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For Progressives, a little learning can be a terrible thing.

January 30, 2011

I was recently sent an article taken from a Sunday, New York Times magazine “Idea Lab” (sorry, the issue date is not evident).  The article was called “Radical Constitutionalism” by Jeffrey Rosen a George Washington University law professor.  The article starts out discussing newly elected US Senator Mike Lee who was a favorite of the Tea Party movement and his ideas about dismantling of various federal departments (Education, HUD, FDA, etc) on constitutional grounds.   He goes on to describe views of the Tea Party (which is not a party, but a grassroots movement) that include the desire to shrink the federal governments powers back to the Founders original intent of “enumerated and limited”. All well and good, but he descibes these view by the Tea Party movement as “exotic” and Lee’s viewpoints as a”truly radical vision of the US Constitution”.

Rosen goes on to denounce the author of the popular 1981 book “The 5000-Year Leap”, W. Cleon Skousen as “radical”, and somehow out of touch with accepted norms because Skousen believes that most Federal regulatory agencies are unconsitutional, that the judicial courts have far exceeded their power by trying to make law instead of interpreteting it, but most of all, because Skousen believed, as the Founders did in “natural law” that endowed us with “unalienable rights” that were delivered by the Creator.  Rosen uses the terms “extreme”, “eccentric” and “rooted in a radical suspicion of the powers of government”.  Rosen even criticizes the “perplexing constitutional views of the unsuccessful Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, who famously asked in the debate ‘Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?'”  What Mr. Rosen fails to understand is that Ms. O’Donnell was perfectly correct – it’s not to be found anywhere – except in the mind of progressives and writers for the “old gray lady”.

These “exotic” views, as Mr. Rosen fails to understand, are also view of many of the greatest thinkers and philosophers ever – Solon, Cicero, Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Locke, Montesquieu, and others who believe that the only successful governments are those with citizens with morals and virtue where liberty can flourish.  Most of these governments are based on Mosaic or Judeo-Christinan or Anglo-Saxon law.  Roger Pilon, constitutional scholar of the Cato Institute said in a recent WSJ op-ed ”

Throughout the 19th century, members of Congress and presidents alike rejected legislation because they believed there was no constitutional authority to enact it. The bedrock presumption of our polity,they understood, was individual liberty. The Constitution gave the federal government the authority to pursue certain limited ends, like national security and ensuring free interstate commerce, but otherwise left us free to pursue our ends either through the states or as private individuals. It did not authorize the federal government to provide us with the vast array of goods and services that today reduce so many of us to government dependents.

The resurgence of the belief that the Constitution is not a “living” document, subject to change, and outdated is evidenced by the fact that the first agenda item of the 122nd Congress was to read the Constitution…. something that had never been done before.  Now, more than ever, people are looking back to that wonderous document, studying it for the first time in depth in constitution study groups and “foundation” learning series given to hundred of groups across the country. People are carrying pocket constitutions, and reading and learning about the Founders and what they were going through and thinking when our country was given birth.  If that’s radical, God help us all.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rad Beranek permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:20 am

    T^he so called “progressives” date back to Teddy Roosevelt and Margaret Sanger and the “peacfull” Wilson. Nothing new under the sun…
    But on the pessimistic note, I think we are fighting a loosing battle and the Teachers Union is winning it, for they are in charge of our children and nobody challenges their curriculum. We have communists in the school district (Mr.Rodriguez etal) , a subversive in the person of Maria Rice, the superintendant of the whole shebang with a six figure salary, a free house and priceless quotes, such as “the age of sweat and brawn is over – we enter the age of the mind”.
    Our children are already saddled with their share of the national debt to the tune of $46,000 and 7 lb of idiot textbooks in their rucksacks, they come home to the parents who see nothing wrong with their children’s education, because they coasted through the same thing comfortably before. But watch out – thing are changing globally and not locally. As Albert Shanker said, and perhaps Randi Weingarten of Teachers Union are fond of saying , but Shanker said it first: “I will care about our children as soon as they are able to pay the Union dues.”
    My son survived the relative horrors of the New Paltz High School, which was higly ranked in U.S.News&WOrld Report. while in existence. All the minor actoes are still there, like Mr. CASTRO, now no longer a teacher, but a member of “administration” ? Shat is the administration worth to us? $25Mil, $50mil? We had to stand in line to vote down the school district honchos’ scheme to defraud us of another $50 million dollars for the Middle School Reconstruction Scam. Were there any refurbishment specialist on that “commitee”?
    Not a chance – as you probably noticed – but if you are not NPZombies, please look at your children textbooks and tell me that you can understand them, if you can agree with them, and how you are offended by everything, that is not in those textbooks, that should be in there.

  2. May 5, 2013 4:59 pm

    Reblogged this on GardinersRight and commented:

    Worth another look. Still holds true

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