Each year America celebrates Constitution Week and Constitution Day, when 39 members of the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution in 1787. On that day the world changed …. for the better. That precious document was driven by powerful ideas: rights are natural and are endowed by a Creator and protected by, not provided by, government. Any power ceded to that government could only be given willingly to that government by those whose rights were to be protected by that government. Government would exist at the consent of the governed as insisted on by the Declaration Of Independence. In 1787 those ingenious ideas became the law of the land. The Constitution provided a mechanism to make changes or additions and the Bill of Rights and other important amendments followed.
This new federal government would put an emphasis on those things that only government can do well, including: protect its citizens and their property from foreign invaders, protect its citizens and their property from the criminal actions of other citizens, and resolve disputes between citizens arising from honest disagreement. In other words, the government would protect the rights, property and lives of the citizens it governed.
The individual was sovereign. The government would serve.
The means to accomplish this was contained within simple but powerful words; and, to the extent we have followed the original intent of those words, America has flourished. Whenever we have strayed from original intent America has become weaker. By 2011 we have strayed quite far. America suffers. Her people worry. The future seems dim. The country races toward potential ruin in the face of great loss of individual rights and a creeping socialism that strangles our economy.
The preamble to the constitution includes, in part, these guiding words, “In order to …. secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” What an awe-inspiring and honorable objective. Our government would exist to secure the blessings of liberty for its citizens and their descendants for all time. No wonder so many have given so much to protect this great country.
The blessings of liberty graced this land and her citizens in all the ensuing years. Through good times and bad, peace and war, great leaders and great pretenders …. the blessings of liberty inspired amazing things from the common man. And America grew stronger.
“It's the economy, stupid” became the catch phrase for Bill Clinton's successful campaign against George H. W. Bush in the early 1990's. It sounded intelligent and pithy; but it was wrong. Once again the economy is struggling as our national debt grows ever-more near disaster. But it's not the economy that's the problem; the economy is the symptom. Any doctor will tell you if you only focus on the symptoms and not the underlying cause the patient may never get well.
“It's the socialism, stupid!”
Or perhaps a more tactful version, “It's the stupid socialism.”
Our country has strayed too far from that original objective of the constitution, to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” In its place we have stripped great portions of the citizenry of their right and their desire to live responsible and independent lives. We have regulated business almost out of existence. We have let government destroy education. Through a maze of unintelligible code, we have taxed ourselves into submission. And the government grows bigger and bigger, taking with it our freedoms, our money, our ability to design our own lives.
Liberty drives capitalism and capitalism drives human progress. And they are both running out of gas. But there's no mystery. It is not ambiguous. We see the symptoms and we know the underlying cause.
We have strayed from the genius of those words that should still be guiding us. If we return to that blessed document provided by the founders, if we once again accept the Constitution of the United States of America as the law of the land, if we limit the federal government to those things that only government does well, if we defeat socialism and remove the death-grip of its razor-sharp claws from the life-blood arteries of our beloved America …. in the unfolding of time, the economy will right itself. In the unfolding of time individual responsibility will become normal again. In the unfolding of time America will regain the greatness it has lost.
And the blessings of liberty will once again be secure.