Select Page

Bill to Abolish the EPA Still Progressing Through the House

By Harold Pease Ph. D

“The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” This one sentence, proposed law H.R. 861, is probably the shortest and most direct ever proposed in U.S. History. It was introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz February 3, and is presently working its way through four committees: Agriculture, Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Science, Space, and Technology. If passed it will save taxpayers over eight billion dollars a year and send over 15,000 employees looking for new jobs.

Congressman Gaetz wrote defending his bill, “Our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently.”

But those who oppose the bill, like hornets swarming out of a disturbed hornets nest, are those who benefit from the Agency, the 15,000 with its passage soon to be looking for new jobs, profiting corporations, Hollywood activists, and big government advocates both Democrat and Republican—essentially the biggest donors in elections. A quick look on the Internet shows the hornets coming with every gun in the arsenal (even they believe in gun rights as long as they have all the guns), and they do, even the establishment media and socialized universities. Without huge public support career politicians will fold on this one.

Congressman Gaetz wrote, “states and local communities are best positioned to responsibly regulate the environmental assets within their jurisdictions.” He is right but he has a stronger argument, the Constitution does not list (Article I, Section 8) the environment as a federal function of government. By not being listed, it automatically remains a state, county and city prerogative (Amendment 10). If environmentalists want such power they must use Amendment V, which requires any new power to get 3/4ths of the state conventions to move the power from the states to the federal government so that it can be listed with the other federal powers.

Power grabbers, of both major political parties, do not like these parts of the Constitution because they rightfully do not allow them to do anything they wish. Moreover, the EPA was never enacted by Congress as required in Article I, Section 1 “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States….”, no exceptions. It was nothing more than an Executive Order penned by then Republican Richard Nixon, December 2, 1970.

Years ago in visiting with a local contractor I learned that his biggest obstacle in providing reasonably priced middleclass housing for the community was the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He told me that in a $300,000 home approximately one-third of that cost was fulfilling the myriad of rules that were mandated by this organization. He took time to share some of those with me. They were so unreasonable and without them I could have saved $100,000 on a new home. Without his willingness to go through these hoops there would be few single-family homes older than the sixties in this modest oil-town community.

He was a modest, unassuming good man, not the corporate polluter, toxic dumping and public land rapist that the extreme environmentalists portray developers. After five years of hearings battling the EPA over a single endangered flower that had popped up on his property next to a public park, he finally received permission to build.

Once construction workers, attempting to update an elementary school, found in a distant part of the schoolyard a kit fox den. All work stopped for at least six months while school authorities worked through the web of EPA rules before they could proceed. Costs mushroomed and human needs, even for children, were immediately placed on hold for an animal that locals knew was not really endangered. I used to tell my students that if they wanted an eye-opening experience just drive through the allies at night; they would see a kit fox before they saw a common cat.

The problem ended when those trying to get the school functioning again were allowed to purchase a kill permit. Yes, a kill permit, and the animal presumably protected because it was on an endangered list, was killed anyway. To obtain a kill permit the property owner is required to purchase land elsewhere, sometimes three times as large, next to a reserve and donate that property to the reserve. There is no attempt made to capture the offending animal or transplant the unwanted flower to another place. That would be too practical and reasonable for the government.

What I have shared is common knowledge to ninety percent of those over 30 and not associated with a college or university. Indeed, I have never met a defender of the EPA outside the latter category. Colleges are too often havens for teachers teaching, and students learning, that only the federal government can or will protect the environment and that states, counties or cities are too influenced by corporations and developers to do the job. The opposite is true. States have far more incentive in protecting their back yard than do unelected bureaucrats living 2,000 miles away that are not personally impacted by the rules they impose on others. The Constitution automatically protects us from these people if we will let it. Does your Congressman support H.R. 861?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

In America, “We Don’t Worship Government — We Worship God.”

Harold Pease Ph. D

If the President does what he says he will do, as so far Trump has, Christians, and Christian values, can look forward to a new era of respect and value. President Trump gave two powerful, policy changing, addresses Friday, September 13, one to the Values Voters Conference, mostly Christian leaders, and the second refusing to recertify the Iran Nuclear Treaty, basically sending it back to the Senate for much needed improvement. The establishment news media, notably hostile in their coverage of Christian values, have essentially buried the first address by extensive coverage of the second.

Liberty Under Fire treats this topic as a constitutional issue because the Founding Fathers valued religion in government, protected religion by creating the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution requires a moral people to be fully understood. And, as mentioned, the establishment news media won’t cover it because of its long-standing anti-religious bias.

