Rocker and Sage

The Quintessential Optimist and the Quintessential Cynic - Working Together to Build a Better America.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Civics 101: The Mythological Document

Probably 90% of Americans feel that the Federal Government has become too powerful, and too intrusive. Worse, they have no idea of how this came to be- or what to do about it. In the 20th century alone, government has grown five hundred times faster than its citizens. How has this happened? Where has our republic gone? Wasn't the Constitution supposed to check the growth of the Federal Government, and protect our liberties?

Yes, the Constitution was supposed to do that according to what we learned in Civics 101, according to the "mythological document". However, when faced with the sheer logic of what happens when Constitutional text and history are coldly analyzed this thinking collapses in a heap of dust.It collapses when one merely looks around seriously- the feds presently take one third of our productivity, and regulate everything from milk to the size of chimneys. There never was a tenth amendment of any substance, and there never will be. THE FEDS CAN DO ANYTHING THEY WANT!!!

Americans know nothing about the Constitution; only one in a hundred can correctly name James Madison its "Father'; only one in a thousand can name even one of the Bill of Rights.
Real Constitutional knowledge does not exist, but the myth is alive and well! We very much believe the founders advertisement of 1787-88 that the Constitution was written by great statesmen, the founding fathers, so its become a sacred cow that cannot be touched. So here we are blasting Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court without ever even looking at the document itself. I admit to having been guilty of this myself. But the truth is that despite our mythology, despite our so-called traditions of liberty, we are sinking into the depths of despotism and no one seems to be able to do anything about it.

This thinking of mine has been so depressing even for a cynic that I have gone over it again and again thinking that I must have missed something; that I had no right to arrive at such a foreboding conclusion. It was like passing by a well known building and hearing a weird sound coming from within; a sound that I had never heard before. What I found when I went inside was no less than horrifying. Under the Constitution, Americans have no legally enforceable avenue to counteract the Federal usurpation of the people's power that we are presently witnessing . Worse yet, this was in fact planned for , and intended by the founders from the beginning. The weird sound was an inconsistency in the Constitution's Preamble. What inconsistency you're wondering? Linguistically it is almost invisible. But if you eliminate all of the legalistic jargon you will spot it here:"We the people of the United States... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America". Doesn't it strike you as at least curious that both of these are mentioned in the same passage? Did you know that there is a difference between the "US" and the "USA"? Did you know that the "US" is actually a corporation, separate from the "USA"? The founding lawyers of 1787 knew exactly what they were doing and summarized it in the very first paragraph of their new corporate charter!

Please do not dismiss this as nothing more than a hair-splitting play on words. The Constitution is not only a political document, but also a body of law, and as such "the devil is in the details"! Detailed language is the structure of all legal matters. To understand the matter, we must first understand the structure. While not openly governing the text, this "wording" hinted at what was to be in the future.

Too many state delegates believed the federalist hoopla, and as a result overlooked the ambiguities, and subleties of the document. Only the Anti-Federalists saw through the papier-mache handcuffs on government that appeared to the rest as being solid iron. The Aristocrats won, and they are still winning because we are still living under their system, completely clueless as to why its not working.

And that is exactly the point, it wasn't supposed to work as advertised! It was never meant to guarantee state autonomy, or protect individual rights. And even more importantly, it was NEVER meant to limit federal growth.

I have come to the horrific conclusion that the Constitution as it was framed was the most insidious, protracted coup d' etat in history. Since its ratification, our federal masters have exhausted all powers, and stretched all ambiguities in language to the breaking point. The Constitution, as currently interpreted, now resembles what the founding lawyers truly wanted in their aristocratic hearts. For over two hundred years "We the sheeple" have been blindly in love with a lovely virgin of our own image that does not exist!

The Federalists were unhappy from the start because their beloved "Aristocracy" would not be achieved in their lifetimes, and they knew it! Hamilton himself angrily blurted out his feelings in 1792 when he said that "the Constitution was a shilly-shally thing which would not last, AND WAS ONLY GOOD AS A STEP TO SOMETHING BETTER!!! He best understood its "frail and worthless fabric! Helplessly caught between the two diametrically opposed forces- freedom, and big government, it would be just a matter of time before it would be radically altered, or replaced by one of them.

