Since Jan 9, 2005
I have always voted whenever there is an election, but I have not been an active participant in politics until recently. I would research my candidates just to make sure they aren’t some liberal trash, but I never really paid much attention to what they were doing once the election was over.
The events on 9/11 sort of woke me up a little bit. According to what my parents taught me, the first priority of the Federal government is to protect us, and clearly it failed. After the initial shock wore off, I started wondering about why government is so expensive and how it could be derelict at the same time, and I wanted to know more about what it’s meant to be and do.
I started educating myself about the intended purpose of the government with the Federalist Papers. Then I moved on to Madison’s personal papers, then to John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Thomas Paine, and other assorted works. I was not without my nose in some sort of history book for a few years.
Then the financial crisis hit, and I didn’t understand what was going on so I picked up some Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Adam Smith, John Locke. It was obvious to me that capitalism had not failed and there is nothing wrong with conservative values. It was all the messing around with the financial system by our political system that failed which is pretty consistent with everything these guys said about what happens when it does that.
I was angry, but even through the disasters I never felt like we could lose our country and who we are until Obama was elected. I never even considered myself a radical until he came along, but now I understand some of the theories in social science about survival responses.
I’m a constitutionalist radical, and the meaning of the phrase return to first principles does not mean Republican Party principles, but the principles of the founders and what they intended for our country to be. Their brand of freedom is what they fought, bled, and risked all for, which they canonized in the constitution; it’s the real deal. That is what I want to leave for my kids. I want the real American dream to live on, not some big government substitute that can turn and attack them with socialist intentions, rob them blind for redistribution and leave them vulnerable whenever the political winds happen to change.
I'd like to share two of my favorite documents from Thomas Jefferson: .
This is an abridged version of his report to George Washington regarding his opinion of constitutionality of the establishment of a central bank.
"I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That " all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people." [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.... .
"To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, "to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare." For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. .
It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution..
The next is from his Notes on Virgina: Query 17 .
"Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potatoe as an article of food. Government is just as infallible too when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere: the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. This error however at length prevailed, the earth became a globe, and Descartes declared it was whirled round its axis by a vorteo..
The government in which he lived was wise enough to see that this was no question of civil jurisdiction, or we should all have been involved by authority in vortices. In fact, the vortices have been exploded, and the Newtonian principle of gravitation is now more firmly established, on the basis of reason, than it would be were the government to step in, and to make it an article of necessary faith. Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. .
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons. And why subject it to coercion? To produce uniformity. But is uniformity of opinion desireable? No more than of face and stature. Introduce the bed of Procrustes then, and as there is danger that the large men may beat the small, make us all of a size, by lopping the former and stretching the latter.."
"But is the spirit of the people an infallible, a permanent reliance? Is it government? Is this the kind of protection we receive in return for the rights we give up? Besides, the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."