"With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison
What in the world has happened in this country since these words were spoken. Have we totally forgotten them, turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to these words? The Progressives have twisted the meaning to such an extent that no one really understands what was meant by these words. It is a shame that the Progressives in this country do not, have not and will not read and comprehend these words. In doing so their entire argument of entitlements and rights to things now found in this government would be struck down like a locust tree in a lightening storm. There would be no conversation or argument that health care is a right as defined under “general welfare”. It just is not so, but unfortunately we the people have allowed our elected representatives and often times just our elected leaders to circumvent the meaning of the Constitution. One would have to ask if the presidents in office and congresses were assembled from 1787 to 1930 ignorant of their constitutional authority to manage and save the economy, force government health care upon the people all in the name of the “general welfare”? Nothing of this sort occurred until this country. It took the Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt administrations to massively intervene in the economy and this administration to carry the intervention to include health care, all in the name of the “general welfare”.
Our founding fathers understood that one person's rights may not create a burden for another person. We have the right to free speech, but we may not force someone else to listen and as someone else has said the government does not furnish each individual with their own radio or tv station. We have the right to worship as we choose, but we may not compel another person to attend church with us nor does the government does not build our church buildings for us. We have the right to keep and bear arms, but if our neighbor chooses not to, we may not require that he carry a firearm and the government is not obligated to buy our weapons nor furnish our ammunition. A right to health care cannot exist because it requires that someone else provide it and that person is the taxpayer.
Mark Styen asked recently "How did the health-care debate decay to the point where we think it entirely natural for the central government to fix a collective figure for what 300 million freeborn citizens ought to be spending on something as basic to individual liberty as their own bodies?”
The pro-abortion people cry that it is the individuals right to determine what grows in their body and it is not up to anyone to decide such issues concerning their bodies or their health. Using that same augment then they would also have to determine that the government has no right to determine how the health care of the 300 million citizens of this country is not the business of government. Of course that does not suit their agenda and they only argue the point if it is in their favor and furthers their agenda. To this point the so called conservatives in Congress have neither used this argument against abortion nor health care. One would question if they will ever wake up and stand on the Constitutional principles that our founding fathers set forth.
Thomas Jefferson also spoke to the subject of the “general welfare” as well when he said "Our tenet ever was... that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money."
Our elected leaders need to be reminded as well of this quote from Thomas Jefferson: "[An] act of the Congress of the United States... which assumes powers... not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void and of no force." I would speculate that the majority of the laws now on the books would have to be stricken there from especially those passed within the last 65 years and of course to include the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which was ratified in 1913. “It empowered Congress to “tax incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." I am certain that there are others placed on the books for the “general welfare” of the people earlier than the beginning of socialism under
and FDR that would also need to be removed. Hoover
Jefferson, as well as others of our founding fathers , was very clear in the intent of the power of the document and of those who were elected to see that those powers were not abused.
In addressing the possibilities of abuse he certainly would be speaking of and to the majority that we have elected in this country today for today we see more abuse of the Constitutional power than ever before, even more than under FDR. Those who would force their interpretation of “the general welfare” for the sake of purchasing votes and gaining control over this country to where “we the people” become powerless would certainly be in his sights.
"Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust. Whether our Constitution has hit on the exact degree of control necessary, is yet under experiment." --Thomas Jefferson to M. van der Kemp, 1812
Jefferson would certainly be disappointed if he were to see the lot that has been elected and remained in power . His words certainly ring with truth.
"I sincerely wish... we could see our government so secured as to depend less on the character of the person in whose hands it is trusted. Bad men will sometimes get in and with such an immense patronage may make great progress in corrupting the public mind and principles. This is a subject with which wisdom and patriotism should be occupied." --Thomas Jefferson to Moses Robinson, 1801
"Smaller objections [I have to the new Constitution] are [the omission of] the appeals on matters of fact as well as law, and the binding of all persons, Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary, by oath to maintain that constitution." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:390
"I apprehend... that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of President and Senator will end in abuse." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, 1788.