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A Christian Land

A CHRISTIAN LAND

By Wayne L. Parker

A weak, homeless woman

Pushing a cart

No life in her eyes,

No hope in her heart.

Invisible, ignored,

Or scorned and shunned,

A lost, lonely soul,

In a Christian land.

The bitter, broken war vet

Peering out from his shack

Cursing his countrymen

For the knife in his back.

Praised and exalted

Yet denied and ignored

Just discarded refuse

In a Christian land.

The proud war-maker

Upon achieving his goal

The heart-rending wail

Of his enemy’s soul.

Vain pride in his eyes

Bloody sword in his hand

Decorated hero

Of a Christian land.

The lonely, frightened inmate

Meeting his fate

Strapped to the death table

Of societal hate.

Peers out through the window

At the eager crowd

Proud, vengeful citizens

Of a Christian land.

The rich corporate mogul

Eyes filled with lust

Goes for the jugular

For boom or for bust.

Feels not the humanity

Crushed by his clenched hand

The vainglorious ideal

Of a Christian land.

Jesus of Nazareth

With divine godliness

Calls all to love all

As the children he blessed.

Distorted, perverted,

Denied or disdained

The forgotten teacher

Of a Christian land.

Just a Few of the Founders’ Thoughts On Intelligent Ways to Use “Democracy”

How the Democratic Process was Supposed to be Used

Compiled by Wayne L. Parker

“Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of Government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.” – James Madison, Federalist #10

Roger Sherman echoed this sentiment by stating that the masses, “….want information and are constantly liable to be misled.” – Roger Sherman, during the constitutional convention

 

Gouverneur Morris, also at the Constitutional Convention, expressed the concern that the “rich” would seek to use the federal government for their own purposes: “The Rich will strive to establish their dominion & enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security against them is to form them into a separate interest.”

In Federalist 51, James Madison addressed the need for separate legislative bodies as follows, “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates.  The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit.”

 

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson complained about the arrangement of that state’s legislature, in part, as follows: “The senate is, by its constitution, too homogeneous with the house of delegates.  Being chosen by the same electors, at the same time, and out of the same subjects, the choice falls of course on men of the same description.  The purpose of establishing different houses of legislation is to introduce the influence of different interests or different principles.”

Alexander Hamilton, in a speech before the Constitutional Convention, stated “In every community where industry is encouraged, there will be a division of it into the few and the many.  Hence separate interests will arise.  There will be debtors and creditors etc.  Give all power to the many, they will oppress the few.  Both therefore ought to have power, that each may defend itself against the other.”

During the original Constitutional debates, James Wilson, a rather unsung (to me) Founder from Pennsylvania, observed that “Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes, sometimes in an executive, sometimes in a military one.  Is there no danger of a legislative despotism?  Theory and practice both proclaim it.  If the legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches.  In a single house there is no check, but the inadequate one, of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it.”

 

The Duty of Tipping

A friend of mine has a practice of tipping all those who provide for him any type of service that makes his life a bit easier.

 

He tips the cashier at the grocery store, the clerks at department stores and convenience stores, as well as the maid who daily cleans his hotel room when he’s staying out of town.

He tips, generally, the same amount based upon his own scale of proportion, regardless of the quality of the service provided.

This is because his perceived “generosity” is not based upon any material consideration, but on his feeling of connection with those people.

He recognizes that his payment to the business owner for his use of the product or service is simply a cold business transaction – an exchange in kind.

And he knows that the pay that the business owner gives the employee is only what is necessary to retain the services of that person – just another business calculation.

Consequently, my friend feels inclined to give a little extra in order to demonstrate that he appreciates, personally, not only the service, but the person providing it as well.

He also realizes that, being in a position to share some of what he has, and knowing he has been very fortunate to have had the abilities and circumstances that enabled him to be in his position, he has a very real human obligation to do so.

What’s more, he behaves as he does, not because he’s hopeful of some future reward, or fearful of a future punishment, but because he truly believes in a common bond between himself and all the rest of creation.

My friend believes that he should treat others as he wishes to be treated, because they are a part of all that makes his life good.

As Leo Tolstoy put it, “Love is nothing other than understanding that others are also ‘me.”

Why we kill each other.

In “De Profundis,” one of many essays he wrote while in prison, Oscar Wilde expressed the following observation on a society’s relative well-being and its treatment of people who are incarcerated:

 

“The poor are wise, more charitable, more kind, more sensitive than we are. In their eyes prison is a tragedy in a man’s life, a misfortune, a casualty, something that calls for sympathy in others. They speak of one who is in prison as of one who is ‘in trouble’ simply. It is the phrase they always use, and the expression has the perfect wisdom of love in it. With people of our own rank it is different. With us, prison makes a man a pariah. I, and such as I am, have hardly any right to air and sun. Our presence taints the pleasures of others….Those lovely links with humanity are broken. We are doomed to be solitary….We are denied the one thing that might heal us and keep us, that might bring balm to the bruised heart, and peace to the soul in pain…..”

 

This, to me, goes to the heart of what troubles America today, and is behind much of the violent crime from which we suffer.

 

When people lack confidence in their future, they recognize their own vulnerability to calamity and see that their only protection is in caring for each other.

 

This, I think, tends to breed a sense of common experience, and the empathy that comes from that.

 

Consequently, when a citizen gets “in trouble,” so long as it is not due to chronic behavior that threatens the community’s survival, people think “That could just as likely have been me,” and treat the person with care and forgiveness.

 

Is this what we see today among middle and upper class Americans?

 

When we see a story in the news about someone who is convicted of a crime, how often do we proudly proclaim “Well, the dirt bag had it coming,” and move on with our lives, giving no thought whatsoever to the long term consequences to them and their family?

 

When people suffer a common calamity, such as those I saw on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina, they suddenly discover their common bond with all people, and work together and share as though a part of a single organism.

 

And then, comfort and the illusion of security having been restored, they go back behind their closed doors and once again view everyone else as “them.”

 

This, to me, is an unnatural condition. And I believe that living in violation of nature’s laws is a corruption of the “divine” process, which can only bear corrupted fruit.

Enjoy the Circus!

Now that it’s decided that our main presidential candidates this November will be two over-hyped mediocrities, George Bush and John Kerry, I thought I’d suggest a few campaign slogans for our two ruling parties.

 

DEMOCRATS

“Vote Democrat.  Our philosophy has been failing everywhere for over 200 years, but we have a good feeling about it this time.”

 

“They both may have the same orange hair and round, red plastic noses, but Kerry has the funnier juggling routine.”

 

“You’ll be SAFE with the Democrats!  (We hit like girls)”

 

“Flip a coin, maybe it will come up Democrat.”

