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History tells tale of America

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By
From page A8 | July 21, 2014 |

“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”
– George Santayana

The United States Constitution is recognized as a unique and perhaps miraculous document, but the debates and compromises that produced it have been forgotten. It is sometimes labeled as obsolete.

Is it? If not, why not?

“The Federalist Papers,” written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, are a compilation of 85 letters published while the public vote for approval of the Constitution was pending. These letters answered arguments about all parts of the draft Constitution and were critical to its subsequent approval by the citizens of the 13 states. Any citizen will gain respect for our governing principles by reading “The Federalist Papers,” available at a bookstore for $8.

The representatives of the states met for five months in 1787 to reach agreement on a draft to propose to all citizens. Their preparations were intense as they studied forms of government from the Hebrews departing Egypt, the Greeks, the Romans, to then-current European nations. They designed a new and unique form of government, a representative republic (found only twice in history).

Their second objective was to maintain as much state sovereignty as possible while establishing a national government. The primary fault of the Articles of Confederation was failure to provide minimum necessary powers to the national government; that was resolved in the Constitution by enumerating 17 distinct federal powers and delegating all other powers to the states or citizens.

Unfortunately, that section included an addition for implied powers that has, since 1933, been grossly abused. The federal government today recognizes no limit to its power.

Contrary to wishful thinking of some people, the Constitution is not obsolete. The Founders recognized human nature does not change with time and, believing liberty and personal responsibility are of primary importance to mankind, they limited federal government authority to the minimum level.

To paraphrase George Washington, government action requires force and for the government to assist anyone requires taking from someone else. Redistribution of wealth was developing in Europe, but the Founders stayed firm for personal responsibility and deliberately made no provision in the Constitution for government assistance to individuals. Their belief in personal responsibility was affirmed and, as expected, assistance to America’s needy was generously provided through churches and private charities.

A nation’s economic and social strength is built on maximum employment. For 150 years we avoided the hazard of government redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor while the Europeans were developing socialist policies. America’s economic strength and liberties were the beacons on the hill for immigration. Compare the French motto (liberty, equality, fraternity) to the American (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness). Personal responsibility for pursuit of happiness (opportunity) sharply contrasts with redistribution of wealth for equality. Americans, with their sense of personal charity, are far more generous to charity organizations they see doing the most good.

America’s recent attempts at “social justice” (government assuming responsibility for equal outcome) have been no more successful than Europe’s. Trillions in the war on poverty have not changed our poverty level 1 percent since 1967, economic stimulus has primarily served to build massive debts for our grandchildren to pay, Social Security entitlements have not been adjusted for greater longevity of life, our world’s best health care is threatened with self-destruction, and a plan to increase homeownership destroyed life savings for millions – including many here in Solano County – while contributing significantly to the 2008 recession.

The Founders got it right. Limit the federal government’s reach over individual liberty and pursuit of happiness. Innovation and prosperity will follow. Do your elected representatives defend our liberties?

Earl Heal is a Vacaville resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at [email protected]

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 19 comments

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  • clancyJuly 21, 2014 - 9:59 am

    Very clear concise article . I enjoyed it and now I'm am convinced that I have been in the wrong party all my life (democratic).

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 11:28 am

    Clancy, which little Healian factoid convinced you to switch? Was it that the War on Poverty was a failure? Because it wasn't. I'm sure even Mr. Heal would not ever turn in his Medicare card or give back his monthly Social Security check. Was it his example that George W. Bush wanted everyone to own a home and so the housing market collapsed? Because I would put the larger blame on the lack or regulation of the banking industry, also thanks to the Republicans. Or was it that you believe him when he says that, "Personal responsibility for pursuit of happiness (opportunity) sharply contrasts with redistribution of wealth for equality."? Because I can't think of anyone who ever said that that is the choice offered by the two main political parties. Can you? I mean other than Earl.

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 21, 2014 - 6:49 pm

    Clinton, not Bush signed the repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act. It passed with bipartisan support. I thought we covered this before?

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  • mike kirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 7:59 pm

    Agreed. But there was supposed to be strict regulation after the brokerage business rejoined the banking industry. Who blocked those regulations?

