Monday, September 24, 2007

The true meaning of the Constitution

"Done...the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven. " Thus, the United States Constitution was finalized and sent to the state conventions for approval. It would take until the following June, when New Hampshire approved it, before the Constitution would become effective.

Many individuals think that human beings get their rights from the Constitution. Many think that individuals have freedom of speech, religion and the right to bear arms because the Constitution says they do. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Throughout history it was the common belief that individuals were subjects of the ruler. Only the ruler had any rights. When the ruler spoke, whatever was said was done. The Declaration of Independence, the philosophical base of the Constitution, turned that everyday notion on its head.

The founders stated that rights did not come from the ruler or any document at all, not even the Magna Carta. They said that rights were inherent in the individual and came from the Creator. Individuals, through the Creator, are allowed to do anything they so choose so long as they do not interfere with another's right to do the same.

The Constitution called into existence a government that was authorized to make sure that individuals did not force others to accept their beliefs and to ensure that murderers, rapists, thieves, liars and cheats would be arrested, prosecuted and punished for such anti-social behavior.

The Constitution reads as a book authorizing very specific and enumerated powers given to government officials. Its addendum, the Bill of Rights, is actually a list of "thou shall nots" that government officials are forbidden to do.

The Constitution does not give the right of free speech to the individual. The Constitution restricts government officials from interfering with that right that is already inherent in the individual. Even the individual does not have complete freedom of speech because he can only say or write his ideas with his own property or obtain permission from another to use his property.

For instance, The Sun is not obligated to print any column or letter to the editor. It has total control over what it prints. If an individual wanted to get his ideas out to the public, he would have to first get permission from The Sun to use its paper - or start his own publication.

The same goes for any store, restaurant or business. Everyone has the right to engage with whomever they please so long as the other individual voluntarily agrees. When real freedom exists (i.e., no government controls upon the individual), competition exists and individuals get to choose.

The reason for the Constitution is to make sure the force of government is only used in its proper place, very similar to forming rocks in a circle on a camping trip to make sure fire is only used in its proper setting.

As has been seen time and time again, when fire gets out of control, the devastation is disastrous. When government gets out of control, it too becomes devastating and the disaster that takes place is horrific.

All one has to do is look at Nazi Germany, Napoleon's France and the pharaohs of Egypt to see the devastating effects of out-of-control government. One can also see the debilitating effects of out-of-control government by observing Zimbabwe, North Korea and Iran today.

It was 220 years ago that the founders created the Constitution to corral government officials because they did not trust anyone, even democratically elected ones, with the awesome and devastating power government officials possess. The Constitution makes it clear that government officials have very limited and enumerated powers.

For instance, Congress is the only government entity that can declare war, not the president and not any judge - just a group of individuals that must debate the issue before that decision is made.

Individuals have no constitutional rights. They already have all the rights the Creator gave them. Individuals acting as government officials, though, only have those rights permitted them by the Constitution.

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