 

“Vote Democrat!  Because we’re not Republicans!”

 

“Vote Democrat.  Just a few hundred more laws and a few thousand more regulations and this country will be PERFECT!”

 

 

REPUBLICAN

“For a little less socialism (perhaps), vote Republican.”

 

“Vote for the populist buffoon; because the other guy really IS a socialist.”  (This one may be confusing)

 

“Flip a coin, maybe it will come up “Republican.”

 

“Vote for Bush, and we’ll do some more “Kicking ass and taking names.”

 

“Vote for Bush and support our troops. (After all, they LIKE going to war, don’t they?)”

 

“Republicans believe in limited government.  Limited, that is, to those things that WE want it to do.”

 

“That’s our story and by golly, we’re sticking to it!”

 

“Vote for Bush.  Better a resolute incompetent than a vacillating weasel.”  (They’re actually using this one, but either they aren’t aware of it, or they refuse to admit it).

 

The democratic process tends toward the lowest common denominator.

 

Is it any wonder that we have such lightweights as our primary choices?

Why the common people will always fight each other while the rich get richer

Why We’re Screwed

By Wayne L. Parker

 

The current flap over gay marriage and comments made by the CEO of Chik-Fil-A, along with all of the usual acrimony, is to me just the latest manifestation of what I believe is and will forever be the defining characteristic of American political discourse.

 

One side screams for “less government.” The other side screams for “more government.”

 

About the only place where any agreement exists is between large segments of both sides who acknowledge that wealth and corruption have an excessive influence over the government.

 

This, to me, is precisely what we should expect to exist, and will continue to exist, until people understand the reason WHY it exists.

 

What follows is my description, based upon my reading of the Founders’ writings that pertained to the creation of our government, of what I see as the problem.

 

During the original Constitutional debates, James Wilson, a rather unsung (to me) participant from Pennsylvania, observed that “Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes, sometimes in an executive, sometimes in a military one. Is there no danger of a legislative despotism? Theory and practice both proclaim it. If the legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single house there is no check, but the inadequate one, of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it.”

In Federalist 51, James Madison addressed the need for separate legislative bodies as follows, “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit.”

Several years before the writing of the U.S. Constitution, in his “Notes on the State of Virginia,” Thomas Jefferson complained about the arrangement of that state’s legislature, in part, as follows: “The senate is, by its constitution, too homogeneous with the house of delegates. Being chosen by the same electors, at the same time, and out of the same subjects, the choice falls of course on men of the same description. The purpose of establishing different houses of legislation is to introduce the influence of different interests or different principles.”

This was the original idea for our legislature. Two bodies, naturally opposed to each other, with a common purpose.

Having decided that the legislature should be split into different houses, it remained to determine HOW or along what lines the legislature would be divided.

Gouverneur Morris, also at the Constitutional Convention, expressed the concern that the “rich” would seek to use the federal government for their own purposes: “The Rich will strive to establish their dominion & enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security against them is to form them into a separate interest.”

Other Founders feared giving too much power to the “common people,” for the same reasons.

Alexander Hamilton, in a speech before the Constitutional Convention, stated “In every community where industry is encouraged, there will be a division of it into the few and the many. Hence separate interests will arise. There will be debtors and creditors etc. Give all power to the many, they will oppress the few. Both therefore ought to have power, that each may defend itself against the other.”

The Founders, then, decided that our bicameral legislature would reflect democracy on one side, and “aristocracy” on the other.

 

Toward this end they designed the House of Representatives to be selected as each state deemed fitting. This ensured that the views and needs of the general public would be given full hearing in the legislature.

In order to create a legislative body that would represent the interests of the rich, in competition with those of the common, the Founders decided to have the members of the Senate selected by their respective states’ legislatures, presuming that, since the members of each state government would mostly be men of property and education, these bodies would select people from their own level of society to represent them in the Senate.

Another reason for having one of the legislative bodies appointed or selected by some other means than by popular election was the need to avoid the passions of an aroused public from causing problems for the nation as a whole.

 

In Federalist # 63 James Madison addressed this concern, calling attention to how the use of a single house of legislation, as opposed to a bicameral legislature, was a major factor in the difficulties encountered in the democratic Athenian Republic; “…..so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth, can regain their authority over the public mind? What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped, if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens, the hemlock on one day, and statues on the next.”

Later in Federalist #63 Madison stated that “The people can never willfully betray their own interests: But they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act.”

From the above, the reader should see the importance of creating a legislature consisting of two houses, each representing interests almost totally opposed to the other.

Unfortunately, in 1913 the 17th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified making selection of the members of the Senate a function of the popular vote in each state.

 

And that, to me, is why, in spite of all the earnest arguing and debating on both sides of the political spectrum, we will never make America a stable place to live for the majority of people.

 

With the current arrangement, the wealthy no longer have an institution in the government to represent their needs. But, of course, we common folk also should lament the loss of an institution that would have created a check on the power of wealth.

 

As I see it today, the ways to influence the government are as follows:

 

For the common folks, we can elect our people to both houses of the legislature and the presidency so that our ideas will be implemented. The obvious problem with this, of course, is that we’re usually divided, and so we often end up with a confused, pointless mixture in the government.

 

The other way for the common folks to achieve their desires with the federal government is by becoming sufficiently aroused on a given issue to unite in action. This occurred, with good results, with civil rights legislation in the sixties, and with lamentable results when we invaded Iraq.

 

As for the rich, well, they have the advantage. Like the common people, they can influence the government by electing representatives who support their wishes. And since they have the power of wealth, this is made easier for them. They also, in the desire to become wealthy, generally have a common, uniting cause motivating them.

 

And since the popular vote determines the outcome of federal elections (yes, including for the president), another advantage the wealthy have is their ability, via the media, for form large segments of public opinion.

 

And, of course, should the entire government end up consisting of people who oppose the wealthy, there’s always the tried and true method of outright corruption.

 

Many of the people who know and appreciate my concern for humanity often seem surprised when I tell them I don’t participate in federal elections (except to end or prevent the commission of an injustice).

 

I no longer bother because I believe that unless we address the systemic problem that is causing all of our discontent, we aren’t going to achieve anything lasting or worthwhile.

 

People have become too enamored of the notion of “democracy,” but that method of government has, ever since the Greeks first tried it, been known to be a terrible way to govern a nation.

 

What set our system apart was not that it was democratic, but the intelligent way in which it employed the democratic process.

 

And as far as I’m concerned, until people are willing to address that fact, all this arguing and finger-pointing, along with being very unpleasant, is a complete waste of time.

