Skip to comments.If Founding Fathers could see us now
Posted on 07/03/2002 8:45:32 PM PDT by ATOMIC_PUNK
Many of the pronouncements surely to be made on this 226th anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence will purport to explain the thinking of our Founding Fathers. But we might pause awhile and consider how they might view our thinking today.
How, for example, might Thomas Jefferson view the circumstances under which grown men might be drafted to serve indeterminate lengths of time and paid outlandish amounts of money to play games of baseball and football? What would he think of the fact that they serve variable and insecure tenures at the whim of filthy-rich owners who might sever their relationships by trading them, as one might trade a manservant, to another owner in a far-off province such as Cleveland?
What might Benjamin Franklin think of men not only being able to harness electrical power, but then selling it at a huge profit and brokering future power in such a way as to extract obscene profits from the promised power contracts, and in such a way as to unjustly elevate the cost of all electrical power at the expense of millions of ratepayers and for the profit of a politically connected hierarchy?
And how would John Hancock react if, while he was drafting an official document, his computer began flashing a dreaded "blue screen" and error message before his whole system froze up and wouldn't allow him to store or even work off-line?
Is there any chance that George Washington would petition the Continental Congress for female troops, once he saw how well women in uniform perform today? Imagine his shock at noting 37 additional white statehood stars on the national flag, or the existence of vessels capable of crossing the Delaware in seconds, or the possibility of picking up a good set of false teeth for almost nothing under a decent medical insurance plan.
For that matter, consider for a moment how any of the original 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence might react if they saw black men -- and women -- sitting in our Congress. And women voting for members of Congress.
How might our Founding Fathers react if they saw us imposing high tariffs on foreign agricultural goods while at the same time we were using our taxes to buy or set market prices for domestic agricultural products, many of which would then be warehoused instead of marketed or given to starving people here and abroad?
Would these same Founding Fathers approve if they saw tax revenues for public education being channeled to private or parochial schools, or if they learned that large percentages of public education funds were used to transport students solely for the purpose of mixing races?
Might there have been somewhere in the original Constitution or the Bill of Rights some article ensuring a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy?
Might the same Founding Fathers have been a tad more specific about a citizen's right to bear arms? And what about state laws against Very Large Fireworks?
Do you s'pose that the framers of the Constitution might have set some limits on the power of Congress to borrow money on the national credit? Might they have been a little clearer on the subject of taxes? Or on the separation of church and state? Or on the war powers of the president?
On a less legalistic basis, imagine how a prominent statesman from that era might view how we value celebrity and how much more an actor is paid compared with, say, a dairy farmer. For that matter, what about the pay of congressional representatives, senators and federal judges? And their retirement systems?
A member of that first Continental Congress might be aghast at the notion of Social Security, but think how he might react upon learning that people today canreap millions of dollars by merging many small companies into one large corporation and then milking that corporation's profits and credit, leaving it an all-but-empty shell and casting thousands of workers into the street.
How do you think that men accustomed to war with muskets and cannons would view nuclear weapons and their proliferation among many other nations? If that's too much of a stretch, how might they react to TV evangelism or a movie like "Die Hard"?
For a few laughs, we might get them to comment on contemporary American popular music.
Or we could get them to comment on the subject of individual liberty as it relates to things such as airport security searches, wire-tapping, water fluoridation and using company computers for private e-mail.
I'd like to know more of their thinking about things such as protection against self-incrimination or unfair seizure of properties and assets. I'd like to know what they felt about individual freedom of expression and how that might relate to what others see as flag desecration or obscenity.
If someone ever does figure out a way of reaching back to tap the minds of our Founding Fathers in more detail, whatever you do, don't tell them about rush hour, tanning parlors or cheese in spray cans. They might retroactively decide to bag the whole independence thing as a bad social experiment
How, for example, might Thomas Jefferson view the circumstances under which grown men might be drafted to serve indeterminate lengths of time and paid outlandish amounts of money to play games of baseball and football? What would he think of the fact that they serve variable and insecure tenures at the whim of filthy-rich owners who might sever their relationships by trading them, as one might trade a manservant, to another owner in a far-off province such as Cleveland?Jefferson would have noted that these voluntary transactions (the players, after all, may retire rather than accept the trade) are absolutely none of the business of the government or any other civil authority.
He'd also consider Seattle much more of a "far-off" province than Cleveland. >:)
Might the same Founding Fathers have been a tad more specific about a citizen's right to bear arms?How much more specific than "shall not be infringed" can you get?
Ok, how about the Seattle Times? Doesn't it have a JOA with the PI?
They would concider Clinton and Gore to be criminals, and Bush and company to be two bit tyrants.