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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4101/learn-the-constitution-or-else/

Learn the Constitution, Or Else

September 16, 2005 by

Starting this year, every educational institution receiving federal aid must teach about the U.S. Constitution on the September 17 anniversary of its signing. The requirement is ironic, given that it came from the Senate’s leading Constitutional scholar, yet clearly conflicts with the Constitution, and on many grounds. As to what will be taught, we already know the answer and we know that it’s wrong. FULL ARTICLE


Manuel Lora September 16, 2005 at 8:29 am

It’s painful to watch part of the confirmation hearings. They are all ignorant, including the candidate, about constitutional issues.

Thomas McGovern September 16, 2005 at 9:18 am

This article is a good start at showing how our rights are abused by our government, but there are much more egregious abuses that need to be publicized if we are going to stop the descent into fascism. Two recent Supreme Court decisions, one on eminent domain and the other on the incarceration of Jose Padilla for over three years without charges or trial (Padilla v. Rumsfeld) are blatant abuses of our rights which are guaranteed by the constitution. The Padilla descision guts the 5th Amendment. They show that the Supreme Court is a fraud in that its decisions are in no way consistent with what is clearly written in the Constitution.

Phillip Conti September 16, 2005 at 9:26 am

Does it really matter what the constitution says if the government can ignore it with impunity. At least in dictatorships and monarchies, we do not have the illusion of choice seducing young minds. Democracy is rule by the lowest common denom. and there are good reasons why it was rejected for thousands of years.

David White September 16, 2005 at 9:26 am

However unconstitutional most of what the federal government does, as I said in a post elsewhere, the Constiution itself was a mistake because, as Lysander Spooner made clear, constitutionalism is a mistake: http://www.fourmilab.ch/etexts/www/NoTreason/NoTreason.html.

In the present case, as historian Charles Beard wrote in “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States,” the process amounted to a “coup d’état” carried out
“…during secret deliberations of a convention called merely to regulate commerce [that was] was received with hostility by the populace, which forced the precipitate addition of the first ten amendments. The document provided for a government of ostensible checks and balances (but really, as a wit has said, of all checks and no balances), and at the same time guaranteed itself the utmost freedom, unchecked and unbalanced, to propertied interests. In short, the government itself was tightly laced into a strait jacket, while private economic enterprise was given unprecedented freedom to establish and develop a strong informal government outside the bounds of formal government—a de facto government beyond and behind the government de jure.”

And why not? For as Ferdinand Lundberg wrote in “America’s Sixty Families,” the groundwork had already been laid:

“The first fortunes on the virgin continent were out-and-out political creations–huge tracts of land and lucrative trading privileges arbitrarily bestowed by the British and Dutch crowns upon favorite individuals and companies. … The early royal grants—forerunners of tariffs; ship and airplane subsidies; doles to banks and railroads…; war contracts let on a cost-plus basis; public-utility franchises; imperial grants of vast stretches of public lands to railroads, mining, and land companies; tax-exempt securities, etc.–were the sole property titles of the newly created landed aristocrats.”

It was all rigged from the beginning, in other words, and no more constituted government by the consent of the government for the vast majority of the early Americans than it did for the millions of Africans and “Indians” that the newly created aristocrats conquered and enslaved, respectively.

That today’s aristocrats would force their subjects to study a document that their own actions have rendered null and void is but a further indication of how absurd life has become in this Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

Scott Schaefer September 16, 2005 at 11:32 am

Hm …. I have not read the appropriate law/regulation, but, as Sept 17 is Saturday, I suspect precious little will be “taught”, since few students and/or (unionized or not) techers are likely to be physically present.

jeffrey September 16, 2005 at 11:56 am

Precisely because it is celebrated tomorrow, and school is out, the kids are being taught today.

Dave Franklin September 17, 2005 at 8:35 am

This article touches upon but does not state a powerful yet “black” truth in our system: the US Constitution and its original intent is NOT taught in the public school system!
As a student of Original Intent, I am experiencing the pain of a 17 year old Son who is being bombarded with “This is a Constitutional Democracy” BS in his government class. If ever there was an oxymoron, the words “Constitutional Democracy” is it. Article IV of the US Constitution guarantess to the stastes a Republican form of government.
The teacher is merely a parrot for the NEA. When confronted with Original Intent, the teacher responds, “Oh, that’s interesting.” and just goes on with the lesson plan that continues to brain wash students. That the original Intent of the Constitution is NOT taught is evidence of those in power to conspire to deprive our children of their rightful heritage of property rights and a Republican form of government. The teacher is so brainwashed her self that she is incable of reading, comprehending and recognizing original intent found in the Elliot debates, the Virgina debates, debates from the Constitutional Convention (1787) and Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union.
No amount of Truth will overcome the momentum of this lunacy. Despite raising serious objections to the easily refutable content of the class, the teacher continues on with her non-sensical democracy babble. Worse, the majority of students themselves do not care. They are in a state of total mental distraction with sports, movies, games and their raging hormones.

