It is the dogma of our time that proponents of government “safety net” programs hold the so-called moral high ground. Accordingly, progressives preen over their own “compassion”; and many who pretend to be conservatives chime in that they too “believe in safety net programs.”
But safety net programs are unconstitutional and immoral. They are unconstitutional because “charity” is not one of the enumerated powers of the federal government.1 They are immoral because they are based on a fabricated system of man-made anti-rights which negate the Natural Rights God gave us.
- The Origin of Rights and the Purpose of Civil Government: The Declaration of Independence sets forth the Principles which were fleshed out – more or less perfectly – in Our Constitution.
The key is the 2nd paragraph, which begins: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed BY THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That TO SECURE these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…” (emphasis added)
The Bible explains how we are born with a great many inherent rights such as to earn, keep, and inherit private property; to defend ourselves; to worship God; and to live our lives free from meddling and interference as long as we observe the God-given Rights of others.
But as we know, men are not angels. Evil men seek to take God given Rights away from others as they seek to exercise control over their fellow man.
That is why we need civil government – to restrain the wicked. Without civil government, we would be in anarchy, always defending ourselves from those who seek to do whatever they want with our lives, liberties, persons, and property.2
So rights come from God, our Creator, and the purpose of civil government is to secure the rights God gave us.
- Political Power is from The People: Our Constitution was based on the radical Principle that the People are the original source of political power.
Throughout history, political power has been seen to originate with the King. This is powerfully illustrated by King John I in the movie Robin Hood with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchet. King John saw his Will as “law,” and the People as “subjects” to his Will.
But in this Country, WE THE PEOPLE ordained and established the Constitution and created a federal government. And the federal government We created was subject to us. The Preamble to our Constitution, “WE THE PEOPLE of the United States”, is our assertion that We are the source of political power, and We are the creators of the federal government. 3
III. Federalism & Enumerated Powers: We created a “federal” government. A “federal” government is an alliance of Sovereign and Independent States associated together in a federation with a general or national government to which is delegated supremacy over the States in SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED AREAS ONLY.
In Federalist Paper No. 45 (9th para), James Madison, Father of our Constitution, explains the separate spheres of operation of the federal and State governments. “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 the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order …and prosperity of the State.” Only a few enumerated powers are delegated to the federal government. ALL other powers are reserved by the States.
So! What are these specifically defined areas where We delegated to our “creature” – the federal government – authority over the States?
We listed in the Constitution every power We delegated to each branch of the federal government. These are called the “enumerated” powers.4 It is ONLY with respect to these enumerated powers – those listed in the Constitution – that the federal government has lawful authority over the Country at large! 5
Does the federal government have authority to issue patents & copyrights? Yes! How do we know? Because Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 8 delegates this power to Congress.
Does the federal government have authority to institute social security, food stamps, Medicare, and aid to families with dependent children? NO! How do we know? Because these are not listed among the enumerated powers delegated to Congress. These areas are reserved only for the States and The People.
Internationally, Congress and the President have authority to conduct war & national defense (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 11-16 & Art II, Sec. 2, cl 1); and the President and the Senate have authority to make treaties respecting trade, commerce, and diplomatic relations (Art II, Sec. 2, cl 2). The lawful objects of treaties are RESTRICTED to the enumerated powers. Accordingly, the President and the Senate may not lawfully enter into the UN Arms Trade Treaty because the Constitution does not permit the federal government to restrict firearms; and further, the 2nd Amendment prohibits the federal government from infringing our pre-existing Right to bear arms. 6
Domestically, Congress has authority to make laws respecting a uniform commercial system. Specifically, uniform weights & measures, a money system based on gold & silver where CONGRESS (not private bankers such as the Federal Reserve) regulates the value of money, issue patents & copyrights, make bankruptcy laws, establish post offices and build some roads (Art I, Sec. 8, cl. 4-8). The President’s duty is to implement the foregoing (Art. II, Sec. 3). Congress may make, and the President is to enforce, laws respecting who may become a naturalized citizen and the procedures for naturalization (Art I, Sec 8, cl. 4).
