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The Preamble They Should've Written

Written By: James L. Payne  |  Posted: Saturday, May 14th, 2011

            Did the Founding Fathers get it right? Is the Constitution they drafted a secure basis for limited government? Many conservatives suppose so and believe the drift to big government has simply been a case of not reading the directions on the package. Last January these conservatives ordered that the Constitution be read aloud at the opening session of the House of Representatives, apparently hoping that the reverberation of its words off the marble walls would inspire lawmakers to return to the limited government of yesteryear.

            I'm afraid it was an unrealistic hope. You can say many good things about the Founding Fathers, but these gentlemen fell short in one, critical way: The Constitution they drafted contains no significant intellectual impediment to the endless growth of government; that is, it does not explain what's wrong with too much government. If anything, it goes in the opposite direction, inviting politicians to use the federal government to address everything. This invitation stands in the preamble, where after noting government's obvious jobs - "establish Justice" (a court system), "insure domestic Tranquility" (armed forces to put down riots), "provide for the common defence" (armed forces to take care of foreign invaders) - the drafters added that government's function was also "to promote the general Welfare."

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