Jared Taylor: Gilbert is again celebrating Constitution Week. Family lessons, scout night, school visits and the Saturday night fair are all part of the weeklong series of events. So, why all the fuss about something over 200 years old? Simply put, it's a miracle. A miracle in its creation and the clarity and freedom produced.
Gilbert is again celebrating Constitution Week. Family lessons, scout night, school visits and the Saturday night fair are all part of the weeklong series of events. So, why all the fuss about something over 200 years old? Simply put, it's a miracle. A miracle in its creation and the clarity and freedom produced.
Somehow, the colonies had won the American Revolution by losing more battles than it had won. A miracle indeed. However, the colonies were treating each other like independent nations. The returning solders were being paid in worthless currency and wanted to make Gen. George Washington a king to stabilize the nation and provide for their welfare. Washington hated the idea and pleaded with the states to hold a constitutional convention. The states completely ignored Washington. After a successful trade conference in Annapolis, the states changed their minds and sent their brightest minds to Philadelphia.
For years, nations in Europe and Asia tried various forms of government. Kings, czars, emperors, philosopher kings all seemed sophisticated and superb in their day. While the leaders had an abundance of wealth, exquisite clothing and the finest foods, the masses had an abundance of poverty, hunger, and sorrow. The people, if they wanted to live, served the governments.
In contrast to the civilization produced by the U.S. Constitution, these governments appear backward, foolish, or downright shameful in their oppression of the human spirit. Like no one else then or today, the founders understood the strengths and weaknesses of prior civilizations. Further, the founders lived under the constant threat of treason from England.
In Philadelphia, the founders formed a new type of government. They needed to strengthen the federal government. But in doing this, they didn't want to just create another tyranny to add to the history books. This government would have well-defined limits, checks and balances and defined roles. James Madison said, "the powers delegated ... to the federal government are few." Liberty would come from restraint.
For example, Article II of the Constitution provides just six areas of responsibility for the Executive Branch. They are chief of state, commander-in-chief, chief executive officer of the executive branch, chief diplomat in foreign affairs, chief architect of needed legislation, and conscience of the nation in granting pardons when necessary.
Think of what the current office of president manages today. Massive agencies have been created to manage the nation's agriculture, housing, education, food, drug, and health administration to name just a few. Many of these powers were assumed by the president while others were "given" to him by Congress. But none are within the six powers granted to in the Constitution.
Looking at the performance of these agencies through the lens of history, they have been fraught with corruption, completely outgrew their initial charters, and have not produced the results they sold to the people. Another point for the founders.
Yes, the miraculous creation of the U.S. Constitution has introduced more prosperity and freedom than anything in the historical record. The founders designed this document for a nation with hundreds of millions of people. They designed it for us, today. Washington, Madison, Ben Franklin and others had a clear vision for the future based on their profound understanding of history. Determined not to repeat the painful lessons of times gone by, let us renew our commitment to the principles of freedom and liberty found in the miracle of the Constitution.
Jared Taylor is a member of the Gilbert Constitution Week Planning Committee.