The Forgotten Fundamentals of The ConstitutionA Summary
This chapter, which is in the format of an analysis of the three forgotten fundamentals of the Constitution, is a summary of the constitutional system established by God through the Framers. Through presenting the summary in this way, there should emerge a clear understanding of the guiding principles followed by the Framers, and an accurate bird's eye view of the true nature of the constitutional system they designed. Also included with each forgotten fundamental is a series of questions to help test political matters against the eternal principles revealed through the Framers. A comparison of the constitutional system of the Framers, as summarized in this chapter, with the present government of the United States will show how completely the principles of the Framers have been abandoned and the constitutional system has been perverted.
The First Forgotten FundamentalA Religious Foundation
The first of the three forgotten fundamentals of the Constitution is its religious foundation. To understand the real significance of this religious foundation, it must be considered in two particular areas.
1. The American constitutional system is a freedom system that can function only among a religious citizenry.
2. The philosophical presuppositions on which the constitutional system is based are essentially religious.
The fact that the American constitutional system is a freedom system that can function only among a religious [p. 168] citizenry was clearly expressed by John Adams in these words:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.(1)
There are only two ways by which order can be maintained in society. One is by having a religious citizenry who will act righteously without external compulsion. The other is by the method of force or compulsion.
Only A Religious People Can Be Free
It is only among a righteous people that freedom and order can exist together. If unrighteous people are given their freedom, they will act in a disorderly manner. This will result ultimately in anarchy if order is not restored by force. But if force is used to restore order? such use of force is itself a partial deprivation of freedom. Furthermore, maintaining order by force requires a powerful compulsion type government which is inimical to a free society. On the other hand, if force is not used to maintain order among an unrighteous people, they will lose their freedom anyhow to the roaming mobs as the government degenerates into anarchy.
It is sometimes suggested that sufficient righteousness for freedom to exist can be engendered without religion, such as by education. George Washington, who presided over the wise men the Lord raised up to frame the Constitution emphasized in his Farewell Address that education without religion is not sufficient to maintain national morality.
The various laws encouraging religion that have been passed throughout American history were not enacted merely because a religious influence was thought to be generally desirable. Rather, they were motivated by a realization that the very preservation of freedom requires a religious citizenry. [p. 169]
Today, Americans are born citizens of a country with a tradition of freedom. Not having had to achieve it themselves, or set up a system to preserve it for their posterity, they tend to take it for granted. They seldom think deeply about it or learn the essential prerequisites for freedom to continue. But the Americans involved in the launching of this free constitutional republic and their immediate descendants did think deeply about freedom, and well understood freedom's indispensable prerequisite of a religious citizenry.(2)
Free Government Must Be Founded On Religious Presuppositions
In addition to being a freedom system requiring a religious citizenry for its successful operation, the American constitutional system is founded on philosophical presuppositions which are rooted in a religious orientation toward life.
Underlying all governments are certain presuppositions constituting a philosophical attitude toward government. The United States government is based on religious presuppositions including the following:
1. That there is a God.
2. That God has established natural laws of government.
3. That such natural laws include recognition that because God is the giver of men's rights, those rights cannot be taken from them or even given away by them.
These religious presuppositions provide a solid foundation and strong support for individual freedom. This is because belief in God is the source from which inalienable rights are derived. In fact, their inalienability is an outgrowth of the belief that they are God given. If as a nation Americans cease to believe in God, then there is [p. 170] no longer a firm basis for the belief that men's rights are inalienable.
Specific Tests Under First Forgotten Fundamental
In applying this first forgotten fundamental that the constitutional system can function only among a moral and religious people, this question must be asked:
Does the matter being considered tend to promote religion among the people, or retard it?
This question must be applied not only to encouragement of organized religion in general, but also to determination of whether the particular matter encourages or detracts from attitudes and practices having religious implications. Areas to consider include the following:
1. Is it in harmony with the American tradition of unashamed acknowledgment that Americans are a religious people, and that this is a religiously oriented republic? This, of course, does not mean intolerance of the views of others. On the other hand tolerance of the atheistic minority does not mean that Americans must change their system to avoid offending the atheists among them.
