“The people never give up their liberties, but under some delusion.” ~ Edmund Burke
These days there are a lot of misinterpretations of the Constitution. You see it even in the Supreme Court with the Citizens United ruling and the ruling several years ago that gave Wal-Mart eminent domain to tear down houses to build a store. The reason given was the public uses Wal-Mart property. That reason has nothing to do with eminent domain because Wal-Mart is not part of the commons owned and bought by the people.
As to the Tea Party Webster Griffin Tarpley noticed something concerning the enumerated powers stated in the Constitution. I first took notice of this during the tax protest movement of the 1990’s. I agree with his observation.
In the Tea Party and elsewhere there is this idea going around about the enumerated powers and since as Webster points out the Obama group has a contempt for the Constitution its then up to those like him to point this out.
Their line goes something like this that most of the things the Federal Government does is unconstitutional because it is outside the scope of the enumerated powers.
Something important to note here Webster caught it that there was no complaint under Bush this misuse when it was a question of civil liberties, dictatorships or foreign wars but now it does as it pertains to economic depression and how the average man is systematically being stripped of his wealth. Their doctrine goes something like this that if it is not stated in the enumerated powers the government can’t do it period. Well let’s look at the Constitution.
Article I Section 8 of the Constitution has the enumerated powers which are 17 things Congress has the power to do. The enumerated club or theory says that’s all Congress is able to do. Anything that’s not included on that list is unconstitutional and prohibited. It is imperative to understand that is never the way the Constitution has been interpreted nor was its intent. You see after those 17 paragraphs that say what the Congress shall have the power to do there is the 18th paragraph which we call the elastic clause which is the most sweeping clause of all the powers clauses. The clause reads: “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Well what could be those other powers be? The answer to that is contained within the preamble which states the purpose of the Federal Government including the “more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The founding fathers realized they could not encompass everything or every situation that would come up in the future; situations or circumstances that the 17 clauses or enumerated powers could not cover. They wrote the 18th to include any remedy necessary to preserve what is stated in the preamble and is therefore open-ended.
Most people are unaware of this even those in the Tea Party who proclaim the Constitution; their ignorance of the Constitution is quite appalling. Now because of that what we are seeing is a radical attitude that according to Tarpley and I agree is to impose an interpretation of the Constitution which is pre-civil rights era, pre-New Deal, pre-Populist era, pre-Civil War and actually pre-Jeffersonian. It’s a view of the Constitution as it never functioned. For example Jefferson was a true believer in the enumerated powers theory. As I was taught in school years ago Jefferson broke with the enumerated powers section of the Constitution to make the Louisiana Purchase from the French. This was a once in a lifetime chance so Jefferson ignored those 17 and went with the 18th clause to close the deal. The 18th clause comes under inherent powers.
The United States is a sovereign nation and so needs flexibility capable to fulfill its needs or it is not a sovereign state. Without the 18th clause the country would not be able to get out of depression and would guarantee dictatorship and war. For example we need a recovery program but the crackpot fringe screams that’s not part of the enumerated powers. Well the response is that’s an inherent power as the government needs the power to insure the economic life for the country. The war on the middle class is just that in question today; that question being how will the economic life of the country be maintained, either a thriving middle class or slavery through and propagated by an oligarchy? This is what the general welfare clause and other clauses are all about and contained therein.
Let us move to the implied powers. This is where Alexander Hamilton is very strong. It is Hamilton’s Industrial policy under the authority of the implied powers that gave the American middle class the right to exist and protections over other societies and nations; to be protected from job extraction to China and India or invasion from illegal aliens that will debase pay scales and benefits at home.
Unlike Jefferson Hamilton and Washington endorsed a bank of the United States as long as it was part of the government controlled by the Treasury and not a private bank which the bankers always fought to get then as now because they wanted and now have complete money power over the people but that’s another story.
In conclusion, to invoke the enumerated powers theory is to deny the Washington and Jefferson administrations. It is to throw out the policies and protections that create a successful middle class and force the fortunate few to pay their fair share. To create those things that would attempt to equalize the money power. Wall St. and the rich are using their money power against the middle class to destroy it in order to feed their greed and bring us back to the society of Charles Dickens. They like to believe and promote a United States history that never was, an anti historical utopian fantasy suitable for people who have absolutely no idea of what their thinking. Remember there was never a time when they operated with enumerated powers.
John Marshall Chief Justice of the Supreme Court 1801-1835 a real patriot addressed this very subject when he wrote his opinion that says, “Let the end be legitimate. Let it be within the scope of the Constitution and all means which are appropriate which are plainly adapted to that end and which are not prohibited but are consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution are constitutional.” He also adds the Constitution is not a creature of the state. Nullification and such schemes was thrown out by Marshall in 1819 not to mention what happened between 1861-1865 a little matter called the Civil War.
All this denial of American history comes from a far lunatic outer space fringe that harkens back to the foreign doctrine of the Austrian school propagated by the Von Hayek, feudal autocrats, petty noblemen from old washed up empires to quote Tarpley. Beware of those who would throw out American history as it really was.
These people represented by the Republican Party and their Democratic allies are not conservatives they’re right wing radicals who are at war with true history and those who fought to gain an equal footing with the fortunate few in order to create for the middle class a deserved paycheck compatible with the cost of living along with a comfortable retirement.
Those for advancement of the American condition who were on the side of implied powers were such men as:
· Alexander Hamilton
· John Marshall
· George Washington
· Andrew Jackson
· Abraham Lincoln
· Theodore Roosevelt
· Franklin Roosevelt
· Harry Truman
· John Kennedy
· Even Thomas Jefferson was on board when circumstances called for implied power through the elastic clause of paragraph 18.
How extraordinary it is to see those like half truth Limbaugh and Glen Beck have opinions about this as Beck comes up with incredible outlandish distortions of history. For example he had a program in which he attempted to rehabilitate Calvin Coolidge; can you believe it of all people?