It has been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.
Been reading a few of the founding documents. I read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights every once in a while. Not because I am some kind of super patriot, who reads the document to instill in myself a sense of awe and wonder at the greatness of the founders. That is silliness, the founders were people, not gods, they were not perfect, and it shows in the documents they wrote. I don’t read it because I am some scholar trying to glean some new thought out of them. Anyone who can read anything new into the document that hasn’t already been read, thought through, and discussed ad nauseum, is simply reading into it his or her own prejudices and inclinations. I read it to learn. To find out what the men who wrote the document wanted to give us, and what they wanted to keep from us.
I cannot think the documents upon which our nations government was founded are perfect, close, but not perfect. Ben Franklin, at the close of the constitutional convention famously said there were several parts of the constitution that he did not agree with. He did go on to say that it was as close to perfect as they were capable of creating. Patrick Henry had issues with the Bill of Rights, the entire bill of rights. His arguments, as I recall them, were simple. Any time a government gives a right, it means that that right is controlled by that government, and can be changed, altered as that government sees fit.
Ask any of the Japanese who were around during WWII who lived on the west coast how they felt about what happened to their freedoms, and their rights. Ask an American Indian, or the descendant of slaves where their rights were when they needed them. Look at the FISA legislation. Look at the NSA’s warrantless wiretap program. All of these point to Patrick Henry having a valid point, in each and every case, government interference took what one would think of as a basic fundamental human freedom, and squashed it for it’s own purposes.
Friday’s Great American Links, focusing on the second amendment;
The constitution, and the Bill of Rights are a contract between the Government and the people, and many of the Amendments have gone under interpretive changes over time. No Amendment to the constitution is looked upon now the same way it was when the document was first written, simply because the people who are interpreting it, whether in 1835 or today, or any time in between, live in different times and under different circumstances that those who wrote the document, and as a consequence the words mean subtly different things to different generations.
The above links show, using the 2nd amendment as an example, that what some think of as an individual right was thought of, by many at the time, as the government’s right to have a regular militia, with it’s small arms provided by the people themselves.
Things change, do they not? Not how the 2nd Amendment is looked at now, is it?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Much more on this subject over the next few articles. G’night America.