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The Constitution AND WHAT IT MEANS
By William James
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 William James
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFor far too long the Constitution has been viewed as a complex, almost mystical document. The ensuing pages will remove the shroud of mystery surrounding it, that our Congress men and women have perpetuated. We will expose the man behind the curtain, called Congress, and let him know we figured it out. He works for us, not the other way around. We will take our lead from the recognized father of the Constitution, James Madison in Federalists number thirty-seven when he said, "The ultimate object of these papers is to determine clearly and fully the merits of this Constitution."
Before we can accomplish our goal we must have the courage to face the truth and let reason be our guide. For example, if you believe in manmade Global Warming, you will not believe this book; for reason does not have a prominent role in your thought process. If you hate America, you will despise this book. If Al Gore is your mentor, James Madison is your nemeses. "Every man has a right to his own opinions, but no man has a right to be wrong in facts,"
Throughout the history of mankind governments have sought to control its people. For centuries that control has been accomplished through fear. Today our congressmen, unfortunately, are no different. However, our Constitution makes that control somewhat problematic. On the other hand they have hit upon one of the greatest hoaxes of all time. They have led us down the path to the altar of global warming. If we don't sacrifice everything at this altar we will all surely die. The Constitution 'be damned,' give me your freedom, your liberty and your money for only then can you be saved. Politicians who preach at the altar of global-warming are creating the chloroform that makes the separation of man from, his money, liberty and freedom a lot more palatable. Anyone foolish enough to follow them over this cliff will have a mortal fear of a Constitution that when fully understood requires one to be a self-reliant, rugged, individual.
Although, the words Self-reliant, rugged, individual do not appear in the Constitution it becomes manifestly clear in the Declaration of Independence with the often quoted passage to "... pursue life, liberty and happiness ..." that everyone is an individual who is the sole arbiter of what will make them happy and that happiness is determined by self-reliant, rugged, individualism. Our Constitution enshrines the concept of property rights through self-reliant, rugged, individualism. The founding fathers did not have social security, Medicare, healthcare or any form of government welfare. They were completely vested in the concept of self-reliant, rugged, individualism. To be sure, the founders were generous with their wealth but it was always an individual choice, not a government mandate. The very last sentence of The Declaration of Independence sums up the entire concept of self-reliant, rugged, individualism where those who signed their names to that document said, "... we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor." Today's congress has taken away our self-reliant, rugged, individualism and taxed our Lives, Fortunes and Honor.
The federal government was designed to play only a small role. As a matter of fact the federal government was so small its twenty one duties were listed in Article I, section 8, however, as we shall soon see only the legal profession demonstrated the incompetence to fully misunderstand the simplicity of the US Constitution.
To fully understand the simplicity of our Constitution we must first understand that the legal profession, both lawyers and judges are also human; like the rest of us they are subject to the weaknesses of human nature in that they too are not infallible. It has been noted that the only requirements to be a judge are (1) obtain a law degree (2) be appointed by the president and (3) be confirmed by the Senate. It is the job of the federal judiciary to focus on the constitutionality of our laws, nothing more, and nothing less. A judge that cannot separate his or her personal beliefs from the true meaning of the Constitution is a dangerous tyrant. In 2012 Ruth Bader Ginsberg while offering advice to the newly formed Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood stated she would not look to the US Constitution for guidance. A Supreme Court Justice, who took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, advises a foreign nation on foreign soil not to look toward the U.S. Constitution- a truly impeachable offense, if ever there was one, and not so much as a single eye brow was raised in Congress.
The federal judiciary, legislature or executive also have no constitutional authority to regulate our economy. Historians have exposed the disaster of government involvement in economics. More specifically, many historians today have detailed the overwhelming negative consequences of Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal; a policy that not only prolonged but exacerbated the Great Depression. The New Deal was unconstitutional.
Whenever you see the word unconstitutional, it is a euphuism for supremely illegal. The Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. When our congress men and women pass unconstitutional laws, they are not simply breaking the law; they are breaking the Supreme law of the land. In other words, the petty thief is not as nearly corrupt as the well dressed Congress Man or Woman who abdicates their Constitutional responsibility.