 

And I prefer to engage my energies in more rewarding pursuits.

 

A Buddha Kinda Thing, I Guess

 

Lumps and bumps prove we are alive;
they’re not who we are

 

For most of the past 30 years I’ve worked in power generation plants. I still have, and use, the same hard hat I was issued at the start of my first civilian job 23 years ago.

 

The hat no longer has the shiny, fresh glow it had upon its issue to me, having lost that surface to time and grime.

 

There are also many scrapes, gouges, nicks, and various-colored paint scuffs indicating that over all that time the hat has done its job.

 

If the hat could talk, I’m sure it wouldn’t utter a single complaint about the injuries it has sustained while protecting its owner’s ponkin’ haid. After all, was this not precisely the purpose for which it was created?

 

As we have come through life, have we not each sustained numerous injuries, both at the hands of others as well as our own?

 

To be sure, some of us have suffered more severe injuries than others, but it seems to me that that is simply due to fate — what happens to one could just as easily have happened to someone else.

 

Understanding this, what sense does it make for any of us to complain about our life’s injuries, or point to them as excuses for not being better than we are? Are we not being irresponsible toward those around us when we allow ourselves to be diverted from our paths by injuries that happen to everyone else as well? Do we not each have a responsibility to be the very best we can be?

 

“Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to keep myself good; just as a gold piece, or an emerald, or a purple robe insists perpetually, ‘Whatever the world may say or do, my part is to remain an emerald and keep my color true.’” — Marcus Aurelius

 

Democracy vs. Freedom

DEMOCRACY VERSUS FREEDOM:

An HONEST Attempt To Explain the U.S. Constitution

By

Wayne L. Parker

Foreword

Almost as soon as we can understand English Americans are told that we live in a “democracy” where the “majority rules.” Later the description is expanded to state that we live in a “representative democracy” in which we democratically elect all of our representatives to go to Washington, D.C. to “conduct the nation’s business.”

In this way, we are told, the “will of the people” is enforced throughout the land.

Yet, is this the case? A better question might be ‘SHOULD it be the case?’ Is “democracy,” as defined above, what the Founders of this country had in mind for such an extensive area of people?

No, it is not. However, it should not be assumed that since simple “majority rule” was rejected by the Founders that a “rich elite” was intended to rule in its stead.

Actually, the United States of America were never envisioned as a “nation,” but as a collection of nations consisting of the individual states that agreed to a contract which we call the Constitution. This was not done out of mere preference or show. Even with just the 13 original states this republic was considered far too large to be properly governed by some type of “national town hall meeting.”

It was understood that due to differences in geography, availability of natural resources, access to waterways, and the diversity of our populace (among other factors) it would be impossible for one legislative body, operating from one location at a great distance from most of the people, to effectively govern the lives of those people.

On October 18, 1787 the New York Journal published an anti-federalist rebuttal (one of many it published during that period) under the pseudonym of “Brutus” which observed, “The territory of the United States is of vast extent; it now contains near three millions of souls, and is capable of containing much more than ten times that number. Is it practicable for a country, so large and so numerous as they will soon become, to elect a representation, that will speak their sentiments, without their becoming so numerous as to be incapable of transacting public business? It certainly is not.”

He went on to point out that “In a republic, the manners, sentiments, and interests of the people should be similar. If this be not the case, there will be a constant clashing of opinions; and the representatives of one part will be continually striving against those of the other. This will retard the operations of government, and prevent such conclusions as will promote the public good. If we apply this remark to the condition of the United States, we shall be convinced that it forbids that we should be one government. The United States includes a variety of climates. The productions of the different parts of the union are very variant, and their interests, of consequence, diverse. Their manners and habits differ as much as their climates and productions; and their sentiments are by no means coincident. The laws and customs of the several states are, in many respects, very diverse, and in some opposite; each would be in favor of its own interests and customs, and, of consequence, a legislature, formed of representatives from the respective parts, would not only be too numerous to act with any care or decision, but would be composed of such heterogenous and discordant principles, as would constantly be contending with each other.”

A far better idea was to have each state take care of its own affairs and look to the federal or “general” government, as the Founders called it, solely to resolve matters that affected the union of the states on the whole or to address problems between individual states.

There have been many historians who have criticized the Founders’ creation because it failed to address individual issues such as slavery, women’s rights, or the disparity of wealth among citizens.

It is my opinion that these critics completely misunderstand the intended role of the federal government. Since a centralized “national government” was considered incompetent to address such local issues and was also deemed to be a threat to everyone’s liberty, the design of the federal government was intended to place the bulk of governmental power where it could do the most good with the least danger of tyranny; in the state and local governments, which is where such issues as slavery and women’s rights should be addressed.

This book will demonstrate how the Founders sought 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” by avoiding democracy at the national level.

When our Constitution was published throughout the world, our system of government was praised as the most intelligent system ever devised.

It was not because it was a “democracy” that it was praised, however. In fact, “democracy” was known to be an ancient form of government which possessed serious flaws where individual freedom and human rights were concerned.

What generated the praise was the way that our government made intelligent use of the democratic process, and it is the manner in which the Founders employed democracy in creating our government which I explain here.

It should be noted that the Founders insisted on the government being accountable to ALL the people. It was for this reason that they limited the participation of the general public in the selection of the Executive Branch as well as the Senate.

The Founders believed that the only “general welfare” or “common good” which exists for everyone is the natural human right to be free from arbitrary control by another human being; or even a majority of human beings.

I think the reader will agree that there is a tremendous amount of government control being exercised over individuals’ private lives today, in direct violation not only of our right to self-determination, but to the Founders’ intent as well.

With this book I intend to point out that our situation is a result of our having “an excess of democracy,” a term used by Elbridge Gerry, one of the framers of our Constitution.

Let me assure you that it is not my intention to argue against the democratic process. To do so would be foolhardy.

I seek only to point out the rather severe limitations of democracy as an institution, and to illustrate how those limitations are being demonstrated by our current state of affairs concerning our federal government.

Major changes have been made to the federal government that have resulted in the leviathan that exists today. Again, this is a result of our moving more toward direct democracy, a situation which the Founders sought to avoid. It is important to remember that virtually every aspect of the federal government was created for a definite reason, after extended debate among the Constitution’s framers. Yet some of the most important “checks and balances” have been eliminated over the years, apparently without understanding the original reasons for those devices.

I do not expect you to take my word on anything. Throughout this book I use the Founders’ own words in full context to demonstrate every claim I make.

“CLEARING THE AIR”

Before I embark on this discussion of democracy it is important that I address two prominent beliefs about our government.

The first is the insistence that “We are a REPUBLIC, not a DEMOCRACY!”

