Are we losing the constitution?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by D_N Flay Table, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. D_N Flay Table

    D_N Flay Table New Member

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    Losing the Constitution

    By Michael Hampton
    Posted: January 7, 2006 11:16 pm
    Updated: January 10, 2006 5:10 am
    Share this story: [​IMG] Digg [​IMG] del.icio.us [​IMG] reddit.com [​IMG] Newsvine

    “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    Somewhere, something went terribly wrong.

    Whatever happened to small government? The American Enterprise magazine takes a look at this question in its January/February 2006 issue. In its feature article, Christopher DeMuth, who served under Presidents Nixon and Reagan, takes a look at that goddamned piece of paper and gives us some idea of where things started going sour. Here are several choice cuts (yes, it’s that worth reading):
    [​IMG]
    [In July,] for much of American history and by deliberate design, Congress and the White House would have been closed for business and Washington [D.C.] deserted. . . .
    [The framers] wanted government to be robust and decisive in a limited sphere, but also considered government a threat to freedom and happiness, and worried it would engross private society, property, commerce, and culture. “Government,” said John Adams, “turns every contingency into an excuse for enhancing power in itself.” “Government,” said George Washington, “is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” And those were the Federalists. . . .
    [Economist] Ronald Coase, who won the Nobel Prize in 1991, puzzled over why so many studies of government programs found that they were ineffective or actually worsened the problems they were supposed to ameliorate. He concluded that “an important reason may be that government at the present time is so large that it has reached the stage of negative marginal productivity, which means that any additional function it takes on will probably result in more harm than good. . . . If a federal program were established to give financial assistance to Boy Scouts to enable them to help old ladies cross busy intersections, we could be sure that not all the money would go to Boy Scouts, that some of those they helped would be neither old nor ladies, that part of the program would be devoted to preventing old ladies from crossing busy intersections, and that many of them would be killed because they would now cross at places where, unsupervised, they were at least permitted to cross.” — The American Enterprise
    Read the whole thing; you won’t be disappointed, and you won’t ever look at the Constitution as just a “piece of paper” again.
    It’s time we demand our government remain true to its Constitutional limits. Actually, scratch that. We’ve been demanding that for decades. It’s time to enforce that demand by getting rid of both the Republicans and the Democrats, neither of whom seem to show much respect at all for the Constitution.
     
  2. viking1

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    I have said for years that we are losing control of our government. We CAN
    take it back, but we have to all work together to do that. All we gotta do is vote and spend our money in the right way...no violence is needed.
     
  3. datdude

    datdude New Member

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    Every great nation crumbles from with in. Right now the corruption is getting out of control. If you do not stand up for your rights they will be taken from you.
     
  4. SpeedoGuy

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    Agreed 100%. I get the heebie jeebies anytime I read exhortations about "taking back the country" or some such. Those kinds of words tend to sound a lot like threats to me.

    As if the US would be better off with a bunch of self-appointed private militias battling each other for control of the nation a la Iraq.

    The constitution is just fine. The motivation behind its interpretation and enforcement is what's often troubling.
     
  5. B_spiker067

    B_spiker067 New Member

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    I don't think the size of government is the question but rather how to make it effective government. Whether I pay for health care out of my pocket or I get taxed and then granted health care doesn't matter as long as I get good health care. Good health care includes a notion of not expensive health care. You can substitute any potential government service in for health care in the above.

    And no we aren't losing our constitution. It's working just great though the ones working it aren't.
     
  6. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    This didn't happen overnight. It's been going on for over a century.

    One of the biggest mistakes the public ever made was expecting the government to take care of them. Socialism exerts the wishes of the government over the rights of the individual. When the public began taking money from the federal government during the New Deal, they sold their souls to the feds. Franklin Roosevelt hijacked the Constitution to get his way. The Supreme Court ruled many of his actions unConstitutional. He said there is nothing in the Constitution that limits the number of judges on the Supreme Court and I'll appoint as many as is necessary to get my way. Molly Ivins, used to love to tell that on him and she was a liberal Democrat. It's been down hill ever since that era.

    Constitutionally, some states rights still exist but you must fight for them. The federal government cannot cross into your borders to assist you unless the governor asks for it. That was a big problem in the Katrina nightmare. The way the government gets its way is to blackmail by withholding funds.

    Let's vote them all out and start over. Both parties have an agenda and don't care about what you want.

    Plus, a right is something guaranteed by the Constitution such as freedom of speech. It is not a right for you to have a high standard of living if you don't at least try to help yourself. I will gladly give to give you a helping hand. Don't expect me to give so you can be a crack head who won't turn a lick of work. Yes, as a mailman I see a whole lot the rest of you do not see. Take care of your kids don't be spending it on your boyfriends. It is disgusting to see what our society has become.
     
  7. rob_just_rob

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    Constitutions are a funny thing.

    Essentially, the what the drafters of a constitution are saying is: "We, the drafters of this document, are more wise and just than any of our predecessors were, and we are more wise and just than anyone in the future will be. Therefore, we are putting down our wisdom on paper, to be adhered to evermore."

