by Chris Dixon

It’s no secret that the United States Constitution is a document in exile, to paraphrase the title of a brilliant work written by senior Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano. In his book, “The Constitution In Exile” which was praised by members of the left and the right, Judge Napolitano offers the reader with a run through history, but not the history you’re used to. Your standard textbook omits points that coincidentally reinforce the benefits of freedom, whether it is political or economic, and tend to give a slant more in the direction of centralization. Despite the repeated failures of a control-freak government, the spin doctors never fail to come to its rescue. The Federal Government is a group of noble aristocrats who know better than us lesser individuals who would be lost without them. After all, what is more noble than making sure you’re using the right light bulb?

It’s in these ridiculous little issues though, where the root of the problem can be found. While many argue that these are little issues and thus should be disregarded when it comes to facing the test of the Constitution, the contrary can be argued. If a government is given a free pass on anything that violates a core document that is thesupreme law of the land, then logically, the government will only begin to hoard power.

It was Frederick Douglass who famously said, “Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” As the Federal Government continues trampling our liberties, how much longer will we endure before we declare enough is enough?

In the opening of the Preface to his book, Judge Napolitano poses the question, “Do we still have a Constitution?” The media would quickly tell you the answer is irrelevant, because the document is out-dated. As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria will tell you, other countries have it set better than us, because they’ve modernized, while we’re still stuck in the past. TIME magazine’s editor Richard Stengel also notes that our law is merely a guardrail. Well, who can argue the fact that the policy makers of our day pick and choose what to follow and what not to? Nobody, but that doesn’t make injustice any less wrong. With that said, a thousand dollar prize is being offered for the first person who can find “gotcha!” in the text of the U.S. Constitution right after Article 6, Clause 2.

In his article, “One Document, Under Siege,” Stengel makes the case that the document was not perfect. The founders were not perfect either. To his credit, he makes some legitimate points on slavery and women’s rights, which didn’t come for quite some time after ratification. But then the article turns into your standard argument for totalitarian government, when issues such as prohibition and income taxes are brought into the equation. Prohibition wasn’t in the Constitution because it is hardly conceivable that the founders would allow for the Federal Government to intrude in personal lives of individuals when they didn’t even permit the Federal Government to intrude in the intrastate matters of States. The income tax not an issue to be pushed, as many at the time felt it was wrong for a government to seek the fruits of a citizen’s labor. Furthermore, if the founders knew that much of the income tax would go towards maintaining an aggressive foreign policy, they would oppose it even more so.

Zakaria on the other hand shows a complete lack of understanding of the history behind this historic document. In his article, “Is It Time To Update The Constitution,” he makes a few points on the structure of government being outdated. For example, he calls the structure of the Senate undemocratic because of the equal representation for each state, as opposed to the House, which has representation based on population. This however was a check by the founding generation against mob rule, for if public opinion could rule all, we would be a democracy. But as the Constitution notes within, we have a Republican form of government. Public opinion isn’t always just, which is why laws are necessary.

To take things further, he mocks defenders of the Constitution in an interview with “The Blaze” while unknowingly defending a founding idea. After portraying supporters of freedom as those who worship the founding fathers, he then proceeds to list some issues wrong with America, including the tax code. Well, as pointed out to Stengel, the income tax is not a founding idea.

To Zakaria’s credit however, things are chaotic. It is not the system however, but what has become of it because of abuse by our government. But there is a solution! Let’s let him in on a little secret. Want to know how to fix the chaotic system? Here’s how: follow the Constitution!

The system of American Government is not very complicated. We have three separate branches with their own confined powers. The Executive Branch executes the will of the Legislature, as well as be commander-in-chief of the military. The Judicial Branch interprets the law. The Legislative Branch controls the law, within their specifically enumerated boundaries. Under the Tenth Amendment, the Federal Government is limited to the powers enumerated to it, while all else, unless prohibited specifically to them, is then left to the States. Of course, there are more details, but this is the core of how our form of government was intended to operate.

And unless we resurrect the heartbeat, the body won’t function.

Perhaps Stengel was onto something about the U.S. Constitution being a guardrail. If we go off the road, as opposed to staying on constitutional course, we will surely leave ourselves shifting towards tyranny. The problem is, the Constitution is not voluntary. This is something that Stengel fails to grasp. And if we truly did follow it, we wouldn’t have the problems that Zakaria believes we have. It wouldn’t be a chaotic system. But before things can change, America needs to embrace freedom. We, as a nation, need to again respect the Constitution. Apply it to every issue without exception, and only then, will our problems be met with solutions.

Chris Dixon [send him email] is the state chapter coordinator for the Maine Tenth Amendment Center. He is also a writer for Maine Web News.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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