While it is true that the original arrangement for the governance of this country expressly avoided the institution of “democracy” there is no doubt that we are now operating in such a manner. Many people maintain that we are a “representative democracy” in which we elect people to represent our interests at the federal level and that these representatives are expected to act in accordance with our wishes. It is believed that such an arrangement will avoid a situation where the general public actually votes on each individual issue.

I would ask the reader to consider the prevalence of “opinion polls” conducted by political party leaders to determine what “the people” want to see done by their government about various issues. Also, do not forget that, thanks to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution and the perversion of the original intent of the Electoral College (more on these two subjects later) virtually ALL officials in both houses of the legislature as well as the president and vice-president depend upon the popular will to keep their jobs.

Since the “people’s will” determines whether or not these officials remain in power, they will most certainly strive to vote strictly in accordance with popular will, rendering our federal government a pure democracy in action, if not in name.

The other belief that must be addressed, in order that the reader not discard my argument out-of-hand, is the notion that our nation can be governed via some type of “national town-hall meeting” where our representatives get together and discuss the various issues concerning their districts or states and then pass legislation which will satisfy the needs of everyone.

We are a nation of 300 million individuals. Our populace represents virtually every cultural background in the world. Our people live in thousands of villages, towns, and cities spread across 3.5 million square miles of real estate. Do you really think that 537 politicians in Washington, D.C. are capable of addressing every need of every locality, all the while making allowances for the unique circumstances that exist in every hamlet in the country?

No doubt every politician will answer that question with an enthusiastic “Yes!” But I would ask the reader to simply open his eyes.

In Federalist #10, James Madison ridiculed the notion of creating a pure democracy by pointing out that, “Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of Government, have erroneously supposed, that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

In considering the facts which I am about to lay before you, I would urge you to remember the Founders’ sole intent for the federal government. These men sought to preserve the union of the states. Period.

This is a far cry from what most Americans see as the federal government’s purpose today. Most people today believe it is the federal government’s responsibility to guide or direct individual activities in order to promote the “common good.”

Not only was this not the intention of the Founders, it is an impossibility.

DEMOCRACY VS. FREEDOM

My first order of business is to dispel the notion that “democracy” is synonymous with “freedom.”

It is a certainty that for liberty to survive in a nation, that nation’s governments must be accountable to the people. However, such a condition is by no means the only prerequisite.

Consider, for example, the public sentiment at the time of this nation’s founding. The people feared a large, distant, powerful central government because they saw such an entity as being a threat to their individual liberty. For Colonial America, the right to conduct one’s own life as one saw fit was the paramount concern.

In modern America, a growing segment of our population seems to take its liberty for granted, or perhaps cares little for the concept, and instead values “safety” over all other concerns. These people frequently support laws and regulations which violate people’s rights to liberty in the name of “protecting” them or others.

If we were a pure democracy, and this view were held by a majority of citizens, my liberty would be destroyed. However, just because such a destruction of my rights was accomplished by democratic means in no way makes that destruction right.

The point to remember is that the extent of freedom granted to a nation’s people will be a direct function of the primary goal of that nation’s highest governmental power. The citizens of a nation that is ruled by a dictator may enjoy unlimited individual liberty, if their ruler values individual liberty over all else.

By the same token, if a majority of the people in a democracy value “safety” over individual liberty, then we will have the situation that we have today; individual liberty being sacrificed by increasingly intrusive laws and regulations, all in the name of that value.

“Freedom” exists in a democracy only so long as a majority of the people makes that the primary goal of government.

Another problem with democracy is the extent of the public’s education in various subjects that are important to good governance.

People form opinions. That’s one of the things we do naturally. We can’t help it; it’s part of our survival instinct.

However, we can only form opinions based upon our knowledge and the reasoning we employ to assimilate that knowledge. If our knowledge is limited or our reasoning flawed, our opinions are likely to be incorrect. That’s just the way it is. All of our knowledge is limited, to a certain extent, so it’s important to avoid pressing for universal implementation of our ideas.

Most people’s sphere of operation consists of family, job, and home. Most people have neither the time nor the inclination to study government, philosophy, history, or economics. Thus, people’s knowledge of the things that are essential to good government is severely limited. This doesn’t prevent us from forming opinions, however. It simply prevents us from forming educated opinions.

Nations that employ direct democracy for their national government condemn themselves to government in accordance with an un-informed, albeit well-meaning majority.

This phenomenon is responsible for all the un-Constitutional laws that are passed in Washington, D.C. Federal politicians are no longer beholden to the Constitution. They are accountable only to “the people”. And “the people” give little or no thought to the Constitution when they’re calling for their government “solutions.”

Another problem with a purely democratic government is the susceptibility of many to being misled by special interests.

Alexander Hamilton, speaking before the Constitutional Convention June 18, 1787 (as recorded by Robert Yates) stated that, “The voice of the people has been said to be the voice of God; and however generally this maxim has been quoted and believed, it is not true in fact. The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge or determine right.”

On May 31, 1787, during the Constitutional Convention debates concerning the House of Representatives, Elbridge Gerry stated that, “The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue; but are the dupes of pretended patriots. In Massachusetts it has been fully confirmed by experience that they are daily misled into the most baneful measures and opinions by the false reports circulated by designing men, and which no one on the spot can refute.”

Substitute “the mainstream media” for “pretended patriots” and “designing men” in the previous paragraph and you have the situation that we have today.

Roger Sherman echoed this sentiment by stating that the masses, “want information and are constantly liable to be misled.”

I offer one last, serious concern about democracy: the tendency of majorities to squelch minorities. In short, mob rule.

Alexis de Tocqueville observed, “What is a majority, in its collective capacity, if not an individual with opinions, and usually with interests, contrary to those of another individual, called the minority? Now, if you admit that a man vested with omnipotence can abuse it against his adversaries, why not admit the same concerning a majority? Have men, by joining together, changed their character? By becoming stronger, have they become more patient of obstacles? For my part, I cannot believe that, and I will never grant to several that power to do everything which I refuse to a single man.” (Democracy In America,” Part II, Chapter 7 “Tyranny of the Majority”)

Again quoting Madison from Federalist #10; “From this view of the subject, it may be concluded, that a pure Democracy, by which I mean, a Society, consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the Government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert results from the form of Government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is, that such Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.”

It was primarily for this reason that the Founders split the selection process for the different branches of the federal government among different segments of the population.

Since their primary goal for government was the protection of the union, the Founders sought to keep the government’s role out of the hands of “people” in general, as much as possible, by dispersing power among different interests.