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  • patrickJuly 21, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    CLANCY Hard work and freedom built America. People worked for success and to improve their lives. Liberals do not build--------------THEY LEVEL.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • clancyJuly 21, 2014 - 2:53 pm

    Yes Patrick I agree .this is one of the reasons I am sure I am not a democrat .

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  • mike kirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 6:28 pm

    Once again, I am not reporting the comment. Patrick, even you must agree that this country was built by the workers of America, not the fat cat idle rixh Republicans.

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  • Mr. PracticalJuly 21, 2014 - 7:00 pm

    Clancy, much of what you said you stand for is Libertarian. I agree with Mike that you shouldn't let a Website tell you what party affiliation is for you. You also shouldn't let Mike tell you either. He tends to mischaracterize all the parties.

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  • mike kirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 8:06 pm

    Mr. P, i don't tell anyone who to vote for or what party to join. I have always stated that i am an independent voter who votes for the best person. I have not tried to steer Clancy into any party. What i did here and what i have always done, is point out the errors and lies that are presented to the public as facts. Some people don't like to have their little bubbles popped and get angry. You should see some of the emails i get.

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  • clancyJuly 21, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    Mike.. Good points. Honestly I am not sure what party I belong to. I was raised in the sixties . my dad was a democrat who was President on his local ibew union . he was for the working people not the welfare people or the come to America for a hand out people. I took a test on line awhile ago that told me I am a libertarian. Anyway no one person convinced me. This immigration thing is really having an impact. I used to think Rick Perry was a dummy now I see him trying to secure toe border I have a new respect where obamba has totally lost all my confidence. My ancestors came here from Ireland legally through Ellis island so I can't be anti immigration.. Or can I ? Why do we have to support all these people who come here expect a hand out join gangs commit crimes? We have enough of our own doing that. Look around out community . As far as social security I pay into that as well ad .Medicare so I hope it will be there in a few years when I'm gonna need it. I think its Obamba rely changing me for example: we couldcan send troops to help countries that hate us yet we can't send anyone to get the young man who was serving in our military out of Mexico? I find that disgusting! Oh and I am pro choice do I guess I can't be a Republican.

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  • Mike KirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 1:29 pm

    Clancy, the first thing I would do if I were you is try to sort out which of those things you listed are real and which are phony baloney. That would help a lot. Google a bit. And don't trust a web site to tell you what you are, a lot of them are designed to get you to join their organizations. You might end up becoming a member of the Pâté Party.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • clancyJuly 21, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    Sorry for the typos I don't find typing via cell phone easy.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mike KirchubelJuly 21, 2014 - 1:45 pm

    I often "report abusive comment" when I'm trying to type a response on my phone. The ground rules here allow for typos.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:01 am

    One quibble: "Representative republic" is redundant. The Framers gave us a democratic republic, or representative democracy, if you prefer. And it was hardly as good as we have today, thanks to ensuing history and amendments.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:08 am

    Next complaint, more than a quibble: "The federal government today recognizes no limit to its power." Is untrue. Although federal power has vastly expanded vis-a-vis the states since the Civil War, Reconstruction Amendments, and Supreme Court interpretations, the Constitution still provides limits.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:11 am

    Next up: "Contrary to wishful thinking of some people, the Constitution is not obsolete." Who are those people? Dick Cheney was notoriously one of them. Who else?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:23 am

    Mr. Heal seems to want to equate FDR's New Deal (150 years after 1787) and social safety net it provided to income and wealth "redistribution," one of the Right's favorite hot button words. Does he want to return to the pre-New Deal era? How soon we forget THAT history!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:28 am

    The classic example of "social justice" has nothing to do with "income redistribution." It has to do with building a freeway through a city. "Social justice" demands that a poor neighborhood not be the one chosen to be relocated simply because it's poor. Is there something wrong with that?

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  • Rick WoodJuly 22, 2014 - 2:37 am

    Finally (for now): It's a great idea for every American to have at least a working knowledge of the Constitution. But keep in mind that goes beyond the document of 1787. It's been amended 27 times, for one thing, and it's been interpreted and reinterpreted by the courts many times more. If your study ends with the 1787 document and it's ratification, you will not have a working knowledge of the law that had made us unique among nations.

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