The Constitution authorizes Congress to make criminal laws respecting counterfeiting, treason, accepting bribes, and piracy & other felonies committed on the high seas. Congress may make those few criminal laws which are “necessary & proper” to carry out enumerated powers, such as making it a crime to file false claims in federal bankruptcy courts, and to lie under oath in federal court.7
Congress has authority to levy taxes and borrow money and appropriate funds (Art I, Sec. 8, cls 1,2 & Sec 9, cl 7), but ONLY for purposes authorized by the Constitution. Congress may levy taxes to fund the military, to pay the salaries of the people in the patent & copyright office and other constitutionally authorized offices, and to carry out other delegated powers.
May Congress lawfully create, and appropriate funds to, the federal Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Agriculture? NO! Because these are not constitutionally authorized offices!
May Congress levy taxes to implement Obamacare? NO! Because the Constitution does not delegate power over medical care to the federal government! 8 These areas are reserved only for the States and The People.
With the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments, the defect in our Constitution permitting slavery was corrected, and Congress was delegated authority to make laws enforcing these Amendments.9
We created federal courts and strictly limited their jurisdiction. The kinds of cases We permit federal courts to hear are itemized at Art. III, Sec. 2, cl. 1. 10
This is basically all We gave the federal government authority to do for the Country at large. In all other matters, the States – the Members of the Federation – are sovereign and independent.
So “federalism” refers to the form of the government We created in our Constitution – a “federation” of Member States united for limited and enumerated purposes only; with all other powers being retained by the States and The People.
ENDNOTES For Part 1:
1 Read the Constitution! “Charity” is not an enumerated power! James Madison said, in opposition to a proposal to give aid to French emigrants, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, Jan. 10, 1794, p. 170-171.
2 People in the federal government now do whatever they want with our lives, liberties, property and persons [TSA agents feel us up, the Executive Branch will control our access to medical care, etc.]. The federal government has become destructive of the purposes for which it was created; and since it is violating our Constitution, is ruling without our Consent. Hence, it is illegitimate.
3 Alexander Hamilton referred to the federal government as our “creature” in Federalist No. 33 (5th para); and Thomas Jefferson called it our “creature” in The Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 (8th Resolution).
5 Get a pocket copy of our Declaration of Independence and federal Constitution. Using different colors, highlight all references to God, the enumerated powers delegated to Congress, the enumerated powers delegated to the President, and the enumerated powers delegated to the federal courts. You will be amazed. Then prepare another highlighted copy and send it to U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
6 God gave us the Right to hunt for food and to use arms to defend ourselves. Jesus commanded his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword.
7 Most of the criminal laws Congress makes for the Country at large – all drug laws, all laws which pretend to restrict gun ownership, whether sports figures take steroids, etc., etc., etc., are unconstitutional as outside the scope of the powers delegated to Congress in the Constitution.
8 What is so appalling about John Roberts’ opinion in the Obamacare case is that Roberts in effect says that Congress may tax for any purpose whatsoever.
9 The purpose of the 14th Amendment was to protect freed slaves from Southern Black Codes which denied them basic God-given Rights. But the 14th Amendment has been perverted by judges on the supreme Court to create a “right” to kill unborn babies, a “right” to engage in homosexual sodomy, and probably, a soon to be created “right” to homosexual marriage. Do you see? Human judges claim the power to create “rights.” And note how these judicially fabricated “rights” are contrary to God’s Laws.
10 Many of the cases federal courts decide are outside their constitutional authority to hear: They have no authority to review STATE Laws and STATE Constitutional provisions respecting prayer in schools, posting of the Ten Commandments in public places, abortion, homosexual acts, and homosexual marriage. The Supreme Court has long been seizing powers which Art. III, Sec. 2, cl. 1, doesn’t delegate to them. Those judges should be impeached, tried, convicted, kicked off the bench, and prohibited from ever again holding federal office (Art I, Sec. 3, last clause, & Federalist No. 81, 8th para).