The Anti-Federalists passionately fought for, and won, a Bill of Rights. They believed that only if these enumerated rights were staunchly and explicitly protected would the built-in tendencies toward the consolidation of national power in the Constitution be kept in check. The problem is, of course, that the usurpations of power by the Supreme Court and Congress…have either twisted or all but erased the enumerated rights. ...We have become, willingly or unwillingly, the very worst kind of Federalists feared by the Anti-Federalists: complete dependents on an increasingly despotic federal government. —Dr. Benjamin Wiker, from “10 Books Every Conservative Must Read”
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”—Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Many conservatives think that the foundation of the United States rests on the US Constitution—that the Constitution is the bedrock of our republic. Viva la Constitution!
Not so fast. There is more at play regarding the US Constitution than most of us realize.
America has been on a steep learning curve for the past couple of years. Playing “catch-up” with America’s roots and heritage is no easy task. After decades of being purposefully dumbed-down, indoctrinated, and misinformed, most of us are woefully ignorant of what it truly means to be an American.
Use your browser to research “1954 eighth grade test” if you doubt me. How many people could pass that test today? How many eighth grade students could pass it today—how many eighth grade teachers; how many college professors? I think you know the answer. (Link)
Could you pass it? Me neither. It’s pretty pitiful when you think about it—some “informed electorate” we are, huh?
Most of us could use some lessons in America 101, and there are perhaps no more important subjects than the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Many Americans don’t realize that the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) was not written to supplement the Constitution, so much as to rein-in the Constitution.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights were the result of a compromise between Federalists and Anti-Federalists—between those in favor of a strong national government (Federalists), and those who stressed the sovereignty of the individual states (Anti-Federalists). (Link)
Let me say up front, that I consider the US Constitution to be sacrosanct—it should not be touched in any way, shape, or form. I’m merely trying to underline the importance of the Bill of Rights, and point out how it has been trampled on, (and what we might do about that). (Link)
At the risk of oversimplifying things, it is not far off the mark to say that the Federalists, who championed a strong national government, pushed for the Constitution, whereas the Anti-Federalists, who were wary of a strong centralized government, pushed for the Bill of Rights—perhaps most importantly, the Tenth Amendment: (Link)
“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.” (Link)
The Anti-Federalists were not against the Constitution per se, they were simply fearful (justifiably, it turns out) that after just defeating one tyrannical master, they were about to exchange it for another—a too powerful federal government.
Consequently, the Constitution and The Bill of Rights, are in an almost adversarial relationship (hence my use of the word “versus” in this article’s title).
The Anti-Federalists generally agreed with the Federalists that a stronger Constitution was needed. Something stronger, and with more bite, than the feeble Articles of Confederation, passed in 1777. The question was, how much stronger? (Link)
There were mainly two things about the Constitution, that especially bothered the Anti-Federalists: the powers of taxation given to the federal government, and the broad powers given to the federal Legislative and Judicial branches of government. (Link)
Permit me to briefly discuss the first of the Anti-Federalist’s concerns—taxation. As Anti-Federalist Robert Yates (writing under the nome de plume Brutus) put it: (Link)
“This power [of taxation] without limitation will introduce itself into every corner of the city and country—it will wait upon the ladies at their toilet…it will enter the house of every gentleman…it will watch the merchant in his counting house…it will follow the mechanic to his shop…it will be a constant companion of the industrious farmer in all his labor…it will penetrate into the most obscure cottage, and finally, it will light upon the head of every person in the United States.” (Link)
“To all these different classes of people, and in all these circumstances…the language in which it will address them, will be GIVE! GIVE!” (Link)
If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Yates had been reading my mail. GIVE, indeed.
For better than half its existence, America got along quite well without any internal revenue tax, thank you very much. But under the tenure of racist Progressive icon, Woodrow Wilson, the 16th Amendment, instituting an internal tax, was rammed through. (Link)
To cut to the chase—if you want to deflate the bloated federal bureaucracy, the quickest way would be to starve it of its power—no money, no power. Repeal the 16th Amendment, forcing the federal government to return to relying on external taxes (such as import duties), and it will have to deflate to a sane size.