    In other words, they're pretty ridiculous items of conceit. Nonetheless, just as democracy is the worst form of government aside from the other ones, the only thing worse than an outdated, largely ignored and largely unenforced constitution is none at all.

    If your government - legislative, judicial, and executive - can't be bothered to respect your rights, you'll have to force them do it.
     
  8. Rikter8

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    What are "Rights"?

    The constitution doesnt mean squat under Shrub & Co's new laws.

    They will continue to erode until the citizens of the US stand up and fight back on big government.

    I think government is good, and very important, but not at the scale that it operates today, and at the corruption level and power.

    Allowing a man to do whatever he pleases that affects millions of people isnt right.
    Allowing military and police force "Special" rights doens't make the world any safer place.
    Sending thousands of US troops, to their death for no reason whatsoever doesn't make the US a powerful nation, it makes it a shameful one.

    There are many people that reside in the states. It's sad that many of them can't wake up and see the wool being pulled over their eyes.

    Imagine if the world would become educated, and people stand at attention...the world would be a much different place.
     
  9. viking1

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    You are correct. FDR was the premier socialist in this country. People were so desperate during the Great Depression that they went for it. How do you think Hitler came to power? How about Stallin? Scary ain't it?
     
  10. Freddie53

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    You may think ill of Franlin Roosevelt. But I bet you will take your social security check when you retire and will be thankful to get health coverage for $60 or so a month that really costs $1000 a month, and prescription drugs at a price that you can afford. I don't think you will turn down these financial optoins when you turn 65.

    Hoover did nothing as our country tottoered toward a revolution. Contrary to your position, it is my position that Franklin Roosevelt prevented a real socialist or communist or facist takeover. The people were close to open rebellion in 1931 and 1932. The veterans were camped out in Washington demanding their money. It was an awful time. Roosevelt was able to restore order and some semblence of economic system for the people.

    I don't think Roosevelt was perfect. But he certainly was a very good president. The older generation almost worshipped him.
     
  11. D_N Flay Table

    D_N Flay Table New Member

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    I love you guys ;)
     
  12. DC_DEEP

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    You don't know me very well, do you?:biggrin1: I've been pounding all three of those points above for over a decade, but more especially in the last 6 years.
    That's a matter of perspective. Currently, the Constitution is just fine, but simply being ignored when convenient. But that's a little like the phrase, "I'm not fat, I'm just too short for my weight." The two biggest problems are that not enough citizens are willing to call "BULLSHIT!" and our judiciary has been stacked in favor of the slimebags.
    Which one is the chicken, and which one is the egg?
    You would not believe the hateful responses I have received from hard-line party loyalists from both sides for saying exactly that. Unfortunately, most Americans don't really understand the whole purpose of the US Constitution. It is not to enumerate the rights of citizens. It is to express a basic framework of the structure of our federal government, and to limit the powers of that federal government. Most of our rights as citizens are implied, but there were a few rights that our founding fathers saw as so important that they had to be explicit.
    I'm not sure I agree with "ridiculous items of conceit," but I absolutely agree with the Constitution being ignored and unenforced. And yes, we really must FORCE our government to abide by its own rules.
     
  13. rob_just_rob

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    What a lot of people prefer to forget is that in the 1930s, there was real concern about the growing popularity of far more radical socialist groups. Roosevelt's measures were a compromise taken with talk of revolution in the air. Had he failed to act as he did, who knows what might have happened?
     
  14. Blocko

    Blocko Member

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    The new deal wasn't about socialism. It was about Keynesian economic theory.
    It was about saving capitalism.
     
  15. DC_DEEP

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    [friendly sarcasm]Shame on you both. Don't you know that supply-side economics would have served the United States, and therefore the global economy, much better in 1930 - 1940 than any New Deal? [/friendly sarcasm]
     
  16. B_big dirigible

    B_big dirigible New Member

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    Both the US government and American society are "works in process". It's hard to see how they could be anything else. Certainly freezing either into some museum vignette of the late eighteenth century would not be ideal, even were it possible. The country has had to deal with some inherent internal faultlines, as well as outside pressures. Both mandated evolutionary changes.

    The federal government envisioned in the Constitution had to be a weak one. The colonies were just too diverse to be able to accept anything stronger. The unity of the states was, to a large degree, an illusion. Its genesis was historical accident. After the Boston Tea Party, Britain insisted that the colony of Massachusetts pay for the destroyed tea. The colony refused. The Royal Navy closed the port of Boston to encourage the colony to change its mind. The other colonies decided to support Massachusetts rather than the home country. This was seismic; it was the first time the colonies acted, or even thought of themselves, as the United States of the Americas.

    But that cooperation couldn't long survive the Revolution itself. The interests of the New England merchants, the old New York aristocrats, and the Virginia squires were too divergent. The major faultline was the South's slave economy. Today it is almost impossible to make an evaluation of its effects, as slavery isn't an academic subject so much as a political club. So it is generally not understood just how fundamentally it skewed the early development of the Republic.