2. Does it recognize and confirm the belief of those who established this republic that a religious citizenry is necessary for the preservation of freedom? Or does it ignore or deemphasize that historical fact?
3. Does it encourage reliance upon one's own efforts with the help of God, as distinguished from reliance upon an arm of flesh such as a government agency?
4. Does it promote growth toward that independence of character associated with being godlike? Or is it of a paternalistic nature tending to dependence, immaturity, and irresponsibility?
5. Does it diminish individual responsibility by depriving people of the responsibility to prepare for their own future? One of the great blessings of free agency is the growth deriving from individual responsibility, including [p. 171] the opportunity to exercise thrift, self-reliance, and wisdom in temporal matters.
6. Does it diminish self-respect and promote selfishness, greed, and ingratitude through giving people something they have not earned, and arousing the expectation they will continue in the future to receive something for nothing?
7. Does it diminish awareness of responsibility for one's own sins, of principles of cause and effect, and of the importance of obedience to eternal law through giving material advantages without corresponding effort on the part of the recipient?
8. Does it promote brotherhood through voluntary service to others? Or does it tend to promote disharmony and ill will through compulsory taking of property for the benefit of others?
9. Does it confuse standards of right and wrong by authorizing the government to engage in activities that would be immoral if done by individuals?
10. Is it itself contrary to moral law? In this connection it should be borne in mind that people are as much bound by moral law when they act indirectly through the government as when they act alone.
11. Does it promote and solidify family loyalty and responsibility? Or does it shift one's responsibility for family members to a government agency?
The Second Forgotten FundamentalFreedom of Person and Property
Any discussion of the second forgotten fundamental of the American constitutional system should begin with the Lord's purpose in establishing the Constitution. That purpose was to provide a system under which men would be free to do as they wish with a minimum of compulsion, and to enjoy the fruits or suffer the consequences of the actions they choose. [p. 172]
The second forgotten fundamental of the constitutional system is, therefore, that the Constitution establishes not just a political system, but a complete political, social, and economic system under which men have the right to do as they wish with a minimum of governmental regulation or control.
Inviolate Property Rights Essential To Freedom
Today there are those who declare that it is possible to maintain the rights to life and liberty inviolate without maintaining property rights inviolate. However, the Framers firmly believed that freedom could not exist unless property rights are held inviolate. For example, John Adams declared:
The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws Of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.(3)
Framers Adopted Basic Ideas of Adam Smith
The incredible economic and social progress of the United States has been achieved under a free agency economic and social system chosen under inspiration by the Framers. Their philosophy of government was based to a considerable extent upon the ideas of Adam Smith, whose concepts are largely looked upon with disfavor by political scientists and economists today.
Two of Adam Smith's concepts are particularly pertinent to this discussion. The first is that there are God given natural laws in the political and economic as well as the physical realms. He believed that to establish a government for the greatest happiness and prosperity of the people, those eternal laws of God must be sought out and the system established must be in compliance with them. [p. 173]
The second concept of Adam Smith which was accepted by the Framers was that prosperity could not be achieved by government regulation of the economy, but by free enterprise with the least interference by government. Both believed that human economic laws could only diminish prosperity by hampering the free operation of natural laws of prosperity.(4) This point of view was expressed by Adam Smith in these words.
The natural effect of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.(5)
Today there are many who criticize the Framers for their attachment to the free enterprise system and protection of property rights. In fact, the Framers are sometimes referred to as men pursuing an ulterior motive of protecting their own property when they designed the Constitution.(6) But their concern was actually for the economic well being and freedom of all Americans, including unborn generations. It should never be forgotten that it was under the system they adopted that America forged ahead of other nations and became so great and prosperous as to be looked upon as the land of opportunity for the poor and downtrodden of the world. [p. 174]
Socialism A Continuation of Satan's Technique of Gaining Power By False Promises
In spite of the fact that the Framers were familiar with and rejected the system which today is called socialism, there are many who now believe that the Framers were mistaken and that socialism is a preferable system. Since Latter-day Saints believe the constitutional system was established by the Lord through the Framers, it seems appropriate to examine in an eternal perspective this opposite system of socialism which the Lord rejected.