CREATING THE LEGISLATURE

The men who supported adopting the new Constitution believed a stronger national government was needed to preserve the union from both foreign aggressors as well as internal disputes between individual states.

The problem, of course, was in creating a government that would have sufficient power to achieve its purpose, while at the same time avoiding the natural inclination of governments to grow beyond their established boundaries.

Having a thorough education in ancient attempts at democracy, the Founders understood the inherent dangers in creating a powerful government which would, for the most part, operate completely out of the view and minds of a majority of the citizens it was created to serve.

During the original Constitutional debates, James Wilson, a rather unsung (to me) Founder from Pennsylvania, observed that “Despotism comes on mankind in different shapes, sometimes in an executive, sometimes in a military one. Is there no danger of a legislative despotism? Theory and practice both proclaim it. If the legislative authority be not restrained, there can be neither liberty nor stability; and it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and independent branches. In a single house there is no check, but the inadequate one, of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it.”

In Federalist 51, James Madison addressed the need for separate legislative bodies as follows, “In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit.”

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson complained about the arrangement of that state’s legislature, in part, as follows: “The senate is, by its constitution, too homogeneous with the house of delegates. Being chosen by the same electors, at the same time, and out of the same subjects, the choice falls of course on men of the same description. The purpose of establishing different houses of legislation is to introduce the influence of different interests or different principles.”

So, you see, U.S. Senators were to be appointed by their state’s legislature in order to break up the legislative power and create competing interests.

Having decided that the legislature should be split into different houses, it remained to determine HOW or along what lines the legislature would be divided.

Gouverneur Morris, also at the Constitutional Convention, expressed the concern that the “rich” would seek to use the federal government for their own purposes: “The Rich will strive to establish their dominion & enslave the rest. They always did. They always will. The proper security against them is to form them into a separate interest.”

Other Founders feared giving too much power to the “common people,” for the same reasons.

Alexander Hamilton, in a speech before the Constitutional Convention, stated “In every community where industry is encouraged, there will be a division of it into the few and the many. Hence separate interests will arise. There will be debtors and creditors etc. Give all power to the many, they will oppress the few. Both therefore ought to have power, that each may defend itself against the other.”

The Founders, then, decided that our bicameral legislature would reflect democracy on one side, and “aristocracy” on the other.

Toward this end they designed the House of Representatives to be selected as each state deemed fitting. This ensured that the views and needs of the general public would be given full hearing in the legislature.

Fearing the “passions” of the masses, and recognizing that most average citizens weren’t able to spend time educating themselves in matters of government, the Founders limited the House’s power by limiting the terms of representatives to two years. The powers designated to the House were also less than those assigned to the Senate, but it is not necessary to list those here. These powers can be gleaned from the full text of the Constitution.

In order to create a legislative body that would represent the interests of the rich, in competition with those of the common, the Founders decided to have the members of the Senate selected by their respective states’ legislatures.

It was presumed that, since the members of each state government would mostly be men of property and education, these bodies would select people from their own level of society to represent them in the Senate.

Since it was presumed that men of means would tend to possess education and wisdom superior to that possessed by members of the “democratic” House, the terms of U.S. Senators were set at six years, and the powers assigned to that body were decidedly greater than those assigned to the House.

Creation of an “aristocratic” body such as the Senate was also intended to have another very important benefit to preserving stability.

Recall that earlier I pointed out the Founders’ concern with the passions of the masses, as well as our susceptibility to being misled by “designing men” and “pretended patriots.”

Since members of the Senate would be selected by their respective state legislatures, and would serve a relatively long term of six years, it was expected that these members would exercise a more sober, independent judgment than their counterparts in the House.

This “check” upon the “passions of the masses” was considered vital to the preservation of liberty for all citizens.

In Federalist # 63 James Madison addressed this concern at length, calling attention to how the use of a single house of legislation, as opposed to a bicameral legislature, was a major factor in the difficulties encountered in the democratic Athenian Republic; “…..so there are particular moments in public affairs, when the people stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may call for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career, and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice, and truth, can regain their authority over the public mind? What bitter anguish would not the people of Athens have often escaped, if their government had contained so provident a safeguard against the tyranny of their own passions? Popular liberty might then have escaped the indelible reproach of decreeing to the same citizens, the hemlock on one day, and statues on the next.”

Later in Federalist #63 Madison stated that “The people can never willfully betray their own interests: But they may possibly be betrayed by the representatives of the people; and the danger will be evidently greater where the whole legislative trust is lodged in the hands of one body of men, than where the concurrence of separate and dissimilar bodies is required in every public act.”

From the above, the reader should see the importance of creating a legislature consisting of two houses, each representing interests almost totally opposed to the other.

Unfortunately, in 1913 the 17th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified making selection of the members of the Senate a function of the popular vote in each state. This amendment virtually eliminated the class distinction between the two houses and destroyed the one legal method by which the wealthy could have their views represented in the federal government. It also made the legislature entirely beholden to popular will.

It is the elimination of this distinction, more than any other factor, which has lead to the corruption that exists in the federal government today, as well as our drift toward an overbearing, socialistic government.

THE RICH WILL FIND A WAY TO BE HEARD

With the loss of the Senate to represent their wishes, the rich have had to resort to methods such as lobbying legislators in order to influence federal law to protect themselves from abuse. This situation is highly conducive to corruption in the form of outright bribery. It is also the reason why so many “big-money interests” get so involved in elections.

Consider the impediments to corruption that would exist if we still had an aristocratic Senate, opposed by a democratic House.

Should the rich desire an unjust law to be passed, they would need to corrupt 218 members of the House! Likewise, should the members of the House seek similar ends, they would need to corrupt 51 Senators.

Some would point out that the “rich” are now represented by the Republicans, and the “common” by the Democrats. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this is the case. (It IS true, to a certain extent).

Consider the situation we have today, and let’s use the 107th Congress as an example. The makeup of the 107th Congress has the democrats ahead in the Senate by one vote and an independent, and the Republicans with an 8 member majority in the House (over the 211 Democrats and two independents). Should a Republican faction seek to promote a corrupt law, which would give an advantage to some constituent, that faction would only need to corrupt 3 members of the Democratic side of the Senate. Should the Democrats seek an unjust law, they would need to corrupt only 8 to 10 members in the House in order to get the bill passed in both houses.

Since both houses of the legislature are controlled by the common people, and the “rich” are in a small minority, many of the laws that are passed involve a transfer of wealth from the rich to the average; socialism, to be precise. For a while, the “rich” were forced to fight only a “rearguard” action, seeking out friendly legislators who would protect their interests. Unfortunately, with the establishment of channels of communication with such legislators they have been able to develop relationships which enable them to not only PROTECT their interests, but to actively PROMOTE them!

