Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rebuttal: “What our Declaration Really Said”, E. J. Dionne, Jr. July 4, 2011

It is amazing the depth of intellectual dishonesty in which the Left will engage to misinform the American public in an attempt to promote their agenda; the growth of government via the decimation of the Constitution’s concept of enumerated powers.

Mr. Dionne describes the Tea Party movement as being anti-tax, and while this is not inaccurate, it is misleading. The Tea Party is more about concern for the size of government. It is not a misplaced notion as everyone, even the Left, knows that our debt problems are due to the size of government and specifically the expansive (Progressive inspired and implemented) entitlement programs. Although even the Tea Party, when polled, are found to be hypocritical on this latter point as a majority of THEM are opposed to reforms to social security and Medicare. That they hold these views this is testimony to the success of the Progressives indoctrination over the last century or so.

But my problem with this piece is Mr. Dionne’s attempt to interpret The Declaration of Independence as a document about collective rights instead of individual rights. He states, “The very first item on their list condemned the king because he “refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” Note that the signers wanted to pass laws, not repeal them, and they began by speaking of “the public good,” not about individuals or “the private sector.” They knew that it takes public action — including effective and responsive government — to secure “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Where to begin…. yes, the founders wanted to pass laws not repeal them. This should not be surprising. Our Founders were men of the Enlightenment and were implementing their ideas of government in this new land, ideas that did not believe in an intrusive government. But reading this you’d think the Founders were channeling the not yet conceived Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt. So, what laws did our Leftist Founders want to pass? The Declaration tells us:

• He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people …(This charge refers to a grievance that arose because of the British government's fear that the popular assemblies of the colonies were growing too large and powerful as new communities were formed and additional representatives were elected to the assemblies of the colonies. New Hampshire, South Carolina, and New York passed laws allowing for the establishment of new communities with elected representatives to their respective popular assemblies, all of which were disallowed by King George. Virginia was also constrained by the same policy. The colonists insisted that representation in their assemblies was their right, because government must be by consent of the governed. The British maintained that representation was a privilege granted by the King.)

• He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

• He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

• He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

Radical collectivist stuff, this. It certainly isn’t the positive law that Mr. Dionne and his ilk have been foisting on Americans for 100 years. But Mr. Dionne concludes from our Founder’s wanting to pass some basic laws necessary for proper self-government as benefiting “the public good” and “not about individuals or “the private sector”. Actually, those laws were about securing those previously elucidated “unalienable rights” which is without doubt a public good. Mr. Dionne should investigate what defined “the public good” in the 18th Century before inferring that it means the same in the 21st Century (again, thanks to Progressives). This is semantically dishonest.

Mr. Dionne then turns his attention briefly to the Constitution where he makes the correct assertion that it was created to provide for a stronger central government, but I submit not an all powerful central government. Again, those pesky enumerated powers explain categorically the role the federal government was to play. They may have said “We the People” and not “We the States” in the preamble but there’s nothing in the federalist papers that encourages future Hamiltonians to use the “Commerce Clause” to usurp the intent of enumerated powers. Not even Alexander himself said that and he wrote most of the Federalist Papers.

In Federalist number 23 Alexander Hamilton states the purposes for the union succinctly; “The principal purposes to be answered by union are these -- the common defense of the members; the preservation of the public peace as well against internal convulsions as external attacks; the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States; the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries.”

It’s interesting to note that Hamilton sees regulation of commerce as the same internationally and domestically. Therefore, the commerce clause was seen as simply the regulation of commerce between the states and not as a loop hole for federal intrusion into all aspects of our lives. Later in the same document he wrote, “… it is both unwise and dangerous to deny the federal government an unconfined authority, as to all those objects which are intrusted to its management. It will indeed deserve the most vigilant and careful attention of the people, to see that it be modeled in such a manner as to admit of its being safely vested with the requisite powers. ”

Yes, not understanding the intent of our Founders could cause us to make “some remarkably foolish choices”. Thanks to the Progressives interpretation we’ve been doing it for over 100 years.