Sunday, April 27, 2008

Principles, the Foundation of Government

Grandpa was looking over my shoulder one evening as I was writing an essay on the computer about government for a final exam. As he was reading what I wrote he told me to stop writing and listen to him. This is what he had to say.

"Boy, before you can understand our Constitution you must first understand the principles of its conception. You cannot just look at what is written in the Constitution and say that it means this or that it means that. Doing this will inevitably result in a misunderstanding of the context of its inception.

Principles can be defined as those laws within us under which we live by as individuals. There are three documents that reveal the principles by which the federal government was meant to abide by while it existed. Those documents are the Constitution of the United States, the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation.

Within the Declaration of Independence, we find the principles of how a government should not treat the citizens over which it rules. Within it, we also find the power that the government is subordinate to by its declaration that it has no authority in certain issues. It is to be the right of that Power and that Power’s right alone to regulate. How that Power is defined, in being, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that government is to recognize that it is subordinate to that higher Power.

Most important though is the fact that it reveals and sets a precedent by which people can use to declare that a government is no longer worthy of its position in this society. It is a precedent that can be used to justify that each state has a right to secede from this union of states.

History has shown us that some states have tried to do that already. The fact that they failed in that attempt can only be called a mixed blessing. It can be declared though as a time that government failed to abide by the principles by which it was founded. Too many men died because of that failure to abide by the most basic principle of this union of states.

Each state of this union became a member of this union voluntarily and of its own free will. They did so on the trust that they would be treated or continue to be treated as sovereign states with the right of self-rule. The tenth amendment to the Constitution was supposed to have guaranteed this. The Civil war can be said to be a good example of what happens when men decide to rule rather then subordinating themselves unto the idea that principles and laws rule.

Now, granted, the idea of government abiding by these founding principles will lead to the recognition of permitting certain occurrences that will appear to be abhorrent in the eyes of the people. This is inevitable, as history has shown us. The fact that we have amended the Constitution as many times as we have is proof of this.

This fact though still does not justify deviation from those principles. It just demands that those people with the authority and power to solve this problem to do so in the manner as permitted by the Constitution. There is no doubt in my mind that over time more amendments will be added also.

So, when any issue comes before the Supreme Court or anyone seeking to make a determination of Constitutionality the ideas and principles found in the Declaration of Independence must always be considered as a relevant source. In my opinion, it should be the first source, not the Constitution that should be considered in any determination. For, within it we find the most basic principles of the rule of law. Those principles should never be taken lightly if we seek a government that respects the rights of the people."

When grandpa had finished I reread what I had written and started cussin’ under my breath as I deleted everything I had written so far. Grandpa just started chuckling as he got up and walked away.


dcat said...

There is no doubt in my mind that over time more amendments will be added also.

With more leniency for thugs no doubt!

The Griper said...

they have all the leneiency they need right now, the 1st amendment.

Gayle said...

Yes, they do have all the leniency they need right now and they certainly know how to take advantage of it, Griper. Many people who are not even citizens of this country seem to know more about our laws than the average American citizen. It's shameful!

tweetey30 said...

What we learn from our elders huh?? Glad you heard him and learned from him. And I bet you got an A on that paper for listening and redoing it...

The Griper said...

it isn't our laws that they know better than the average citizen. it is our history. and our history since the time of roosevelt is not a history to be respected if we was to base it on the foundation of this country.

the relationship i depict in my posts is the type of home schooling that every kid needs but is lacking now because there is no one there to give it to him.

BB-Idaho said...

" our history since the time of roosevelt is not a history to be respected,," I was only four when he died, so can't speak from personal experience. Everyone seemed to like FDR, even Churchill was a buddy. And of course, Hitler feared and hated him. He started the Manhattan Project, which ultimately led to the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Subsequently, the Marshall Plan won the allegiance of many starving European countries. So,
Griper, unless you make a good case for Herbert Hoover, I'll respectfully disagree on this one... :)

The Griper said...

don't need to defend hoover in order to justify my accusation.

roosevelt's attempt to pack the Supreme Court in order to get his programs passed and his length in office would be enough to declare grounds he was trying to be president for life. now, i am only saying "grounds" not proof. no one can prove that one either way but it would be evidence on the side that said so not the side that says he wasn't. and it was the reason for the amendment to restrict the terms of the President. i see nothing respectful about that. you may but i don't.

