Bill of Rights a forgotten document

After fighting a war to win liberty from a tyrannical government, Anti-Federalists — a faction of our Founding Fathers led primarily by Patrick Henry distrustful of a strong national government — pushed for amendments to the Constitution to identify fundamental natural rights and civil liberties.  Such a Bill of Rights, they believed, was necessary because of the known propensity of governments generally to usurp powers not delegated to it.  

Yet some, such as James Madison, initially fought such a move, based on the principle that there is no need to say what a government cannot do, because that could imply it can do everything else. 

In the final analysis, however, Madison took the lead in the Congress in support of the first ten amendments to the Constitution as the Bill of Rights, because not to do so likely would have doomed the entire process.  He therefore, but reluctantly, drafted 12 proposals to settle concerns of Anti-Federalists; 10 were initially ratified. 

The political and legal battles pitting individual liberties against growing government power have been waged ever since; even to the 112th Congress set to convene within days.  Historically and currently, government has notched far more victories on its belt than has the citizenry.  Clearly, one reason for the continued growth of government power – and the necessarily corresponding reduction in individual liberty – has been the growing public misunderstanding of the intended role of government and the distressing ignorance of our Constitution itself. 

According to a survey conducted earlier this month for the Bill of Rights Institute by Harris Interactive, for example, nearly half of the American people – some 42 percent — believe that the communist phrase “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” is part of one of the more important documents in American history. Through ignorance and forgotten history, Karl Marx has morphed into James Madison in the mind of the American people. 

Other aspects of the survey are equally disconcerting, though not necessarily surprising. Fifty-five percent do not realize that education is not a First Amendment right; despite no such guarantee anywhere in either the Bill of Rights or the body of the original Constitution. 

Only 20 percent can identify the Tenth Amendment as the part of the Bill of Rights that reserves powers not expressly authorized in the Constitution to the states or the people themselves. And a stunning 60 percent could not recognize the powers of the government deriving from the consent of the governed as a unique American principle. 

As the lack of understanding of fundamental rights fades away, so too will the Rule of Law. Rights will be treated as permissions granted by the government, and the pendulum will continue to swing toward statism. 

In this coming New Year, perhaps we can all resolve to do more to raise awareness to the documents that protect the liberties we have so fortunately lived under. But I’m not sure I would urge holding one’s breath waiting for such enlightenment to take place.

- by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

130 comments Add your comment

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
2:47 pm

Okay any libs want to take a stab at answering the question?

Is this infamous mantra espoused by Karl Marx, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” Constitutional?

Do keep the 14th amendment in mind.

The Snark

December 31st, 2010
2:52 pm

Oh for heaven’s sake. Take a deep breath and relax. The Bill of Rights is not a “forgotten document.” It is alive and well and remains, as it always has been and always will be, the subject of a tug of war between competing interests.

Can the drama, Bob. When people are incited to believe that OMG MY RIGHTS ARE IN PERIL, they do dumb things. Like allowing politicians to make choices for them. Left or right.

Chill out and enjoy celebrating New Year’s Eve in a free country.

joeliberal

December 31st, 2010
2:54 pm

thank god i was born in AMERICA…

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
2:55 pm

Only if one lone person can form a consensus, which they can’t.

Neither can the relatively small sample of liberals that you have read/talked to.

Had you written, “Some {l}iberals think the Constitution exists to protect government authority and that our rights are granted to us by government,” I would agree with you. You, however, did not use the qualifier “some.”

Rafe Hollister

December 31st, 2010
3:02 pm

Jeb, education should be controlled by the parents, not government or church. One big exception though, is someone like Big Jim, maybe his children should have a guardian appointed for them.

You Distort/We Deride

December 31st, 2010
3:02 pm

Bob, as you know, conservatives lambast liberals all the time about their misunderstanding of the Constitution, yet would lay down and let Dick Cheney rub their bellies when it came to illegal wireless surveillance of American citizens which distinctly violated the 4th Amendment.

