If Constitution is irrelevant, liberty’s lost

By Darrell Beck

The Fourth of July cover of Time Magazine depicts a shredded U.S. Constitution; the caption asks: Does it (the Constitution) still matter?

Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time, attempts to convince the reader that the Constitution is outdated and irrelevant because the founders wrote it during Colonial times and knew nothing of 21st century things like antibiotics, texting or Medicare, therefore it should be changed to fit the changing times. But Stengel is clearly oblivious to history and common sense. He ignores the fact that, while times do change, human nature remains eternal. Thus he ignores the truth that the framers were well aware of the foibles of man and his tyranny and the cruel domination of an all-powerful central government ruled by an evil king or ruthless dictator. Therefore, due to the founders’ wisdom, it was their desire to preserve private property and liberty and uphold the rights of the individual, and that goal was best attained by calling for a limited federal government.

Stengel complains about what he perceives as “the Tea Party’s almost fanatical focus on the founding documents.” He just doesn’t understand why a great majority of people take the Constitution seriously and know it’s their duty to protect it so it won’t become irrelevant, and so they won’t lose their property and their liberty to tyrants. Stengel challenges those who defend the Constitution as being an obstacle to big government. He states: “if the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.”

Richard Stengel is clearly not familiar with the Constitution and the founding documents that he writes about but obviously misrepresents. Surely he must know that Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution defines the specific limited powers of the federal government. And how did he overlook the Tenth Amendment that specifically was written to maintain limited powers of the federal government? This amendment states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Don’t our public schools teach these important lessons anymore?

Perhaps Stengel should have raised the red flag during the “Hope and Change” election of 2008 where the winning candidate promised “social justice” and to “fundamentally transform the nation” and to “redistribute the wealth.” Has anyone figured out what those illusive and flowery phrases mean? Maybe Stengel should ask if any of those ideas can be found in the Constitution, because they can’t. Maybe he should show where the Constitution authorizes the federal government to mandate that citizens must purchase health care, or be penalized if they refuse, because it doesn’t. Maybe we should ask if those ideas have something to do with overthrowing the Constitution, because we have been warned by wise and honorable men to beware of deceivers.

President George Washington said of the Constitution during his farewell address: “If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

President Abraham Lincoln warned: “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

There was another man of historical infamy who was an accomplice in an attempt to rule the world by force, a man who deceived most of the German people by ruling with lies and an iron fist: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister of the Third Reich.

Perhaps the question on the next cover of Time should be: “Does Time Magazine still matter?”

Ramona Tea’d (Taxed Enough Already) will be discussing the Constitution and Nullification of unconstitutional laws by the states at its regular monthly forum on July 30 at noon at Ramona Mainstage. See www.RamonaTead.com.

Darrell Beck is a Ramona resident.

Related posts:

  1. One vote away from losing our liberty
  2. Ramona TEA’d kicks off ambitious year
  3. Self-government requires self-sacrifice
  4. The defining moment is now
  5. Separation of church and state intended

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Jul 27 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

7 Comments for “If Constitution is irrelevant, liberty’s lost”

  1. Steve Sublett

    I am always amazed at how the right wing "take me back to the good ol days" leans on the constitution when it suits thier purpose. This is the same group that wants an amendment that no child of an illigal immigrant shall be granted citizenship, which is exactly what the constitution says it shall be. It is not about the constitution, it about thier purity that is just as alarming as anything Hitler, who he sickenly compares our President to, ever advocated. Your thoughts sir are outdated and thankfully irrelevant.

    • Joe

      I'm no right winger, but you do understand what the 14th amendment was about, right? You do understand that there have been 3 settled court cases over the last century that explains that granting citizenship to babies of other countries' citizens is not legal. Yet our elected officials seem to ignore that. You should read the Constitution, it is a great road map and it is alot plainer than people think. Also, I call Godwin's Theory on you.

  2. Dave Welsh

    Steve Sublett gives the usual "attack" against "conservatives," when it is really the neocons–the fellow travelers with progressives–that he rails against. Liberals are experts at constructing straw men. Thank God straw men are weakly built and can easily be seen through and torn down. There is a lot of educatin' that needs to be done. The Tenth Amendment Center and the Mises Institute are two great places to go. Semper Fidelis!

    • Steve Sublett

      Thanks for the links. Good reading. Good points in your rebuttal as well. I'll rail against anyone who attemps to hijack anything to suit thier own purposes and you are correct…. both sides of the isle can be included. I respect any and all points of view just not those whose from hypocrites. In this vein, Mr. Beck is and as long as I've lived in Ramona, (14 years) has always been just that.

    • Mark Felt

      Wallbuilders (www.wallbuilders.com) is also a good site to rebuke the common misperception that America was founded as an agnostic and secular country when in fact it was built as a Christian nation by those seeking refuge from the religious persecution in England by a government that become entwined with the "church". Ask the average person on the street where the words "Separation of Church and State" came from and the majority will say it's in the Constitution. It is nowhere in the Constitution. The article in the link below is good summary of the revisionism that the left tends to promote when the truth fails to support their agenda:

  3. Mr. Beck's strong opinions are supported by conclusory adverbs if nothing more. ("Clearly oblivious"; "clearly not familiar"; "obviously misrepresents", etc.) His passion reflects his beliefs that the founders merely sought to protect individual rights only against the tyranny of the federal government but nothing else. This grossly underestimates the scope of the Constitution and unwisely narrows the founders’ actual intent. (one of many fundamental tea party flaws) In fact, the Constitution protects all Americans not just from the tyranny of the federal government, but also from private deprivations of fundamental rights and liberties. Frankly, it ingeniously delegates power to the people to govern themselves. For example, because of the 14th Amendment, (which incorporated the Bill of Rights as against the states), states can no longer legally sanction the right for humans to own other humans, (thank God), or to deprive individuals of due process of law. More to the point, much to Mr. Beck’s dislike, because of the federal government’s most expansive power, (Article I, section 8 power to regulate commerce), Congress can enact laws and regulations that protect the public good and guarantee the general welfare through regulating commerce. As a result, the federal government may lawfully require safe pharmaceuticals, clean air and water, minimum food sanitation and safety (see restaurant inspection cards), honest corporate financials, and reliable and affordable power supplies as just a few examples. By contrast, Mr. Beck’s “don’t tread on me” view of the Constitution may have worked in the Old West, a wild and lawless place, but is a quaint and outdated notion in the modern globalized world. Much like our current conservative Supreme Court, Mr. Beck misses the fact that in today’s world, where Apple has more cash than the federal government and can spend unlimited campaign sums, private profit-driven corporations are virtually unlimited. By contrast, government and law are the last guarantors of public welfare and safety.

    • Steve Sublett

      Godwin's Theory? Seriously? Mr. Beck states the following…….

      There was another man of historical infamy who was an accomplice in an attempt to rule the world by force, a man who deceived most of the German people by ruling with lies and an iron fist: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister of the Third Reich.

      Mr. Goebbels was not led by Jesus Christ, he was one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers and you call Godwin's Theory on me? .

      Secondly….. yes quite familar with the 14th amendment….. once again interpret it to fit your argument if you will, just like Mr. Beck, but until the Supreme Court (currently weighted in favor of conservatives ironically) states otherwise…. it is the law of the land.

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