— Perri Nelson, February 9, 2010
A bheil Gàidhlig agaibh?
Published Sun, Oct 21 2007 11:13 PM
Technorati Tags: Federalism, States Rights, Constitution, Founders
Think about that question for a bit before you read further. Seriously. I'll give you my answer near the bottom of the post.
I know what I think its purpose is, and I'm pretty sure that a large number of people will come up with a different answer than mine.
What answer do you think today's politicians would give to that question? Do you think it would differ from the answer that the founders would give?
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved;
With these words, our founders declared their independence from Great Britain. Note that…
- They appealed to the "Supreme Judge of the world" for the rightness of their intentions. Who might that Supreme Judge be? It certainly couldn't be any individual man, nor even mankind collectively. Earlier references in the document refer to Nature's God and mankind's Creator.
- They spoke in the name and with the authority of the people. They were elected representatives of the people and spoke for them all.
- They declared that each of the colonies were Free and Independent States. That meant, quite literally that each colony was from that moment an independent and sovereign nation. They emphasized this further with the following words…
and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.
This was "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America". This was not the country that we know today as the United States of America. This was thirteen separate countries bound together with bonds of friendship and honor.
Those thirteen independent nations were…
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Two years and five days after fifty six men pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred Honor, relying upon the protection of divine Providence those nations had joined together and drafted the Articles of Confederation. Almost three years later, Maryland was the final State to accede to the Articles of Confederation. They were ratified on March the 1st, 1781.
Unfortunately the Articles of Confederation didn't really work out too well. Six and a half years after they were ratified a new Constitution for the United States was completed and signed.
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.
So the people of the United States established the constitution. The first stated reason for this was to form a more perfect union. More perfect than what? More perfect than the weak union formed by the Confederation. There are other reasons listed in the preamble to the Constitution as well, and I believe that these reasons explain quite well the purpose the founders had in establishing the form of government we have today.
I told you I would give my answer to what I believe the purpose of the federal government is. I also told you that it would probably be at odds with what a lot of people seem to think today. Anyway, here goes the reasoning behind my answer.
I believe that the purpose of the federal government is to bind the States into a single, united nation. I believe that the federal government exists to ensure a uniform justice throughout that nation. One of the paramount responsibilities of the federal government is to defend the States from enemies, both foreign and domestic.
To accomplish these ends, the free and sovereign States of the Confederacy were required to relinquish their sovereignty to the federal government. Give that some serious thought for a moment.
Much has been made lately of a hypothetical "North American Union", patterned in some manner after the European Union. The implication is that the United States, Canada and Mexico will each give up their sovereignty to the new union. People have quoted former Mexican President Vicente Fox as having said that he and President Bush have made an arrangement to accomplish this union.
Can you imagine the people of the United States accepting that? Do you really believe that U.S. Citizens want their rights and liberties subordinated to the will of Canadian ministers or the Mexican president? What would become of the right to keep and bear arms, which is already under attack in this country?
Now imagine the people of Georgia in 1787 giving up their State's sovereignty to a union with Rhode Island. There is a fairly large distance between the two States. What do politicians in Rhode Island know about the needs of the people in Georgia anyway?
Just six short years earlier the nation had come out of the Revolution having thrown off the shackles of a tyrannical government across the ocean. Would they now give up that hard won sovereignty to politicians from across the continent? Even if some of those politicians were from their nearest neighbors?
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
That's a lot of power to give up. Surely if the States would give up that power they would want some assurances. Some of those assurances came in the original document.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.
The form of the Constitution provided other assurances to the States. The Constitution enumerates the powers of each branch of the federal government explicitly. It also enumerates many prohibitions that the federal government may not violate.
Most importantly, at the same time the Constitution was drafted, several amendments to the Constitution were proposed. Without several of these amendments it is unlikely that the Constitution would ever have been ratified. Among those amendments is the tenth amendment which states…
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.
The powers and limitations of the federal government are very clearly laid out. Among the powers that the Constitution gives to the federal government are the power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States" (emphasis added).
So among the first of the enumerated powers of the federal government is providing for the common defense. This is after all among the paramount purposes of the federal government. When the States gave up their sovereignty, the gave up the right to defend themselves unless they were actually invaded. That defense became the responsibility and obligation of the federal government.
I've been told by some that the Constitution does not allow for the creation of a standing army. I suppose that's one way you could interpret this enumerated power of Congress…
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
Of course another way to interpret that same enumerated power is to say that Congress is explicitly authorized to raise a standing army… They just have to appropriate funds for it every two years. Funny thing that. That seems to be exactly what they've done for over a hundred years.
Further, the Constitution explicitly authorizes Congress to provide and maintain a Navy, and guess what! There's no restriction on the length of time appropriations for the Navy can be made for.