    Because of slavery, the states had to retain most of their sovereignty - neither the free nor the slave states were willing to surrender to the others. The Constitutional Convention knew that the "peculiar institution" would be a problem, perhaps even a fatal one, but it was a problem they couldn't do anything about. So they put if off, hoping for the best. The only acceptable central government was therefore a weak one. The Articles of Confederation were too weak. Their failure was obvious from the beginning. The new federal government outlined in the Constitution was stronger, but still weak by the standards of other countries. Its failure would not be apparent for some eighty years.

    Federal power grew in the early days (the founding of the US Navy; Jefferson's unconstitutional purchase of the Louisiana territory; etc), but only by small increments. The first huge expansion was caused by the Civil War - the problems inherent in the "peculiar institution" come home to roost. The secession was purposely made a violent one, the hope in some Southern circles being that that would make it permanent. Unfortunately, due to some peculiarities of geography, that imperiled the North's economic survival, and so ensured that the war would have to be fought out to a definite conclusion - one which the South couldn't win. Or at least, not without assistance.

    The effect on England's mill towns of the lack of American cotton was agonizing. England hoped for a quick Southern victory, and resumed cotton exports. British recognition of the Confederacy would mean that the South could get loans from British banks, which in turn would mean Royal Navy ships in Southern ports, hoping to keep them open so that the British banks could eventually be repaid. With the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln made British intervention politically impossible, and simultaneously solved the persistent problem of the peculiar institution, albeit in a draconian way. (The solution wasn't complete; the Proclamation freed slaves only in the states "in rebellion," which didn't include quite all the slave states.)

    Lincoln's actions during the war were huge extensions of the role of the federal government - hardly surprising, as the secession itself had demonstrated that the federal government, as implemented up until then, was not strong enough to survive. The blockade of the Southern ports, income tax, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the wartime draft were major milestones in the expansion of at least the practice of federal power. Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus was another practical expansion. It was necessary in order to fight - without that suspension, it would be impossible to keep prisoners of war. But whether it was an extra-Constitutional power grab is still a matter of debate. The wording of the Constitution itself fails to make it clear whether that constitutional power was intended to reside with the president or with congress. But as either a congressional or presidential power, it was a legitimate federal power, albeit previously unused.

    After the war, the South expected that things would revert to the status quo ante; life would go on as if the war had never happened. The Emancipation Proclamation made that impossible. Federal power had to be increased further, to force the South to comply. Thus, the 14th Amendment, and the beginning of the extension of federally guaranteed individual rights to the states.

    Although the loose ends still haven't all been tidied up, the Civil War basically fixed the major weaknesses initially built into the American federal system. And, interestingly enough, it did it without any major change to the written Constitution itself. How much of that expansion was forseen in 1787? We can only speculate.

    There has been further evolution since, brought about by internal changes (the extension of the franchise, and FDR's experiments with socialism) and external pressures (mainly, two World Wars). But the point of all this is that the government's natural tendency to expand is not the only force at work here. The weakness of the early federal government was a historical accident; that should not be assumed to be its "normal" or proper condition.
     
  17. Blocko

    Blocko Member

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    [sarcastic reply]Oh yes, solving a shortage of aggregate demand with supply-side economics makes perfect sense, even in the most basic simulation.[/sarcastic reply]

     
  18. Blocko

    Blocko Member

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    As far as I'm concerned FDR founded the United Nations to create a socialist world order that we're all trapped in. All us free-market laissez-faire types are being sorely oppressed by all the idealogical misrepresentation of the man in the back of the EUROPEAN BUILT SMALL CAR running the world.

    The new deal was obviously FDR's attempt to seduce Mae West. He thought a big package that mainly consisted of financial market regulations attacking the direct causes of the great depression and in particular bank collapses, loss of confidence, slump in demands and the loss of savings of many hard working Americans would impress her (and Uncle Joe). Unfortunately, she was more into girth.

    Of course the Corporatist-Capitalism thriving on military spending that was central to Fascism was FDR's goal all along. Making sure the trains ran on time and the banks didn't collapse, that was FDR's slogan.

    Now we've banished the tryant in the second globalism war we can all bask as Atlas Shrugs a little fantastic freedom on us all... where the heroic CEOs (Including Captain Turner Planet) can keep us safe from evil.

    I thought we needed to move from sarcasm to satire now.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    Oh, while we are at it, let's toss in some trickle-down, just to spice things up!

    Seriously, though, and back on topic... big d, I do understand the history and the implications. Just curious, should your 14th amendment reference also have included the 13th amendment?

    I think the OP (and forgive me if I'm wrong, DJG) was more in reference to blatant disregard for constitutional mandates, whether by legislation, adjudication, or common practice. DOMA vs. Full Faith and Credit, for instance. Patriot Act vs. amendments 4 & 6 et al. Soverign immunity vs. amendment 1. Internal Revenue Service vs. amendment 14... the list is fairly extensive.
     
  20. Blocko

    Blocko Member

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    Is trickle down called dual use at the moment? They change that around every few years to make sure the poor people know they're not always being pissed on.

     
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