I realize that this is the most depressing post I have ever written, and may just be the most controversial as well. However, my resources are all orthodox, and my conclusions, if applied with reason seem inescapable. As awful as this premise sounds on its face, I believe it to be circumstancially compelling, if not conclusive.

Know that I am for true liberty under a constitution, even this one if it were possible. But it must be a documentary guarantee of our freedoms with some real limits on government, one that requires substance, and not just clever form. Its long past the time we finally see through the form and learn how truly hollow this document really is, and has always been. I am willing to know the truth; and I hope you are too. I have always agreed with the saying that "liberty has always been a fourth quarter team". We're up against a very formidable opponent that is well organized, and aims to fight. Its late in the game, and we're all really on the same team. A synthesis of effort is needed here.

Republicans need to cast off their "Democrat Light" costumes, and get serious about freedom. They need to crave something more substancial than Rush Limpbiscuit, and Ann Cuttlefish's liberal-bashing.

Libertarians need to get their heads out of the clouds and do something beyond intellectual dreaming. Face it, we won't be hosting the Inaugural Ball in 2009.

Conservative Christians need to learn to mind their own business, and spend their time applying their religion to themselves. They need to quit harping on the issue of "morality"; most especially someone elses. The point of government is not to make a heaven on earth, but rather keep from making a hell of it. Libertarians wouldn't think of interfering with anybody's church service, so why not let them buy a six-pack on Sunday if they want to?

Everyone needs to examine their "parchment worship" of the Constitution, and eliminate the idolatry.

Civics 101 starts here. See you in class!!! The Revolution will not be Televised.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Good Old Fashioned Government

I shouldn't really complain; it could have been worse . A trip to Canada this past weekend ended with me having to plead with a Spanish bureaucrat to convince him that I was an an American citizen. My NH driver's license wasn't good enough to get me home, or my knowledge of all of the presidents in chronological order backwards, and forwards(I am a teacher of US History after all)The threat of being detained for possibly hours, or days while my citizenship was verified loomed as large in my car window as did his bulbous nose. He sensed all of this I think, and thus released me with a stern reprimand, and admonishment that" if I had real I.D. with bar codes that could be scanned quickly, I would have been on my way without further ado, but since I had only a license, which must inputted manually, it would take much longer. I was standing in the way of government efficiency. I meekly offered the defense that "passports cost money,lots of it, and are a hassle to get nowadays".

What I really wanted to say was: "the hell with so-called efficiency". It is poisoning our food production, destroying the environment, squandering our financial security, and efficient entertainment is numbing the minds of our children. In fact, the last thing in the world that we should want is an efficient government, but that is what seems to be the test of a good government at least according to a study done by a major foundation. Our old fashion way of running government has put New Hampshire dead last in a Pew Foundation analysis of efficiency in state government.From the perspective of this Washington think tank and their government managers, New Hampshire is an "antiquated, odd ball state, hopelessly mired in the ideals of an 18th century decentralized republic that is suspicious of any form of centralized power". I took this as something of a backhanded compliment of which I am quite proud of as it affirms without doubt the reason that I want to live here. It seems to me that I can almost hear the applause of the founding brothers echoing from the top of Mt. Washington!

It is true that our structure of government has remained largely unchanged since 1784, three years before the US Constitution was adopted. And while other states have marched to the tune of "centralized government efficiency", the Granite State has stubbornly resisted. We have a large citizen Legislature, a slew of volunteer boards, a purposely weak executive that must deal with department heads that are independently elected, and an Executive Council that must approve all appointments, and expenditures. All of this is admittedly inefficient. It drives government bureaucrats and power hungry politicians absolutely mad! And it makes for one of the "freest states" in our nation.

It is my humble opinion that government operates best in small places where maximum participation is possible. From the Mayflower Compact to the New England town meeting, we have learned that the only way to control the abuses of government is by distributing its power as widely as possible, and encouraging the inherent distrust of anything that can become too large and powerful. It is, after all, our heritage. We are a nation of exiles, and immigrants, who left their homes because of their government's efficiency at denying their God-given rights.
The measure of a "good" government is not its efficiency, but rather its restraint. It is best when it allows maximum freedom and opportunity according to the will of the people.

When the powers that be speak of "patriotism, and security" and the need for efficiency in carrying out their jobs as defenders of these ideals, I am reminded of the words of one the founders in this regard,"Those who would surrender liberty for security deserve neither."

The revolution will not be televised!