Let’s face it. Our modern government does not exactly reflect the Jeffersonian model. James Madison, the “father of the Constitution”, noted that except in times of war, the federal government should only make up about 10% of all government. Today, it makes up more than half of all government, and is increasing exponentially.
The Constitution was set up to leave almost all things to the States, with the exception of just a handful of activities (foreign affairs, inter-state commerce, defense, judicial system, etc).
However, over the past century, we’ve liberally loaded certain terms and concepts in the Constitution, to allow for increased federal intrusion into states and personal lives. Such as the clause “General Welfare” now technically includes specific welfare, right down to the individual. Commerce now includes anything and everything that may or may not have anything to do with actual commerce.
For this increase, have we gotten our money’s worth? After spending trillions on welfare, have we won the war on poverty? After Jimmy Carter created the Dept of Education that has increased with No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, do we see any real progress? Or do we see our children continuing to fall further behind other nations? Has the TSA made our flying experience safer? Or just more encumbered and embarrassing?
When we are forced to submit to a full body scan or pat down, how does that actually support our Constitution’s search and seizure and due process Amendments?
When we now have feds imposing their moral requirements of contraceptives and abortifacients onto churches, just how does that ensure freedom of religion? And how does that keep the separation between church and state?
How does having 900+ foreign bases protect the United States?
Does the Constitution allow Congress to not create a budget for over 3 years? Or are they charged with that responsibility, and should be hammered with dereliction of duty and not defending the Constitution by bringing our nation to the brink of bankruptcy?
Are we Americans really to the point of allowing the failure of our Constitution, because we’re so used to being bribed by Congress? Are older people brain washed by the AARP into thinking they have a right to unfunded Medicare Part D, and other unfunded medical care? Do welfare recipients believe they have a right to welfare allowances that provide them with enough to own cars, cable television, and air conditioning (making them wealthier than most Europeans)? Do women think that we must finance Planned Parenthood on the federal level? Or that they have a “right” to “free” contraceptives?
I was on the telephone the other day with my mother, who is a Republican and voting for Mitt Romney, and she saw herself and others having such “rights.” She believes she earned her Medicare Part D, even though she technically didn’t pay a dime into anything for it.
I explained that we have limited resources, and must use them wisely. I gave Dick Cheney’s heart transplant as an example. Here is a 70-ish year old receiving a transplant. Hearts are rare and difficult to replace. Would it not make more sense to use it on a 40 year old, allowing the heart to serve someone for 40 more years, than to have it last just a decade?
So it is with Constitutional resources. They are rare and precious in a world that is self-enamored and believes the world (or fed) owes it a living. The Constitution only promises one thing: to defend our individual freedoms, so we can do something marvelous with our own lives.
Sadly, we see more and more direct attacks on the Constitution. When there are attacks on the legitimacy of the Supreme Court’s responsibility to determine the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress, then there are deliberate attacks on the Constitution itself, and its balance of powers.
Can we awaken the American people to these great dangers in front of us? Or must we still kick the can down the road, until bankruptcy destroys the economic freedom of the nation, and those who would change or replace the Constitution succeed?
Personally, I do not like the idea of living in a police state. But perhaps we aren’t too far away from our own 1984 or Brave New World….