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If Congress Can, Unilaterally, Modify The Constitution

Written by | December 29th, 2012

Following The Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention of 1787, where The United States Constitution was debated, written, and sent to the thirteen respective states for ratification, many notable, and well-respected Patriots, and statesmen, such as Patrick Henry and George Mason, also referred to as The Anti-Federalists, publicly spoke out against the ratification of The Constitution. Among the several reasons: they believed it was a threat to Individual Liberties; they were opposed to the new Federal Court system; and feared that The President would eventually morph into a King. In a paper, which eventually became part of the Anti-Federalist Papers, and under the pseudonym “Brutus,” it was written:

“Ought not a [Federal] government, vested with such extensive and indefinite authority, to have been restricted by a declaration of rights? It certainly ought. So clear a point is this, that I cannot help suspecting that persons who attempt to persuade people that such reservations were less necessary under this Constitution than under those of the States, are willfully endeavoring to deceive, and to lead you into an absolute state of vassalage.”

At the time that The Constitution was being written, Thomas Jefferson while serving as an U.S. Ambassador in France, wrote to James Madison, advocating for a Bill of Rights. Also, not pleased with the results of The Constitutional Convention, three of the remaining delegates refused to sign the document: Edmund Randolph of Virginia, George Mason of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts. A Bill of Rights was demanded if they were to support the Constitution. It was to these men, the Anti-Federalists of the day, and their wisdom and opposition to The Constitution at the time, that we can thank for our treasured Bill Of Rights.

Inspired largely by The Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), which was largely inspired by The English Bill of Rights (1689), James Madison introduced a series of legislative articles to the 1st United States Congress, which were adopted by the House of Representatives on August 21, 1789; proposed, jointly, by Congress, on September 25, 1789; and through the process of state ratification, were adopted as the first ten amendments to The United States Constitution. The Bill Of Rights went into effect on December 15, 1791.

Since their inception, sadly, The Bill of Rights, at times, have been more or less ignored and trampled on by different Administrations, and Congresses throughout the years. But, since the horrific attacks of September 11th, 2001, it seems like there has been a torrent of never-ending attacks on these rights, by our Federal Government; all under the guise of safety and security. Just as the events of 911 were heart-wrenching, and a sincere challenge to our country, so too was the recent tragedy in Connecticut, where several children were tragically murdered by a sick individual. But, as with 911, instead of just bringing the perpetrator(s) to justice, and/or seeking the “actual” motives behind the attacks, and facing up to the reality that there are evil people in the world, it appears that legislators are, once again, trying to hold all of society guilty for the sick acts of a very small number of people. I think Ronald Reagan summed it up nicely, when he wrote these wise words:

“We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.”

And, since this horrible event unfolded in Connecticut, the same alarmists and reactionaries are out, trying to tell us why we must now forfeit our 2nd Amendment rights. My reaction, aside from grieving for these poor children and their families, was to ask, “why the hell was The Federal Government ever involved in this area to begin with”? To start, The 2nd Amendment instructs The Federal Government that, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Therefore, what if each school district throughout the country were left to decide what their security priorities should be? Or, at the very least, each state had their own policies in place; isn’t it then conceivable that a would-be killer would not have chosen such an easy and vulnerable target had he known that an armed individual, or individuals, may have been inside the school, whose purpose it is to protect the children? It is also conceivable that the children are asking, why the bad guys with guns can enter their schools, but why weren’t there good guys with guns, there to protect them! That answer is fairly simple: because misguided politicians, in my opinion, are trying to teach our children that “all people” with guns are bad people! And, if that were the case, then, it would also stand to reason that everyone in our military, down to the local police, are bad people – which is so obviously not the case! Just as every American citizen that gets on an airplane, is not a would-be terrorist! I often wonder why society, by in large, never holds Government responsible for the laws that they create; or, ask, how is Government culpable for these terrible acts? Too many people, blindly, assume that, because Government is doing something, that is must be good, or just. Nothing can be further from the truth! Particularly where politics are injected; as opposed to sound and rational decisions, based on real-world implications. The idea that Congress can create these one-size-fits-all policies, for all 50 states, and over 300 million citizens, is beyond delusional; it is downright dangerous, and irresponsible!

Our Bill of Rights were conceived, and adopted, by very practical men, who were well-versed in history, and understood the need to keep a central Government from infringing on these rights. So many case studies could be listed, as to the tyranny that has been perpetuated by out of control Governments, who were not prohibited from disarming innocent, and law-biding citizens. Or, where the Freedom to speak one’s mind, or freely practice one’s own faith, was not safeguarded; or, where one’s right to be left alone, in their homes etc. was not protected. Each of those 10 Amendments, we call The Bill of Rights, had a historical precedent behind them.

But, besides the implications of these blatant, Constitutional intrusions by our Federal Government, is a larger, and moral question that should be asked: That is, if our original 13 states ratified our Constitution, and created our Federal Government, based on these contractual agreements; and, over and over, our Federal Government, in all of their arrogance, insists on breaching this Constitutional contract, then what is to stop us, as states, and individual citizens, from withdrawing from this contract? Where, and how often, in the real world, if a contract is so blatantly breached, that a person or business is forced to remain in that contract?

In 1913, The Sixteenth Amendment was ratified, and The Federal Income Tax was created. However, today, I, and millions of other Americans, would argue that, it has done, and continues to do, immeasurable damage to our economy and our Individual Liberties. And, to add insult to injury: during WW2, The Federal Government, presumptuously, created the withholding provisions, as a so-called, “temporary,” war measure, which allowed them to extort our money directly from our checks, and basically forced business-owners, against their will, to be tax collectors for The Federal Government. Doesn’t it stand to reason then, that if one [our Federal Government] party can, arbitrarily, modify or disregard a provision or Amendment to our Constitution – in this case, our Second Amendment – that [We, The People] the other party, can do the same?

What if, for example, every business-owner in this country decided to stop withholding taxes from their employee’s checks, and instead, focused their time, energy, and money, on actual productive activities like building their businesses, and creating more opportunities for their employees? It seems to me that our Federal Government would not be too thrilled with that prospect. But, morally, and contractually, there would be not one ounce of difference from what our Federal Government, endlessly, and arrogantly, continues to do to the “law-biding citizens” of this country!

Ultimately, I am convinced that, our hopes of ever again having a Constitutionally Limited Government, however that outcome may come about, will not be achieved by policy-wonks and number-crunchers, who are very valuable to the intellectual side of this debate, and to whom, at times, I am one of them; rather, it is with the philosophical, moral, and emotional pleas, in the name of Individual Liberties, that, with a praise from God, we will change the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens, and once again, “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Posted, also, at Conservative Daily News

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