and while some claim his programs led us out of the depression it also led us to what is called "creeping socialism" which Bush as expanded upon and hillary wants to add to by her universal health insurance. i have no respect for that. you may but i don't. as you know from previous posts i have nothing but contempt for socialism.

and since he was in office, and don't get me wrong i'm not blaming him, we have fought what can be considered as three wars, the korean war, the viet nam war, the gulf war. and we never fought any of them to win. one is considered as an outright loss and the other two never ended but resulted in a cease fire. and look at the end results of those cease fires. and i'd say our enemies has learned from that better than we have and have lost respect for our will to win a war we enter in to.

now, how much respect do we deserve when we do not abide by the principles we set for ourselves?
and how much respect do we deserve when we will not abide by the principles of warfare?

and yes, we can change the rules of the game but when those rules goes against the principles of the game that we set for ourselves that is called hypocricy not democracy. and how much respect does that deserve?

look at the accusations that both sides are using against each other. if we have no respect for each other how can we expect others to have any for us?

so, it is not a question of comparing hoover with roosevelt. it is a question of comparing what we have become in comparison to the principles we set for ourselves at the beginning of this nation. and how his programs was the most glaring catalyst of this change.

BB-Idaho said...

In terms of national 'respect', do you refer to respect based on admiration, or fear..for one gains friends and one makes enemies. As for the desultory results of our
'police actions' and various military combat operations, congress has not declared (as required by the constitution)
an ACT OF WAR since Dec 7, 1941.
Recall the USSR fiasco in Afghanistan..a typical 'action' by a powerful state in an area of antideluvian tribal alliances & peculiar religious belief. Not only did they lose world repect
(talking third world here) but they wore themselves out and contributed to the demise of their
own state. I fear socialism as much as I fear big Pharmacy and big Health, manipulating us into
the HIGHEST healtcare in the world and making us think we like it.
(and no, you can't take away my
social security, I paid for it and part of yours too..:) )

The Griper said...

"Recall the USSR fiasco in Afghanistan"

yup, i recall it and the USSR lost too, didn't they? they were sent home with their tails between their legs.

"ongress has not declared (as required by the constitution)
an ACT OF WAR since Dec 7, 1941."

the key word there is "declared". a declaration, by definition, is any statement that makes something known. it does not need to have the words "declaration of war" as some were lead to believe. the only two requirements are to state the enemy that we are going to war against.

it also needs to declare the justification of it. this follows the tradition of the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence.

as for not declaring war for the korean war and gulf war i have no answer for that. i can't even say that we need it under those conditions given that those wars were UN sponsered. in fact, i'd even go as far as saying it needs challenging and let the Supreme Court make a decision on that.

though an argument could be made that Congress gave implicit approval by providing funds for them and not protesting the actions of the president when he sent troops there to fight.

in fact if those wars were unconstitutional as we might imply, we then would need to say that we had two Presidents that deserved to be impeached. and Congress did not do their duty as elected to do. and for that the members of Congress needed to be impeached also. how do we do that?

as for viet nam that was a matter of esculation of involvement. and that should teach us to really be careful of how we allow our Presidents to use the troops.

but my argument did not depend upon the declaration of war only on the will to win one we got in to.

"do you refer to respect based on admiration, or fear..for one gains friends and one makes enemies."

when speaking of respect here it is not a matter of making enemies, enemies are already known.

you do not need to admire or fear to have respect. a better definition of respect is the recognition of one is along with what you can expect from them. and remember we are not speaking of self-respect here.

tweetey30 said...

That is why my girls arent in a public school or any school for that matter. I am homeschooling my girls. At least I know what I am teaching them here even though I go back to work today we are going to continue to home school them.

The Griper said...

its not a question of where they go to school. its just a matter of monitoring what they learn. this is especially true when the subject they are learning can be said as being subjective in the nature of it rather than being objective.

math would be a class that was objective because it isn't dependent upon any certain viewpoint. in fact, the three R's, the hard sciences are all objective classes.

in classes as these a parent only needs to help in understanding the concepts. bias or prejudice are not a factor in these classes.

and, in my opinion, public schools should be restricted to these type of classes. if they did we would have a far better educational system.

history and government, the soft sciences would be a classes that was dependent upon a particular viewpoint of how it is seen and presented.

in classes as these, a parent should actually monitor what is being taught. bias and prejudice are an inevitable factor in classes as these.

BB-Idaho said...

