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August 22, 2009

A Symposium on Liberty and Limited Government

After all the fulmination we heard over the last 8 years about Executive overreach and the importance of respecting the Constitution, it seems supremely ironic to see two "Constitutional scholars" blithely preparing to eviscerate the founding document of our Republic with the enthusiastic assistance of public servants elected by the 50 states:

President Obama has called for a serious and reasoned debate about his plans to overhaul the health-care system. Any such debate must include the question of whether it is constitutional for the federal government to adopt and implement the president's proposals. Consider one element known as the "individual mandate," which would require every American to have health insurance, if not through an employer then by individual purchase. This requirement would particularly affect young adults, who often choose to save the expense and go without coverage. Without the young to subsidize the old, a comprehensive national health system will not work. But can Congress require every American to buy health insurance?

In short, no. The Constitution assigns only limited, enumerated powers to Congress and none, including the power to regulate interstate commerce or to impose taxes, would support a federal mandate requiring anyone who is otherwise without health insurance to buy it.

....[these] constitutional impediments can be avoided if Congress is willing to raise corporate and/or income taxes enough to fund fully a new national health system. Absent this politically dangerous -- and therefore unlikely -- scenario, advocates of universal health coverage must accept that Congress's power, like that of the other branches, has limits. These limits apply regardless of how important the issue may be, and neither Congress nor the president can take constitutional short cuts. The genius of our system is that, no matter how convinced our elected officials may be that certain measures are in the public interest, their goals can be accomplished only in accord with the powers and processes the Constitution mandates, processes that inevitably make them accountable to the American people.

Perhaps America would have been better served by a President who majored in history:

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
—Patrick Henry

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
—Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
—Benjamin Franklin

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
—Thomas Jefferson

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
—Noah Webster

No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words 'no' and 'not' employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights.
—Edmund A. Opitz

Our constitutions purport to be established by 'the people,' and, in theory, 'all the people' consent to such government as the constitutions authorize. But this consent of 'the people' exists only in theory. It has no existence in fact. Government is in reality established by the few; and these few assume the consent of all the rest, without any such consent being actually given.
—Lysander Spooner

I think the members of our Congress have no understanding of the Constitution. And as a result, they-- don't understand their critical role in the governance of the country.
- John Nichols

A centralised democracy may be as tyrannical as an absolute monarch; and if the vigour of the nation is to continue unimpaired, each individual, each family, each district, must preserve as far as possible its independence, its self-completeness, its powers and its privilege to manage its own affairs and think its own thoughts.
—James Anthony Froude

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air --however slight--lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.
—Justice William O. Douglas

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
—Abraham Lincoln

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
—Abraham Lincoln

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking is freedom.
—Dwight D. Eisenhower

The federal government has taken too much tax money from the people, too much authority from the states, and too much liberty with the Constitution.
—Ronald Reagan

Nations crumble from within when the citizenry asks of government those things which the citizenry might better provide for itself. ... [I] hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.
—Ronald Reagan

When was the last time you heard someone say, “Go ahead, it’s a free country.”?
—Unknown

Posted by Cassandra at August 22, 2009 12:33 PM

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Comments

To the extent that I'll be caught dead acting as an apologist on the tubey-webs for these slack-jawed Progressives,
the historical fact is that they've had their way for about 100 years.

Posted by: smitty at August 22, 2009 04:56 PM

the historical fact is that they've had their way for about 100 years.

I agree, Smitty.

We have lost the ability to tell when our rights are being subtly eroded by inches. Which reminds me of the old saying, "If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile."

I think we're at the "mile" marker now.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 22, 2009 05:07 PM

"If you give them an inch, they'll take a mile."

And after they've taken the mile away from us, they declare that possession of the mile is proof of the righteousness of their having taken it.

Posted by: BillT at August 22, 2009 05:25 PM

Luckily for the Villainry, I see no need to add my comment.

Well, nothing beyond my agreement to the comments above mine.

OK, and to the position of M'lady WRT the morality of mandating that US taxpayers provide health care. Or orthodontic care, surgical implants, rhinoplasty, thigh lifts, tummy tucks, hair restoration, lasik, transportation, condo's, herb crusted lamb, figs, goat cheese and aurgula, suits, shoes, coffee, large screen, satellite fed TV's, or much of anything else to the world.

Indeed, why stop with U.S. citizens? If it's to be done becuse it's morally right, then cost and geographic boundaries have no place in the discussion. Let's save the world.

Free the impoverished 5 billion!

BTW, anyone earning less that $200k for individuals and $450k for couples will be classified as impoverished, trust us, if you also meet one of the following conditions;
You or your partner are employed by the DNC or by an affiliate.
You or your partner are employed by the UN or an affiliate.
Or you or your partner belong to Dictators Club International.

The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.
Works for me.

There, I'm glad I didn't feel the need to add my comment. Huh?

Posted by: bthun at August 22, 2009 07:13 PM

I'm trying to find the date, where and to whom Lincoln stated "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

does anyone know this??

Posted by: Marynette at March 12, 2010 02:50 PM

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