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Are the States Out of Date? July 5, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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The people of the founding generation did not think of Americans as Americans. They did not see them as one people but instead as citizens of the various states. Even as late as the Civil War, people such as Robert E. Lee, who disagreed with secession and wanted a united United States, left because his State seceded and not because he suddenly wanted Virginia to be another country. Another example of the feelings of many in the founding generation was the fact that the term “We the People of the United States” that opens the  preamble to the Constitution caused great controversy during the ratification debates. It was pointed out as a blatant attempt to make the States irrelevant.

The Constitution was meant to improve the federation of the various States as created under the Articles of Confederation. It was not meant to create anything new. This was stressed over and over by the supporters of the Constitution in the ratification debates. The Framers voted by State, and, though some of the Framers wouldn’t sign the completed document, since it was adopted by all the States it was called unanimous. The ratification votes of the various conventions voted by state not as individuals. As provided in the original document the members of the Senate were not elected by the people at large. They were instead selected by the State legislatures. The house was designed to represent the people, and the Senate was designed to represent the States.

The Constitution never would have been ratified without this provision designed to protect the States from losing their integrity as sovereign republics which had voluntarily joined together. This was essential and this was generally understood.

So when was our social contract revised? How can a contract be unilaterally revised?

When did we agree to surrender our liberty in exchange for security? When did we agree to move from a voluntary federal republic to a centrally-planned democracy? When did our freedom from warrantless searches morph into 360° surveillance? When and how were the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights turned inside out and upside down?

The scariest thing I see about all this as I travel around the country is not that our totalitarian wanabes will use any excuse and any subterfuge to undermine limited government for the benefit of their power and their crony capitalist’s profit. No, that doesn’t scare me or surprise me at all. What catches my attention is that as I speak to more and more people about this creeping corporatism the majority of them say things like, “I’m glad the government is watching out for terrorists” or “If you’re not saying or doing anything wrong why should you care if the government listens in?”

Not only have Americans been dumbed down to the point where the majority of college freshmen need remedial studies, but these descendants of the pioneers have lost sight of the American Dream. Asked “What is the American dream?” most citizens today will recite the pabulum spooned out by the Federal Reserve Bubble Machine, the political hacks who gave them power, and the Wall Street Casino that profits by the game: “The American Dream is to own your own Home.”

That is not the American Dream! The American dream is limited government, personal liberty, and economic opportunity.

At what point do unilateral changes to a contract render it null and void?

I have long said, it will still be called the United States of America. The stars and stripes will still wave, there will still be elections, and we will still hear that this is the freest most prosperous nation on earth as our freedom slips away and our opportunities shrink.

During the ratification debates it became clear that the Constitution would not be ratified unless there was a promise that the first order of business for the new government was going to be to amend the document to state some things that a majority of people thought were missing. The promise was made and the first ten amendments were added. Today we call this our Bill of Rights. While some people can recite all of them and many more can recite a few almost every American knows they exist. The Bill of Rights has a treasured place in the American heart.

Few if any know what was said in the Preamble to the Bill of Rights, which is neither mentioned nor studied today. This sets out their purpose and is enlightening as a starting off point for understanding what they are and what we are losing.

“THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution” (emphasis added). The Bill of Rights was added in order to prevent misconstruction, or the words of the document, or abuse of its power by the government to be established under the Constitution. This could not be possible unless the words of these amendments were supposed to mean what they say, not what black-robed partisans can interpret them to say.

The Bill of Rights were not written nor adopted in their order of precedence. The number one amendment requested by the States was set as the 10th or capstone. “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.” In other words, above all the citizens of the various States were concerned most that the central government not run rough shod over the States which were the home republics closest to and controlled by the people. They feared that the central government would become a Leviathan, crushing dissent and smothering freedom.

And they never heard of the IRS, the NSA, or the EPA. They never imagined an unelected, appointed for life Supreme Court that would cancel amendments to State constitutions that were legally adopted according to the processes within those constitutions. Not since they had overthrown King George had they lived under the suffocating tyranny of a Patriot Act or rule by decree such as executive orders.

According to the amendment  process in the Constitution, the States can offer amendments to the Constitution by calling for a convention to propose such amendments. Many people are afraid of a convention believing that those who advocate for a limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom could not carry the day and the Constitution would be altered in a negative way.

It is time to admit to ourselves that the progressives have been and are changing their “Living Document” every day in countless ways: executive orders, regulations (from the EPA for example) and legislation (the 4th Amendment bending Patriot Act for example). We must face the fact the dam has broken and the foxes are guarding the hen house. The ship has sailed and the fix is in. We need a reset button before we slide completely into the abyss of totalitarianism. The flag will still fly, the national anthem still play, yet the land of the free and the home of the brave will be fundamentally transformed into a centrally-planned, regimented, surveillance state.

Once the scales have fallen from our eyes and we see that just because they call themselves liberals, people who want to control every aspect of every one’s lives are no more liberal than any of the other statists who have sought total control to impose their idea of utopia on anyone at any time in any place.

