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Take A Constitutional

by Knight Allen, NSC Director of Legislation
Published on  July 12, 2012 - reprinted with permission

     Well, Obamacare is here.  There sure has been a lot written and said about it hasn't there?

    In terms of the law itself I don't feel I have a thing to add to the ocean of opinion washing over us but I would like to offer a different approach to the discussion.

    Having read a good deal about the Founders and their core ideas about the system of government they gave us, much of it in their own words, then seeing how we have "evolved" over the centuries leaves me quite disheartened. I have become convinced that one of the saddest facts of American history is that the anti-Federalists were right. Most of us have forgotten there was a raging debate about the proposed Constitution and in a classic example of history being written by the winners, the Federalists (Washington, Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Jay et al) have become the icons of our history while the anti-Federalists are barely a footnote.

    Yet, if you read the anti-Federalist papers you'll find that the writers were able to expose near fatal flaws in every aspect of the oh so carefully constructed Constitution. Concerns that were swept aside by the brilliant writings of Madison, Hamilton and Jay in the Federalist Papers. We have to remember that is was well established that the Articles of Confederation were a failure and something better was needed ("The problem to be solved is, not what form of government is perfect, but which of the forms is least imperfect" -James Madison). So the Federalists carried the day and the rest as they say is history.

    I do not believe we can knock the Federalists from our peanut gallery perch blessed with 220 plus years of hindsight. Still, when you get to the very core of the two opposing positions, this is what you find:

The Federalists were convinced they had created a document with solid protections (tripartite, separation of powers, checks and balances, divided Congress) against the insatiable hunger of some to control the lives of the mass of people. ~ The anti-Federalists were just as convinced they hadn't.

It seems to me history has shown the anti-Federalists were right.

  And then, consider the difference in the mindset of today's politicians as compared to the Founders. For example:
       "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws pre-made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." -James Madison


   "We have to pass this to find out what's in it." -Nancy Pelosi on Obamacare

    As for the Supreme Court and the rest of the "independent" judiciary:
"Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government and erected checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. However, where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny." Patrick Henry

However badly' flawed' the Founders were (and they certainly were), their approach to human governance was unique in 'history. You think maybe we've made a mistake by letting it slip away.

  Knight can be reached at: