Commentary

Government must remain within the confines of the Constitution

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“If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare…the education of children…would be thrown under the power of Congress…it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.” James Madison. (Edited for brevity.)

Many lawyers and legal scholars treat the Constitution as a complicated document that needs intense investigation of the minutia of its words and phrases. Progressives expand the meaning of constitutional words and phrases out of constitutional context and beyond the simple and profound concept of the Founders; limited power in the hands of government; power to be used to ensure the unlimited power and rights of the people.

As outlined in the Declaration of Independence, our government is instituted to secure the individual citizen’s right to “…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” and derives “…its just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Similarly, there is nothing difficult about understanding the Constitution.  First: that the Constitution is about the Creator-given, natural rights of the individual citizen. Second: the purpose of government is to protect these rights.

Currently there are some areas that clearly fall within the Constitution as written.  However, much of what passes as “constitutional” in the realm of a “living” Constitution violates our written Constitution.

For example: the armed forces clearly fall within Constitutional authorization (Article 1, Section 8).

Federal education, however, is a progressive/socialist construct that utilizes the general Welfare clause to expand government power.

Education is not mentioned in the Constitution and is therefore covered by the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution which states: “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.”

The Constitution gives to the Congress the “…Power to lay and collect taxes…to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare…” (Article I, Section 8).

The general Welfare clause is not an expansion of powers outside of the Constitution’s mandates or limitations.  The general Welfare clause must only be applied to the powers specifically granted to government in the Constitution. The general Welfare clause does not expand those powers and or reduce their limitations in any way, nor does it in any way reduce the powers retained by the states and the people.

Yes, Congress can tax the people, but only to fund the powers granted to government by the people. Any property extracted from the people in excess of the requirements and limitations of the powers granted is an unconstitutional confiscation of the people’s property without compelling government need, due process and just compensation.

With all due respect to progressive jurists, legislators and governors, our written Constitution is modified by Amendment only, not by evolution.

We the people must re-assert the constitutional limitations on the power of government branches, departments, agencies and bureaucracies (elected, appointed or hired).  Most importantly, we the people must insist on a return to the founding principle stated in the Declaration of Independence: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  If we the people will do this, we will set the stage for rebuilding a civil society with equality of opportunity for all.

About John MacGregor

John "Jock" MacGregor is a student of history and politics, a pursuit he has enjoyed for most of his 77 years. Jock attended Villanova University’s School of Education; served in the U.S. Marine Corps; and is an entrepreneur with enterprises in restaurants, construction and boatbuilding. Mr. MacGregor was managing editor of an online news site in Hot Springs Arkansas. Currently, Jock comments on the role of government in society. Jock believes in a constitutionally limited government, instituted by the people, to protect their rights to life, liberty and property.

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