Church members are familiar with the scriptures describing Satan as the great deceiver and liar from the beginning. One of his devices is to make promises he cannot keep in order to gain power. An example is his promise in the Council in Heaven to save all so that not one soul would be lost. To accomplish this, he proposed to substitute a compulsion system for the Lord's free agency system. But without free agency none could be saved. Instead of the salvation he promised, his plan would have resulted in all becoming his puppets.(7) Thus his entire scheme was really a deceptive device designed to gain power for himself, and falsely presented as an idealistic concern for those less likely to be successful through their own efforts.
Satan's false and deceptive promises were fantastically successful. Although these promises by their very nature were impossible to fulfill, one third of God's children were deceived by them and chose to follow Satan instead of God.
After men began to go through their mortal probation, Satan continued to use this same deception that had proven so successful in the premortal sphere. Here his deception has experienced similar success. For example. the great evil of our day is often referred to as communism. The fantastic success of communism in spreading from one [p. 175] country to another over the earth is in large measure the result of its false promise of temporal salvation in exchange for power.
Because so many people today recognize communism as evil, a major effort is made to free socialism from the stigma of communism by claiming that it is something different. But Latter-day Saints should not forget that the fundamental nature of both is the samegiving those in control of the government the power to exercise compulsion over the daily lives of the people in exchange for a promise of temporal salvation. The communists themselves acknowledge that communism and socialism are really the same system, differing only in degree of maturity.(8) How were so many Americans deceived by Lucifer's ancient technique of obtaining power through making false promises? In large measure the answer is to be found in a warning given by President McKay seeking to alert the people to a revolutionary conspiracy striving to undermine the American constitutional system and to set up a dictatorship in the United States. In exposing the methods used by these revolutionists, President McKay declared:
These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human racea fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them.(9)
The great sympathy and good will of the American people are thus being used as a means of inducing them to accept a system which not only will fail to solve the problems of the unfortunate, but will destroy the freedom of this country if it is not stopped.
Socialism Unable To Fulfill Promises
It is of interest that the Lord's freedom system and Satan's compulsion system (whether called communism, [p. 176] socialism, or some other name) carry into the temporal sphere their respective ability and inability to keep their promises. The Lord's freedom system promises temporal prosperity and joy and delivers them when its standards are met. Satan's false and deceptive compulsion system also promises temporal prosperity and joy, but cannot deliver them. The contrasting temporal performance of the two systems is plainly visible in the earth today.
The Lord's constitutional free enterprise system has produced in the United States an incredible abundance shared generally by the people according to their ability and effortjust as salvation itself is graded, although more accurately according to ability and effort.
On the other hand temporal experience with Satan's compulsion system has exposed it for what it isa means of gaining power by making false promises which it cannot deliver.
Not only do the communists regard socialism and communism as essentially the same, differing only in degree of maturity, but people who live under the two systems seem to evidence their displeasure in a similar way. One hears a great deal about the Berlin wall the communists erected to keep their people from fleeing to West Germany. The impression generally is given that people want to flee from communism, but not from socialism. Actually, the socialistic experiment in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan shows that people will also flee from socialism when they can. This is shown by the following extract from a talk given by W. Ross Thatcher, Premier of Saskatchewan after that province had undergone 20 years of experience with socialism.
Mr. Chairman, 20 years ago, the socialists promised to make Saskatchewan a Mecca for the working man. Instead, we saw the greatest mass exodus of people out of an area, since Moses led the Jews out of Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.(10) [p. 177]
Premier Thatcher's comments concerning the failure of Saskatchewan's socialistic experiment and particularly his pointing out that the real fruits of socialism are very different from what the textbooks say is typical rather than unusual.
In fact, socialism has not been temporally successful even in Russia where the compulsory power of the state has been applied ruthlessly to try to force socialist economic progress. Russia has been able to achieve spectacular results in limited areas by concentrating its resources. But when the Russian economy is examined on an overall per capita basis, it appears that Russia is not second but about twentieth among the principal nations. Furthermore, in 50 years the USSR has not overtaken any country, with the possible exception of Italy, which is itself heavily involved with socialism.(11)
Objective examination of the facts reveals that the Framers were right in rejecting what is today called socialism and setting up instead a free agency system, including a private property free enterprise economic system. Socialism not only deprives people of an ever increasing portion of their freedom, but it also fails to provide the economic benefits its proponents promise.