A good leader will learn from history. However, we see our 21st century leaders making the same mistakes of the past; such actions not only demonstrate the bold ignorance of today's leaders but also expose the complete vapidness of higher education. It is the responsibility of the institutions of higher learning to teach history. More often than not our leaders come from the Ivy League schools, a clear sign for parents to steer clear of Ivy League educations for their children. It not only appears to dumb down the individual, but it wastes hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition fees while creating a terribly weak leadership class. Perhaps the late William F. Buckley Jr. was on to something when he said, "I would rather be governed by the first two thousand people in the Manhattan phone book, than the entire faculty of Harvard." Thomas Sowell is even more succinct when he said, "Academic pedigree is no grantor of useful knowledge."
Today we have a federal government (my congressman and yours) who are proudly proclaiming only they can save the economy and save the country. That is wrong on so many levels it would require another book. Suffice it to say, our congressmen are clearly driven by socialism not the tenants of the United States Constitution. It is probably all we can expect from people who tout the failed policies of the past and scorn the success of our founders. In other words let us heed the warning of Justice Robert H. Jackson when he wrote of himself and his fellow justices, "We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final." This book lays bare the true meaning of our Constitution.
To fully understand the Constitution we must first disabuse ourselves of the notion that only the legal profession is qualified to explain it. The recognized father of our Constitution, James Madison, was not a lawyer. As you will soon learn it was the legal profession that created the problems with our Constitution, not solve them. John Lescroart in his novel Guilt captures the essence of the legal profession when he says, "I am a lawyer ... first we argue, then we deflect the direction words might be going to win, we ... obfuscate." The Constitution is not a difficult document, unless of course, you are a lawyer. Just because someone speaks with an air of authority doesn't make it so. Even Thomas Jefferson recognized the minimal ability of lawyers more than two hundred years ago when he said, "If the present Congress err in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?"
It is not the job of a lawyer to find the truth it is only, instead, to create doubt, especially about our Constitution. We will remove that doubt. The very linchpin of the legal profession is that a defendant must be found guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. All a lawyer need do then is create doubt in the mind of a single juror. The most famous case to date is the OJ Simpson murder trial. The quote by Thomas Jefferson is as poignant today as when it was written; a lawyer yields nothing, talks by the hour and creates doubt. Asking a lawyer to explain the Constitution is like asking a plumber to perform a heart by-pass. We need not turn to a lawyer for the definition to our Constitution; but instead we take our lead from Hamilton when he says, "The rules of legal interpretation are rules of common sense." Probably the single greatest characteristic the legal profession lacks.
It is the nature of the American people to respect authority. The confines of a court room are by its very nature authoritative and imposing. The court room creates an environment of awe and respect. Lawyers are trained to manipulate these circumstances to their advantage. After all, when the oracle speaks everyone listens. The 110th Congress which ended December 2008 had 179 lawyers in the House and 56 Senators who held law degrees. The public favorability rating hit an all time low at 14%. Clearly this is not a segment of the population held in high esteem. How is it then, these same people continue to be reelected? It has been said that all politics are local politics. The American people are a trusting group, when we meet, for example, a Hillary Clinton, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, one on one, they are gracious, polite, well spoken always nice and invariably tell us what we want to hear. We leave the encounter with the idea that it is everyone else's Senator who are the corrupt ones, when in fact it is we who just got conned. Remember Thomas Jefferson's admonition they, "... yield nothing and talk by the hour." Perhaps it is a redundancy to say they also know nothing about the Constitution for if they did, government (our congressmen) would be the well behaved child in the crowd who was seen but not heard. After all it is an important and demanding position; not to worry, we think the Constitution will keep restraints on their activity, as we shall see it does not. When we meet our personal Congressman we are always overwhelmed by his knowledge and compassion. Yes we all agree Congress as a group is poor, but invariably we all seem to fall into the trap that it isn't our Congressman who is the problem.
