Losing the Constitution By Michael Hampton Posted: January 7, 2006 11:16 pm Updated: January 10, 2006 5:10 am Share this story: Digg del.icio.us reddit.com 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, its that worth reading): [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 wont be disappointed, and you wont ever look at the Constitution as just a piece of paper again. Its time we demand our government remain true to its Constitutional limits. Actually, scratch that. Weve been demanding that for decades. Its 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.