The rest of the story about Bill of Rights

In response to Mr. Timothy Parker’s letter in last Wednesday’s edition, I hereby submit the following for your consideration.

Mr. Parker sees no historical basis for Dr. Hendrickson’s claim that, “To the founders, government’s sole legitimate purpose is to protect our rights.”

Yet in the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote, “all Men are created equal ... endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ... That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Seems to me Jefferson is saying government is supposed to protect our rights.

Next, Mr. Parker questions the importance of the Bill of Rights. There was considerable debate at the Constitutional Convention on this. Some delegates felt that it was unnecessary, while others felt it would be impossible to provide a complete enumeration of the rights of man, while still others believed any attempt to enumerate rights would result in infringement against any rights not so enumerated.

Thus a compromise was reached that a Bill of Rights, detailing the most critical rights, would swiftly be added. Shortly after the first Congress (under the new Constitution) convened, James Madison introduced the Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives.

Mr. Parker mentions that Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence listed property as one of the unalienable rights, and he questions why this was replaced with “the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Quite simply, slave owners regarded slaves as property; thus anti-slavery members of the Continental Congress feared that recognizing “Property” as an unalienable right might be regarded by slave owners as an endorsement of slavery.

He goes on further to state that the Constitution was intentionally vague so that future generations might interpret it to suit the needs of the present age. However, the Founders included the deliberately-difficult amendment process, allowing the Constitution to adapt to new circumstances after thoughtful and considerate debate.

The Founders had lived under the “English Constitution,” a collection of documents such as the Magna Carta, and various common law provisions. The unwritten nature of the “English Constitution” allowed the king and Parliament to inflict continual abuses upon the people by “interpreting” it to suit their fancy. If we accept Mr. Parker’s view of a fluid Constitution being newly interpreted in each age, then the Constitution has no enduring meaning and it need not have been written in the first place.

The federal government, with its one-size-fits-all solutions and complete lack of accountability, cannot address the ills of society.

Rather, the states and local governments, being closer to the people, are a more appropriate place to attempt governmental intervention in the affairs of man. States can try different solutions; those which are successful may be adopted by their neighbors, and those which fail can be cast aside.

And if people finds themselves in a state that is not to their liking, they can follow Ronald Reagan’s advice and “vote with their feet”.

Mike Taylor

Peachtree City, Ga.

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All We Need

Is a few more CZARS! AIDS Czar: Jeffrey Crowley

Auto Recovery Czar: Ed Montgomery

Border Czar: Alan Bersin

California Water Czar: David J. Hayes

Central Region Czar: Dennis Ross

Climate Czar: Todd Stern

Domestic Violence Czar: Lynn Rosenthal

Drug Czar: Gil Kerlikowske

Energy and Environment Czar: Carol Browner

Faith-Based Czar: Joshua DuBois

FCC Diversity Czar: Mark Lloyd

Government Performance Czar: Jeffrey Zients

Great Lakes Czar: Cameron Davis

Guantanamo Closure Czar: Daniel Fried

Health Czar: Nancy-Ann DeParle

Information Czar: Vivek Kundra

Intellectual Property Czar: Victoria Espinel

Intelligence Czar: James Clapper

Manufacturing Czar/Car Czar: Ron Bloom

Mideast Peace Czar: George Mitchell

Oil Spill Escrow Fund Czar: Kenneth Feinberg

Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein

Safe Schools Czar: Kevin Jennings

Science Czar: John Holdren

Stimulus Accountability Czar: Earl Devaney

Sudan Czar: J. Scott Gration

TARP Czar: Herb Allison

Technology Czar: Aneesh Chopra

Terrorism Czar: John Brennan

Urban Affairs Czar: Adolfo Carrion Jr.

War Czar: Douglas Lute

Weapons Czar: Ashton Carter

WMD Policy Czar: Gary Samore

9/11 Health Czar: John Howard

Cyber Czar: Howard Schmidt

Oil Spill Czar: Ray Mabus

Economic Czar: Paul Volcker (Volcker is expected to leave the Economic Recovery Advisory Board)

Ethics Czar: Norm Eisen (Eisen was appointed last year to be U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic)

Afghanistan Czar: Richard Holbrooke (Holbrooke, who served as Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, died Dec. 13)

Anyone here (besides me) think our government has strayed far from the original intent? Come on people, let's dismantle Leviathan! -GP