are a result of 'legislating commerce between the States'?

Look at your candidates position and promises and tell me how he fits the role of President and Government as outlined by the men who created this Nation. Explain to me how taxing businesses and individuals and giving that money to other citizens fits with the Constitution. If you cannot, then you have no reason to condemn or criticise me when I say the candidate who wants to do those things is a socialist and wants to destroy our nation.

Finally, do not take my word for what the Founders intended. They summed up their position nicely in a series of letters to the editor and pamphlets promoting the Constitution. They outline the entire document and how it was supposed to work in clear simple English. Take the advise of commenter Sammy. Go to the library. Check out a copy of the Federalist Papers. Go ahead, learn something. You might be surprised your political outlook changes as well.

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