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Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Case for the Constitution

"A republic, if you can keep it." Benjamin Franklin’s comment to a question from Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia when she asked him at the close of the Constitution Convention in 1787, "Well, Doctor, what have we got a republic or a monarchy?

The United States of America began with a national conversation on liberty. The rise of newspapers and other printed material provided fuel for family discussions, tavern debates, and Sunday sermons. Ben Franklin wrote of how “improved the general conversation of the Americans” had become, making “the common tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other countries.” In 1776, when Thomas Paine released his famous pamphlet Common Sense, calling for independence from Britain, half a million copies were bought by a population of just three million. This national conversation about liberty led to the War of Independence, the writing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and the most free and prosperous nation in human history.

This was not an easy task. It took 11 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence for our Founders to hammer out a constitution that recognized the rights of the people over the power of the federal government. This was called “Federalism” — a form of republican government where powers not specifically enumerated in the new constitution were delegated to the people and the states. The preamble to this new Constitution stated:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”

This modified form of republican government, as envisioned by James Madison, set forth a central federal government where the people, through their elected representatives, would determine the course of the federal government, especially in the way the federal government raised revenue and set forth regulations on the liberty of the people. To effect this form of government it was necessary to create three co-equal branches of government; the legislature (congress), the executive (the president), and the courts with the courts having the least amount of power. It was the intent of our Founders to limit the courts to teat laws passed by the legislature for conformity to the Constitution — not to redefine the Constitution.

This form of republicanism worked pretty well for about 100 years. We built the most prosperous and free nation the world had ever seen. We went through a bloody civil war with 700,000 causalities to abolish the evil practice of slavery. We connected two oceans with a transcontinental railroad and built cities, roads, and industries that made the United States a mecca for freedom loving people who wanted to be a part of this great nation to migrate to. Millions of Europeans migrated to the United States in search of a better life founded in God given unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

At the turn of the twentieth century a new form of political thinking came into vogue in was called “progressivism.” This new form of political thinking was fostered by academics, like John Dewey, who after study in socialist institutions in Europe brought back this elitist form of statist, utopian thinking to the United States. It was the aim of men like Dewey to influence the thinking of educators to his utopian, statist form of government who would then pass this political thinking on to future generations.

Progressives — who until recently called themselves liberals — have undermined liberty. The original Progressives began by taking over the universities, and went on to dominate the legal professions, the media, and ultimately the government. Declaring the Constitution obsolete, they called for replacing the Founders' unchanging principles of liberty — the laws of nature and nature's God of the Declaration — with the idea of a living constitution that changes with time and place. They recast government as a massive bureaucratic machine, and reshaped education to de-emphasize American history and ignore the Constitution. The result was a slide toward bureaucratic despotism that now threatens to render America unrecognizable from the free constitutional republic of our Fathers.

A century-old Progressive assault on liberty and the Constitution has had a devastating effect on our constitutional republic. Recent surveys reveal that the vast majority of Americans no longer believe they are governed by their own consent, as they face the growing power of bureaucratic tyranny.

And it's no wonder, with the daily news accounts of how our own federal government sues states for enforcing the law, violates the basic American principles of religious liberty, impedes and destroys businesses with countless regulations, harasses law-abiding citizens, and enslaves future generations under a mountain of debt.

What of our elected state and federal representatives, sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect the people? Many appear to be either working against the Constitution — its violation by our own government has become customary — or at best indifferent to the constitutional principles of limited government. Just look at the recent attacks of the First, Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments (Bill of Rights) to our Constitution. Religious liberty is under constant attack by the statist. The right to bear arms is being infringed upon by state legislatures who have gone crazy with draconian laws against law abiding gun owners.

