July 13, 2010
Great Political Dialogues of Our Time
JUNE 27, 2010. Many years ago, when I was young and foolish and teaching high school, I had a conversation with a student that went something like this:
“What’s the most important ideal expressed in the Constitution?”
“Uh, I don’t know.”
“What’s the most important principle expressed in the Constitution?”
“Government isn’t a principle. Do you know what a principle is?”
“It’s a thing that’s important.”
“Give me an example.”
“A tree gives you shade in the summer.”
“That’s a general fact, not a principle.”
“Aren’t they the same thing?”
We were standing outside in the playground after school. Other students were gathered around. At this point, I lost it completely, and I got up on my high horse and delivered a short lecture. It went like this:
When you build an office building, you give it a particular shape. If your architect says, “Well, over here we’re not quite sure what it’ll look like and we’re going to let the building more or less blend into the skyscraper next door,” you know you’re in deep trouble.
As any student of American history can see, the Constitution created a federal government that had a certain shape. Particularly with the adoption of the 10th Amendment, it was clear that powers not granted to the federal government were reserved for the individual states. So there was a shape and a limit on the size of federal authority.
Anyone with a few working brain cells can look around today and see that this “federal shape” has been exceeded grotesquely.
The original American ideal has been destroyed.
It didn’t happen overnight. The process moved degree by degree, decision by decision, deception by deception.
In order for this to happen, a certain kind of conversation had to remain in the background. A conversation about ideals. About first principles.
Many people who have promoted a “federal-government mission” to do things that run counter to, and beyond, the original shape of the Constitution…these people have been substituting new ideals for the ones that were carved out during the birth of the nation. They just haven’t been talking about it. Why should they? Their agenda works better when it operates in the dark.
A full-on public debate about the IDEALS OF AMERICA isn’t on their list of priorities.
A person comes along and says, “I believe the federal government should operate on the basis of Generosity Towards All. It should give all people whatever they need. That’s what a kind person would do. Therefore, that’s what a government should do. And to carry out that mandate, it should employ whatever means are necessary, including high taxation rates. This is an expression of love.”
The person is advocating the destruction of the original ideals of government expressed in the Constitution.
He’s decided he knows what government really means. He just knows. He has a direct pipeline to “The Universe” and the hell with the Constitution.
Somehow, he says, underneath all those words written in the Constitution, the intent was to have government supply all the needs of the people.
“To each according to his needs.”
And the money for this will come through taxation, or: “from each, according to his ability.”
This, he says, was truly the spirit of the Constitution.
Well, he doesn’t actually say that. He doesn’t hold a public debate about such an issue. He would be laughed off the stage.
Many people just don’t grasp the fact that the nation was founded on a few specific ideals. Limited government. Personal liberty.
Remember the old adage about boiling the frog slowly? The frog never noticed he was being cooked.
Well, the founding ideals of America have been changed by the same process. My point is, this was made possible because large numbers of people forgot what an ideal was. They forgot what a basic principle means. They lost track. They no longer realized that the structure called FEDERAL GOVERNMENT had been shaped and defined in the Constitution. They’ve developed a severe case of amnesia about what an ideal IS.
As I say, I lost it. When I finished my little speech, the students looked at me as if I’d just landed my flying saucer in the schoolyard.
I picked out another student.
I said, “We should have a debate about what the original Americans ideals were and what they are now.”
He said, “Uh, the government exists to help people.”
“No. That’s not why government exists.”
“The government is a helper. It gives people what they need.”
“Where did you get that idea?”
“I don’t know. My brother.”
Losing it again, I said, “Is your brother Thomas Jefferson?”
“Thomas Jefferson? Didn’t he…no, that was somebody else.”
“What’s an ideal?”
“My girlfriend has an ideal body.”
“What’s a principle?”
“It’s a law.”
“What kind of law?”
“It says you can’t do certain things.”
“Give me an example.”
“You can’t smoke in class.”
“If you were in charge of the government, what principle would you put at the top of your list?”
“The government has to help people.”
“Okay. How would the government help people?”
“They would give them what they need.”
“Where would the government get that money?”
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“The government has money.”
“The government just has it?”
“Yeah. They have a lot of money.”
That conversation took place 56 years ago. It started me thinking that perhaps education was part of the problem. Just a wild guess.
© 2010 Jon Rappoport - All Rights Reserved
Jon Rappoport has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize early in his career, Jon has published articles on medical fraud, politics, alternative health, and sports in LA Weekly, CBS Healthwatch, Spin, Stern, and other magazines and newspapers in the US and Europe.
He is the is author of several books, including The Secret Behind Secret Societies and The Magic Agent (a novel).
Jon is the author of a new course for home schoolers, LOGIC AND ANALYSIS.
Web site, www.nomorefakenews.com