The Founder best articulating the value of religion in government was President George Washington. In his Farewell Address as he left office after refusing a third term he advised. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? … reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

The list of demanded freedoms made conditional upon states ratifying the Constitution were listed in order of importance in the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Freedom of religion was listed first.

John Adams best articulated the need for a moral people to fully understand the Constitution when he wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Benjamin Franklin expressed a similar view, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom…. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.”

The following phrases in Trumps address to the Values Voters Conference are some of the most powerful to come from the lips of a president in our history and are in harmony with the Founding Fathers. “America is a nation of believers, and together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer.” And later, “We know that the American family is the true bedrock of American life.”

“I pledged that, in a Trump administration, our nation’s religious heritage would be cherished, protected, and defended like you have never seen before.”

“Bureaucrats think they can run your lives, overrule your values, meddle in your faith, and tell you how to live, what to say, and how to pray.  But we know that parents, not bureaucrats, know best how to raise their children and create a thriving society.”

“We know that it’s the family and the church, not government officials, that know best how to create strong and loving communities…. In America, we don’t worship government — we worship God.”

“We see it in the church communities that come together to care for one another, to pray for each other, and to stand strong with each other in times of need.” “We will pass on the blessings of liberty, and the glories of God, to our children.”

So what campaign promises on freedom of religion has he kept? “To protect the unborn, I have reinstated a policy first put in place by President Ronald Reagan, the Mexico City Policy.” This policy prohibits federal funding of organizations performing or promoting abortion as a method of family planning. Democratic presidents always reinstate it and Republican Presidents rescind it.

He issued an executive order “to prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights.” This Amendment prohibited tax-exempt organizations, churches and ministers included, from having a political voice in society. “We will not allow government workers to censor sermons or target our pastors or our ministers or rabbis.  These are the people we want to hear from, and they’re not going to be silenced any longer.” The order resulted in the Department of Justice issuing “new guidance to all federal agencies to ensure that no religious group is ever targeted under my administration.”

“We have also taken action to protect the conscience rights of groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor…. we will not let bureaucrats take away that calling or take away their rights.”

So is Trump just following a script to insure he captures the religious community in 2020? He already has them because he has done more for this community than any president in distant memory. Moreover, as he pointed out in his address, he is “the first sitting President to address” the Values Voter Summit when not running for president, as the sitting president.

The words are perfect and should inspire confidence that in the difficult decisions that he may make, he will go first to his knees and be led by God. But will he? I would feel more comfortable if we saw him attend a church occasionally. Still, it is refreshing to have someone defend the religious community as too few before him have.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. Newspapers have permission to publish this column. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

States Form an Alliance to Defy Trump

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Under the leadership of California Governor Jerry Brown and with governors Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Jay Inslee of Washington, complicit, the United States Climate Alliance was formed, an alliance of states committed to upholding the 2015 Paris Accord from which President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out and renegotiate. “California will resist,” Brown affirmed.

The United Nations deal/accord/agreement (whatever the name), but never called a treaty as this would actually bind agreeing countries, came about December 12, 2015, in Le Bourget, France where representatives of 195 countries assembled. Most agreed to lower greenhouse gas emissions believed to affect climate change. The arrangement attempts to bind signing countries beginning in 2020 to convene every five years with their plans to lowering emissions and reconvene again three years later with statistics on their new improved emission levels.

The problem is that despite the practice of not using the word treaty that began with Bill Clinton’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade), any deal/accord/agreement that has any expectation of accomplishing anything should be called a treaty and must be ratified by the U.S. Senate to be constitutional.   Not using the word treaty means that participating nations simply had a discussion. Politicians cannot just change the word treaty to a synonym of treaty with the intent to thereby bypass the U.S. Senate, which body is responsible for all agreements with foreign nations, and thus the Constitution, to accomplish a binding purpose on this nation.

The Constitution gives the president “Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur… (Art. II, Sec. 2, Cla 2). No other term is used in the Constitution to describe an agreement between nations. Wordage created by the then Barrack Obama foreign policy team presented in a U.N. assemblage in Paris by then Secretary of State John Kerry, without either advice in forming the wordage or consent of the Senate thereafter, is a flagrant violation of the Constitution.

Trump should rescind the “understanding” in Paris on constitutional grounds alone. That the Republicans view the science of human caused climate change as unproved, and thus disapprove of any understanding that binds them as the so-called Paris Accords do, should be secondary. Still, Trump’s resistance to it is understandable. Both political parties should disapprove it, as the U.S. Senate, as required by the Constitution, never ratified it.

But the governors are violating other parts of the Constitution as well. Listed in Article I, Section 10 are powers denied to the states, mostly those given to Congress in Section 8. It begins, “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation….” The listing follows but it means with any other states or nations. Certainly Brown’s the United States Climate Alliance is an alliance with other states to accomplish a combined purpose specifically forbidden by the Constitution.