Though all government officials are sworn by sacred oath to “….preserve, protect and defend..” the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic, it has turned our over the past decades, that the actions(not words) of politicians, executives and judges proves that THEY ARE THE DOMESTIC ENEMIES of the Constitution.
History DOES prove that history must repeat itself. For decades the public has tried the ballot box. The History of this century past proves that has not worked. Out government officials are without HONOR.
When will the lunacy of the current oxymoron (democratic republic) end? Not until rampant, government caused inflation and subsequent loss of living standards, privacy and totalitarian, draconian measures touches every family…, will the public begin to wake up and re-discover their lost heritage of property rights and power over abusive government. But by then it will be too late. By then, the affected public will pursue the final step the follows the Ballot Box: that step is known as “The cartridge box.”
History will again prove to repeat itself in the never ending cycle of the life cycle of governments: Birth, Growth, Decline, DEATH.
Earth is a graveyard for governments.

Bruce September 17, 2005 at 9:51 am

This is a really profound discussion: one contributor is ranting about social inferiors, another is ranting about conspiracies in high places, while another is ranting about bored hormonal teenagers who don’t share his interest in constitutional jurisprudence. Has someone has mixed up the meds in the old folks home?

Dennis Sperduto September 17, 2005 at 12:02 pm

Professor Galles has written an excellent article that discusses an important problem: Americans are generally ignorant of our constitution and that one of its major goals is to strickly limit the power of the federal government.

I would add that Americans are just as ignorant of the summation of natural rights philosophy that is contained in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Ours is a nation whose founding specifically recognized 18th century natural rights theory. And even after reading this paragraph of the Declaration, in case Americans still do not acknowledge the political/philosophical concept upon which our nation was founded, they should read the qoute (from 1744) at the very beginning of Rothbard’s “The Ethics of Liberty”, which I have reproduced below:

“‘As reason tells us, all are born thus naturally equal, with an equal right to their persons, so also with an equal right to their preservation . . . and every man having a property in his own person, the labour of his body and the work of his hands are properly his own, to which no one has right but himself; it will therefore follow that when he removes anything out of the state that nature has provided and left it in, he has mixed his labour with it, and joined something to it that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. . . . Thus every man having a natural right to (or being proprietor of) his own person and his own actions and labour, which we call property, it certainly follows, that no man can have a right to the person or property of another: And if every man has a right to his person and property; he has also a right to defend them . . . and so has a right of punishing all insults upon his person and property.’

Rev. Elisha Williams (1744)”

D. Saul Weiner September 18, 2005 at 4:20 pm

Of course we need to require that the Constitution be taught! Imagine the alternative; that individuals of normal intelligence might actually read it themselves and grasp what the writers of the Constitution were trying to accomplish. We can’t have that. We must make sure that students get all of the correct spin on our founding document.

Jim Morse September 19, 2005 at 3:24 pm

“. . . every educational institution receiving federal aid must teach about the U.S. Constitution on the September 17 anniversary of its signing . . . .”

Galles rightly asks, where does Congress get the power to impose this requirement on schools? But one might also ask, where does Congress get the power to grant federal aid to educational institutions in the first place?

Jim Morse September 19, 2005 at 3:27 pm

Readers might find the followng news story interesting:

“At Irene’s Myomassology Institute, students train to be massage therapists who understand human touch. Now they had better get a grip on the Constitution (search) too.

For the first time, every school and college receiving federal money must teach about the Constitution on Sept. 17, the day the document was adopted in 1787. Even the massage school in Southfield, Mich., is affected because some of its students get federal financial aid.”


Chris Whisonant September 20, 2005 at 9:10 am

What’s sad is that this may be the only day the Constitution is covered in schools.

Some guy here at work tried saying that we should vote for Democrats because we’re a “democracy” (sheer idiocy!), but I politely pointed to a little document called The Constitution where we are established as a Republic and that the word “democracy” doesn’t appear in the Constitution. Oh well…

billwald September 22, 2005 at 11:45 am

Will the students be taught that the Constitution was imposed on the people in a (bloodless) revolution and not by a vote of the people?

Will they be taught that the Constitution was designed to transfer ultimate power to the Court system? Or that Lincoln’s administration overthrew the Constitution and nullified the concepts enumerated in the Declaration of Independance? That the USofA has been under military rule by executive order since WW2? (Are we not ruled by secret executive orders?)

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