At first people will no doubt be “jonesing” for their hits from the government teat, but they’ll detox eventually. If it turns out that “we the people” insist on certain luxuries like welfare, social services, and medical aid, then the states will have to fill that bill, on a state to state basis. (Link)
The federal fiscal burden is way past the point of sustainability. The cockamamie liberal economic strategies of “tax and spend,” and Keynesian economics, have bankrupted the United States (and individual states). (Link)
The doctrines of Keynesian economics have been proven time, and time again, to be asinine, yet liberals steadfastly swear by them. Consequently, the federal government is currently promoting generational theft, and printing fiat (play) money, like it’s going out of style (which it unfortunately is). (Link)
That’s what happens when you hand the helm over to greedy, over-educated, under-experienced, elitist dweebs (over-educated in Far Left, anti-American, globalist, Keynesian doctrines, no less). God knows, things are bad enough when greedy Republican elitist dweebs are steering the Ship of State. (Link)
Repealing the 14th Amendment should also be on the table, or at least getting rid of the absurd, antiquated, “anchor baby” clause. The Act of 1871, and the whole 14th Amendment, smell fishy to me, and need to be looked into at some depth, and the results reported to “we the people.” Repeal them if warranted. (Link) and (Link)
Both the 14th Amendment, and the Act of 1871, appear to follow the liberal credo of “If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your brilliance, then baffle ‘em with bulls—t,” which is, almost invariably, a red flag that something untoward is afoot. (Obama-Care being a recent case in point—“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” Oh really?). (Link)
Next, I’d like to discuss the bloated legislative powers that the Anti-Federalists were worried about. Their concern has been more than justified.
To take just one example, (granted, one powerful example), in 1973 a five person majority of the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) passed the divisive pro-abortion ruling of “Roe v. Wade.” (Link)
Justice Blackmun writing for the majority, and relying on the findings of another beauty, Justice William O. Douglas, wrote about the “emanations and penumbras” of the Constitution, and how they covered a woman’s “right” to have an abortion. (Link)
Emanations and penumbras? What’s that supposed to mean? Darn near whatever you want it to, it turns out. (Link)
Yeah, well, I’ve got Blackmun’s “emanations and penumbras” hanging. What a load of horse poop. (Link)
Shortly after “Roe v. Wade” came out, liberal scholar John Hart wrote, “‘Roe’ is bad because it is bad constitutional law, or rather because it is not constitutional law, and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be.” (Link)
This feat of legal legerdemain by five people, swept the entire country into an anti-family, anti-life, anti-God, population-control mode, (sound like the agenda of anybody you know?), that has been national policy ever since. (Link)
Bypass the will of “we the people” by judicial decree—it’s been all the rage for decades. (Link)
Recently, a judge in California blithely dismissed millions of voters, when he said, in effect, “Screw you all—this is what I think the law should be, and this is what it will be,” when he overturned Proposition 8. (Link)
“We the people” have a choice to make. Do we want to follow the hard-won wisdom contained in the US Constitution, and Bill of Rights, or do we want to follow the invariably bloody and dismal path of Collectivist doctrines? (Link)
Do we wish to follow the fairytale fantasies of utopian theories, or the tried-and-true pragmatism of “school of hard knocks” experience; garnered from centuries of trial and error (of the “three steps forward, two steps back” variety).
It was their all-too-keen awareness of the imperfection of human nature, that made the Anti-Federalists insist on the Bill of Rights. The wisely intertwined restraints of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights should have kept America on the right track in perpetuity.
So what happened? Human nature happened, and then Marxism happened, and Progressives happened, and corruption, greed, and stupidity happened.
Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mao happened. Thanks to all of those Far Left utopias being rammed down the world’s throat, the last century was the bloodiest in human history—and given that much of human history consists of “wars and rumors of wars,” that’s saying something.
(No wonder liberals are so obsessed with revisionist history. If all those horrific fiascos were mine, I’d want to sweep them under the rug too).
In short, a lot has happened since the US Constitution and Bill of Rights were first ratified. “We the people” need to take responsibility for what has happened—for allowing it to happen—and deal with it, (the Political Elite certainly won’t). What are we to do?