Specific Tests Under Second Forgotten Fundamental
The second forgotten fundamental of the American constitutional system is that it is a complete freedom way of life. It recognizes and protects an individual's right to free enterprise and private property which is the fruit of his efforts, and it precludes the federal government from taking his property and giving it to others in the form of welfare programs. In examining matters under consideration against the standard of this second forgotten fundamental, appropriate questions to ask would include: [p. 178]
1. Does it violate a person's inalienable right to his property through using the compulsory taxing power of the government to take it from him to give it to another?
2. Does it violate a person's inalienable right to control his own property by taking it or regulating its use not for one of the purposes enumerated in the Constitution, but to achieve Social objective deemed desirable by those in control of the government?
3. Does it violate a person's inalienable property rights by appropriation or regulation of his property to achieve objectives those in control of the government or even the majority of the people regard as morally desirable, but which do not involve crime or the maintenance of order in their traditional senses? It should be emphasized that laws appropriating or regulating the use of a person's property to achieve such moral objectives not only constitute an unconstitutional interference with his property rights, but such laws also violate his freedom of religion, and actually amount to the beginnings of an unconstitutional compulsory state religion. This is because one of the fundamental and distinguishing characteristics of a religion is the establishment of moral standards.
4. Does it involve an attempt to use the power of the government to make people equal? The Framers believed equality to be a false theory, except to the extent achieved through individual ability and effort, and except for the concept of equality in one's inalienable rights to be protected in his life, his liberty, and his property.
5. Does it tend to diminish prosperity by diminishing the incentive to produce? The efficient producer's incentive is diminished by taking from him a major portion of the fruit of his efforts. The inefficient producer's incentive to produce is diminished by giving him what he needs regardless of his production. The incentive to produce of both efficient and inefficient are reduced by government regulation. [p. 179]
The Third Forgotten FundamentalProtect Freedom Against Human Nature
The third forgotten fundamental is that the Constitution was designed carefully to protect freedom against the human nature weaknesses both of government officials and of the people themselves. Instead of regarding public officials as the people's benefactors who were to use the powers of government to provide for the people's welfare, the attitude of the Framers was that mortal men are corruptible and should be given as little government power as possible, and then should be carefully watched to be sure they do not misuse the little power it is necessary to give them. The following are some of the main principles and beliefs of the Framers in the context of protecting freedom against human nature tendencies which might otherwise destroy that freedom.
Local Self Government Preferable To Centralized National Control
One of the great underlying principles of the Constitution is that local self government is preferable to centralized national control.(12) It was intended that the federal government be as small as possible so that government officials furthest from the people would have a minimum of power to misuse, and so that it would be relatively easy for the people to check whether or not their officials properly perform their functions.
Pursuant to this attitude, the Constitution was drafted in such a way that federal authority would extend only to those functions which because of their nature could not be satisfactorily administered by the people themselves or the separate states. Since most people's ordinary activities could be well administered by the people themselves or the states, the federal government would have no authority over the daily lives of the people. [p. 180]
The difference between federal and local spheres of authority under the Constitution was explained by James Madison in The Federalist in these words:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. . . . The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all of the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs; concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.(13)
The Powers of Government Must Not Be Controlled By Any Single Group
Another basic principle of the Constitution is that governmental power must be divided among different groups so that the government is not controlled by any one group.
The constitutional provisions for separation of the powers of the federal government among the legislative, executive and judicial branches are well known. But the people should be more aware of the fact that the Constitution also provides for separation of powers between the federal government itself on the one hand and the separate states on the other. Those who launched this free republic felt that separation of powers between the federal government and the states was so important that the Tenth Amendment was adopted to confirm it beyond any possibility of misunderstanding.
