Skip to comments.The 'Great Generation'? Walter Williams says unconstitutional spending led to tyranny
Posted on 11/13/2002 12:08:18 AM PST by JohnHuang2
The American generation who suffered through the Great Depression and defeated the tyrannical designs that Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo Hideki had for the world has often been called "the great generation." Will history see it that way? Let's look at it, but first start with a couple of statements from two truly great Americans.
In 1794, Congress appropriated $15,000 for relief of French refugees. James Madison stood on the floor of the House to object, saying, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." James Madison, you'll recall, is the acknowledged father of the Constitution, and he couldn't find constitutional authority for spending "on the objects of benevolence."
Your congressman might say, "Madison was all wrong; after all, there's the 'general welfare' clause." Here's what Madison had to say about that: "With respect to the two words "general welfare," I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." Thomas Jefferson echoed similar sentiments saying, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."
When the great generation was born, Congress spent only three percent of the GDP. Today, as the great generation dies off, Congress spends over a quarter of the GDP. There is no constitutional authority for at least three-quarters of that spending.
Let's look at the recent election campaign. Whether it was a Democratic or Republican candidate, for the most part, they won votes by promising to spend the money of their constituents "on the objects of benevolence." They promised to violate the rights of some Americans for the benefit of other Americans. They promised to take money from younger Americans to buy prescription drugs for elderly Americans, take money from non-farmers to give to farmers and take money from wealthier people to give to poorer people. In a word or two, politicians campaigned on an unstated promise to ignore any oath of office to protect and defend the United States Constitution and instead go to work on undermining it.
Don't get me wrong. I don't blame only politicians. For the most part, they're only the instruments of a people who have growing contempt for our Constitution. You say, "Hold it, Williams. Now you've gone too far!" Check it out. How many votes do you think a James Madison-type senatorial candidate would get if his campaign theme was something like this: "Elect me to office. I will protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. Because there's no constitutional authority for Congress spending on the objects of benevolence, don't expect for me to vote for prescription drugs for the elderly, handouts to farmers and food stamps for the poor. Instead, I'll fight these and other unconstitutional congressional expenditures"? I'll tell you how many votes he'll get: It will be Williams' vote, and that's it.
The "great" generation has transformed the electoral process from voting for those most likely to protect our God-given rights to liberty and property, to voting for those most likely to violate those rights for the benefit of others. There's no question that the "great" generation spared the world from external tyranny, but it has outdone any other generation in destroying both the letter and the spirit of our Constitution, and as such produced a form of tyranny for which there's little defense.
And, what is the margin of survival of a constitutional republic? There have only been a few in history, and never a one destroyed by external enemies. Always, always, the destruction arose and spread from within, instigated by those who had no use for the founding principles of these republics.
Pournelle stated the point well (brilliantly, in my view), a decade and more ago: 'History has not been kind to wealthy republics, and has uniformly destroyed them when, over time, they refused to follow their original principles.'
Apologies to all for the rant.
(to the theme of Shaft) He's a baaad mutha, shut yo mouth, I'm jus talkin bout Williams, we can dig it!
Educate, my friend. To any who will listen, and even some who will not.
He's have Eala's vote, and probably Eala's wife's vote too. Three votes.
(Of course, any politician advocating it would, one must hope, couple with the end of the improper Federal largesse, a demand for an end to the equally improper Federal meddling. It is the whole package that can still be sold to the rooted American population, not bits and pieces of it. As I have pointed out before, the way to weed the elderly away from the nonsense about prescription drug coverage is to talk about protecting their grandchildren from the despicable Leftwing agenda aimed at reorienting basic values--for example, the Leftist assault on the Boy Scouts.)
William Flax Return Of The Gods Web Site
I can think of quite a few others that would vote for him, starting with me.