Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Country of "No"

"History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government."
-- Bell v. Hood, 71 F. Supp., 813, 816 (1947)

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters."
-- Daniel Webster

"No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights."
-- Edmund A. Opitz

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The Center Wing said...

The word 'shall' appears more than 50 times in the first Article alone. Based on Opitz's reading this makes the Constitution far more demanding of government action than limiting of it.

Is that an accurate reading of the Constitution? Absolutely not, which shows the folly of trying to divine true Constitutional meaning of the limits of power through a few random quotes, rather than in depth analysis and reading.

No wonder so many on the right think a public health care option is unconstitutional while simultaneously defending Medicare to the death (the ultimate public health care option). The curse of soundbite culture is that we lose touch with the actual meaning of the words coming out of our mouths because we're so focused on making them memorable and pity.

The Center Wing said...

By the way, the above isn't meant to be an attack on this post or this blog as a whole, but merely my frustration with the state of Constitutional understanding (and continuous misunderstanding) in our society. It's time to renew our education on the Constitution and Founders, sadly, it seems that needs to start at the top.