So what we have now is an electorate which turns to the federal government for redress of practically all grievances (some years ago a Congressman was on television railing about the high cost of breakfast cereal), as well as calling for the government to “tax the rich” to fund their programs.

It is only natural for those who will be hurt by proposed legislation to do whatever they can to deflect the damage to someone else.

With repeated calls for the federal government to “do something” about every little problem that arises, the scope and power of the government has increased to absurd and dangerous levels. With this phenomenon, it should be understood that as the government seeks to implement more and more programs, more and more people feel compelled to defend their interests by appealing to the government for protection, or forming factions with groups with similar interests in order to fight against opposing factions.

This is why so many laws that are passed have so many loopholes. Legislators are afraid to tell their constituents that their requests are un-Constitutional, so they pass them anyway, and retain the support of their wealthy constituents by creating loopholes in the laws for their benefit.

The reader should recall that with the original design of the U.S. legislature, any law that would be passed would, of necessity, serve ALL citizens equally, and not just one segment of society over another. In its intended form, the government would never be able to do anything that would require anyone to seek, by corrupt means, to influence its activities.

SELECTION OF A CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Now let’s consider another “check” upon the accumulation of power in the federal government. That check was represented by the manner in which the chief executive would be selected.

Contrary to the modern perception of the president as the “leader of the free world” who “manages the economy” and comes into office with his own “agenda” or “vision” for the country, the Founders envisioned two basic roles for the president. First, he would be responsible for overseeing the execution of the laws passed by the legislature; hence the title “chief executive.” Secondly, along with making appointments and writing treaties (subject to Senate approval) the president was also given the responsibility of vetoing any un-Constitutional legislation sent to him.

The Founders’ deliberations over how to select the president and vice-president were overshadowed with concerns about the aforementioned drawbacks associated with popular sentiment.

However, although the Founders agreed that direct popular election of the chief executive shouldn’t be employed, there was considerable disagreement on how this selection should be achieved.

A number of men believed the president should be selected by either or both houses of the federal legislature. This created the obvious disadvantage of having the president beholden to the legislature and thus being unable to exercise his functions independently of that body. Others thought that the president should be selected by the state governments.

The Founders finally decided upon a method that would make the president independent of both popular will as well as the legislatures (both state and federal). They created a means for selecting a small group of men in each state who would then decide who would be best as president and vice-president. This is what came to be called the Electoral College.

Concerning selection of this group of electors, Article II, Section I of the Constitution states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…..The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons….”

The intent of the Electoral College was to have each state select one group of electors. Each elector in each state’s group would be free to vote in accordance with his conscience for those people whom he believed would best fill the positions of president and vice-president.

Because of the use of a state’s numerical representation in the Congress as a means of assigning electors, many people believe the purpose of the Electoral College was to ensure “proportional representation” among the various states.

This misperception was created by the adoption of the “winner take all” method of casting electoral votes; a method which was adopted by individual states without any amendment to the Constitution.

With the “winner take all” method of selecting a president, each party that has candidates for president and vice-president on a state’s ballot would choose its own group of electors. Whichever party’s candidates won the popular election in that state would then send its electors’ votes, presumably for their candidate, to the U.S. Congress to be counted.

This method effectively makes selection of the president a function of the popular vote in each state, completely neutering the Founders’ intent.

In praising the Electoral College concept, Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist #68, “It was desirable, that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any pre-established body, but to men, chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture. It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analizing (sic) the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favourable to deliberation and to a judicious combination of all the reason and inducements, which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to so complicated an investigation.”

Thus we can see that the method of proportioning electors among the states was intended to ensure that the “sense of the people” was represented while, at the same time, “men most capable of analizing” the candidates would “possess the information and discernment” to make a proper selection from among the different candidates.

You should be able to understand, then, how today’s method of selecting the president and vice-president in no way resembles the method prescribed by the Founders.

If further proof is needed that the electors in each state were intended to vote in accordance with their own consciences, consider that in the 1796 presidential elections the electoral votes in six different states were split among as many as seven candidates.

It should also be noted that the president, having so few designated powers, would not have sufficient influence on any given issue to be able to favor the larger states over the smaller, which is the reason cited when justifying “proportional representation.”

Of course, since the president is now essentially elected by popular vote, at least in each state, that office has taken on tremendous powers which it was never intended for it to have. Instead of being simply an executor of laws, the president is now viewed as some kind of “national Daddy” who is seen pondering, and proposing, solutions to problems; both real and those conjured up by interested groups or his own party.

THE WAY IT SHOULD HAVE WORKED

In considering the original design of our federal government, as explained above, the reader can probably guess that it was intended to be very difficult for different factions of Americans to use the federal government to promote their special causes.

This was because the Founders understood that “all politics is local.” That is, just about all problems faced by the people at large are essentially local problems, and should be dealt with on that level.

This was one reason why the federal government was supposed to be so limited in its scope. The Founders never imagined that a community in say, Georgia, would seek to address a local problem by appealing to the U.S. Legislature.

The way things should have worked, in my opinion, is like this:

Attempts by either the common people or the rich would be thwarted by those sides opposing each other in the legislature. The “jealousy of power” felt by each side would cause it to watch the other side very closely.

If both houses of the legislature were somehow able to agree on some un-Constitutional measure, even one supported by a large number of citizens, the president, being independent of both the legislature AND popular sentiment, could resist any intrigues that may arise and be able to veto the measure and prevent its implementation.

The “democratic spirit” of our system would be preserved with the legislature’s ability to override the veto. The difference with the override, of course, is that instead of requiring a simple majority to pass the law, a 2/3 majority is required in each house before the measure is passed.

And, of course, even after the veto is overridden, it may still be struck down by the Supreme Court or, as was the original intent, the individual states.

It should not be presumed, though, that just because action may not be taken at the federal level to address people’s concerns that no action would be taken at all.

As an example, consider the belief that governments are needed to build roads. If the federal government refused to build roads, would we sit around staring at each other, whining, “Boy, we sure could use some roads, but the government won’t build them for us, so we’re stuck.”? Of course not! We’d get out and build the roads ourselves! The network of privately owned toll-roads that once existed in the northeast United States proves this. Many of these roads have been incorporated into the Interstate Highway system, but for a number of decades prior to that happening they provided reliable, safe routes of travel across the northeastern portion of the country. And they were paid for only by the people who used them.

The same argument can be made for compulsory education laws. The federal government has no authority to pass such laws, much less create a bureaucracy charged, ostensibly, with overseeing the education of our children.