Government and history classes, as well as the social sciences tend to be less than objective. We put our own perceptions on them. But,
in its raw form, history is a collection of facts; these become
redacted in time, or even hagiographical in some sources.
In turn, these interpetations lead to argument and 'camps' even: for example, the effect of Praetorian
Guard activities in post-Republic
Rome. My HS government class consisted of copying the constitution while the old teacher wrote it on the blackboard. My college PolySci classes tended theoretical and comparative. One of the more interesting was one taught by a reviled (and beloved)
socialist. Reviled, because we thought socialism was un-american and somwhow evil: beloved, because he strode campus with a six foot scarf in school colors,
established cross-country skiing
in our area, started the first canoe races during 'Lumberman Days' and the one thing he didn't talk about..he was a leader in the underground Norwegian resistance and helped blow up the Nazi heavy water plant in the mountains there. So, we learn from teachers things besides formal subject matter. Had a history professor
(20th Century History), a thin sickly man. A Quaker. He was a concientious objector in WWII, would not take up arms against
an enemy. So, he volunteered for Army starvation experiments: minimum caloric intake..important
info for the military in a world war. Three years of 1000 cal a day and less ruined his health. I tend to recall stuff like that, but soon forgot the partial differentaials leading to the proof of the Clausius-Clapyron equation or Shroedinger Wave Relation. Public education is much desparaged, but it was good for me and good for my children: even something as seemingly tepid in the classroom as art appreciation leads to thinking and discussion. Education, be it public, private, home-school is of value because of what we as students put into it. We know that, because we have seen success in all the above venues..we see failure in them too, but perhaps failure, like success is at least partially of our own making.

The Griper said...

"we see failure in them too, but perhaps failure, like success is at least partially of our own making."

this we are united on, my friend. i've always thought of this in regards to education.

you can learn without being taught but you can not be taught without learning.

"But,in its raw form, history is a collection of facts;"

i agree here too because history is about occurances that have already occurred. but unfotunately it can't be taught in that manner. this is especially true of history before our time because we cannot have first hand knowlege of it.

the big problem i've seen in schools are the kids themselves. they were brought up to believe everything a teacher said. they have no basis to question it.

and while i was going to college (in my later years) i saw this same thing in a lot of the college students also. the teachers were seldom challenged on what they taught.

a couple of classes i took i felt like i was the only student in there. the rest of the class just sat there as if they were robots being programmed. i actually stood up once and asked the kids if any of them saw the fallacies presented by the teacher, then walked out of the classroom. of course it was at the end of the year and i had finished my final. lolol

but yes, i agree with you, much can be learned regardless of how or where it is taught.

my implied premise was that public schools should not be biased in any class for obvious reasons therefore only classes that are objective should be taught in them.

if they did there would not be all this controversy of ideological bias.

if they did the students could get a far more in depth understanding of the subject they were studying.

and, in my opinion, the kids would be better prepared to cope with the problems they'll face once on their own. their viewpoint of the world would be more objective and problems are best solved objectively rather than subjectively.

Lista said...

One thing impressed me, Griper, as I was reading the above post. When you mentioned "the Context of its Inception", I was thinking about how this also applies to a book such as the Bible. People, and even ministers, are all the time trying to "say that it means this or that it means that", just based on the reading of it, yet you can’t really understand it unless you understand "the Context of its Inception". In relation to the Bible, this means understanding Jewish History and Culture during the time the Bible was written. This is why I really don’t like it when Pastors and Ministers just preach off the top of their head and repeat all this wonderful love stuff that I’ve heard a million times. I want a Pastor that is actually going to teach me something.

I guess I could also respond to a few of the comments.

"It isn’t our laws that they (Non-Citizens) know better than the average citizen. It is our history." (Griper)

Actually, it is probably both. One of my gripes is that they teach History too early. Most of what I learned was learned in grade school and I don’t remember as much of it as I wish I did. I really should go back and study some of it again. Any Non-Citizen who knows American History, probably knows it because they studied it as an adult because they were interested.

"Do you refer to respect based on admiration or fear, for one gains friends and one makes enemies?" (BB-Idaho)

Actually, it’s not so Black and White as that. We can respect our parents out of fear that they will punish us, yet also admire them like friends because we know that they love us.

In relation to the Public School verses Home Schooling subject, I always liked the School Voucher Idea that allows parents to decide which school to send their kids to. This would create competition, keep schools honest and parents could pick the schools whose biases are the same as their own.