Brown has a history of forming other alliances with states as well, even countries, in his Under2 Coalition “a group of national and subnational governments dedicated to keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.” Which “now boasts more than 170 jurisdictions worldwide, with Canada, Mexico and Sweden among the newest members” (Tribune News Service June 2, 2017, “As Trump Exists Climate Deal, States Form Alliance to Uphold it”). These countries include signed agreements with China and Germany. Not only does this violate the above-mentioned constitutional citation but yet another which reads “No state shall, without the Consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power” (Art. 1, Sec. 10, Cla. 3).

It gets worse. Considering himself America’s climate czar, Brown is “urging the world to defy President Trump and join him in San Francisco next year for a ‘climate action summit’. ” President Trump “is trying to get out of the Paris agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America,” Brown told an audience (Tribune News Service, “Challenging Trump, Jerry Brown Announces Global Climate Summit in California,” July 10, 2017). His defiance is not only unconstitutional but borders on treason. It is a dangerous precedent if the governor’s threat to the nation and Constitution is not challenged.

Brown may argue that he is initiating only economic agreements with foreign countries but the Constitution governs this area as well leaving it to the federal government. “No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports” or “Lay any duty of Tonnage,” and continues with other restrictions on the state (Art 1, Sec.10, Cla.2). Clearly Congress alone has “Power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations”(Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cla. 3).

Unfortunately, the United States Climate Alliance created by the governors of California, Washington and New York just two months ago, has grown to include 12 states and Puerto Rico. Nowhere in the Constitution is a governor given authority to represent the federal government on foreign policy, defy existing policy or participate in creating new foreign policy. Like it or not Trump does speak for America and constitutionally the federal government is the only authority in foreign policy, including climate policy, or foreign commerce.

 

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Trump Wants States to Pay More for Infrastructure

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

President Donald Trump has promised to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure but he wants to leverage this money to provide the extra provided by states and cities to make their project possible, not pay the whole thing. This way he gets the most bang for the federal buck. Whether Trump understands the Constitution or not it leaves infrastructure to the states and cities, he seems to be working toward that end, at least having them pay much more for such, but he is likely to get resistance because they are used to handouts.

Three reasons justify this position. Residents are the primary users of what is built, thus should sustain its cost. Infrastructure, or anything like it, is not listed in Article I, Section 8 as a function of the federal government, nor has it been added by way of amendment to the Constitution, and thus, is entirely a state, county and city function. Finally, the federal government is over $20 trillion in debt, a debt that cannot be paid in a lifetime and even then not without quantitative easement of the currency, the process of inflating existing money.

Of course, the argument that the nation has been funding infrastructure for well over a century beginning with the transcontinental railroads after the Civil War, then the numerous construction projects of the Franklin Roosevelt era, then to the interstate freeways under Dwight D. Eisenhower, is a powerful argument. Still, going off the Constitution just once in 1869 to help the Union and Central Pacific Railroads complete the first transcontinental railroad justified going off it two more times the next twenty years for other transcontinental railroads expecting the same benefits. Every special interest group makes its case based upon what was given others. For this reason it is almost impossible to cease giving once started and get back to the Constitution.

When railroad tycoons realized that they could get the federal government to help pay for such, ensuring greater profits for them, other tycoons sought and expected the same benefits. James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railroad crossed the continent without federal help, because he did not want federal control, proving that, sooner or later, it could be done without federal help and damage to the Constitution.

All of the vast federal infrastructure projects of the 1930’s were also not constitutionally based. The federal government had no authority to finance infrastructure projects or job creation. Many also question whether these were absolutely necessary for economic survival. Others, including myself, believe that they prolonged the Great Depression to 12 years, instead of the usual two to three years, and that it was World War II that ended the Depression, not anything that Franklin Roosevelt did.

Federal job creation, formerly left entirely to the private sector, is now expected by voters as is a forced retirement plan called social security. Two new amendments to the Constitution would have authorized these drastic changes in the distribution of power and in authorizing such, but no amendments were even sought. We have had extensive national debt since.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, presumably troubled by the stark constitutional departures of his two predecessors, based his extensive interstate freeway infrastructure project on national security. Why not make landing strips for military planes everywhere available by merely, when needed, closing down a section of the freeway to public travel? It has never been used for such.

It was a brilliant stretch of the Constitution but national defense is at least a federal government responsibility as it is empowered “to make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.” Still, given the cost and that its primary function was to promote interstate travel thus, in practice had very little to do with national security, constitutionalists would have had us seek other ways of accomplishing the landing of jets, as for example, at military air bases and, in a real emergency, commercial airports.