There Must Be Built-In Provisions For Automatically Checking Unauthorized Usurpations of Power
In addition to their belief in the importance of the principle of separation [p. 181] of powers to the preservation of freedom, the Framers strongly felt that mere separation of powers alone was not sufficient. There must also be a device for maintaining the separation. Each part must be prevented from encroaching on the jurisdiction of the others and perhaps ultimately attaining control of the government.
To prevent encroachment of one part on another, the Framers incorporated what is known as a system of checks and balances under which it was intended that the several parts themselves resist any attempted encroachment by others on their sphere of authority. The objective sought was to be sure that each part and each official has not only a duty but also a personal motive to resist any such encroachments by others.
As a part of the system of checks and balances, the Constitution gave the states the power to defend themselves against federal encroachment. This protection was achieved by giving the states as states representation in the federal government and a veto power over federal legislation. These powers were given the states through the constitutional provision that the senators were to be chosen by the state legislatures rather than the people.(14) However, in 1913 the 17th Amendment, which provided for direct election of the senators by the people instead of by the state legislatures, was adopted, thereby destroying the portion of the constitutional system enabling the states to protect themselves against encroachment by the federal government.
Framers Regarded Political Parties As A Great Danger To Freedom
The Framers' attitude toward political parties should be considered in connection with the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. Although it is popular today to look with favor on the American two party system, it should be remembered that the Framers were solidly opposed to political parties. In his Farewell [p. 182] Address, George Washington warned against them at length. Among the many undesirable and dangerous consequences of political parties is that they undermine the personal motivation of government officials to resist usurpations of power. This results from the fact that under the party system a government official's personal interests are best served by giving his primary allegiance to the party rather than to the Constitution.
Framers Believed the Right To Vote Should Be Limited To Property Owners
Another area that should be considered in connection with the Framers' belief in the importance of a personal motive to preserve the freedom system is found in their attitude toward a property requirement for voting. They considered such a requirement necessary, but did not include it in the Constitution primarily because the states already required property ownership for the right to vote, and they felt the states would continue to do so.(15)
The reason they regarded a property requirement necessary for voting was because they believed the protection of private property was an essential element of freedom, and that people without property of their own to protect would not have a sufficient personal motive to protect the property rights of others.
In 1964 the 24th Amendment was adopted prohibiting the imposition of any poll tax in federal elections. Although a poll tax is actually a less stringent limitation than a direct property requirement, it does tend to limit the vote to those with property. In ratifying that amendment the United States rejected the point of view of the Framers and voted to undermine a political safeguard the Framers regarded as fundamental to the preservation of freedom. By ratifying that amendment, the people were requiring that the right to vote be given to many who would consider that [p. 183] their personal interest would be served by destroying instead of preserving the inviolability of private property.
Framers Considered Democracy An Unsound Form of Government
No doubt many who voted in favor of the 24th Amendment felt that they were helping to advance the American ideal of democracy, not realizing how solidly the Framers were opposed to democracy. The Framers believed that while the authority of the government should derive ultimately from the people, who should be responsible for its proper functioning, the people's control over the government should be indirect rather than direct.
As used by the Framers, the word "democracy" referred to a government controlled by the direct and unrestricted will of a majority of the people. Their fundamental objection to democracy was that they felt that in a democracy public decisions would tend to be mass emotional decisions of an uninformed or misinformed populace. They feared that such emotional decisions would disregard both sound principles and individual rights. On the other hand, the Framers believed that in a republic the will of the people would be refined and enlarged as public decisions are thoughtfully arrived at after careful study by outstanding men chosen from among the people.
Framers Believed Constitution Should Be Changed Only By AmendmentNot By Interpretation
The next principle that should be considered concerns amendments to the Constitution. Here again, the Framers were concerned about limiting the power of the majority. If the Constitution were amendable by an ordinary majority vote, then the majority could change the system to give themselves greater control than the Framers provided. The Constitution, therefore, provides both that a rigorous procedure for initiating amendments be required and that after an amendment is successfully initiated, it is still not [p. 184] adopted until ratified by the legislatures or conventions in three-fourths of the states.(16)
There is an important problem pertaining to amendments that has arisen repeatedly, beginning in the lifetime of the Framers. This is the problem of changes made without complying with the amendment procedure set forth in the Constitution.
