Tuesday, December 06, 2011

So, America, Have You Actually Read Your Constitution?

Boy! It's amazing  how some Americans are mixed up regarding their own history.

If the Founding Fathers were such anti-statists, why would they ever have created a state? They certainly didn't think the state should, under no circumstances, meddle with people's lives. They just realized any meddling should be done with the lightest touch possible in order to serve as many citizens as possible.

Why? They saw the effects of tyranny in their own time. This tyranny wasn't social democracy. SD didn't exist. They saw the tyranny of Monarchy. They saw the tyranny of religious control. They saw the tyranny of a small aristocracy owning more wealth than the vast majority of those they ruled. They saw the tyranny of those in power torturing anyone who spoke their minds in disagreement.

As a result, they wrote one of the most famous documents in history.

Most important documents begin with a preamble that sets out the general spirit of what the creators intended. The Constitution of the United States of America is no different. It seems that many libertarians like to quote bits and pieces of this document out of context. The Constitution was written to be taken whole. In addition, things of greater importance are ordered before those of lesser importance so as to make it clear how the wisdom expressed should be balanced. I have to wonder if many of these libertarians actually know what the preamble says:

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.

'a more perfect union' They wanted government to unite people. They didn't say anything about partisan politics where politicians find ridiculous ways in which to say any opponent is an evil threat to the Republic. Also, 'more perfect' acknowledges they couldn't agree on a perfect solution so they expected to strive to improve it, over time.

'establish Justice' They realized law has to be created and maintained for government to work. All law creates restrictions on people.

'provide for the common defence' That's rather self explanatory.

'promote the general Welfare' Aha! Now we are getting somewhere. The Founding Fathers talked about Welfare? No, that couldn't be. Well it is. They weren't afraid of a state that looked out for its citizens. They saw the damage that states, where only the aristocracy had welfare, did to the people living in them. This is the opposite of the concept which states the rich and powerful have no obligation to the less fortunate.

Finally, we get to 'secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity'. What? It came last? What the hell? Yup again. In order to have liberty, some things have to be considered first.

That is the great wisdom they hoped you, ' the People of the United States', would live by. Everything written after the preamble is the method by which they thought this could be achieved. What's more, they realized things change and can be improved with time so they included ways to implement changes. They would have been incensed with anyone who suggested the constitution is sacred and unchangeable. No right defined in the constitution is more important than the good sense they hoped would thrive in their brave new world.

The preamble, though it could be changed, has never been. Go figure.

As for social democracy, fear of it only consumed the popular attention in response to communism. The founding fathers were probably long dead by the time Marx and Engels wrote their big mistake. Have you read the news? Communism is dead, now, too. You don't have to keep looking for it under the bed as scared little children look for the Boogey Man. Lose the fear and start making the smart decisions the Founding Fathers expected, made, and passed down to you.

Update: I just thought I would stem the tide of stupidity before it gets started. I'm no communist pinko. I believe in hand ups and not hand outs. I believe in good government, not obese government. I believe in solving problems and not hurling insults, though a little insult may make those who rely on them take notice and read the fine print. I want peace, however, I am not against war, as a last resort, to secure freedom. I believe in borders, not for the protection of wealth, but for the protection of freedom. Most importantly, I believe everyone is capable of greatness even though everyone makes mistakes.

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