Government & Constitution

Walter Williams Rails Against ‘Living Constitution’

One of the justifications of government in a free society is to “promote fairness and justice,” said George Mason University professor Walter E. Williams last week at the National Conservative Student Conference sponsored by Young America’s Foundation.

Most of what the Founding Fathers considered as the legitimate role of government is found in the Constitution under Article 1, Section 8.  Among the duties Congress is empowered with include: regulate foreign commerce, coin money, lay and collect taxes. In total the Constitution authorizes Congress to do 21 specific things.

However, over time Congress has advanced the role of government beyond the point that the Framers specifically intended their purpose to be, and what many people feel is beyond fair and just.

“Currently, two-thirds of the federal budget has no constitutional mandate,” says Williams. “Expenditures such as farm subsidies, bank bailouts or food stamps, to name a few have no legal justification.”

Therefore, what we have today is what many legal scholars call a living Constitution. And, according to Williams, “A living Constitution means having no Constitution at all.”

By allowing the role of government to circumvent the clear intentions of the Founders, Williams said, Americans are losing our right to private property and free enterprise.

Each citizen is obliged to pay his or her fair share of the cost of government. However, no longer is it a positive-sum game between government and citizen in which both parties benefit. It’s been replaced by a system of involuntary exchange where the tax paying public is coerced to fund ever-growing, misguided government expenditures that too often benefit the few at the expense of the many.

“Thou shall not steal should not mean, thou shall not steal even if you have a majority vote in Congress,” Williams said.

Over time our elected official’s have spread their “new human rights,” said Williams. “They believe they have more intelligence and have been ordained to restrict the freedoms of the majority for what they perceive as the greater good.”

Through ever-expanding forms of taxation and over-reaching legislative social engineering we’ve abdicated the true essence of the Constitution: liberty and freedom.

H.L Mencken once said, “Government is a broker in pillage and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.”

A government that advocates fairness and justice, Williams said, is one that “promotes the virtues of self interest and greater property rights as the framers intended. Greater capitalism leads to a more humane society.”

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