The False Doctrine That The Supreme Court Has the Right to Change the Constitution By Interpretation
Over the years the Constitution has been changed repeatedly without complying with the amendment procedure. The justification for these unconstitutional changes is the false doctrine that the Supreme Court has the right to change the Constitution by interpretation. This false doctrine is now taught as sound and correct in most law schools and in American history and political science courses, and is accepted without question by a great many Americans.
Constitution Not Flexible
One of the methods used to solidify acceptance of the false doctrine that it is proper for the Supreme Court to change the Constitution by interpretation is to refer to that doctrine by the learned sounding term "flexibility of the Constitution." However, the Constitution was not intended by the Framers to be flexible or there would have been no need for a rigorous amendment procedure. In fact, if needed changes could be made by interpretation of a flexible Constitution, then the rigorous amendment procedure would be not only unnecessary but also misleading. The fact that the Framers included a difficult amendment procedure conveys the very clear impression that amendments can be made only in the prescribed way with the consent of the people in general. Certainly the [p. 185] inclusion in the Constitution of the specific and difficult amendment procedure is inconsistent with the concept that constitutional changes may be made by five of the nine Supreme Court judges who are not selected by the people or accountable to them.
Judicial Review Not Applicable
Another device used to promote the false doctrine that it is right for the Supreme Court to change the Constitution by interpretation is to use the term "judicial review" to refer to such changes. However, application of the term "judicial review" to constitutional changes made by court interpretation is really a perversion of that term. The true doctrine of judicial review refers to the duty of the Supreme Court to strike down actions of others when they are inconsistent with the Constitution. In other words, the term "judicial review" refers to the upholding of the Constitution against attempts of others to change or misconstrue it. How inappropriate it is to apply a doctrine under which the Supreme Court has a duty to preserve the Constitution inviolate against unauthorized changes by others by perverting that doctrine into one under which the Supreme Court is authorized to do the very thing the doctrine requires it to prevent others from doing.
Constitution Really Amended By "Interpretation"
It is sometimes argued that the changes made by court interpretation are not real amendment type changes, but that they are only the application of constitutional principles to changing circumstances. While this point of view is repeated by many, it is simply not true. The fact is that the changes made by legitimate amendment are minor when compared with the vast changes made by court interpretation. This fact is evidenced by the following statement by Edward S. Corwin, a noted authority on constitutional law and a proponent of the doctrine that it is proper for the Supreme Court to change the Constitution: [p. 186]
The Constitution has possessed capacity for growth in notable measure. . . . Nor has this capacity resided to any great extent in the provision which the Constitution makes for its own amendment. Far more it has resided in the power of judicial review exercised by the Supreme Court.(17)
Unauthorized Court made Changes Strike At Heart of Constitutional System
As a matter of fact, in addition to the vast and basic changes in the American constitutional system made over the years by court interpretation, two changes made by the Supreme Court in recent years without the consent of the people or any attempt to comply with the legitimate amendment procedure strike at the very heart of our free constitutional system.
The first of these changes is found in the Supreme Court's decisions holding that our government may no longer recognize God.(18) As is pointed out in connection with the first forgotten fundamental, the American constitutional system is based on recognition of God for its very foundation. Without such recognition, there are no inalienable rights, because their inalienability derives from their being recognized as God-given.
The second of these changes is found in the reapportionment decisions. In those decisions the Supreme Court disregarded unmistakably clear provisions of law in order to superimpose on the carefully balanced representative republic a one-man-one-vote-majority-rule democratic philosophy which is inconsistent with the intent of the Framers and with the limited constitutional republic the Lord established through them.(19)
The combination of these two Supreme Court made changes in the American constitutional system amount to [p. 187] nothing less than a rejection of the philosophical foundation on which our constitutional freedom system is built. The Supreme Court not only has rejected the sound foundation given us by the Framers. It also has substituted instead a philosophy of government involving non-recognition of God and acceptance of the will of the majority as supreme, which concepts the Framers regarded as incompatible with the preservation of freedom.
