A philosophical declaration of war against big government

Rick U. writes:

Prominent conservatives are set to declare a return to Constitutional principles of government at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

LA replies:

Which means what? A return to constitutional principles of government would require nothing less than dismantling much of the structure of the modern liberal state. Is that the agenda of this group? Or do they accept the big government that we already have and merely seek to stop it from getting any bigger?

See my letter to Gertrude Himmelfarb some years ago in which I showed what the “remoralization” of society that she urged (which was analogous to the return to constitutional government that this present group urges) would really involve.

- end of initial entry -

February 17

Richard W. writes:

Your posting on The Mount Vernon Statement pointed to an article, which in turn had a dead link to the statement itself. The correct link is: The Mount Vernon Statement. As you suspected, it is long on rhetoric and short on actual policy. It reminds me of Sarah Palin’s recent speech, in that way.

Article One, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution lists the enumerated powers that the States delegated to the Federal Government. They include things like setting tariffs, supporting a navy, declaring war and setting weights and measures. This section has never been amended.

Therefore, it is patently obvious to everyone except liberal Supreme Court justices that the legal basis for the Federal Government to legislate in other areas beyond those enumerated does not exist. The commerce clause, also part of Article 1 Section 8, was very clearly not intended as: “PS, also you may legislate in any other area that you think is good.” Only the liberal hacks who have dominated the SC since FDR think it does. (Surely, even they are not ignorant enough to believe their own “interpretations”). So, the judicial rulings that allow 90 percent of our Federal Government are essentially a put on.

Justice William O. Douglas, a drunken womanizer according to his biographers, at least realized this and threw aside any pretext of mis-interpreting the actual text of the Constitution and simply stated that the new rights he was creating came from the “penumbras and emanations” of the Constitution, and not the document itself.

He occasionally wrote his opinions on cocktail napkins. He was the longest serving member of the Supreme Court, from 1939 to 1975, surviving four attempts to impeach him. The unconstitutional Federal behemoth we are saddled with is the result of the willful intellectual dishonesty of Douglas and the others who have walked in his footsteps, up to the vapid Sandra Sotomayor of Obama vintage.

Any serious, as opposed to superficial and rhetorical, attempt to return to our Constitutional form of government should have no problem pointing out that most of what the Federal Government does is unconstitutional. The Constitution simply does not give the Federal Government the power to set up mandatory retirement systems and compel citizens to participate, to pay for insurance for poor people, to build rural electrification systems, to buy failing auto companies, or to stimulate the economy.

A real movement dedicated to restoring the Constitutional order would take the words of the Constitution itself seriously. Such a movement would urge people to go read specific sections and challenge the existence of the many government functions that lie outside its mandate. Such a movement would begin with a reluctant acknowledgment that the plain meaning of the Constitution is available to average citizens, and our understanding of it has been intentionally obscured for a generation. And that we, as citizens, have been dumbed down for political reasons by our teachers.

As it stands the signatories are merely using the Constitution as a backdrop for a brand campaign for the GOP. They are no better that the Democrats who occasionally refer to it on a Sunday talk show, while violating its clear intent all week long.

Such is the sorry state of our so-called Conservative leadership in 2010.

LA replies:

I think that you are somewhat oversimplifying the issue. If you mean that Congress and the President can only do things that are explicitly stated in the Constitution, then we would have to dismantle much of the United States. For example, we’d have to give the Louisiana Territory back to France, which would be awkward. We’d have to dismantle the national park system. So I think we need to distinguish between things that are in a gray area, that is, within a reasonably expansive reading of the Constitution, and things that are completely beyond any gray area.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 16, 2010 12:46 PM | Send

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