So-called conservatives now are playthings of the rich who benefit most but contribute least
Dr. Mark Hendrickson’s article in last week’s Citizen is, I believe, representative of present day conservative intellectualism and its selective choices. The difficulty with intellectually selective choices in the end are their wrongheaded conclusions.
Example: WWI taught French military intellectuals that war favored a strong defense. They convinced the French people and political establishment to spend inordinate sums building an “impregnable” line.
The German military learned different lessons and were not too proud to borrow from the writings of a simple British Army captain on mobile, fast moving armored warfare. France surrendered in 40 days not because her men were poor fighters or her technology deficient. France was defeated by her intellectual myopia.
Someone titled the article “Honoring Bill of Rights Day,” but the article really had little to do with the title and everything to do with Hendrickson’s axe grinding.
He began with the premise: “To the founders, government’s sole legitimate purpose is to protect our rights.” Historically I have no idea where he got that premise and naturally Hendrickson doesn’t say.
I do know the Bill of Rights were proposed and adopted after the ratification of the Constitution by 11 states. If enumerated rights were number one on “the founders” hit parade, how did they manage to miss these ten articles over an entire summer of debate?
Dr. Hendrickson quickly segued to the Declaration of Independence, which is perhaps the most recognized and least read document in the world. Since the Constitution doesn’t mention God, he naturally went to the document which does. Curiously, though, when the Declaration of Independence talks about God given inalienable rights it mentions “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Jefferson originally mentioned property but the drafting committee changed it to “the pursuit of happiness.” I wonder why?
Anyway, the point of all this selective historic misinterpretation by the good Dr. Hendrickson seems to be his aversion to social programs in general, and his aversion to paying the taxes required to sustain those programs in particular. He doesn’t mention any specific programs so we have to assume he doesn’t want any whatsoever.
So let us go back to theme number one. Hendrickson asserts that the founders thought the only purpose for government was the protection of our rights. However the foundation for the U.S. Government is the Constitution.
The Preamble states: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity ...”
Hendrickson, George W. Bush, the bloated drug addict Rush Limbaugh, the half-wit Glen Beck, the Tea Party and a vast number of the citizens of this county miss what the “founders” actually could and did agree on.
They revolted against the king of England because they did not feel themselves represented. However, their attachment to ultimate state sovereignty threatened the very fabric of society and propelled them to fashion a new form of government.
In the letter to Congress recommending the adoption of this Constitution and signed by George Washington, Goeverneur Morris had written: “It is obviously impracticable in the federal government of these States to secure the rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society, must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained ....”
The Founders disagreed on almost everything, but they agreed that ultimately government must assure society. The Constitution is purposely obtuse and was left for the ages to meet whatever exigencies society and government encountered.
The first ten amendments to the Constitution have played an immense part in the formation of our national character and protecting individual liberties. Dr. Hendrickson’s assertion that government’s efforts to assure a just and stable society are somehow a prima facie violation of those immutable rights is either gross ignorance or a bald-faced lie. I am inclined to believe the latter.
I believe we are building our own societal Maginot Line. The so-called conservatives in this country have become the intellectual playthings of the very rich who benefit most from our society but wish to contribute proportionally the least.
At the same time they haven’t the fortitude to name the cuts which must be made to balance the giant shift of assets without the giant shift of obligation. We are then stuck adding to a dangerous national debt, lacking the will to act.
In the end we will find what the founders knew all along. Government must assure stable society, and there is no way to assure anything in the absence of this stability.
Remember that the next time you read a piece from the Center for Myopia and Delusion at some crappy little college in Pennsylvania.
Timothy J. Parker
Peachtree City, Ga.