Does anyone really believe that, absenting government coercion, people would let their children languish in ignorance? Even the slaves being held on America’s plantations stole books and educated their children. If they could, and would, do that, under the circumstances that were forced upon them, surely we, as free citizens, could do that today without the federal government forcing us to do it.

CONSTITUTIONAL MYTHS

The “General Welfare”

There are a great many misunderstandings about our Constitution which, combined with the general public’s control over the election process, have created the huge, unwieldy leviathan that we have today in Washington, D.C.

First, let’s discuss the belief that the federal government is charged with “providing” for the “general welfare” of the nation.

The first time this term comes up in the Constitution is in the preamble; but being a preamble, all it is saying is that the general welfare would be served by the type of government being created; not by actual government action.

“General welfare” is also mentioned in Article I, Section 8, which spells out precisely what the legislature is authorized to do.

Most Americans believe that the “general welfare” clause authorizes Congress to pass any law and implement any program that it deems necessary to serve the public good. When this Article was first published, some of the opponents to the newly proposed Constitution expressed a fear that just such a misconception would result in unlimited governmental growth.

Article I, Section 8 reads, in part, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;…..” What follows this statement is a listing of those activities assigned to the legislature. It is important to note that the listing of the specific functions assigned to the legislature is included in the same sentence as the above statement, separated by a semi-colon.

This detail is important because James Madison calls attention to it in ridiculing the misconception about what “general welfare” means.

In addressing concerns that the term “general welfare” authorized Congress to do whatever it deemed “necessary, so long as it served the general welfare” James Madison stated in Federalist #41 that:

“Some who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power ‘to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States,’ amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alledged to be necessary for the common defence or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labour for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expression just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some colour for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.”

But what colour can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms, immediately follows; and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon. If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded as to give meaning to every part which will bear it; shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent and the clear and precise expressions, be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular power be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

In his veto of “An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements” Madison made the same comment concerning the use of the “general welfare” term by stating “To refer the power in question to the clause ‘to provide for the common defense and general welfare’ would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms ‘common defense and general welfare’ embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust.”

Responding to that same bill, Thomas Jefferson wrote “This assembly does further disavow and declare to be most false and unfounded, the doctrine that the compact, in authorizing its federal branch to “……provide for the common defenses and general welfare”, has given them thereby a power to do whatever THEY may think, or pretend, would promote the general welfare…”

Nevertheless, the “general welfare” clause is used today to justify everything from federal involvement in education to building roads and prosecuting the drug war.

The Myth that Congress’ Power To “Make all laws which shall be
necessary and proper” Grants It “Wide Latitude”

After spelling out the SPECIFIC powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8, the Constitution ends by stating that Congress shall have the power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers, vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Many Americans believe that this statement grants the Congress almost unlimited power to do whatever it wants.

In his report on the “Alien and Sedition Acts” James Madison addressed this as follows: “Whenever, therefore, a question arises concerning the constitutionality of a particular power; the first question is, whether the power be expressed in the constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed; the next enquiry must be, whether it is properly an incident to an express power, and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised b Congress. If it be not, Congress cannot exercise it.”

The Supreme Court Is The Final Authority
On The Constitutionality Of Laws

It is generally believed that the Supreme Court, the “highest court in the land” is the final authority on the constitutionality of laws.

Let’s consider what James Madison, in his “Report on the Alien and Sedition Acts,” had to say about that: “The constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity. It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority of the constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation. The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity, that there can be no tribunal above their authority, to decide in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide in the last resort, such questions as may be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.”

So, you see, since the constitution was a compact between the individual states, creating the federal government or, as they called it, the General Government, the Supreme Court did NOT have the authority, any more so than did the other two branches of government, to issue the final opinion on the constitutionality of laws – only the states could have that authority.

And if you think about it, since the General Government was a CREATION of the Constitution, it follows that it is inferior to its authority, otherwise we’d have an institution that possesses the power to interpret the very document that created it!

Also, you might see that, in describing the individual states as sovereign, Madison and the rest of the people living back then viewed each state as its own nation, and the creation made by the constitution as a PLURAL arrangement. By that I mean that the title “United States” was PLURAL, such as THESE United States, not THE United States. This distinction is important when we consider the major change that was made that turned our whole system upside down.

The 14th Amendment and the Myth of a “Right” to Free Speech

That change is the 14th Amendment, which was ratified July 9, 1868. This amendment reads, in part that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside……”

So, according to this, in the terms that the Founders intended, if a person is a citizen of the United States, is he then a citizen of EVERY state? And if that be the case, what point is there in saying that a person is a citizen of the “United States” AND ALSO of the state in which he resides?

It seems to me that this amendment created a single entity called the “United States of America.” What’s more, the amendment goes on to state that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Thus, the 14th Amendment not only created a single entity called the “United States,” it gave that entity greater authority than the states had, even though the Constitution didn’t grant it the power to bestow “privileges and immunities” upon ANYONE.

Another consequence of this amendment is that now people attempt to apply every article of the Constitution to the state and local governments, as well as private individuals.

A PERFECT example of this is the FIRST Amendment, which says that “CONGRESS shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press……etc.

Now, let’s consider Thomas Jefferson’s view on the First Amendment, as stated in his Kentucky Resolutions. Jefferson says that the states “retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use should be tolerated.”

He went on to point out that “libels, falsehood, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of federal tribunals.” He states, right there, that the federal government has no authority whatsoever to interfere with the states’ handling of issues concerning religion and speech.

The National Endowment for the Arts

Another myth about Congressional power is the belief that the Constitution authorizes such bureaucracies as the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and similar entities.

Creation of the NEA is often justified by citing the statement, also in Article I, Sec. 8, that Congress is authorized “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,……”

This statement, taken out of context, seems to say that Congress can act to promote science and the arts. However, the COMPLETE sentence reads “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”

So you see, this power designated to Congress was for creation of the Patent Office and trademark laws. It in no way authorizes the creation of a bureaucracy which uses taxpayer money to buy “art” which the people themselves wouldn’t buy, if they were given a choice, or to fund scientific research.

A Congressman Represents Only His District’s Interests
and Senators Represent the Entire State

It is generally believed that our congressional delegation is charged with going to Washington and “bringing home the bacon.” That is, our Senators and Representatives are supposed to fight for all the favors, privileges, and money they can get for their respective state or district.

Imagine that; a national government which consists of 50 pairs of senators fighting for their state’s share of the federal pie, and 435 representatives each fighting for their district’s share of the pie!

Is this what is called “wise government”? Was this what the world called the “noble experiment” when our Constitution was first published?

No, it most certainly isn’t.