What we need is an American Spring. We need Americans to act like Americans and demand the freedom that is their birthright. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose. We the People who believe in limited government, personal liberty and economic freedom have got to unite or we might end up joining a worldwide chorus singing, “And freedom, oh freedom well, that’s just some people talkin’ your prison is walking through this world all alone.”

The center no longer holds. We must all work to influence our States, our home republics, to reign in the runaway Washington-centered bureaucracy machine before we are strangled in the red tape and buried in regulations.

The States must prove their relevance or perhaps the States are out of date.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Can Learning the Truth Unlearn the Lie? June 27, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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I have witnessed a teacher of Political Science in America require a class to watch Fahrenheit 911 by Michael Moore then write an essay outlining how many ways President Bush lied to trick America into invading Iraq. If you don’t find this assignment offensive you’ve already had you quota of Kool- Aid and you should step away from this article and dial 911. Tell them someone is about to tell you the truth and you aren’t prepared for what that might do to your world-view.

Conversely when I say we should have listened to the Anti-Federalists, echoing the message of my book The Constitution Failed I’m sure many who often turn to these dispatches from the History of the Future are ready to call the headquarters of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy and report that poor old Dr. Owens has veered off the reservation. I was once hired to teach history in a high school devoted to promoting the Socratic learning style using the works of the Enlightenment in the hopes of molding another generation akin to the Founders, critical thinkers dedicated to the proposition that liberty is the fountainhead of achievement. I was fired before the semester started because I did not hold the Founders in enough reverence believing as I do that they were mere men and not demigods infallible and universally inspired.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that the Founders of American independence and the Framers of the Constitution were a unique collection of political geniuses who did their best to craft the vehicle for their posterity’s benefit and for this nation’s greatness. The limited government they founded allowed the forever pent-up abilities and longings of man to burst forth into the flowering of American Exceptionalism, the brilliance of the American experiment.

However, that experiment crashed upon the shoals when Abraham Lincoln and the newly birthed Republican Party decided to interpret the Constitution which had been freely entered into by sovereign States to say that no State could ever voluntarily leave even though this is not stated anywhere in the document. Having made that determination this minority government used the overwhelming majority they had in what was left of the Congress to shackle the power of the Industrial North to crush the seceding agricultural South. Slavery,

which cannot be divorced from its evil nor defended in any way, provided the spark, the rallying cry, and the effective explanation for a war which shattered the myth of a federal republic composed of sovereign states.

Since that war between brothers our nation has inexorably grown from the vision expressed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence of a commonwealth of freemen into what is rapidly becoming a statist express highballing its way to the gulag of collectivist uniformity and shabby mediocrity. Gone is the meritocracy of the young republic. Gone is the equality of opportunity smothered in the cold dead grasp of the equality of outcome. Gone is the blind justice of a nation of laws devoured by the politically correct insanity of social justice. The Progressives and their coalition of mega-state lobbies have turned the protections of a Constitution written to limit government into a suicide pact wherein if the nationalist federal government chooses open borders in contravention of federal law and states are condemned for passing laws which requires police to enforce the law.

It is time to think the unthinkable and to embrace the abhorrent conclusion that the Constitution has failed. It was meant to limit government. This is proven conclusively by the 10th Amendment which states, “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.” Without the promise of the immediate adoption of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution would never have been ratified by a majority of the States. This important though neglected amendment says, and means that only those powers expressly delegated to the central government are legitimate not the endless multiplication of powers which allows that government to intrude into every aspect of our lives as it does today.

The very reason for a written Constitution was and is to limit the government created by that document to the powers expressly delegated not to open the door for interpretation and precedent to expand infinitely until all limits are gone. If that wasn’t the intent why have a Constitution at all?

Though many trace the diversion from republican purity to Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressives the truth is Hamilton set the stage for a big government. He fathered the movement away from a decentralized federation of free people agreeing to disagree so that compromise would leave enough space for liberty to bloom. John Marshall the second Chief Justice of the Supreme Court manufactured the power of judicial review by exploiting political factions clearing the path for the rule of unelected black robed aristocrats with the power to turn a country of laws into a country of men.

This history lesson may not make my fellow Patriots glow with the satisfaction derived from accepting the Constitution as inviolable scripture received from on high. However, our current decent into the Progressive’s transformed America should make every lover of liberty ready to embrace the truth. The only question remaining: Can learning the truth unlearn the lie?

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

Is the Necessary and Proper Clause either Necessary or Proper? May 30, 2013

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
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I want to begin by saying that I believe the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights included, comprise the most enlightened, ennobling, and beneficial documents ever penned by the hand of man. I also believe that the Constitution afforded the United States the greatest level of freedom and opportunity ever experienced by humanity. This freedom and opportunity in turn released the talents and abilities of the American people to build the greatest nation ever to exist, rising from thirteen states exhausted and impoverished from years of war into a prosperous and powerful nation which by the end of the twentieth century stood upon the world stage as the uncontested sole superpower.

