Founding document crafted to stand test of time

Posted: Monday, September 06, 2010

With the exception of the title, I respectfully disagree with everything Mr. Mathews wrote in his Sept. 1 letter to the editor regarding the Constitution of the United States. Yes much has changed in the last 223 years, but the founding fathers crafted a document to stand the test of time. It was based on 5,000 years of world history, looking at all the governments that had worked, and more specifically those that had not. To toss it out and create a new one based on 50 years of history is foolhardy in my opinion.

We followed the Constitution as written and intended up until around 1910. At that time the U.S. produced around 50 percent of the goods sold in the world, with only about 5 percent of the population. Almost everyone worked, and we had little debt. Since that time, the politicians have slowly found ways around having to follow the law of the land, starting with exploiting the commerce clause (interstate commerce) to the point we are at now, twisting the intent of the language, or just flat out ignoring it. Now we produce 22 percent of the goods, 83 percent work, and we have $130 trillion in debt and liabilities.

I enjoy reading the thoughts to paper our founding fathers wrote about the crafting of the document, specifically James Madison's diaries, the federalist papers (and also the anti-federalist papers for the opposing view). The issues back then are really not much different than what they are now. Germany has weathered the current economic crisis quite well. Germany used our Constitution as a basis for writing their own in 1949, after WW II. Within 8 years their economy was booming, and still is.

Madison and the other authors carefully wrote the language to try and prevent another Rome from happening. Rome was a simple government initially that over time fell when an elite class made too many laws, allowed too many entitlements, and heavily taxed too few people to support it. So clever were the founders in their writing of the Constitution to avoid another Rome that the only way around it is to ignore it, which our politicians have done.

Mr. Mathews says the Constitution was created at a time the U.S. was isolated and unpowerful. With some help from the French, the U.S. defeated the most powerful country on earth at the time (Britain) to gain our independence. We were probably not the most powerful country when the Constitution was ratified, but we certainly weren't the weakest either. And we were then, and still are, the greatest country on earth.

Mike Beck


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