See…for every jab against liberals, conservatives can be jabbed. I’m neither, so I’m constantly incredulous that so many people believe that their side is without question and the other is without merit.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
3:09 pm

I didn’t use a qualifier because what I wrote was in the context of a consensus. “Some” may be inaccurate as well, since you desire to impose the strictest rule to anything written without a qualifier.

Rafe Hollister

December 31st, 2010
3:17 pm

You distort

Jab back. Your Messiah Barry OH, has doubled down on all the illegal wiretapping started by Bush. Barry has added internet communication, which dumb ole W forgot, when he was conspiring with Dark Cheney to put all of you hardworking freedom loving Americans, that communicate with Terrorists overseas, in jail.

I guess the evil Republicans tricked ole Barry into supporting Cheney’s scheme of illegal surveillance of Americans and using Rendition to torture captured terrorists.

When are you going to get upset with Barry/Biden for supporting these illegal surveillance actions and continued rendition.

joeliberal

December 31st, 2010
3:17 pm

all conservatives are bible thumping raCISTS…

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
3:18 pm

joeliberal

December 31st, 2010
3:18 pm

well, not all :)

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
3:27 pm

You Distort/We Deride, I would agree with you that far too many who identify themselves as conservative accept things from people like Cheney and Hannity without thinking for themselves. Even as much as I admire Justice Scalia, he and I part company on the 4th amendment.

I spoken several times against the “Free Market” crowd a number of times. Even challenged them to give Constitutional grounds for the claim of a “Free Market”.
Of course, I don’t expect any one from that bombastic group to try and square their vain “Free Market” talk with Article 1 Section 8.

It is a case of having to fight against your own side many times. On that I think, just a guess base on what Kamchak wrote previously in regards to immigration that he’d agree with me.

[...] More;http://blogs.ajc.com/bob-barr-blog/2010/12/31/bill-of-rights-a-forgotten-document/?cxntfid=blogs_bob… No [...]

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
3:31 pm

On that I think, just a guess base on what Kamchak wrote previously in regards to immigration that he’d agree with me.

I have mixed feelings on the immigration thingie, so maybe you better tell me what it is we agree on.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
3:32 pm

It many(sic) be a “consensus” of the relatively small sample of liberals that you have read/talked to, but not to the group “liberals” as a whole.

I seriously doubt my sampling is a small number. I read and watch a good bit of news from many sources, including liberal sources and I not a shut in by a long shot.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
3:34 pm

I have mixed feelings on the immigration thingie, so maybe you better tell me what it is we agree on.

A great many things actually. It would probably be easier to peg what we possibly disagree on, which is what to do with those already in the country. Then again maybe not.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
3:37 pm

…I[sic] not a shut in by a long shot.

With over 6.89 billion people on this planet, your sample is still insignificant.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
3:39 pm

…which is what to do with those already in the country.

And my answer to that is, I dunno.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
3:46 pm

Sufficient to serve the case in this country. Want to test it? (Smile)

How about the question I posed based on past evidence provided by liberals in this country by majority?

Would you acknowledge that the majority of liberals in this country support Obama Helathcare?

Would you acknowledge that the majority of liberals support the progressive tax?

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
3:48 pm

Would you acknowledge that the majority of liberals in this country support Obama Helathcare?

No.

Would you acknowledge that the majority of liberals support the progressive tax?

Yes.

killerj

December 31st, 2010
3:54 pm

Spoken like a true minority,Go Tea Party.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
4:09 pm

Would you acknowledge that the majority of liberals in this country support Obama Helathcare?

No.

That is probably incorrect given the polling data and the results of the last election.

However, from what is not in contest. The Progressive Tax vs 14th amendment

Section 1.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I made the statement that liberals think government grants our rights.

If the majority of liberals support the progressive tax and support equal rights then tell me how the majority of liberals don’t think government grants our rights?

I mean you cannot tax someone differently because they happen to be rich and say they received equal protection under law, let alone fair treatment, if our rights come from are creator and are not granted by government.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
4:18 pm

That is probably incorrect given the polling data and the results of the last election.

Well, according to the liberals that I have read/talked to, i have found a consensus in the desire for universal health care, or at the very least a single payer system which polls can’t or wont show.