Simplicity is the essence of genius while over-simplification is the essence of fraud. In a picture perfect example of the truism “The victors write history” what we have been taught concerning the writing and ratification of the Constitution is actually a politically slanted version of the truth. This highly patrician account is also an example of over-simplification.

We are taught that the Articles of Confederation were an abject failure because they were too weak. Shay’s Rebellion scared the venerable leaders who had led and won the Revolution. George Washington and Co. came back from retirement to once again save the nation writing an “almost” divinely inspired document. There was only token dissent to the immediate acceptance of this tablet from the mount by some shadowy unknown people collectively called the “Anti-Federalists.” However after some well-written articles by future leaders called the Federalists, We the People overwhelmingly voted for ratification and the Constitution immediately ushered in the blessings of liberty and opportunity for all rescuing the United States from anarchy and stagnation. Amen.

This is a thumb-nail sketch of what our thumb-nail sketch type history education once delivered as gospel in American public schools. Today, those lucky enough to live in a school district that still includes American History are instead treated to the progressive’s litany of American crimes and debauchery. However, as our constitutionally limited government exceeds all previous limits, is either of these offerings good enough? Americans from all walks of life watch in stunned disbelief as the Federal Government on steroids swallows the economy, health care, the financial system, major manufacturing, the insurance industry, and anything else that doesn’t move fast enough to get out of the way. Can the States themselves be far behind?

How did this come about? How did a government born in the shackles provided by a written constitution designed to limit its power swell into the all-powerful OZ?

Quite simply it was through the deception of the Progressives evolving our Constitution from a rock-solid framework limited to what it actually said to a living document that is constantly being re-interpreted. Thus without amendment, without debate, without a vote our leaders have nudged us from land of liberty to the centrally-planned surveillance state which today sends the IRS after their enemies, leaves our borders open, our opportunities closed, and our sons and daughters manning hundreds of garrisons around the world.

One of the key tools in this century long quest to transform America has been the use of the so-called elastic clauses in the Constitution. One major clause used to accomplish this is found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 which states, “The Congress shall have Power To …make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

There are several ways to look at this clause and its meaning. First we need to look at what is called “Original Intent,” or what those who wrote the clause meant. Then we will look at what those who ratified the Constitution thought it meant. Finally we will look at how the Progressives interpret and re-interpret their favorite clause.

The necessary and proper clause was added to the Constitution by the Committee of Detail with no debate. Nor was it the subject of any debate during the remainder of the Convention. The reason why this clause was neither attacked nor defended during the Convention becomes clear from the statements of the Framers during the ratification process. James Wilson, one of the most eloquent defenders of the Constitution, a signer of the Constitution, and one of the first justices of the Supreme Court, said that this clause gave the federal government no more or other powers than those already enumerated in Section 8 of Article I and that “It is saying no more than that the powers we have already particularly given, shall be effectually carried into execution.” The Framers felt as if the clause was merely saying that which had been delegated could be used.

During the ratification debates this clause was a hot topic. Brutus proclaimed that through the Necessary and Proper Clause “This government is to possess absolute and uncontrollable power, legislative and judicial, with respect to every object to which it extends…” the debate raged back and forth between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists in newspapers, pamphlets, and on the floor of the ratification conventions. Eventually the Federalists won the day and the Constitution was ratified. The result? The interpretation of this clause that was generally accepted by the ratification conventions was that it added no new or expandable powers to the federal government.

Since the New Deal era, Progressives have argued that the Necessary and Proper Clause expands the powers of the federal government to any it deems necessary and proper. In other words the federal government has all the power necessary to do whatever they want about anything they want. The executive department has been using this clause to grab power since Hamilton used it to found the First bank of the United States in 1791. The Supreme Court has been stretching this clause since they ruled in Mcculloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819) to give themselves the power of judicial review. This expansionist interpretation has been upheld by the Supreme Court on numerous occasions and is today the accepted opinion amongst the political-media-corporate establishment.

It is my belief that if we have a better understanding of where we came from and how we got here that we would have a better understanding of where we are. If we understand where we are perhaps we will see the way to get back to where we wanted to go when we started: back to a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Knowing how a simple clause meant to say that what had been delegated could be used has evolved into near totalitarian power shows us that just as the present use of the Necessary and Proper Clause is neither necessary nor proper.  And thus a government of the people, for the people and by the people has been hijacked and become something else.

No matter what we have been taught, no matter even what the reality was the reality is that the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation as the supreme law of the land. The announced purpose of the Constitution’s writing and adoption was to provide a limited government which respected both the rights of the States and the people. Since this was the stated and accepted purpose of the Constitution after two centuries and several decades can We the People deny any longer that it has failed?

Failing and failure are two different things. Everyone who has ever succeeded has failed. It is falling forward from that failure which ultimately brings success. If the Constitution has failed what do we do now? Where’s the reset button.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

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