"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Monday, November 29, 2010

Reading Comprehension

We live in a world where few people like to engage in debate because somebody's feelings might get hurt.  The left has so successfully dumbed down most of society in this regard.  "Political Correctness" is all about not being able to clearly state the truth because it might make someone uncomfortable.  The other side of that coin is that it allows people to say really stupid or completely false (or both) things that make people feel good. Then, if you point out that such things really don't make sense, or are a lie; you are the villian.

For example:  Pointing out that "affirmative action" which creates quotas and in turn puts lesser qualified minorities in positions they don't deserve on merit, or punishes qualified minorities by tainting them with a stain of doubt, will get you dismissed as a racist.  "We don't have to debate the issues, or data, or anything else, you are a racist, end of argument!"  But that's not the point of this post.

I came across this tiny little post by Tam over at View From The Porch, which linked to this very long screed by Mark Ames where he chastises the younger generation of leftists who are dissatisfied (notice I didn't say disillusioned) with the democrat party. 

It makes good sense to try to understand your opposition if for no other reason than to question yourself about what it is that you believe, and if you cannot articulate properly what it is you believe, then you should do some careful analysis to see if what you believe is in error.  

Tam quoted the last paragraph of Ames' lengthy rant to make her point, but it was something a bit before that which got me thinking.  Not about Ames' argument per se, but how in the wide, wide world of sports he could conclude such drivel. Here it is:

Ever read the preamble to the Constitution? There’s nothing about private property there and self-interest. Nothing at all about that. It’s a contract whose purpose is clearly spelled out, and it’s a purpose that’s the very opposite of the purpose driving Stewart’s rally, or the purpose driving the libertarian ideology so dominant over the past few generations. This country, by contract, was founded in order to strive for a “more Perfect Union”—that’s “union,” as in the pairing of the words “perfect” and “union”—not sovereign, not states, not local, not selfish, but “union.” And that other purpose at the end of the Constitution’s contractual obligations: promote the “General Welfare.” That means “welfare.” Not “everyone for himself” but “General Welfare.” That’s what it is to be American: to strive to form the most perfect union with each other, and to promote everyone’s general betterment. That’s it. The definition of an American patriot is anyone promoting the General Welfare of every single American, and anyone helping to form the most perfect Union—that’s “union”, repeat, “Union” you dumb fucks. Now, our problem is that there are a lot of people in this country who have dedicated their entire lives to subverting the stated purpose of this country. We must be prepared to identify those who disrupt and sabotage our national purpose of creating this “more perfect union” identifying those who sabotage our national goal of “promoting the General Welfare”—and calling them by their name: traitors. You who strive to form this Perfect Union and promote General Welfare—You are Patriots.

If you are a Bible scholar, you'll appreciate that this is like talking to a Jehovah's Witness.  They use almost all the same vocabulary that you do, but they have completely different meanings for the words.

In Mark Ames' case, I can only assume that his wacked-out college professors spoon fed him this drivel about what the framers had in mind when they penned the founding documents.  I could take a hundred people who had been educated to read well the English language, but who haven't been polluted by the leftist thought of modern academe and let them read just the Declaration of Independence and then the Constitution, and I doubt that even five percent of them could come to the conclusions of Mark Ames.

It would be one thing if all Mark had to go on was just those two documents for him to come up with this "opposite world" view of what the framers intended, but the framers took several years to hammer out the Constitution, and in the process, there was tremendous debate back and forth on the pros and cons of each and every particular sentence. The war for independence began in 1775 and took 8 years to win. The Constitution was not adopted until 1787.  In that time, there were letters published in the newspapers.  This is how we got the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. (Yes, there were people even more radically in favor of constraining  government than even those who won out with the Constitution we have.)  The debates in Congress about each aspect of the Constitution  are a matter of public record.

I could regale my reader with quote after quote that makes it quite clear that the founders saw government as a necessary evil that should be kept in very strong chains and with a muzzle over it's fangs.  "A useful tool, but a cruel master."  They wrote much about the dangers of an overreaching government and a natural tendency toward tyranny, all in the name of "what's good for the people."

I think today I should start looking for such quotes and create a new page for such reference.  Until then, let me suggest that you "google" the web for quotes by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, Samuel Adams, etc. to read for yourself what animated those men to create the form of government that we USED to enjoy.

What is scary is how many people there are out there who think like Mark Ames.  People who think that the Constitution of the United States was written as if by Karl Marx.

Anyone with enough intelligence to earn better than minimum wage can understand that the general welfare clause in the Preamble of the Constitution meant that, and I paraphrase here: "The rest of the document, that you are about to read, is designed to keep as much government out of your lives as possible, so that you can be free to pursue a life of prosperity and value and happiness."

The founders were highly intelligent, educated men.  Their vocabularies were immense and many of them knew Greek and Latin.  They chose their words very carefully, and as I stated before, there were often lengthy debates on the wording of every sentence in the Constitution.  Notice that the preamble says "promote" the general welfare and not "provide."  There's a reason for that.

If Mr. Ames believes that it is the purpose of government to create a "perfect union," I suggest he go where they are working hard to make that happen.  Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, France, China, etc. The list is long.  I'm sure they would be glad to have such a true believer working side by side with them.

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