The very reason for a written Constitution was and is to limit the government created by that document to the powers expressly delegated.
I have witnessed a teacher of Political Science in America require a class to watch Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore then write an essay outlining how many ways President Bush lied to trick America into invading Iraq. If you donít find this assignment offensive youíve already had you quota of Kool- Aid and you should step away from this article and dial 911. Tell them someone is about to tell you the truth and you arenít prepared for what that might do to your world-view.
Conversely when I say we should have listened to the Anti-Federalists, echoing the message of my book The Constitution Failed Iím sure many who often turn to these dispatches from the History of the Future are ready to call the headquarters of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and report that poor old Dr. Owens has veered off the reservation. I was once hired to teach history in a high school devoted to promoting the Socratic learning style using the works of the Enlightenment in the hopes of molding another generation akin to the Founders, critical thinkers dedicated to the proposition that liberty is the fountainhead of achievement. I was fired before the semester started because I did not hold the Founders in enough reverence believing as I do that they were mere men and not demigods infallible and universally inspired.
Donít get me wrong. I do believe that the Founders of American independence and the Framers of the Constitution were a unique collection of political geniuses who did their best to craft the vehicle for their posterityís benefit and for this nationís greatness. The limited government they founded allowed the forever pent-up abilities and longings of man to burst forth into the flowering of American Exceptionalism, the brilliance of the American experiment.
However, that experiment crashed upon the shoals when Abraham Lincoln and the newly birthed Republican Party decided to interpret the Constitution which had been freely entered into by sovereign States to say that no State could ever voluntarily leave even though this is not stated anywhere in the document. Having made that determination this minority government used the overwhelming majority they had in what was left of the Congress to shackle the power of the Industrial North to crush the seceding agricultural South. Slavery, which cannot be divorced from its evil nor defended in any way, provided the spark, the rallying cry, and the effective explanation for a war which shattered the myth of a federal republic composed of sovereign states.
Since that war between brothers our nation has inexorably grown from the vision expressed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence of a commonwealth of freemen into what is rapidly becoming a statist express highballing its way to the gulag of collectivist uniformity and shabby mediocrity. Gone is the meritocracy of the young republic. Gone is the equality of opportunity smothered in the cold dead grasp of the equality of outcome. Gone is the blind justice of a nation of laws devoured by the politically correct insanity of social justice. The Progressives and their coalition of mega-state lobbies have turned the protections of a Constitution written to limit government into a suicide pact wherein if the nationalist federal government chooses open borders in contravention of federal law and states are condemned for passing laws which requires police to enforce the law.
It is time to think the unthinkable and to embrace the abhorrent conclusion that the Constitution has failed. It was meant to limit government. This is proven conclusively by the 10th Amendment which states, ďThe 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.Ē Without the promise of the immediate adoption of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would never have been ratified by a majority of the States. This important though neglected amendment says, and means that only those powers expressly delegated to the central government are legitimate not the endless multiplication of powers which allows that government to intrude into every aspect of our lives as it does today.
The very reason for a written Constitution was and is to limit the government created by that document to the powers expressly delegated not to open the door for interpretation and precedent to expand infinitely until all limits are gone. If that wasnít the intent why have a Constitution at all?
Though many trace the diversion from republican purity to Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressives the truth is Hamilton set the stage for a big government. He fathered the movement away from a decentralized federation of free people agreeing to disagree so that compromise would leave enough space for liberty to bloom. John Marshall the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court manufactured the power of judicial review by exploiting political factions clearing the path for the rule of unelected black robed aristocrats with the power to turn a country of laws into a country of men.
This history lesson may not make my fellow Patriots glow with the satisfaction derived from accepting the Constitution as inviolable scripture received from on high. However, our current decent into the Progressiveís transformed America should make every lover of liberty ready to embrace the truth. The only question remaining: Can learning the truth unlearn the lie?