Posted by: Rational Voice | July 6, 2011

What Our Declaration Says…According to Liberals

Sorry it’s taken so long for me to post anything on here.  Life has been busy and it’s summer, so I can hardly be blamed, right?  Anywho, I read this article by E.J. Dionne on the morning of the 4th and just had to write. There are so many falsehoods and so much twisted history in this piece that I couldn’t let it go unchallenged. There is no way a person can look at our Founding, what the Founder’s actually wrote, and what actually influenced them and draw the conclusions Dionne has without making a conscious and deliberate effort to tailor it to fit their liberal ideology. Facts are facts, unless you’re a liberal. In that case, facts just present an obstacle which they must make every attempt to alter in order to forward their agenda. Without further ado, I will start by breaking down his arguments and present reality, the very thing liberals hate more than anything else in this world, well, besides conservatives.

Now, the debate is shadowed by worries that if a willful faction does not get what it wants, it might bring the nation to default.

A willful faction huh? You mean nearly half the country? Oh and the nation wouldn’t go into default; it just wouldn’t be able to borrow any more money, forcing them to finally get spending under control, so you can stop with the scare tactics that you always accuse the right of using.  Also, if one wants to be truly objective they must acknowledge that President Obama once was opposed to increasing the debt ceiling  back in 2006.  Odds are it had to do with being anti-Bush rather having to do anything to do with a sense of fiscal responsibility.

Whether they intend it or not, their name suggests they believe that the current elected government in Washington is as illegitimate as was a distant, unelected monarchy.

How? I don’t understand where liberals get this talking point from.  The Tea Party and conservatives are not questioning the legitimacy of the current government.  What they are concerned about is how large it is getting and how it has broken out of the chains the Constitution was supposed to impose on it.  They don’t want to get rid of government, they just want to make sure it stays limited like our Founders intended.

It implies something fundamentally wrong with taxes themselves or, at the least, that current levels of taxation (the lowest in decades) are dangerously oppressive.

Some people definitely think that our current tax rates are too high but I think that is number is much less than the number of people who think our tax system is broken. To say it is unfair would be an understatement but not in the ways the liberals think. Just go read any of the things I’ve written on our tax system and you’ll see what I mean.  I think one of the biggest issues for the Tea Party is that they know with multiple years of $1.5 trillion budget deficits and a $14.2 trillion national debt and no signs of such spending stopping that taxes will have to go up to cover it.  I think more than anything they’re trying to stop this now and preempt such tax hikes.  The tea in Tea Party stands for Taxed Enough Already, implying that we’re basically at our limit and any more will cause problems.  Oh and who gives a damn if our overall rates are lower than they have been in decades? When people earn the money, it’s THEIR money, NOT the government’s. To imply that the government deserves it is simply wrong. Let the people keep what they earn. If other people can’t earn it or are unwilling to do what’s necessary to earn more, that’s their problem, not mine.  Also, never mind the fact that income taxes were never a part of the Constitution as the Founders wrote it.  In fact, even the progressives of the early twentieth century couldn’t read an income tax into an objective interpretation of the Constitution.  Instead, they had to pass an amendment in order to create one and it is now law.  Conservatives may disagree with it but the fact of the matter is it was duly passed and it is legitimate.

The very first item on their list condemned the king because he “refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” Note that the signers wanted to pass laws, not repeal them, and they began by speaking of “the public good,” not about individuals or “the private sector.”

Alright, there is a lot to this one.  Sure they wanted to be able to pass laws, laws that they were part of creating instead of just having placed on them. But to me, this implies that Dionne implies the Founders wanted a big government, one like the liberals envision.  And he needs to look into what the Founders meant by the “public good” and also realize that one of the key components of the Founders’ vision of government was indeed individual rights, not collective rights. They wanted each person to be able to make their own decisions, not have decisions made for them by the government, so to say their first concern was the “public good” deliberately takes this part out of a larger context.

Their second grievance reinforced the first, accusing the king of having “forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance.” Again, our forebears wanted to enact laws; they were not anti-government zealots.