Not one of the powers given to the federal government includes providing for the needs of the people, and none of the restrictions laid upon the states prohibits them from doing so. Therefore, many of our modern social programs are not rightly the province of the federal government. The power to enact social programs, whether they are manifested as welfare programs, social security, providing for health care or education is reserved explicitly to the states by the tenth amendment to the Constitution.
I am fairly certain that the founders planned for things to work that way and that our current system of cradle to grave federal entitlement programs was never envisioned by them. It seems to me that the "general Welfare of the United States", by the very usage of the term when the Constitution and its amendments are so very explicit when referring to the several States or to the People should not be interpreted as authorizing such programs.
But then I am neither a lawyer, nor a scholar of the law, and my opinion carries little weight with the powers that be in our government. For that, I am sure some of my readers are quite grateful.
I believe that the purpose of the federal government is to…
- raise armies for the defense of the United States
- raise a navy for the defense of the United States
- treat with foreign powers
- ensure domestic tranquility and suppress insurrection
- ensure and regulate interstate commerce
- provide for the general welfare of the United States
- manage and provide for uniform immigration and naturalization laws.
I believe that the purpose of the federal government is not to…
- provide for the education of the people of the several states
- provide for retirement benefits for the people of the several states
- provide for the medical care of the people of the several states
- extract tax moneys from the citizens of one state for disbursement and projects within another state
- regulate in any way purely intrastate commerce
- prevent the states from putting down an invasion by foreigners that enter the country illegally.
Perhaps you came to a different conclusion than I did. Several people I've had recent online conversations with certainly would. I'm pretty sure that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama would. I'm also almost certain that our current President would. It's a fair bet that even the majority of our Republican candidates for President would.
If you came to different conclusions, why don't you tell me and the rest of my readers about it in the comment thread. Just please, keep it civil, after all, you know what a hateful man I am.
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Published Sun, Oct 21 2007 4:51 PM
It would seem that I am a hateful man. I've been told that the political positions I take are foul and obscene. Maybe that's so.
For example, I believe that the federal government should be restricted to only providing those services which are explicitly authorized by the Constitution. That's obviously a hateful position, because it would deprive people of their right to have free health care at the expense of others. It's a hateful position because it means that senior citizens will no longer have their prescription drugs paid for, and they will no longer be coddled and cared for through federal programs like Medicare. Even worse, they will be deprived of an essential part of their income and left to eat dog food.
What a hateful, ugly man I am.
It's plain that my positions are hateful. After all, I expect people to be paid based upon their accomplishments rather than their seniority or their intentions. It's hateful to expect teachers, who work so hard to have to actually demonstrate their expertise and teach children so that they can meet an established standard.
I expect children to meet a standard before advancing to the next grade level in their education rather than promoting them to help their self-esteem. What a hateful, ugly attitude.
I don't want children to be promoted to the next grade level even though they've failed to do any work during the school year or failed to learn the subjects that they're being taught. What a hateful way to think. After all, if we don't "socially promote" children then their school district cannot continue to receive federal money to support their "education". I'm so hateful because I would not reward failure.
In fact, by even believing that it's possible to fail at something I am hateful.
I'm hateful because I don't believe that the federal government should be involved in education at all. After all, how can our children and the children of guest workers who simply didn't bother to enter the country in a "sanctioned" way receive a good education if the federal government doesn't pad the budgets of their school districts?
I'm a vile and ugly person because I believe that since the state's laws do not allow public employees to strike that teachers should be prosecuted when they do. I'm foul minded because I think that teachers that are paid more highly than other teachers in the state don't need yet another raise. It's just plain wrong of me to think that they're greedy when they strike to obtain it.
I'm hateful because I don't believe in the equality of outcomes. It's wrong-headed of me to believe that the only way you can have equal outcomes is to punish those that do better than others. I prefer equal opportunities where possible. It's apparently hateful to think that people should be allowed to fail and suffer the consequences of their failure while others succeed and reap the benefits. Why can't I see that the successful never actually earned those benefits and must have cheated the failures out of them?
I'm hateful because I believe that when a man or a woman work hard and then pass on the rewards of their labors to their children it's unfair to those children that didn't win "life's lottery".
I'm hateful because I don't think that the federal government should give people money for having children and not working. I really should "think of the children" more. After all, the government is there to coddle us from cradle to grave and how can I be so judgmental about people that refuse to work and are simply taking advantage of the system?
It's hateful of me to argue against mass transit systems in western Washington. What gives me the right to insist that the transit authorities spend my tax moneys wisely? What gives me the right to complain that ridership is so low on what light rail we do have that we're subsidizing the riders to the tune of thousands of dollars each annually? Who the HELL am I to complain that transit authorities wasted the money that was allotted to build light rail and then come back year after year to ask for more.
What is it with me anyway? What makes me think that repairing roads and adding lanes will do anything to help congestion anyway? How can I be so selfish as to want to drive my own car because the buses don't run on a schedule that gets me to work when I need to be there and still brings me home in the evening? How is it that I get outraged when I can walk five miles faster than I could take the bus to the same destination?
