Who owns you?
“This is why we do not get along anymore. We want different things from the law, from our leaders, from our government, and from each other. In the first case, the owned person seeks to negotiate the terms of his existence through the passage of laws which bind individuals. In the second case, the free person seeks to keep his liberty non-negotiable through the passage of laws which bind government.”
– Dr. Tim Nerenz, “Liberty 101, Who Owns You?”
We were meant to own ourselves, by both our Creator and the men who built this fragile, but long-lasting democracy.
The original ten amendments – or, the Bill of Rights – to the Constitution were ratified on December 15th, 1791, a total of 811 days needed to complete; Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut didn’t ratify until 1939.
The remaining 36 States and Commonwealths never explicitly ratified the Tenth Amendment or the rest of the bill of rights for that matter, leaving an opportunity for each State to do so now, and send a message to Washington, D.C. that the Federal Government has certain powers only because the States have granted them the right to have them.
What does this have to do with your community? Politics is local. Or, at least it’s meant to be. We educate our children, feed our families, work our jobs, build our homes and sell our wares, while making health decisions we believe is best for our family and within our means. These decisions should be as local as possible. Yet increasingly, they’re being decided 1,500 miles away, sometimes further. This is wrong.
HOW IT ONCE WAS, AND WHY
The original ratification of the Tenth Amendment, as part of the Bill of Rights is as follows:
New Jersey Nov 20, 1789
Maryland Dec 19, 1789
North Carolina Dec 22, 1789
South Carolina Jan 19, 1790
New Hampshire Jan 25, 1790
Delaware Jan 28, 1790
New York Feb 24, 1790
Pennsylvania Mar 10, 1790
Rhode Island Jun 7, 1790
Vermont Nov 3, 1791
Virginia Dec 15, 1791 *
Massachusetts Mar 2, 1939
Georgia Mar 18, 1939
Connecticut Apr 19, 1939
When States began to debate whether to adopt the Constitution, people and politicians were split into two main groups: Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Federalists supported ratifying the Constitution while Anti-Federalists had strong reservations.
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay authored a series of articles defending the proposed Constitution. Known as The Federalist Papers, these men explained precisely how the Constitution functioned as a replacement for the Articles of Confederation. Individual Anti-Federalists countered with their own pamphlets, laying out strong arguments against ratification.
Anti-Federalists were primarily concerned a strong Federal government would trample on state’s rights because the Constitution contained no clause limiting Federal government power. To be sure, the Constitution strengthened powers of the national government. However, no proponent believed in the possibility of overreach. After all, they knew the Constitution granted only specific powers and, by implication, left other powers to the states.
We know this by just a few quotes from The Federalist Papers. James Madison, in Federalist 45, said
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.”
Along with millions of others, I feel like there is a great imbalance of respect paid to the Fourteenth Amendment at the expense of the Tenth, in the name of interstate commerce. Unemployment, food stamps, enforcement of building codes, education and now, health care have become departments of an ever expanding Government that gets further and further from the problem itself, making efficiency as effective as you trying to run your office in Racine, WI from a Starbucks in Beijing. It can only go so far. This is why the original Founders kept in mind a strong, Federal government, but an equal and complimentary State system.
The Tenth Amendment reads in full:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Alexander Hamilton, writing in “Federalist No. 28,” suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’ benefit:
“If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress.”
This principle of the balance between equal, but separate governments between State and Federal have been abandoned for close to 100 years, and first came under attack 150 years ago when a just cause in the civil war was used by Progressives to consolidate more power in D.C. than the Founders intended.
- The EPA mandates ethanol and incandescent light bulbs.
- The U.S Congress enacts a one-size, standardized bill, “No Child Left Behind,” for your children’s education.
- The Affordable Health Care for America Act forces the financial hand of the private sector.
- The Obama Administration and his complicit majority Party hasn’t passed a federal budget in over 1,000 days. Our national debt surpassed $15 trillion in November of 2010, and currently on pace to grow by $100 billion each month. Our nation’s total liabilities included those that are unfunded – Social Security, Medicare and federal pensions – equals $99 trillion. This
amount exceeds the entire net asset base of the United States, which caps out at $78 trillion.
- Our southern states suffer in the face of Federal policies rooted in compassion and amnesty, leading to unnecessary cultural, security and economic struggles and the inability to protect themselves.
Most of all, no matter where you stand on these issues, the truth of the status quo is irrefutable: IT ISN’T WORKING. Issues like these are local forces behind the Tea Party movement, and the current gridlock annoying the GOP establishment in the race for President. Our Constitution, written in approximately 116 days and with 4,543 words, pales in comparison to many of today’s education, health and energy bills. The Affordable Health Care for America Act, better known as Obama Care, was written in approximately 165 days, but it stretched 363,000 words. We the people have a problem. But we the people hold a crucial key to the solution: the Tenth Amendment.
Some Governors are taking reform into their own hands:
A UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLE
This is not about Capitalism; this is not about social issues; this is not about education policy; this is not about a military-industrial complex; this is not about contraception, land-use, oil-drilling or loan regulation. This is about States and the People having the jurisdiction over how they manage their affairs, without the advice, consent or meddling of a centralized authority. Democrat or Republican.
There’s too many of us on both sides of the aisle to ignore anymore. There’s too much passion behind defending the America we grew up with, or were taught to love, that we cannot sit idly by any longer.
Therefore, along with the spirit and motivation of hundreds of volunteers across America I have been fortunate to help found a non-profit group named FoundersIntent.org for furthering the cause of education and action. What Founders’ Intent provides is a solution to the problem; a solution at the local level that has the potential to transform our government on the Federal level.
We are dedicated to the education and awareness of local and federal government policies which results in a stronger, independent local government and a limited, constitutionally-sound federal government.
Founders’ Intent does not take an active role endorsing or financially supporting candidates or political parties, nor does FI support agencies that conduct this business. This does not prohibit FI from receiving financial support from other organizations. So please, spread the word. You play a role in your local community, and your local community influences local government, which influences state government, which has the potential to steer the federal ship in its proper direction.
Members of Founders’ Intent aim to educate people by speaking at locally-sponsored seminars, research and write content-rich white papers and facilitate community activism through mainstream and independent media venues.
I will be a guest speaker at the local CHEA conference, an educator’s conference here in Wisconsin in May, and am working with others in Oregon and Texas to host additional seminars in the coming months. I will speak in three sessions, explaining the history, original intent and potential of the Tenth Amendment to reshape our future. The website will provide contact information and ways to get involved.
We welcome anyone curious about our nation’s past and concerned about our future to participate and become fellow Architects in building a network of well-educated, fully-equipped defenders of true liberty and a successful American culture; one that can again be an example for the world to follow.
Hope to see you around; the tea hasn’t even begun to steep in THIS water!
Vive in libertate aut morere!