First we need to admit that America is “broken.” It is broken in many places, and a list of the damages would be darn near endless.
Suffice it to say that a “free republic” whose federal workers earn, on the average, twice what its private citizens earn, is no free republic. (Link)
Also, two of the main reasons for passing the Constitution in the first place, were so a national government would protect our borders, and take care of our national fiscal health. The federal government is currently spending us into oblivion, and treating the borders of the United States as if they were an inconvenient afterthought. (Link) and (Link)
If the federal government can’t, or won’t, do its job, then its time to give sovereignty back to the individual states. It’s time to get the federal parasite off the backs of “we the people,” and return to truly being, a “land of the free, and home of the brave.” (Link)
We have been blessed with two of the most well-thought-out, intelligent, and enlightened documents in human history—the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights (another of the world’s great documents being, of course, The Declaration of Independence, the charter of the United States). (Link)
Technology has drastically evolved since these documents were written, but human nature has not. These documents remain as valid and timely today, as when they were first written. (Link)
“We the people” need to reclaim them, and wash off the “grime” that years of misuse, disrespect, and disregard have left. They need to be revitalized, energized, and given the respect due their historic, pragmatic, and revolutionary, nature. (Link)
Both the US Constitution AND the Bill of Rights should have equal status. Perhaps we could add “...and the Bill of Rights” to the oath to defend the US Constitution that US military personnel, and members of Congress take. (Link)
Not that any of the Pentagon’s top brass, or members of Congress, take their oaths seriously—still, it would be a nice gesture, and who knows, maybe someday we WILL have men and women who DO take their oaths seriously. (Link)
You could say that because the Bill of Rights is considered part of the Constitution (as are, of course, all the amendments), there is no need to mention it by name, but that ignores the vital balancing effect that the Bill of Rights was meant to have on the Constitution per se. (Link)
God knows America is in desperate need of “balancing” these days, (as in, much less federal power, and much stronger state’s rights). (Link)
The Anti-Federalists considered the individual states to be the optimum size for a government that could, and would, work for the interests of its citizens—I agree—(the fact that the Feds have purposefully made themselves into a crutch for both the states, and individuals, notwithstanding). (Link)
Glenn Beck has said that he believes that America is experiencing its third spiritual Great Awakening. After the First Great Awakening, came the Revolutionary War. After the Second Great Awakening, came the Civil War. After the Third Great Awakening….? (Link)
It’s no secret that the Far Left has Black Muslims, Islamists, radical La Raza-style Hispanics, union thugs, and others, waiting in the wings. (Link)
I, also, am waiting in the wings, and I have “friends”—millions of them. (Link)
“We the people” love the United States of America, and we’re more than happy to inform any traitorous one-world-government types, that they can shove their anti-American, anti-freedom, anti-capitalism manure, back where it came from. (Link)
If they want to Dosey Doe; just let us know, and we’re ready to dance. (Link)
Thomas Jefferson said that in order to nourish the “tree of liberty,” it requires the periodic shedding of blood—from both tyrants, and patriots. America’s roots of freedom are long overdue for a “watering.” (Link)
As “Michelle Antoinette” might say, “Aprés moi, c’était un deluge!” (After me—the deluge!”). Only God’s grace will prevent the storm—then again, perhaps it’s God’s Will that the deluge break upon us. (Link) and (Link)
Born June 4, 1951 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Served in the U.S. Navy from 1970-1974 in both UDT-21 (Underwater Demolition Team) and SEAL Team Two. Worked as a commercial diver in the waters off of Scotland, India, and the United States. Worked overseas in the Merchant Marines. While attending the University of South Florida as a journalism student in 1998 was presented with the “Carol Burnett/University of Hawaii AEJMC Research in Journalism Ethics Award,” 1st place undergraduate division. (The annual contest was set up by Carol Burnett with money she won from successfully suing a national newspaper for libel). Awarded US Army, US Navy, South African, and Russian jump wings. Graduate of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, 1970). Member of Mensa, China Post #1, and lifetime member of the NRA and UDT/SEAL Association.
Jim can be reached at:
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