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Our Consitution – revisited April 16, 2010

Posted by ev0rev in Politics.
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The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.  – 10th Amendment, U.S. Constitution

When writing the Constitution of the United States, a lot of thought and discussion went into what should go into the document.  Most people would probably be shocked, these days, to learn that even more thought and discussion went into what NOT to put into the document in its final form.  A lot of care went into the exact wording used in each section.  If you ever get a chance to read it, I strongly recommend it.  There is no ambiguity or inference.

Article 1, Section 8 for example, clearly spells out the function of government.  Essentially, our government was tasked with providing for defense, coining money, creating and running a postal service, establishing time-limited copyrights/patents and creation of a federal court system.  That last sentence pretty much sums up what our government was called upon to do in the Constitution.

It’s easy to dismiss such limited responsibility given the simpler times in which the document was created.  After all, life is so much more complex and government is so much larger than it was back then.

Walter Williams, an economist, once wrote:  “If you want to take all liberty away from all Americans, you have to know how to cook a frog.”  You see, when a frog is subjected to heat it will hop away to safety.  Yet if you very gradually increase the applied heat it doesn’t notice the temperature change and dies.

His point is well taken.  If we had all of our liberties taken away at once, we’d likely hop away to safety as well.  Sadly, the temperature has been gradually rising since the 1930’s and the New Deal.   Our government has grown under every administration since – regardless of party affiliation.  Republicans, with all of their bluster and gesticulating, have never been able to reduce the size of our government.

Make no mistake, we need government.  I am in no way implying that all government is bad.  True and unbridled anarchy is certainly no solution.  My objection is simply in the question: How much is enough?  At what point do we draw a line in the sand and say “no more”?

The Constitution was very clear in providing for a limited government.    What those limits are going to be is something we should all be asking ourselves.

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