16 August 2009

The Constitution: Quit Whining About It and Start Enforcing It
D.C. Wright
(Special to Canadian Free Press)

I hear too many so-called “conservatives” whining about how people don’t understand the Constitution and what it means and how Congress and the Courts surely ignore it and how the Executive tries to do end-runs around it and how impossible it is to get people interested in seeing it enforced.

Well, Bunkie, let’s do first things first, then we can make some real progress at recovering our Country. We, who wish to CONSERVE the Constitution and the Republic it created, must first agree on some fundamentals:

First and foremost, the Constitution is what it is, the bedrock and foundation on which the Founders built the Republic. It is a neutral document, that is, it does not favor any person or group; it recognizes and requires the government to recognize INDIVIDUALS and their EQUAL rights. It rightly treats us as GROWNUPS, fully capable of making our own decisions over our lives and responsible for the consequences, good, bad or indifferent, of those choices. It most emphatically does NOT give government the authority to make choices FOR us. Sadly, there are many people who believe otherwise. Some call themselves Liberals and think that Government must make decisions about how much money we are allowed to make; how healthy we are allowed to be; and with whom we are allowed (or mandated) to associate.

Those who call themselves “Conservative” want the government to dictate such things as with whom we sleep and why; what sorts of substances we may possess and ingest or whatever; and, since they can’t be sure just how much we love our country, often they want to compel us to serve in the forces that protect this nation.

Neither group wants the rest of us to realize that there is NO SUCH AUTHORITY GRANTED to government by the Constitution to do ANY of these things or a host of others that they want it to do. Somehow or another, they want us to believe that the rules laid out in the Constitution do not limit what GOVERNMENT can do, but what We, the People, are allowed to do. Whilst the “conservative” side won’t admit it as the “liberals” openly do, I believe both are agreed that our Constitution is a “Living” Document, capable of being interpreted in whatever way suits the moment.

Now, how do we combat this perversion of our foundation? How do we turn this back right side up? There’s no easy answer, but first we MUST agree that the Constitution is, as I have described here, a limit on GOVERNMENT, not a limit on We, the People. Without that fundamental agreement, we’re wasting our time and we may as well just step peaceably into the chains FedGov is forging for us.

We MUST agree that all rights are INDIVIDUAL rights and we must agree on a definition of the term. My definition, which I believe is the correct one, is that a right is anything one wants to do that does NOT involve the involuntary participation of another human being, as in a “right” to health care mandates that a doctor MUST provide it and someone ELSE must pay for it; hence that is in no way a RIGHT. A right to have sex does NOT include a right to: force one’s self on another; have sex with a child or other person incapable of giving voluntary consent; or an animal. Otherwise, it would be whatever an individual could coax one or more persons into VOLUNTARILY agreeing to.

Pretty much, whatever one wants to do is open. Whether or not one SHOULD do something is a matter for that person and his conscience (or his God, if he or she, like me, is a believer). The constraint is that NO ONE may initiate any act of force or aggression against another person. The old saying, “Your right to swing your fist ends at my jaw” is right on the mark, excepting only in self-defense. So, for GROWNUPS, rights are pretty extensive and Government was created (in this nation, uniquely) as an institution to PROTECT those rights. And our Founders considered, for the most part, that the citizens of this new nation WERE grown and capable of accepting responsibility for their actions.

So if you’re with me to this point, we can say that We, the People, are pretty much unlimited under the Constitution, whilst FedGov is VERY limited. This limitation is spelled out clearly and specifically in the Tenth Amendment, which, refreshingly enough, is getting quite a bit of play this year. “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.” Clear and simple.

The Founders ALSO believed that CRIME was a matter for the Several States to handle, since they allowed FedGov original jurisdiction over only three categories of crime, outside the absolute jurisdiction Congress has over the military. These categories are Treason (as defined in the Constitution), Piracy (on the high seas, but now in the air age, air piracy is included) and Counterfeiting. These and these ONLY are what the central government may properly (and solely) handle.

There is one other point, which I consider crucial to any discussion on the limitation of authority of government (and this applies across the board). That is, the notion that ours is a government by and with the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED. As it happens, I agree wholeheartedly with this concept. I believe that it goes to the heart of the United States of America and is what makes it unlike any other before or after it, though there are some that give lip service to the notion and some (England) who made a valiant try at it (the Magna Charta, for example).

However, I also believe that the concept is widely misunderstood, even by pro-Constitution Conservatives. Granting consent to something implies that one has the AUTHORITY to do that in the first place. We, as individuals, can only consent to someone doing in our names and on our behalf that which WE MAY PROPERLY DO FOR OURSELVES IN THE FIRST PLACE. I can, for example, consent to having someone arrest, try and punish a murderer or a robber or a rapist because I have the legitimate authority, under my absolute right to self-defense, to act against such a person MYSELF. Though I would most likely commit that person to his final rest, I can properly consent to the establishment of courts and prisons and so forth.

Likewise, I can properly consent to LOCAL rules on conduct in public places. For example, LOCAL governments may properly establish rules about when and where someone may discharge a weapon in non-emergency situations (though that is ALL that government may properly do with respect to weapons, at ANY level, since the Second amendment is pretty specific). Local government may also establish rules against public intoxication (by any substance), though no level of government may prohibit the use of intoxicants, since no INDIVIDUAL has the authority to consent to such regulation of OTHER PEOPLE’S behavior. If an individual may not infringe on the rights of others, he cannot get government to do it for him.

In future articles, I’ll delve deeper into how we can go about getting our Constitution restored as the Supreme Law of the Land. For now, we need to ensure that we understand the mechanism that created it and the thoughts of the Founders when they were writing this marvelous document. Their contemporary writings pretty much, in my opinion, show that they were in agreement with the line of thinking I have portrayed here. They did say that the Constitution was something that would only work with a “moral” people, that is, a people who accepted that there are such things as right and wrong and that one should always strive for the right. This matter of morality is something that cannot be legislated (NO government has either the authority or the capability to do that), but must be learned and accepted through family and church. Today we have the forces of Liberalism which have done their utmost to destroy BOTH institutions and make morality a thing of the past. “Anything goes,” or so they want us to believe. And, sadly, some do.

On the other side we have those who believe that MORALITY can be instilled in folks at the point of the government’s gun.

Both sides are terribly, tragically and EVILLY WRONG. But more later on these things.

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