What gives me the right to be angry when transportation officials raise taxes and fees to pay for a monorail, then do it again without laying a single foot of track, then do it again and spend massive amounts of money for television advertising telling us how good it will be when the monorail is built, still without laying a foot of track? And how could I possibly be outraged that once the monorail project is finally voted down I find out that they'll be collecting the taxes for the foreseeable future anyway?
Why oh why do I call it injustice when a couple works hard to establish a business and livelihood only to have their property condemned and taken from them so that the monorail can be built only to have it sold to someone else because they can't afford to pay for it a second time?
After all, those are counter-productive, hateful attitudes on my part. I'm simply not with the program. We should all dutifully file into the queue like sheep to the slaughter and pack ourselves into busses and trains next to aromatic welfare recipients. How dare I be so judgmental about the wine-soaked aura of the man urinating on the sidewalk in front of that convenience store?
And why the hell aren't I more charitable? Why don't I carry cash to give to the people that walk up to me on the streets asking for a few bucks or some spare change? Why should it matter to me that that woman on the corner panhandling will walk a few blocks at the end of the day and get into her nice BMW and drive to her $300,000.00 house? What business is it of mine that she "earns" $85,000.00 per year claiming to be a homeless victim of the oppressive administration?
I deserve to have my hard earned money taken away from me and used to pay "reparations" to a hyphenated "Amerikan" whose ancestors never suffered under slavery, while mine came to this country after slavery had ended. After all, I owe that man reparations. Somewhere my ancestors mistreated his, even though it must have happened when mine were in Germany or Denmark or Norway, and his were in Africa.
I should be hauled off to Nuremberg now to face my trial for being a global warming denier, or for believing that the environment in the United States today is cleaner and healthier than it has been in over a hundred of years, not just because people care, but because we have technology that helps to make it cleaner.
Because I don't kowtow to the environmentalists every whim I'm somehow evil, even though I pick up the coffee cups (excuse me, latte cups) of "nature lovers" who dispose of them in the bushes in our state forests. I have never thrown garbage from my car, but I've watched people with tree-hugger bumper stickers throw burning cigarettes, fast food wrappers and entire bags of garbage out their car windows. How foul of me to accuse these environmentalists of hypocrisy.
I'm such a vile and hateful man that I don't want non-citizens to vote. I'm such a foul minded person that I get outraged when felons vote in violation of state law. I deserve to be cursed and reviled when I object to the failure of our elected officials to fulfill their duties. I should be horse-whipped when I expect the state prosecutor to go after people that violate our election laws. After all, insisting on accountability in the elections process is unfair to the disadvantaged, the intellectually challenged, and the fundamentally dishonest people that should have their votes counted two, three or even more times.
Oops, there I go again, using judgmental language, calling people fundamentally dishonest. I should have used a more politically correct term like ethically challenged. Oh wait, that ones no good either, because ethics depend on the situation and there is no higher moral authority.
It was the vilest thing that I ever did to vote for George W. Bush and the evil, twisted man he chose as his running mate. No wait, that was the second vilest thing I did. The vilest one was voting for them a second time four years later.
I'm a foul minded person deserving of contempt because I believe that the law means what it says, and that words should not be twisted to mean their opposites. After all, we have incontrovertible proof that George W. Bush pushed the supreme court into stealing that first election, because Al Gore won the popular vote! This despite the fact that the constitution gives no weight to the popular vote. Oh there I go again, interpreting the words of the constitution and its amendments literally instead of accepting that it's a living breathing document that means whatever some judge wants it to mean at the moment, especially if it results in a departure from the way things have been in this country for 230+ years. Silly me.
I caused the collapse of the world trade center on September 11th, 2001. It was me. After all, my support for Israel and for American imperialism outraged Osama Bin Laden so much that he paid ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN to Photoshop some video of planes flying into the side of the twin towers. I made him so angry that he did it just hours before Dick Cheney pushed the plunger on the detonator to bring the buildings down in a controlled demolition. The very fact that I believed the lie that it was Mohammed Atta and 18 other terrorists that flew those planes and attacked our country proves that I need to take my tin-foil hat off. After all, I'm a confused, obsessed conspiracy nut now aren't I?
I'm also a foul liar. How else could I spread the mistruths about the Iraq war. How else could I claim that George W. Bush wasn't a liar, that Joseph Wilson was and that Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator that used weapons of mass destruction against his enemies, and even against his own people? How else could I spread the lies that nearly every ranking Democrat is on record three years before George W. Bush came to power claiming that Iraq was an imminent threat, that regime change was required, and that that should be the policy of the United States?
This is only the barest surface of the crimes against humanity that I am guilty of. A full cataloging of them would take more room than this post can allow.
I'm a hateful person.
I'm a conservative.
And I'm unrepentant.
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