Beyond the Cusp

August 13, 2012

Death of a Constitution

The Constitution of the United States of America is a singularly exquisite document unparalleled in all of human history. It is very likely the seminal document championing dignity, freedom and liberty of all human beings over the powers of government dictating a system based on the universality of the rule of law over the absolute rule of man such as a king or other potentate. The Constitution of the United States is the framework around which the application of the American Declaration of Independence becomes possible. It is by the application of the checks and balances on power by the Constitution that governance is leashed and restricted to owning only that influence granted it by those whom it is presumed to serve. This was the beauty and significance of the founding documents, the Constitution in tandem with the Declaration of Independence, on which what has been called the American experiment in government of the people, by the people, and for the people was founded. This Constitution of the United States was relatively workable until the courts decided that it was within their power to institute laws rather than just adjudicate them.

One of the most grievous of these cases was Roe vs. Wade where the United States Supreme Court took what was rightfully a States’ issue, which should have remained relegated to be decided by the individual states as dictated by the Tenth Amendment, and turned the entire argument into a Federal Case. This forced any remedial actions to originate with the Federal Government and eliminating any redress by the individual States. The main problem that many Constitutionalists who stand for the strict interpretation of the Constitution, with an eye towards the framework and structures of the Constitution and its related arguments as covered in the Federalist Papers and the  Anti-Federalist Papers, is not over whether abortion should or should not be legal within the United States but that deciding such was not included within the narrow and defined powers of the Supreme Court or any other branch of the Federal Government. Unfortunately, anybody attempting to make such an argument is immediately struck upside their head with claims of their intent being to deny a woman of her “right to choose” and the rights of the States to decide such issues by the dictates and will of their citizens never gets discussed. Such a hijacking of the argument denies any legitimate debate over States’ rights versus Federal power to force unified laws on any issue they feel obligated or coerced into ruling.

Since the Roe vs. Wade decision was handed down, there have been a number of laws and court cases which have further eroded the power of the individual States in the name of protecting the rights of the people or some segment within society which has found favor at the Federal level of government. This precedent has also allowed for the Federal government to set standards for items, procedures and various other interactions, many of which resulted in unfunded mandates imposed upon the States under the guise of forced universal compliance. Some examples would include but not be limited to the low volume water per flush toilets, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, Unemployment Insurance, required auto insurance, Prescription Drug Plans for Seniors, front loading washers, and a litany of other programs which are considered by many to be extra-Constitutional with likely the most dangerous one soon to be implemented, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obama Care). Universal standards are understandable and desirable in near countless places such as weights and measures, but not in limiting the choices of the public when it comes to goods and services.

It has been proven that more will usually be accomplished if the choices are left up to the people as long as the people are given the truth of concerns and information. One example which often is misrepresented concerns pollution standards. Despite the claims to the contrary, the vast percentage of the requirements put forth in the first rendition of anti-pollution regulations contained in the Clean Air Act of 1972 had already been met before much of the debate even began without any actions by any level of government. What had occurred was simply the people were made aware of the problems from air pollution and water pollution and began to demand of manufacturers that they clean up their acts (all puns intended). Numerous companies included their efforts towards cleaner air and water in their advertising campaigns and by doing such garnered a larger market share. Nobody can know how far public pressures might have pushed industry, even automobile manufacturers, to cut back on emissions and cleaning up the air and water. What is known is that once the Federal Government put in place a required minimum standard, then one could easily predict to what level advances would be implemented, exactly to the requirements and not one ounce lower. By setting a standard, the Government had also set a maximum on efforts to lower emissions and removed the pressure by the consumer as it would then be considered being overly demanding to go any further than Government had set as what was to be expected.

The most egregious loss of the falling away from strict Constitutional limitations of the Federal government has been the loss of the citizen’s influence over the day-to-day influences upon their lives by government. The idea behind the Founding Fathers limitations on the Federal Government included in the Constitution was to place the vast majority of the governing influences upon the citizen as close to the citizen as feasible. As was stated by James Madison, “The powers delegated to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those powers which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” If you prefer something more succinct there is the quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson which states, “The government that governs best governs least.” (This is one of the many versions of the quote.) The going theory of the day was for the largest amount of power over the individual was to be placed with each individual. It was equated that in order to maximize personal freedoms and liberties one would also have to be most responsible and respectful of others. The only reason for the intervention then by government was to enforce the rights of the individual as long as such did not impose upon the rights of the next individual. The most local level of government would be responsible for adjudicating disputes and abridgements by one individual upon another. The local government was also responsible for keeping the peace in order to facilitate the highest level of liberty and freedom for the entirety of the limited area over which it had influence. This level of government would only be given those powers which the people as a whole were willing to allow it to possess. The next level of government would be tasked with settling any disputes between these local governances. The power of this level of government would be dependent upon both what the individuals were willing as a society to grant to government and the items allowed it by the lower levels of government. This would continue all the way up the levels of government even to a world governance should such be established by the next level of governance, that of countries. Each level of government would deal for the people who resided within its jurisdiction with other governments of similar levels or governance. They would hold only that which the people were willing to surrender or loan to that government. The people would also have the right to remove the power from such government if they decided such power was being abused or was too infringing upon their lives. Each level of government which would be above the other would be limited to even less power as at no level could any power be vested in government which had not been granted by the people to their closest level of governance. Thus, as one climbed the ladder from local neighborhood government to general area government to district area government to State government and finally to Federal Government one would find that at each level the amount of power vested in the government would decrease from the previous lower level. This was the design and the beauty of the idea put forth from which we have driven far astray. This is also the perfection in governance which we the people must struggle to reclaim such that we once again will be fully empowered to control our own lives and government is returned to being the beggar for power and influence from the granters of power, the people.

Beyond the Cusp

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