Sunday, March 1, 2009

We're Too Focused on the Bill of Rights

Don't get me wrong, the Bill of Rights is important. It is the last line of defense against oppressive government, and it is being eroded rapidly, which is why we should be so concerned about the following:

The US Constitution as originally written, did not contain a Bill of Rights, because the primary authors, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, believed that the Enumerated Powers effectively limited the powers of the US Government.

The Enumerated Powers specifically lists the only things that the US Government can do. Logically, there are an infinite number of things the Government cannot do, because they are not on the list. Jefferson and Madison, being well-educated students of the Enlightenment, understood this.

The Bill of Rights, on the other hand, is an incomplete list of things that the Government cannot do -- examples, if you will. In fact, the ninth amendment in the Bill of Rights says "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." In other words, just because something isn't in the Bill of Rights, doesn't grant the US Government the authority to do it. It reinforces Madison's conviction that the Enumerated Powers are the real limiting factor against oppressive government. That is why you see politicians and special interests continually trying to downplay the importance, and re-interpret the concept, of the Enumerated Powers in the Constitution. This is the reason we need a Limited Government Amendment.

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