"Failure, like success, is at least partially of our own making." (BB-Idaho)

I guess this is true, yet the desire to learn, as well as the speed at which we can take in information has both Genetic and Nurturing factors. The key part of that phrase, thus, is "at least partially", for it is partially this and partially that. There are a lot of factors involved in our success or failure in anything.

The Griper said...

good eve lista,
"I want a Pastor that is actually going to teach me something."

we need to distinquish the difference between what a sermon is too that a pastor preaches at services. its primary purpose and intent is actually words of a reminder of how to live the other 6 days of the week. and it usually is within the context of the services of that week, like catholic services of Sunday Mass. or another way of putting it, a sermon is a reminder of the reasons Jesus died.
what you are referring to, i think, would be along the lines of a bible study.

as for my comment of history i see that i didn't make myself clear. i was referring to our history of war. and in my opinion that history since WW2 is not a good one.

and there are those who would want us to repeat that history in this country. our enemies have learned from our history just how to win a war against us.

as for vouchers it may seem like a good idea but i am against it. i would prefer the use of tax credits.

the main reason being is that tax credits or deductions are already established practice of how church or private support can be honored by the state.

another reason being is that the total amount of tuition can be used where vouchers would only be a certain amount as set by the state.

one more reason would be that with tax deduction or credit there would be no problem with rising tuition as there would be with with vouchers of a set limit.

and lastly there'd be no state interference in what is taught or how it is taught as would likely happen with vouchers.

in regards to learning we need to remember also the concept of free will versus determinism. if we possess a free will then attitude towards life is the primary factor in learning.

Lista said...

Hi Griper,
How are ya' doing?

When you said "What you are referring to would be along the lines of a Bible Study.", this is similar to what people usually tell me and this is why I sometimes think that Bible Studies are more important than Sunday Services.

Sometimes I get the feeling that our government doesn't want us to remember History. Our current text books have all been rewritten to remove any reference to God and our Christian Heritage.

Politicians appear to be more interested in just doing what they want to, than actually learning from History and applying the knowledge.

"Our enemies have learned from our history just how to win a war against us." This is scary.

The only problem with Tax Credits, Griper, is that some of the poor may not pay enough money in taxes to benefit from it. Currently, school, up through High School, is free to them.

As to "Raising Tuition", this would at least in part be kept in check by competition under the Voucher System.

The most obvious argument against Vouchers and the one I hear all the time is the argument about state interference. That one's a biggie and is the main reason that the idea never seems to pass.

"Attitude towards life is the primary factor in learning."

Yes, and attitude is influenced by free will, genetics and how we are nurtured in life. I try not to emphasize any one factor above the other.

The Griper said...

he smiles, hello again lista,

ok, to address your concerns

"The only problem with Tax Credits, Griper, is that some of the poor may not pay enough money in taxes to benefit from it."

let's address the idea of tuition first if we are speaking of the poor.
1. you have scholarships
2. many private schools, especially religious ones have a tuition scale thus tuition is dependent upon affordability.
3. some offset tuition costs by agreement of participation of parents who pledge a certain amount of time.

now about tax credits
if we were talking tax deductions you would be right. but tax credits work differently
some tax credits only lower your taxes down to 0. others will result in a refund if the credit results in a negative tax.

deductions lower your taxable income. tax credits lower your taxes.
we have some now that will or can result in refund.

plus the fact we already allow some educational fees to be offset now in our tax laws. they apply to college, granted, but what is there to stop Congress from expanding upon it?

and by doing it this way, any opponents can't have any argument to use.

Lista said...

I'm really glad to know that all my arguing, challenging and relentless pestering of you can actually make you smile. I'm glad to be of service any time.

What you're suggesting in your comment now sounds reasonable enough, so maybe I'll stop my pestering and say I agree.

The Griper said...

shuckens girl you are no pester. your questions are good ones and i am always ready to answer a good question if i can. and blogs like mine invite a challenge. if i wasn't ready for them i have no business publishing my thoughts.

and a good argument is a good way for people to get to know the inner thoughts of each other. and a good chance foe each to learn,

now with this a smile is deserved

dcat said...

Boy like am I all educated now or what ;)

I will be watching very closely the loons with loony tune ideas. Oh how about opening a polygamy school!?

Oh brother!

The Griper said...

"Oh how about opening a polygamy school!?"
sure why not? its a free country or at least i think it still is. you can open one up. i'll be your first student too. lol


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