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Steve Scroggins is a volunteer contributor to the Georgia Heritage Council who lives in Macon. He is the deranged creative force behind the X-Files parody and satire feature.

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Serious About the Constitution – Commentary by Steve Scroggins 11/12/09

Nancy Pelosi was reportedly asked a question by a reporter at an Oct. 29 press conference: "Madame Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?"

Her response to this query was quite telling. "Are you serious? Are you serious?" she replied. Pelosi then took another reporter's question.

Barry Goldwater's 1960 book, THE CONSCIENCE OF A CONSERVATIVE, expressed what’s now deemed a "radical" idea. Goldwater asserted that the first question a Congressman should ask about any proposed bill is NOT whether or not it is a good idea. The first question should be: "Does the Constitution authorize Congress to act?"

Since Goldwater left the Senate, flagrant trampling of the Constitution proceeds virtually unquestioned. Ron Paul is treated as wacky radical. The current Congress is continuing the open contempt for the Constitution demonstrated since the FDR period through LBJ to the present day. The D.C. Leviathan and our national debt are growing faster than kudzu on a manure pile in a rainy July. [The text of Walter Williams' commentary "Constitutional Contempt" is at bottom. ]

It's high time for the Enumerated Powers Act as proposed by Rep. John Shadegg (R, AZ). But if the Congress ignores the Constitution, should we believe they would obey statutory law?

The Constitution gave us the blueprint for a republic, not a democracy. It's an important distinction. The Constitution's focus and purpose was to limit government, specifically, what the central government may or may not do. Its fatal flaw is that it requires a virtuous and moral people.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." --John Adams, 11 October 1798

John Adams noted that our Republic was designed and fitting only for a moral people. Moral people do not approve when government steals from some citizens in order to give benefits to others. Theft is always wrong, even when the government does it under the guise of "benevolent" purposes.

The Founders were very wary of "democracy" for they knew it always led to a tyranny of the majority. Thomas Jefferson expressed the beliefs of many of the Founders this way, "A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

Our pretense as a nation under the Rule of Law is a farce. We are, at best, a mob rule democracy...on our way to the absolute tyranny we so richly deserve. As H.L. Mencken once wrote, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

The Founders provided a very specific---and onerous--- amendment process for the Constitution. That process requires deliberation and overwhelming majority approval, not only in D.C., but also in three quarters of the State capitols. The process was made onerous in order to check runaway passions and popular fads from leading to a tyranny of the majority. The process also was made deliberate to force proposed changes to be visible, understood as departures from the original intent and open to debate.

The States once had nullification and other checking powers but all those were destroyed (in practice) in Lincoln’s war. The 14th Amendment was never properly ratified but was declared so anyway. The 16th Amendment (income tax), the establishment of The Federal Reserve and the 17th Amendment neutered the States and released the D.C. Leviathan to grow out of control. Until The Fed and these Amendments are addressed, suggests Thomas DiLorenzo, we are stuck in a situation best described as "Constitutional Futility."

James Madison wrote in Federalist #10:

"Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death."

The USA converted, in practice, from a republic to a democracy during the reign of FDR. Without a miraculous change of course, our democracy's brief life is almost over and its violent death is imminent.

Steve Scroggins lives in Macon and contributes most of GHC's parody and political cartoons and graphics.

"Though written constitutions may be violated in moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally and recall the people. They fix, too, for the people the principles of their political creed." ---Thomas Jefferson

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Constitutional Contempt

Wed., November 11, 2009
By Walter E. Williams
Creators Syndicate

At Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Oct. 29th press conference, a CNS News reporter asked, "Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?" Speaker Pelosi responded, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" The reporter said, "Yes, yes, I am." Not responding further, Pelosi shook her head and took a question from another reporter. Later on, Pelosi's press spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNSNews.com about its question regarding constitutional authority mandating that individual Americans buy health insurance. "You can put this on the record. That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question."

Suppose Congress was debating a mandate outlawing tea-party-type protests and other large gatherings criticizing Congress. A news reporter asks Nancy Pelosi where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to outlaw peaceable assembly. How would you feel if she answered, "Are you serious? Are you serious?" and ignored the question. And what if, later on, someone from her office sent you a press release, as was sent to CNS News, saying that Congress has "broad power to regulate activities that have an effect on interstate commerce," pointing out that demonstrations cause traffic jams and therefore interferes with interstate commerce?

Speaker Pelosi's constitutional contempt, perhaps ignorance, is representative of the majority of members of both the House and the Senate. Their comfort in that ignorance and constitutional contempt, and how readily they articulate it, should be worrisome for every single American. It's not a matter of whether you are for or against Congress' health care proposals. It's not a matter of whether you're liberal or conservative, black or white, male or female, Democrat or Republican or member of any other group. It's a matter of whether we are going to remain a relatively free people or permit the insidious encroachment on our liberties to continue.

Where in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance? If Congress gets away with forcing us to buy health insurance, down the line, what else will they force us to buy; or do you naively think they will stop with health insurance? We shouldn't think that the cure to Congress' unconstitutional heavy-handedness will end if we only elect Republicans. Republicans have demonstrated nearly as much constitutional contempt as have Democrats. The major difference is the significant escalation of that contempt under today's Democratically controlled Congress and White House with the massive increase in spending, their proposed legislation and the appointment of tyrannical czars to control our lives. It's a safe bet that if and when Republicans take over the Congress and White House, they will not give up the massive increase in control over our lives won by the Democrats.

In each new session of Congress since 1995, John Shadegg, R-Ariz.,) has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act, a measure "To require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws, and for other purposes." The highest number of co-sponsors it has ever had in the House of Representatives is 54 and it has never had co-sponsors in the Senate until this year, when 22 senators signed up. The fact that less than 15 percent of the Congress supports such a measure demonstrates the kind of contempt our elected representatives have for the rules of the game -- our Constitution.

If you asked the questions: Which way is our nation heading, tiny steps at a time? Are we headed toward more liberty, or are we headed toward greater government control over our lives? I think the answer is unambiguously the latter -- more government control over our lives. Are there any signs on the horizon that the direction is going to change? If we don't see any, we should not be surprised. After all, mankind's standard fare throughout his history, and in most places today, is arbitrary control and abuse by government.

townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2009/11/11/a_minority_view_constitutional_contempt


Related Links
The American Ideal of 1776: The Twelve Basic American Principles - Hamilton Abert Long

Perils of Democracy - Part 5 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

Perils of Democracy - Part 1 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

Perils of Democracy - Part 2 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

Perils of Democracy - Part 3 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

Perils of Democracy - Part 4 - J.A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

FDR's 'rewriting' of the Constitution - Ben Shapiro

FDR v. Constitution: The Court-Packing Fight and the Triumph of Democracy - by Burt Solomon

Crisis and Leviathan - by Robert Higgs

Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War - by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel

Founders' Wisdom v. ignorance and 'democracy' - Steve Scroggins

The Judicial Activist Coup D'Etat -- Steve Scroggins

Slavery, Apologies & Duty - Steve Scroggins

The will of the uninformed - Jonah Goldberg

An Important Distinction: Democracy versus Republic

America's Worst Scandal: the 14th Amendment - J.A. Davis

Liberty Lost - Part 1 - J.A. Davis

Liberty Lost - Part 2 - J.A. Davis

Liberty Lost - Part 3 - J.A. Davis

Liberty Lost - Part 8 - J.A. Davis

Repeal the 17th Amendment - articlev.com

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