Nobody said they were! And nobody except those who hope to marginalize the Tea Party, aka the entire American left and the media (yea I know I’m being redundant), believes that the Tea Party is actually anti-government. They just want a small, unobtrusive  government and the ability to make decisions at a more local level rather than a faraway Federal government making decisions for them.  And yes, the Founders did want to enact laws but they also wanted each state and local jurisdiction to make the preponderance of the laws because they would be more in tune with what the people wanted and needed.  If this wasn’t the case, then why would the Founders have put strict limits on the Federal government via the Constitution? If you want more information on who the Founders thought should make most of the laws or the role of the Federal government, read Federalist 45.

This misunderstanding of our founding document is paralleled by a misunderstanding of our Constitution. “The federal government was created by the states to be an agent for the states, not the other way around,” Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said recently.

Actually, Gov Perry is right on.  Before the Founders ratified the Constitution, each state was essentially an independent nation and technically in some ways they still are, hence the term “state” which when used outside of the U.S. and on an international level is an independent, sovereign nation.  The states realized though that they were stronger together than they were by themselves so they willing ceded certain powers to a federal government like national defense, foreign policy and trade, a standardized monetary system, interstate commerce, etc., (you know, all the enumerated powers in the Constitution) leaving all other issues for the states to decide for themselves.  The states came together the form the federal government, not the other way around. Our system has been turned on its head though with the Federal government now running the show with the states essentially subordinate to them.  It was never meant to be this way and I’m sure Madison and Jefferson and turning over in their graves because of it.

No, our Constitution begins with the words “We the People” not “We the States.” The Constitution’s Preamble speaks of promoting “a more perfect Union,” “Justice,” “the common defense,” “the general Welfare” and “the Blessings of Liberty.” These were national goals.

This is true, they were but that doesn’t mean they wanted a large Federal government.  Outside of a common defense a few key things I already discussed, they wanted everything to be taken care of at a localized level. That was how they intended to have a “more perfect Union” etc.  They intended to secure all these rights and blessings by keeping government small, allowing the people to make decisions for themselves. Also, despite what liberals love to read into “general Welfare,” the Federal government was never mean to become a charity.  Just read what future president James Madison had to say when speaking about whether or not the Federal government should help out those feeling the Haitian Revolution:

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

He also stated:

The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the (Federal) government.

He voted against this not because he was heartless. Rather, being the acknowledged father of the Constitution, he knew that through an objective reading and understanding of the Constitution that there was no legal authority for the Federal government to do such a thing.  And therein lies the problems with liberals and compassionate conservatives today. They read into the Constitution what they want to see, not what is actually there. They cannot put down their ideology and view the document objectively.  And I’ll admit, there are plenty in the Tea Party that are the exact same way.  People need to remove emotion and ideology before they get into these issues and read the law for what it actually says. They also need to read what the Founders actually wrote as well to understand the broader context of our founding. We try to practice what we preach on our posts. Granted, there are always some that are going to be purely ideological but when it comes to topics like this, taxes, and economics amongst others, we do our best to approach the topics rationally and objectively, discussing them for what they are, not what we want them to be.

I know states’ rights advocates revere the 10th Amendment. But when the word “states” appears in the Constitution, it typically is part of a compound word, “United States,” or refers to how the states and their people will be represented in the national government.

This part right here is nothing but a straw man.  Again, go back and read anything that Jefferson or Madison had to say on this issue, particularly Federalist 45 and you’ll find that they wanted the states to be the epicenter of power in this nation, doing what was best for their people rather than the Federal government making decisions for all the states.  One cannot read Federalist 45 and come to the conclusion Dionne does here, that is, if they’re being objective and intellectually honest.

We can wreck that system if we forget our Founders’ purpose of creating a representative form of national authority robust enough to secure the public good.

Like I’ve said, the public good was never meant to be read as providing people with healthcare, unemployment “benefits,” social security, etc.  These types of things were left to the states themselves if they wanted to do such things, which is exactly why Romneycare in Massachusetts is perfectly legal (though I still don’t agree with it, but like I said, we’re objective here) and why Obamacare is fundamentally unconstitutional, no matter how they want to spin it.  To secure the public good, they intended limit government rather than create an all-powerful one.

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