Some have defended these huge constitutional departures by referring to interstate commerce. The Constitution reads, “The Congress shall have Power … To regulate Commerce … among the several States.” Under the original interpretation, commerce among the states did not begin until goods commenced their final movement from their state of origin to that of their destination. It was to ensure that states did not impede commerce, the movement of things, by regulation. This had been a problem necessitating the Constitutional Convention. Who had authority at the border, more especially when the border was a river moving commerce, as the Potomac between Maryland and Virginia? But there was never authority given to create the river or the road? Like postal delivery, another itemized federal power, commerce would use existing roads.

Now the states are addicted to federal handouts. Rather than raise state taxes to fund even big projects, often referred to as TIGER grants, to which they have become accustomed, they do not mind federal slavery as long as the feds do not dry up their federal teat. Fifty years ago they would have resisted losing their independence from the federal government. Now dependent they are likely to resist Trump’s measure to be otherwise. Trump wants to stretch federal dollars to provide the extra percent to put the project over the top.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Why “Hate Speech” is, and Should Remain, Constitutional

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Alexander Hamilton once wrote, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

One such is the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights, which in part says, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” Since neither the executive or judicial branches can make law, only Congress (Art. 1, Section 1), or in the case of the judiciary rule in such a way as to make law, the federal government can impose no restriction on speech and neither can the states as the 14th Amendment made the Bill of Rights applicable to them as well.

Under liberty, speech cannot be qualified by government into types of speech as good, bad, harmful or hateful. Segments of society cannot authorize government to forbid speech they disagree with. It is left to the individual to do it for himself by turning off the television, radio, Internet or not attending an event expected to have such and leaving it when it does. Peer pressure harnesses most unacceptable speech but moving from offensive speech can deal with the rest.

If government could qualify speech into types, levels of restriction would follow with anti-government speech listed as one of the first. The Founding Fathers were at the top of the list in pre-revolutionary times, thus their obsession to forbid a place for government in speech. If government decides these things we are not free, as it will always decide in favor of enhancing itself.

Colleges and universities are places where intellectual debate should flourish and be encouraged. Learning requires the free flow of ideas. Viewpoint diversity, now absent in so many universities, is critical. Restricting viewpoint is tantamount to burning books in medieval times.

Student unrest in many universities last spring demonstrated what is becoming obvious; institutions of higher learning are becoming radicalized and project intolerance for anything but a liberal view. Too few permit conservative or libertarian speakers and far fewer constitutional speakers.

College is supposed to be a big tent housing all types of thinking so that the student can gravitate to what he thinks best after all sides are presented. Although everyone gives lip service to this statement, there still exists a preferred philosophy. Most colleges insist that they adhere to the idea of intellectual diversity, but the literature suggests otherwise, that the vast majority of colleges and universities are weighted in favor of one ideology and professors to one political party. Many political science textbooks acknowledge this. In my field it is rare when professors present more than the preferred philosophy.

There exists a consensus of what a “good education” consists. Students are immersed in race consciousness, feminism, multiculturalism, environmentalism, collectivism, globalism, political activism, class warfare, global warming, acceptance of sexual deviations as normal, and minimization of the importance of Christianity. The end product, the student, must come to accept the above script. It is also in virtually all textbooks. It’s not that any of these notions are bad, in and of themselves, but it is the nearly universal absence of the opposing view that is most troubling.

It is no wonder that in a just completed study of 1500 students; a majority felt that the First Amendment should not protect “hate speech” (which translates to speech they disagree with). In the geographically diverse survey covering college students from 49 states, John Villasenor found that “Freedom of expression is deeply imperiled on U.S. campuses. In fact, despite protestations to the contrary (often with statements like “we fully support the First Amendment, but…), freedom of expression is clearly not, in practice, available on many campuses, including many public campuses that have First Amendment obligations.”

As mentioned, to the question, “Does the First Amendment protect ‘hate speech’?” Most said no. This was so across all three political affiliations liberal, conservative and independent.

Other observations were noteworthy as well. Most, 62% of Democrats and 39% of Republicans also agreed that it was appropriate to shout down a controversial speaker to which they disagreed. With respect to the use of violence to shut down a speaker 20% of Democrats and 22% of Republicans agreed. Most incorrectly believed that the First Amendment required a presentation of a counter view. It does not. Worst yet, as college is supposed to be a place of competing view points, most also expected their institution to provide a learning environment that “shelters them from offensive views.” Nonsense! College is supposed to prepare students for the real world, which has no filters.

