>>The Constitutional Case Against Progressives (a must read)
Posted March 11, 2010on:
I am posting this entire article here because we need to better know our Constitution. we the People are calling for going back to the government our Founding Father’s gave us so we need to know what our rights are under that document. then we can argue our points knowledgeably. B
by Josie Wales
[Do not read this article without a copy of the Constitution, and if you do not have one handy, shame on you (link here).]
A line is being drawn in the sand between the statists and Americans, and I use the term American in the grandest sense. The United States of America represents one of the last bastions of traditional liberalism, which is why the Left should no longer be identified as liberal, but rather we should continue to identify its members as progressive statists. The Left believes the precepts of our Constitution have failed society, and thus, we must look towards the “enlightened democracies” of socialized Europe for guidance in the progression of American society.
We hear the mantra of rights professed daily by the progressives: education, work, social security, health care, etc. And since we do not live in a state of nature, the guarantor of those rights must be the government. This is the definition of a statist, and adherence to these beliefs is inherently in opposition to the Constitution. The Founders recognized that government could NEVER be the guarantor of rights which is why so much of the Constitution is written in terms of limiting powers conferred upon the government.
Take for example Article I § 1:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives (emphasis added).
Congress has no power outside the enumerated powers identified in the Constitution, and furthermore, Congress may not exercise any power that is not inherently legislative in nature. Article I § 9 lists specific power limitations upon Congress, and Article I § 10 lists legislative power limitations upon the States. Article III identifies the judicial power of the United States and limits it in much the same manner as in Article I.
Article II is a little different, but can only be understood in the context of the framing of the Constitution. Article II § 1 begins:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.
On its face, Article II seems to grant rather broad powers to the President. One of the main reasons the Constitution was created was because of the impotence of the Articles of Confederation without a federal executive. But even the President is confined to the boundaries identified in the Constitution through his Constitutional Oath as written in Article II § 1 cl. 8:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States (emphasis added).
All other Constitutional officers are “bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution,” in Article VI cl. 3, but the President is beholden to specific duties.
The only time “right” is mentioned in the original articles of the Constitution is in Congress’s duty to promote the ownership of Authors and Inventors to their respective creations (Article I § 8 cl. 8), but even that was only to be secured for a limited time. The Bill of Rights is written in negative terms to prevent the government from infringing upon certain recognized rights of the people. The only positive rights are identified in the 6th Amendment, but should really be read in the negative since the government prosecutes for alleged crimes committed. In fact, the entire Constitution, articles and amendments, is written in terms of limiting government infringement upon existing rights, not creating rights. For a discussion of this you must check out Federalist No. 84. Furthermore, many of the amendments to the Constitution forbade government infringement upon the people’s rights (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th).
Some would argue that “privileges and immunities,” as discussed in Article IV § 2, indicates positive rights, but rights are not privileges because privileges may be revoked. Article I § 9 cl. 2 recognizes the “privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus,” but also recognizes that it may be revoked under certain circumstances. Privileges are allowances granted to specified individuals in areas where government power prevails, which is limited to the powers granted by the Constitution.
Let us turn our attention to the most under-utilized provision of the Constitution as it exists today; the 9th Amendment:
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people (emphasis added).
Essentially, any right not identified by the Constitution is retained by the people, not the government (state or national). This is where progressive statists run astray of the Constitution. Government cannot grant us the “right” to work or receive health care because government does not have that power, nor the power to force us to exercise any right (imagine the outcry if the government forced every person to exercise their 2nd Amendment right). And the government does not equal “the people” because our government is only representative of an illusory majority.
Herein lays the danger of the progressive statist utopia. It envisions a permanent government entity, exemplified in the bureaucracy. People may come and go, but the government will always remain. And our rights are beholden to that permanent entity.
Americans recognize that government is only an extension of the individuals that comprise it, and thus ethereal. Bureaucracies are invasive upon the rights of the people. And unless the people are vigilant in protecting their rights, all governments will attempt to seize them.
The United States of America was the first country to create a government wholly in terms of limitation. This is what makes it the first and last bastion of traditional liberalism. We often identify ourselves as conservatives or libertarians, but we are only as much because we understand the context of the Constitution striving to create a liberal utopia within the boundaries of our nation. We understand and have fought against the horrors of the statist utopia, so we must not allow the progressive statists to hide behind concepts like liberalism.
And for those who espouse certain liberal social rights, you will not find salvation within the progressive statist agenda. You will only find regulation and marginalization; at least until the government deems you oppressive to the progress of the state.
The Constitution cannot be a living, breathing document. If it is then government can arbitrarily grant and take-away the people’s rights. If it is then the government can arbitrarily create and seize powers.
Read your Constitution. Study your Constitution. Defend your Constitution.
The Constitution is your only protection from the progressive statist utopia.