The role of each state’s congressional delegation is to go to Washington and tend to national issues while ensuring that their state is not abused by the others.

States are divided into congressional districts to ensure that the entire state is represented, instead of having the entire congressional delegation coming from one geographical area.

The representatives and senators of each state’s delegation are supposed to work together as a whole to ensure their state’s sovereignty is respected.

The reason we have one pair of senators and a group of representatives has already been explained.

What a parent might say to a son returning from war.

What A Parent Might Say
By Wayne L. Parker


Welcome home, son. We’re glad to have you back safe and sound. Well, physically sound, at least, since it appears that you suffer greatly from some emotional issue – something about which you cannot speak and I, having never been in combat, cannot imagine.

If these heavy, seemingly unbearable feelings are caused by some thing or things you’ve done during the war, please listen to what I have to say…

Your decision to join the military was not yours alone. We all participated in it. By “we” I mean not just your family, but your friends, community and, really, the entire nation, which over the course of your life instilled in you a sense of patriotism and willingness to sacrifice for your country and our freedom. These are all good things.

Where we made our first mistake, I believe, is in our belief that, at 18 years of age, you were a man. I do not mean to belittle you. But think about it – in order for a person to be president of this country, he must first have attained the age of 35 years. This is because it is believed that until someone has lived and learned for at least that long, they cannot have a firm enough understanding of themselves, the world around them, and how to conduct themselves in it to be trusted with such great responsibility.

35 years old. And you were 18 when you joined the Army. While you were by no means a child, you still had a long way to go to become a complete man.

Had we not opted for your enlistment in the service, you would have grown up in a peaceful environment, among friends with whom you would have explored and learned about life in a way in which it was safe to experiment and make mistakes, learning and growing all the while.

You would have had as role models your parents, friends’ parents, teachers, sports coaches, employers, local businesspeople, and others who, as you would have been doing, grew up in safe, healthy, nurturing environments, and so became good people.

You would have grown to be a good man.

But instead, we decided that the best thing would be for you to join the military. Unfortunately, there, the only environment and role models you had were all geared toward one goal – not to make you a man, but to make you a soldier.

These people, and I mean them no dishonor or disrespect, did not have your best interests at heart when they offered themselves to you as leaders and mentors. Their loyalty was to the military and government, and they had thousands of years’ worth of knowledge about wars and human nature to bring to bear in training you to be what they needed you to be – a person who would trust and respect his chain of command, love and protect his fellow soldiers and, most importantly, unquestioningly obey orders.

You did well. You became one of the best soldiers ever. And then you and your unit were sent to war.

I suspect that this is where things went really wrong. Perhaps you found yourself faced, not with an opposing army, but with everyday people trying to go about their business. And then, with one thing leading to another, killing started, and you quickly found yourself being shot at or bombed by people and so naturally you shot and bombed back.

I suspect that when you first engaged in these actions, you briefly questioned the morality of what you were doing. But when bullets and bombs are flying at you and all around you, philosophical intellectualizing is probably not a very high priority.
Perhaps at some point in your deployment you wanted to voice your concerns to your command, but you noticed that when other members of your unit tried to do that they were met with scorn and derision from your superiors and, not wanting to be looked upon as a “sissy” and suffer ridicule and ostracism, things that can be dangerous not just to your safety but to that of the unit, you decided to keep your feelings to yourself and endure the moral dilemma for the duration.

You decided to “tough it out,” as a “good soldier” would. Being isolated in that environment, surrounded by your buddies and commanders who were likewise “toughing it out” made the situation just about bearable.

But now you’re home, and that supportive environment, however perverse and negative it may have been, is gone, and you’re faced with your feelings and the people who love you but can’t appreciate what you’re feeling.

Son, if any of what I’ve been saying rings true, please understand that, just as the entire nation was involved in your decision to go to war, we are all equally responsible for whatever you did while you were there. We can’t deny that you were the individual who committed the acts, but at the same time we must acknowledge that we, with our ignorance and well-meaning but misguided intentions, created the situation in which you found yourself doing the things you did.

You may be thinking to yourself that there were times when you actually enjoyed doing what you now look upon with horror and regret. I suspect this is entirely possible and understandable. Although only you can truly know what combat situations are like, I suspect that what happens there might be characterized as unimaginably random, bizarre, violent insanity. I doubt there are words that can adequately describe it, but I think it is sufficient to understand that a person’s mind is likely to engage in all kinds of distortions and intellectual acrobatics in its attempts to find context, meaning, and thus an appropriate reaction to such things. The human mind being as complex as it is, any ideas and actions are possible, and every one of them, considering the circumstances, is, to me, understandable and thus forgivable.

I suppose that is the point I’ve been driving at with this monologue. I want you to understand that what happened to you and the actions you committed while in the craziness of war were perfectly understandable and thus forgivable to any fair minded, compassionate person. And I will repeat that we all had a hand in putting you into those situations.

I wish to assure you that I myself forgive you, for whatever you may have done, and I hope that you will forgive me for the part I’ve played in this tragedy.
But above all, you MUST forgive your SELF, for WHATEVER wrong you think you committed.

Forgiving yourself is the first step toward growing past what has happened. I’m sure you’ve resolved yourself to never again do the things for which you feel so badly now, so take comfort in the fact that you are now a different, more enlightened person. Of course, no longer being in a combat situation enables you to exercise much more control over your actions as well.

Although what has been done cannot be undone, the lessons learned by those who have survived the experience and can get through their emotions can now be put to use for positive ends, such as educating both parents and children that war is NOT about “glory, patriotism, and honor” but can be more accurately described as “gore, insanity, and horror” and so should not be entered into lightly, without first understanding the ramifications for both the soldiers who fight wars and the people in whose country the wars are fought.

Try to view life in the broader sense – every one of us is capable of committing both good and bad acts. What distinguishes the degree to which each of us commits one or the other is determined by our personal chemistry, upbringing, personal experiences, the circumstances in which we find ourselves at any given moment, and an infinite number of other factors that can’t even be perceived.

I think it’s safe to say that a person of even the best upbringing, healthiest body, and strongest moral character would have had a difficult time surviving what you’ve been through without doing some bad things or experiencing permanent changes to his humanity. Most of us were just lucky enough to have avoided what happened to you.

Getting through your issues is important both to you and to the rest of the world. Your experiences and the lessons you learned from them can broaden everyone’s understanding of what war really is, and help prevent such future tragedies.

But first, you must heal. As you do so, understand that I am there for you all the way, just as, for good or bad, I’ve been with you from the very beginning.

I love you.

asks:
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO VISIT ON YOUR PLANET?

The inner depths of my own mind.