Sunday, February 27, 2011

On the General Welfare and Establishing Justice

The Constitution has been growing in the public mind over the last few years. As our government careens farther out of control, men and women with an eye for history and philosophy have searched back into our early history to seek wisdom and counsel from our Founding Fathers. Notable among those people are the Tea Party. This has caused a great deal of consternation among statists who recognize the propaganda value of the document, even if they fail to respect its Articles.

To counter those pushing the limitations of government into the limelight, some statists have tried to claim the Preamble as their own and in opposition to the limited government state of mind. In particular, they like the phrases "establish Justice" and "promote the general Welfare." These phrases are taken to mean the mission of our government is to establish positive liberty, to take an active role in our lives for our betterment.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The best way to both establish justice and promote the general welfare is to take the use of force and destruction out of the hands of men and let them go free to build; it would be most foolish to replace the destruction of violence and theft of individuals with unchecked theft by the government! It is not justice to take from the productive to give to anyone else. Even if it were just to redistribute wealth to the poor (a proposition I highly disagree with), we know that the government cannot be trusted to responsibly spread that money. Government is made up of men with the same human failings as all other men; indeed, the power of government likely corrupts men into worse beings. Justice, Welfare, Tranquility, and Liberty are not promoted by such men. Government should have only as much power as to stop individuals from being a likely threat to such goals but not enough to become the greatest threat itself.

The members of the Tea Party hold these lofty goals dear to their hearts; they believer that the Constitution, with its limited powers and individual liberties, is the best method for achieving these aims. We do not "worship" the Constitution. We do, however, see it to be the best guarantor of liberty and the current rules that the government must obey. Those who believe in the "positive" viewpoint forget that government is made up of fallible, imperfect humans; there is no wisdom in handing them greater power, for they are not greater men.

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