This is especially disconcerting as students today do not know the most rudimentary parts of the Constitution and the consequence of this ignorance is serious. As pointed out by the Villasenor Survey, “What happens on campuses often foreshadows broader societal trends. Today’s college students are tomorrow’s attorneys, teachers, professors, policymakers, legislators, and judges.”

“The sacred rights of mankind,” as expressed by Alexander Hamilton, in this instance freedom of speech, is not hidden in old parchment but is, “as with a sunbeam,” in the Constitution. It clearly denies government a function in addressing speech—even so-called “hate speech.”

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

September 17, Largely a Forgotten Holiday

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

This Sunday, September 17, is Constitution Day, arguably the most forgotten designated day in America. The mainstream media will say nothing of it. No parades or city council proclamations; nothing of it in the week prior in university classes. No three-day weekend, beer busts or barbecues in its favor. It is as though it never happened. Probably not one in ten can tell what happened on this day in 1787; it has been ignored so long.

But this day positively affected everyone in the United States and is probably the most important day in our history, the day that we institutionalized liberty in America. The day that the Constitutional Convention ended and the Constitution was sent to the states for ratification.

For nearly six thousand years of recorded history governments best described as regimental have dominated man. Only for a few fleeting moments in the past has individual man had anything to say concerning the restrictions leveled on him. Under an occasional benevolent monarchy or an unconcerned king, man has, in rare in­stances, been left to himself and thus somewhat free. And, even more rare were the instances when as in Athens, Rome or at Runnymede, the people, sometimes through persuasion and often by force, instituted changes allowing individual freedom to flourish for a brief time. Our experiment with liberty was one.

Still, until 1787 man did not know how to harness government. Liberty is, in fact, freedom from excessive government and the biggest enemy to individual liberty is, and has always been, government. But the Constitutional Convention, ending on September 17, did just this.

We abolished kings forever in favor of presidents selected by the state legislatures (before the 17th Amendment) for a short, but defined, period of time. We took away the presidents power to make decrees (even laws or rules) over us, allowing him, in a state of the union address to merely suggest changes, otherwise to sign or veto law made by the legislative branch.

The legislative branch, consisting of representatives for the states, (the U.S. Senate) to protect states rights from federal intrusion, and the peoples’ representatives (the House of Representative) to protect the people from federal intrusion, made ALL the law. Both legislative branches from different perspectives, had to approve every law imposed upon the people and all law had to adhere to the constitutional list (Article I, Sec. 8, Cla. 1-18).

Historically, the two areas most sensitive to the people were excessive taxation, as all monies expended were extracted from the people, and unpopular wars, as all injuries, deaths, and suffering was absorbed by the people. Under the Constitution there can never be an unpopular war as the peoples’ representative (The House of Representatives) have total power over raising and funding the army. They must consent to the war by declaration (because they provide blood and brawn for it) and they alone authorize the treasure for it (Art. 1, Sec. 8, Cla. 11). “All bills for raising revenue shall originate” with them (Art. 1, Sec. 7, Cla. 1). The Constitution, if followed as designed, ended for all time both unpopular taxes and war. We became the first nation in history placing the people in charge of both. Moreover, funding for war could not be extended for more than a two-year time period, thus requiring that the war remain the will of the people (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cla. 12).

The Constitution is marked by four divisions of power the first, and most important, being between the states and the federal government with fear of a national government dominant. Our Founders, under the new concept of federalism, allowed two governments to co-exist, neither to be over or under the other, with primarily external issues governed by a federal government and internal issues by the states—like a marriage—equal partners. All power not specifically listed in the Constitution remained with the states. The federal governments powers were listed in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1-18 or what the states agreed to give them later, but anything thereafter added by amendment required 3/4th of the states to approve (Article V). It was decidedly a limited government from the outset with few federal laws restricting the individual.

The other three divisions divided power at the federal level. Separation of powers with one body, the legislative branch, making federal law, another, the executive branch enforcing it, and a third, the judicial branch, adjudicating it, is basic to the Constitution. But none of these branches were to legislate, execute or adjudicate in a manner to erase or undermine the first division of power between the states and the federal government. No Founding Father supported this.

The Bill of Rights, demanded by the states as a condition of their ratification of the Constitution, further restricted the federal government in many areas. Amendments thereafter 11-24, approved by 3/4th of the states, altered some parts of the Constitution. Still, the federal government remains limited and on notice to remain subservient to the people.

The Constitution remains an enemy to big government, largely supported by both political parties and liberals and conservatives alike, because big government is an enemy to individual liberty. Perhaps this is the reason so few wish to honor it or bring attention to it on Constitution Day. Americans might awaken to their extensive loss of liberty.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.