Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – If you were to ask members of the founding generation, if you were to go back in time, if you could hop in the King Dude’s wayback machine and ask Richard Henry Lee: What do you think about this new constitution deal? How do you think this is going to turn out for your posterity and for future generations? He, with others, was mortified. He thought it was going to turn out exactly as it is turning out today and as it began to degrade and devolve in the early part of the 19th century. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Speaking of what Tim was talking about, we don’t have a constitution today and [mocking] “If it was just the way it was back during the day of the founders, we’d have it made.” That’s another one of these mythologies, and I think pathologies, that has to be dealt with and has to be cured. If you were to ask members of the founding generation, if you were to go back in time, if you could hop in the King Dude’s wayback machine and ask Richard Henry Lee: What do you think about this new constitution deal? How do you think this is going to turn out for your posterity and for future generations? He, with others, was mortified. He thought it was going to turn out exactly as it is turning out today and as it began to degrade and devolve in the early part of the 19th century. I have a letter that Lee wrote to the great Edmund Pendleton on the 22nd of May 1788. A couple paragraphs will help illustrate how maybe a gentleman of the 18th century would think about the events of today.
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I have been informed that you wish amendments, but dislike the plan of another convention; the just weight that you have in the councils of your country, may put it in your power, sir, to save from arbitrary rule a great and free people; I have used the words arbitrary rule, because great numbers fear that this will be the case, as it may be so under the new proposed constitution, when they reflect on the unvarying progress of power in the hands of frail man; to accomplish the ends of society by being equal to contingencies infinite, demands the deposit of power great and extensive indeed, in the hands of rulers, so great as to render abuse probable, unless prevented by the most careful precautions; among which, the freedom and frequency of elections, the liberty of the press, and the trial by jury, with the independency of the judges, seem to be so capital and essential, that they ought to be secured by a bill of rights, to regulate the discretion of rulers in a legal way, restraining the progress of ambition and avarice within just bounds. [Mike: He’s talking about what will become the Bill of Rights now. He is direction his ire at future federal legislators, just to keep this in context.] Rulers must act by subordinate agents generally, and however the former may be secure from the pursuits of justice, the latter are forever kept in check by the trial by jury, where that exists in all its rights. This most excellent security against oppression, is a universal, powerful, and equal protection of all. But the benefit to be derived from this constitution, is most effectually to be obtained from a well informed and enlightened people; here arises the necessity for the freedom of the press, which is the happiest organ of communication ever yet devised, the quickest and surest means, of conveying intelligence to the human mind. I am grieved to be forced to think, after the most mature consideration of the constitution proposed, that it leaves the three essential securities above stated, under the mere pleasure of the new rulers; [Mike: Again a reference to the new rulers, again a reference to federal rulers, again the Bill of Rights aimed at the federal government, not the states, you nitwits. Get this in your heads.] and why should it do so, sir, since the violation of these cannot be necessary to good, but will be always extremely convenient for bad government. It is a question deserving intense consideration, whether the state sovereignties ought not to be supported, perhaps in the way proposed by Massachusetts . . . Force and opinion seem to be the two ways alone, by which men can be governed, the latter appears the most proper, for a free people, but remove that, and obedience, I apprehend, can only be found to result from fear, the offspring of force . . .
Mike: So Lee didn’t like the Constitution. Lee didn’t think there were enough restraints on the new federal government to force it to live inside of its own boundaries. For those of you that say, [mocking] “All we gotta do is get back to the Constitution,” there were a majority of men of the constitutional era that did not even believe living within the means of the Constitution was adequate to the task, which is why they resisted centralizing the power to start with. All they said was: Give us a union, a union powerful enough to repel an invasion by France, England or Spain, a union powerful enough to have a common currency, a union powerful enough to secure some privileges and immunities that people travel among the member states, a union powerful enough to conduct trade and commerce with the outside world, and leave the rest of us alone.
You people that claim [mocking] “We gotta get back to the founders,” well, that’s what the founders thought, or most of them thought, unless they were nationalists like Hamilton and Madison, who then recanted most of what he said as a nationalist, who believed you’ve got to have a big, giant, central leviathan ordering people about because only aristocrats that are smarter and live on the East Coast can tell hick hayseeds that live in Texas what to do. This is the true essence of what you call “living under the Constitution.” It is not as it has been proposed. It is not as it has been illustrated or fantasized about to you. The document indeed codified nationalist intentions. Look about you today. Has it been successful, has it? The answer to that question is, if you are a true federalist, no, it has not. So then why do we continue on in our dementia that all we have to do is [mocking] “Live by the Constitution and obey the oath of office” and all will be right with the world?
End Mike Church Show Transcript