Just look at Missouri where House Bill 545 would make a felon of any owners of so-called assault weapons in the State who refused to destroy their firearms, move them across State lines or turn them over to law enforcement officials within 90 days of the bill’s passage. The bill states:

    1. “Any person who, prior to the effective date of this law, was legally in possession of an assault weapon or large capacity magazine shall have ninety days from such effective date to do any of the following without being subject to prosecution:
    2. Remove the assault weapon or large capacity magazine from the state of Missouri;
    3. Render the assault weapon permanently inoperable; or
    4. Surrender the assault weapon or large capacity magazine to the appropriate law enforcement agency for destruction, subject to specific agency regulations.
    5. Unlawful manufacture, import, possession, purchase, sale, or transfer of an assault weapon or a large capacity magazine is a class C felony.”

The bill borrows from State and Federal proposals for assault weapon bans proposed by other lawmakers throughout the Nation in the wake of recent shooting tragedies in that its descriptions focus on magazines and the aesthetic characteristics of firearms.

These law makers — mainly progressive Democrats are totally ignoring recent Supreme Court cases dealing with gun ownership in Washington D.C. and Chicago. It their proposed legislation is not an “infringement” on the rights expressed in the Second Amendment then nothing is. Today 66% of Americans believe that gun ownership is a protection against tyranny.

Over the past 100 years progressives have dominated our politics. Here are a few comments from leading progressives on our Declaration of Independence and Constitution:

“All that progressives ask or desire is permission—in an era when "development" "evolution," is the scientific word—to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine..... Some citizens of this country have never got beyond the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia, July 4th, 1776 .... The Declaration of Independence did not mention the questions of our day. — Woodrow Wilson, "What is Progress:" 1912.”

"[T]hese [constitutional] political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.... We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all:” — President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1944 Annual Message to Congress, January 11,1944”

"[T]he Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as 1 think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution ... :' — Barack Obama, interview with Chicago Public Radio station WBEZ-FM September 6, 2001

"I would not look to the United States Constitution if 1 were drafting a constitution in the year 2012:' — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 2012

Americans today are concerned and afraid about what's happening to our country. You may have seen a recent Rasmussen poll: two thirds of Americans no longer believe that they are governed by their own consent.

Of course, it's easy to understand why so many citizens feel that way The idea of America, as set forth by our Founding Fathers, is that the people are sovereign, that government is responsible and accountable to them.

But today, the government buries our children and grandchildren under mountains of debt , orders citizens to buy health insurance or be fined by the IRS, allows the president to appoint dozens of powerful "czars," and on and on and on.

"Are we losing our country?"

"Is the Constitution dead?"

"Are we the generation that will lose American liberty for our children and grandchildren?"

Every day I see or hear on the news and opinion shows debate over what cuts in spending should be made and what the government should do for the people. These debates center on job creation, gun control, welfare benefits, education, and entitlements. They seem to always focus on how much should be spent and what new regulations are needed. Rarely do the debates touch on the central issue of the constitutionality and on what threat do they have to our liberty and property. A prime example of this is the debate over the money the federal government is spending on education and whether President Obama should increase spending on preschool education. Rather than debate the amount of money and the worthiness of the program the debate should focus on the constitutionality of the Department of Education and the federal government’s authority to spend any money or issue any regulation pertaining to education at all. This is an issue that is left to the states.

We have become so accustomed due to 100 years of progressive education that we no longer give credence to what the Constitution does or does not warrant. So many Americans have been indoctrinated by the progressive statist and masterminds that they no longer give credence to the words of the Constitution, but believe that the words “General Welfare” mean anything that the progressives think is good for the people regardless of Constitutional authority.

Future generations are being conditioned to accept this situation. Progressives, having seized our nation's elite educational institutions, successfully stripped curricula of a study of American history and of the Constitution. This has produced a leadership in Washington and many state capitals indifferent or hostile to our nation's founding principles.

Our freedom now hangs in the balance. If progressive ideas remain unchallenged, free government as we know it will cease to exist. We will be responsible for bequeathing to our children and grandchildren a country completely unrecognizable from the free republic of our Founders. As Benjamin Franklin stated: “A Republic if we can keep it.”

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