Blogs > Liberty and Power > Was the Constitution Really Meant to Constrain the Government?

Aug 8, 2008 8:57 am

Was the Constitution Really Meant to Constrain the Government?

My message is not one of despair. But we will not cause the freedom philosophy to prevail merely by invoking a political document written by men who thought the main problem with America was too little, not too much, government. Rather, we must cut to the chase and convince people directly that our concepts of freedom and justice best accord with logic -- and their own deepest moral sense.
The rest of this week's TGIF,"Was the Constitution Really Meant to Constrain the Government?" is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

Cross-posted at Free Association.

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More Comments:

Sheldon Richman - 8/9/2008

Sorry. I distinguish between a post and the comments. At any rate, it sounds like you agree with what I wrote.

Craig J Bolton - 8/9/2008

I am responding to the comments in your post. I guess you must have forgotten what you said.

Sheldon Richman - 8/8/2008

What comment are you answering? I see no comment but yours.

Craig J Bolton - 8/8/2008

Two points in response to the comment in the above post [the arguments and comments in the article itself would require a great deal more in the way of a response:

(1) The intentions of a person who authors a document generally have little or nothing to do with the way the document is subsequently used or the effect it has on later events. Some of the "Framers" may well have intended an absolute tyranny. Some may have intended a pure libertarian society. It makes no difference. The document is what it is and is interpreted by later generations as it is interpreted, neither of which has anything to do with "original intentions."

(2) The constitution wasn't authored by anyone in particular. You may have heard of the Philadelphia Convention? There were a number of attendants at that Convention, and few of them agreed with each other on every particular or even on most broad generalities. In addition, there were certain concessions made to obtain subsequent ratification by the States - you know, that Bill of Rights thing. So the connection between "intentions" of a particular person and what the document in fact is becomes even more attenuated than it would be if it were authored by a single person.

In short, I don't think that your comments in this post make a great deal of sense.