Tuesday, May 05, 2009



Much has been made by the Democrats in their latest attempt to demonize the Republicans and create a new moniker for them. Their latest efforts is in calling the Republicans the "Party of No." But there is more to this than meets the eye. In fact the Democrats are correct in form if not in intent. When I first heard this statement I was immediately reminded of a wise saying by my old Philosophy Professor "To Know something first begin by no-ing it. To no it, is to Know it and vice versa." What does this mean precisely? When humans first begin to learn language and learn we have choices or determination we begin exerting these new powers by saying, "no." Any parent of a 2 year old will tell you one of the reasons the terrible 2's are so terrible is because the 2 year old is saying no to everything. We know what we don't want before we know what we do want. This cognitive propensity continues into our adulthood. For example, if you go to a restaurant with a large menu you may not be certain immediately what you want. You may begin with narrowing your options by eliminating what you know you do not want before you arrive at what you do want. This is a process that happens anytime that there are a large number of choices.

Likewise, when the framers of the U.S. Constitution met to explore precisely how they were to create a new government, they too had many choices from the present as well as historical forms of government. They began the process of framing the constitution by saying no. The U.S. Constitution is a document that uses the words "no" and "not" dozens of times. The Future of Freedom Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, reports that the U.S. Constitution was a terribly shocking document when it was first written, especially to rulers all over the world. Because here were a people who were placing themselves in the role of master and placing government in the role of servant. In other words, in one fell swoop, the American people had inverted the historical relationship between citizen and government.

But there was a logic behind their actions. Think back to the Declaration of Independence. Expressing the commonly held sentiments of the people in that document, Thomas Jefferson had said that man has been endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights and that governments are instituted to protect those rights.

That was why the people of the United States called into existence a federal government — to protect rights that preexisted the government they were calling into existence.

Notice that they could have called into existence a government that had omnipotent powers over the citizenry. They did not do that. After all, that was the nature of the government they had recently rebelled against.

Instead, they created a government whose powers were limited to those enumerated in a document. They told the Government NO! It was the first time in history that people had had the audacity to limit the powers of their own governmental officials, by repeatedly saying "NO" to the powers of the government.

For example, Article 1, Section 8, sets forth the powers of Congress. Whether you believe that all of these enumerated powers are proper or not, one fact is indisputable: that the powers of Congress were indeed limited. In other words, if the powers of Congress were unlimited, there would have been no reason to enumerate specific powers. By listing the specific powers, the Founders made it clear that the federal government’s powers over the people were not omnipotent.

To clarify matters even more, the Founders enumerated specific restrictions on the powers of both the federal and state governments. See, for example, Article 1, Sections 9 and 10, and notice the number of times that the words “no” and “not” are used.

Look at the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Founders didn't list every possible way religion or speech, or the press could be formed. They in their wisdom understood that was impossible. Rather, they limited the Government by saying "No." Most of the Bill of Rights are written this way.

Thomas Jefferson understood the sole purpose of good Government was to protect the freedom and liberty of it's people. When Government begins to grow beyond it's constitutional limits and threatens that very liberty it was originally designed to protect, it is then time for the American People to rise up and say with a loud and resounding voice, "No!"

And that is why, I am proud to be part of the party of "No."


Dude said...

Well said, Steve. The left chooses to laugh the dissenters out of the game by turning their protest into "teabagging" which can be dismissed with a chuckle. When the lefties have a protest, it is for the good of humanity to fight the power; but when they have the majority and get to make the rules, dissent is not permitted. Jefferson taught us not to submit silently to tyranny.

E said...

Very nice essay, Sir. I find NO fault in it!

Tom said...

We're so far removed from our founding that the people are easily led by a demagogue. I like the sound of the Party of NO.

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