Preservation of Freedom Depends on PeopleNot Government Leaders
Awareness of the dangerous and unsound areas into which this country has been led through the Supreme Court's usurpation of the people's right to amend the Constitution should help Americans to be aware of several important items: The first is that the Framers were right in their expectation that government officials would usurp power if permitted to do so. The second is that the wise and learned of the world in many cases do regard truth as foolishness and foolishness as truth. The third is that if America's freedom system is to be preserved, it will not be by government leaders but by an awakened people who are willing to sacrifice their personal ease to be informed, and who will insist that their leaders abide by the sound principles of the Constitution as drafted and intended by the Framers. Realization that the preservation of the American freedom system depends ultimately on the people and not on the leaders was expressed by James Madison in these words:
To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them.(20) [p. 188]
Specific Tests Under Third Forgotten Fundamental
The third forgotten fundamental of the American constitutional system, then, is that it recognizes and attempts to protect against the human nature weaknesses of both government officials and the people themselves. In checking specific matters against the standard of this third forgotten fundamental, questions such as the following should be asked:
1. Does the matter under consideration place excessive confidence in government officials, thereby failing to give due regard to the human nature tendencies of government officials to misuse authority given them, or to usurp authority not given them?
2. Does it show awareness of the fearful power of government and the necessity for keeping the government small and a servant; lest becoming large it becomes a master? Does it tend to increase or diminish the control the government has over the people?
3. Does it take into account the fact that local self government is greatly to be preferred over centralized national control, and that the latter should not be used at all unless necessary and in conformity with at least one of the enumerated powers granted to the federal government under the Constitution? Is it in conformity with the limited federal government concept of the Framers that the federal government is to function only in those areas where because of the nature of the problem (such as more than one state being involved) action by the separate states or the people would be inappropriate?
4. Does it give due recognition to the principle of separation of powers, or does it tend toward greater concentration of power in one part of the government, thereby upsetting the constitutional balance of powers among the three branches of the federal government and the state governments? It should be remembered that the balance of powers is almost automatically destroyed as the government becomes large. This results from the undue cumbersomeness [p. 189] of the legislative branch enacting laws to cover the multitudinous details involved in the administration of a large government. As the bureaus of the executive branch proliferate to administrate those details, the legislative branch is eclipsed by the executive branch.
5. Does it realistically provide for a system of checks and balances under which there are other government officials who have a personal interest in preventing the particular government officials involved from usurping authority? In this regard does it tend to give undue recognition and encouragement to political parties, or does it represent an effort to return to the system envisioned by the Framers under which unity and support of sound principles are encouraged, and government by political party is discouraged?
6. Does it follow the Framers' belief that the vote should be given only to those who have a personal interest in the preservation of the freedom system and particularly those who have private property of their own to protect? Or does it follow the unsound democratic philosophy of giving an equal vote to those who do not have property to protect and, hence, have a personal interest in undermining the freedom system with its inviolate property rights?
7. Does it tend to move the system away from a limited representative republic in the direction of a more complete majority rule democracy, which is a system the Framers believed to be incompatible with stability and freedom?
8. Does it confirm existing improper usurpations by courts or others, or does it represent an effort to undo such usurpations and return to the specific provisions and limitations of the constitutional system established by the Lord through the Framers? In this regard it should be remembered that the doctrine of flexibility of the Constitution is a false doctrine by which, without the consent of the people under the legitimate amendment procedure, the freedom system established by the Lord has been transformed to a major extent into a compulsion system such as was rejected by Him. [p. 190]
9. Is it really necessary to use the compulsory power of the government to solve the particular problem? Latter-day Saints particularly should remember that one of the typical devices used by those who would destroy the American freedom system and substitute a compulsion system is to promote the idea that it is necessary to use the power of the government to solve problems it is really not the function of the government to solvein fact, that the government actually cannot solve. Such proposals are typically welfare programs of one sort or another. Latter-day Saints should bear clearly in mind that under the constitutional system established by the Lord through the Framers, the federal government does not have the power to engage in welfare programs. They should remember that it was James Madison who characterized attempts to interpret the Welfare Clause as conferring such power as
subverting the fundamental and characteristic principle of the Government . . . and as bidding defiance to the sense in which the Constitution is known to have been proposed, advocated, and adopted.(21) [p. 191]