The arrogance of a lawyers has always amazed me. When elected to office they automatically view themselves as economist, and begin to attack the economy as though it were some defendant in court. On the other hand, when economists are elected to office they are humble enough to realize they are not lawyers. If you are charged with a serious crime, who will you turn to for help, the economist or the lawyer? Likewise, why do we turn to a lawyer for direction on our economy, or the Constitution for that matter? The lawyer is trained to speak in language that sounds impressive and authoritative but as John Lescroart has demonstrated it is only to "... obfuscate." A lawyer is no economist. Likewise, a lawyer is no constitutional scholar, therefore, let us not turn our economy or our Constitution over to a group of lawyers who's only contribution according to Jefferson is to "... yield nothing and talk by the hour."
Also, contrary to popular belief the Constitution, although, the supreme law of the land is not written in 'legalese,' as our congressmen would have us believe. The language is certainly flowery, but consistent with the spoken language of the day. In order for it to be accepted by the States it had to be understood by everyone. Furthermore, let us not forget a high school education in the 18th century was equivalent to today's bachelor's degree.
Every economist clearly understands he is no lawyer, but every lawyer thinks he is an economist, an attorney, and a Constitutional scholar. A few such examples: Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank, John Kerry are all economic charlatans. The last three from the state of Massachusetts – God help them. With arrogance like that, no wonder they are trampling our Constitution. "Legal training should not be confused with an education."
The Constitution was born out of American exceptionalism, something so unique it had never been tried. An experiment so profound it drew nothing from past dynasties except the understanding they were not the proper path for this new land called America. This bold new experience came to be known as conservatism. An ideology that manifest itself in a free market economy with a small limited government that allowed the self reliant, rugged, individualism we call the American spirit to flourish. People would come from all over the world to a place called America, because here you would be left alone by government. People came here not to change each other but to change themselves through self reliant, rugged, individualism. It would be those characteristics that defined this new place called America. Its traditions, its religion, and its philosophy were accepted and understood. "e pluribus unum" the motto of our great nation, "From many we unite as one." It would be with this spirit that the new Constitution would be conceived.
This new world would have a Constitution that would protect "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." It would guarantee equal rights but not equal outcome. The new world recognized that all men were created equal but not all men would be basketball players, football players, doctors or God forbid more lawyers, some might become Joe the plumber. But, under this new Constitution all men had the equal access to make a choice. A man, if he was so inclined, could choose to do absolutely nothing but it was understood not to be the job of a central government to take from the producers in a society and give to the non producers.
The spirit of our Constitution is captured by Jefferson when he says, "... the government that governs least is the government that governs best." If you turn to the government for all of your solutions, all of your happiness, all of your health care, all of the answers to life's problems you will not find support for these positions in the Constitution. Those ideas are antithetical to the concept of self-reliance, it is not the job of a central government to take money from one and give to someone else. The poor man in your neighborhood, on your street perhaps, is not the responsibility of a central government. That responsibility lies directly with you, the community and that individual.
Today's lawyers in both the government and the courts frequently couch their arguments with the seemingly innocuous statement, "We must look to Europe for guidance." This is not only wrong, it is dangerously wrong. The central purpose of our Constitution was independence from Europe, a clean break from centuries of influence that would have no place in the New World. In a land called America we would take the lead, forage a new direction, and make our own decisions, and never look back only looking forward. As seen in many writings of our forefathers and specifically the Federalists Papers we would only look to Europe to remind us how not to do it. For it now rest with us to determine how it is to be done. We shall look no further than the Constitution of the United States.
The American Constitution was established to embark on a new course; to go forward with a bold new experiment. It would be a new government like history had never seen. The American experience was specifically designed to be unlike anything in the past. This place called American would be that 'shining City on a hill'. It would lead the way with a new system; A system so innovative that one only need look no further than the founding fathers for the true meaning of America. The founding fathers were well steeped in history. As a matter of Fact the Declaration of Independence is a list of some 38 grievances from their immediate past, of which the founders wanted to separate themselves. The entire context of the Federalists Papers reads as though it were a history book. The authors of the Federalist Papers took their lead from the founding fathers who gathered at the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1776. It was necessary to understand the historical inequities so a new government could be crafted to avoid the pitfalls of the past.
Excerpted from The Constitution AND WHAT IT MEANS by William James Copyright © 2012 by William James. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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