FOUR DAYS UNTIL THE END.
Moving right along: do you, like me, think that the U.S. Constitution is probably the best-crafted governing document on the planet? (I won’t say that our system is the best conceivable system of government; I will say that it’s the best possible system of government.)
It may surprise you to read that the Virginian Patrick Henry disagreed. Excerpt:
(Henry) refused to attend the constitutional convention fearing it would create a central government that would override the states. He also feared that the precious liberty he risked his life for would be consumed by this super state.
He spoke to the Virginia ratification convention on June 5, 1788:
I have thought, and still think, that a full investigation of the actual situation of America ought to precede any decision of this great and important question.
That Government is no more than a choice among evils, is acknowledged by the most intelligent among mankind, and has been a standing maxim for ages. If it be demonstrated that the adoption of the new plan is a little or a trifling evil, then, Sir, I acknowledge that adoption ought to follow.
But, Sir, if this be a truth that its adoption may entail misery on the free people of this country, I then insist that rejection ought to follow.
Gentlemen strongly urge its adoption will be a mighty benefit to us.
But, Sir, I am made of such incredulous materials that assertions and declarations, do not satisfy me. I must be convinced, Sir. I shall retain my infidelity on that subject, till I see our liberties secured in a manner perfectly satisfactory to my understanding.
He wanted the Bill of Rights embedded in the document itself, and not added as an afterthought as amendments. Oh by the way, Congress cannot abridge the right to free speech.
It is in the nature of government to grow ever more powerful and intrusive, and as we’ve seen here in the U.S. not even the most strongly worded prohibitions on that expansion of power will stop power-hungry pols from finding ways to expand that power. The passage of the 17th Amendment, which began the direct election of Senators, removed the last real check on Imperial power by removing any representation the State governments had in the Imperial City.
And it’s been downhill since then.
But here’s the catch: The Constitution wasn’t the first governing document our youthful nation implemented. That document would be the Articles of Confederation, which resulted in a Federal government that was so limited as to be nearly incapable of any action and, really, would that be such a bad thing?
Maybe we should start a campaign to return to the Articles as our system of government. Think any of our Imperial politicians would be on board?