Sunday, September 11, 2005

Constitution Basics

As elementary as this particular post will be, these basics are often missed by even some of our most popular politicians. We are going to discuss exactly what it is the Constitution does. The Declaration of Independence is vital to this understanding. This is where we will begin.

To continue where the last quote from the Declaration of Independence left off:

"--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --"

This is what the government should do. Its purpose is to protect our rights. The only powers it has, are those that we give it. The word "just" in that phrase, however, is too often forgotten, but that debate will be left for a later date. What does the Constitution do? Some argue that it gives us our Rights. We've already discussed Natural Rights. A piece of paper can't give us Rights that we already have. Let's take a look at the Preamble to the Constitution.

"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."

What was that? "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". This is one of our founders' many direct references to liberty. Obviously, at least part of our constitutional purpose was to make sure we had freedom. Let's look deeper into this with a quote from our founders. This is one of my favorites:

"In matters of Power, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson helped write our Constitution, so what is he trying to say here? Bind? Chains? The Constitution must be a restraint of some sort, but on what? "In the matters of Power" Is our Constitution a restraint on power? Yes, yes it is.

Let's examine a few other notes before we summarize all of this.

"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words "no" and "not" employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights." - Edmund A. Opitz

Wow, that's a lot of No's! It's almost like pointing a finger at the government and telling it "No!" like you would a dog peeing on the carpet. Let's look at a couple of my favorites:

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Whoa! That's a big one. Just because it isn't written here, doesn't mean it isn't a right. In other words, 'Government, you don't have the power just cause we didn't say you don't have it."

Amendment X
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.

They said it again, only more directly. 'Government, this is it. You have nothing else, everything else is for the States and the people.' It seems like there is a lot of evidence to show that the Constitution was written speaking to the Government, not the people. It is a "chain" on the government. Let's also note the words of a woman who made quite a name for herself as a writer.

"The government was set to protect man from criminals - and the Constitution was written to protect man from the government." - Ayn Rand

Now, don't take my word for it, combine these facts and the words straight from the Constitution. It seems a given that the purpose was to restrain the government. Even the preamble of the Constitution says "to secure the blessings of liberty". The Constitution ties up the government to keep it from interfering in the freedom we have inherent of being human. It does not give us that freedom, freedom is a Natural Right. This is what the Constitution does. It was written and directed at the government, not the people. Power to the people!


P.S. We have a long way to go still, but if you understand this, then we are moving in the right direction.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I'm suprised you didn't note that some founding fathers were for a big government.