Dr. Larry Arnn: Constitution 101 - "The Recovery of the Constitution" (43 minute video)
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“new economic rights for all, including the right to a job, a home, a fair wage, education, and medical care”......Wasn’t this a goal of Communism? Sounds to me like that is where we are heading. This needs to be stopped.
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From this week’s Study Guide: The Recovery of the Constitution
“”Statesmanship, for Franklin D. Roosevelt, entailed the redefinition of rights in terms of a changing and growing social order. Fulfilling the promise of Progressivism, President Roosevelts New Deal gave rise to unlimited government. In contrast to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his ideological successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Ronald Reagan sought the restoration of limited government. Today, our choice is clear: Will we live by the principles of the American Founding, or by the values of the Progressives?
Franklin D. Roosevelt announced his campaign for the presidency in 1932 by emphasizing the Progressive understanding of history and by calling for the redefinition of the old idea of rights. His New Deal, a series of economic programs ostensibly aimed at extricating America from the Great Depression, vastly enlarged the size and scope of the federal government. Unelected bureaucratic agenciesthe administrative statebecame a fact of American life.
Roosevelts call for a Second Bill of Rights sought to add security to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Describing the old rights of life and liberty as inadequate without underlying economic security, Roosevelt called for new economic rights for all, including the right to a job, a home, a fair wage, education, and medical care. With these rights guaranteed, Roosevelt argued, real political equality finally could be achieved.
Following President Roosevelt, John F. Kennedys New Frontier and Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society continued the transformation of the relationship between the American people and their government. President Johnson redefined the governments role by redefining equality itself: equality must be a result rather than a right. Expanded federal control over education, transportation, welfare, and medical care soon followed.
Announcing that with the present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem, Ronald Reagan appealed to the principles of the American Founding in seeking to reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Maintaining that Progressivism and the consent of the governed are incompatible, Reagan called for a return to individual self-rule and national self-government.
Key Passages from the Readings:
Commonwealth Club Address Franklin D. Roosevelt
Rulers were accorded power, and the people consented to that power on consideration that they be accorded certain rights. The task of statesmanship has always been the redefinition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order. New conditions impose new requirements upon Government and those who conduct government.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 727)
Every man has a right to life; and this means that he has also a right to make a comfortable living.... Every man has a right to his own property; which means a right to be assured, to the fullest extent attainable, in the safety of his savings. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 728)
What Goods a Constitution? Winston Churchill
Do not let us too readily brush aside the grand, simple affirmations of the past. All wisdom is not new wisdom. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 740)
The question we are discussing is whether a fixed constitution is a bulwark or a fetter. From what I have written it is plain that I incline to the side of those who would regard it as a bulwark, and that I rank the citizen higher than the State, and regard the State as useful only in so far as it preserves his inherent rights. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 740)
Annual Message to Congress Franklin D. Roosevelt
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rightsamong them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty. As our Nation has grown in size and stature, howeveras our industrial economy expandedthese political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 745)
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made. In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all .
The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines
of the Nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident,
The right to a good education.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, pages 745-746)
Remarks at the University of Michigan Lyndon B. Johnson
The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 760)
The Great Society is a place where every child can find knowledge to enrich his mind and to enlarge his talents
. It is a place where man can renew contact with nature.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 760)
But most of all, the Great Society is not a safe harbor, a resting place, a final objective, a finished work. It is a challenge constantly renewed, beckoning us toward a destiny where the meaning of our lives matches the marvelous products of our labor.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 760)
Commencement Address at Howard University Lyndon B. Johnson
In every corner of every continent men charged with hope contend with ancient ways in the pursuit of justice. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 765)
But freedom is not enough
. Thus it is not enough just to open the gates of opportunity. All our citizens must have the ability to walk through those gates.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 766)
We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result . To this end equal opportunity is essential, but not enough . (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 767)
A Time for Choosing Ronald Reagan
This idea that government was beholden to the people, that it had no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest, most unique idea in all the long history of mans relation to man. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, pages 773-74)
For almost two centuries we have proved mans capacity for self-government, but today we are told we must choose between a left and right or, as others suggest, a third alternative, a kind of safe middle ground. I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down. Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism . (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 774)
[The Founders] knew you dont control things; you cant control the economy without controlling people. So we have come to a time for choosing. Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual belief in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 774)
Already the hour is late. Government has laid its hand on health, housing, farming, industry, commerce, education, and, to an ever-increasing degree, interferes with the peoples right to know. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 774)
First Inaugural Address Ronald Reagan
In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 786)
From time to time, we have been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. But if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 786)
We are a nation that has a governmentnot the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. (The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 787)
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
(The U.S. Constitution: A Reader, page 789)
1. What, according to Franklin D. Roosevelt, is the role of the statesman?
2. President Roosevelt argues that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be modified by adding security. What does he mean by security?
3. Roosevelt names what rights in his Second Bill of Rights?
4. How does Lyndon B. Johnson define equality? How does this definition of equality differ from the equality found in the Declaration of Independence?
5. According to Ronald Reagan, why are Progressivism and the consent of the governed incompatible?
1. Dr. Arnn relates the crisis of slavery to the modern crisis of Progressivism in that they both deny mans natural equality and are thus opposed to the American Constitution. How does Progressivism deny mans equality?
2. Did Ronald Reagan seek to undermine the legacy of the New Deal?
3. How has the administrative state changed since Ronald Reagans presidency?
4. Ronald Reagan demonstrated the importance of statesmanship in the fight to restore America to its Founding principles. What role might statesmen play in this struggle today?””
In the Q&A session for Week Ten, The Recovery of the Constitution, Dr. Larry P. Arnn discusses the prospects for restoring limited, constitutional government, the feasibility of passing new amendments to the Constitution, and whether a new constitutional convention would create more problems than it would solve."