I mean you cannot tax someone differently because…

I cannot tax anyone, sport.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
4:28 pm

But you do support government taxing people differently and that my friend is wealth redistribution: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”

Which is the principle of the progressive tax as well as being the principle for single payer healthcare or ObamaCare. Classic Marxism. Under Marxism government grants rights, they are not unalienable.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
4:29 pm

But you do support government taxing people differently…

Please show me where I stated exactly that.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
4:35 pm

If you support the progressive tax , you support taxing people differently. Same case for single payer healthcare or ObamaCare.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
4:37 pm

If you support the progressive tax , you support taxing people differently.

Again–please show me where I said I supported that.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
4:38 pm

Do you support the progressive tax?

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
5:00 pm

Do you support the progressive tax?

Since you can’t show me where I stated that, I see that you must ask directly after the fact.

What I agreed to was that I acknowledge that the majority of liberals support the progressive tax[.]

I never included myself in that majority, not do I exclude myself.

Whenever I see the phrase “wealth redistribution,” I just gotta do the eye roll thingie. :roll: Too much talking point baggage to take that phrase seriously any more.

Michael H. Smith

December 31st, 2010
5:14 pm

I never included myself in that majority, not do I exclude myself.

That is dodging to give a direct yes or no answer. Maybe doesn’t count on this one. :lol:

Too much talking point baggage to take that phrase seriously any more.

It is a fundamental principle of Marxism whether you take it seriously or not makes little difference, it does not change it or make it less of a fundamental principle of Marxism.

Kamchak

December 31st, 2010
5:19 pm

It is a fundamental principle of Marxism…

Maybe so, but I’m not an expert on “Marxism. The only thing I am positive about “Marxism,” is that it is now used as a talking-point code word for fear.

And I never agreed that a progressive tax system is wealth redistribution.

[...] Bill of Rights a forgotten document | The Barr Code. This entry was posted in Opinion, US Government and tagged ajc, Bill of Rights, Bob Barr, congress, James Madison, Karl Marx, New Year's Day, opinion, Patrick Henry, Rights Institute, US Constitution. Bookmark the permalink. ← Best Editorial Cartoons of 2010- [...]

Michael H. Smith

January 1st, 2011
12:50 am

No maybe to it. That is the principle behind the mantra of Karl Marx. You might want to think it is a talking point code word or phrase but it really isn’t. I don’t fear Marxism or Socialism, I just reject them as immoral, as so many Capitalist in this country do. Perhaps it is that rejection that causes people fear?

Agree or not the progressive tax system does redistribute wealth, which is exactly the principle of the Marx mantra: From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

I doubt that you ever will accept the fact that the progressive tax system is wealth redistribution, seeing as how you support it and single payer healthcare. Until you see the moral wrong in it you will always deny it is wealth redistribution. The idea of taking more from someone because they have more than others is not equal protection under the law. It simply says you believe it is moral and equal treatment of rights for government to take more wealth from the rich because of their ability and give it to the poor because of their need.

Viet Vet

January 1st, 2011
8:27 am

The intellectual father of capitalism, Adam Smith, said this about progressive taxation.

“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.” And, “What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconveniency to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”

A more contemporary, and exhaustive, study of progressive taxation is “The Spirit Level.” It demonstrates how economies with more income equality are more productive, and also have more social cohesion and happiness.

The opponents of progressive taxation are the stupidly greedy or they are ignorant of economics and the real data and history of taxation.
Progressive taxation is necessary to the well being of capitalist nations. The real question is how much and how it is administrated.

Kamchak

January 1st, 2011
8:49 am

I doubt that you ever will accept the fact that the progressive tax system is wealth redistribution, seeing as how you support it and single payer healthcare.

I never explicitly said that I supported either one, sport.

Michael H. Smith

January 1st, 2011
9:32 am

I knew that was coming. If you disagree with me, you are either stupid or ignorant. LOL

Now that is the substance of intelligent conversation isn’t?

The intellectual father of capitalism Adam Smith also pointed to the benefits derived from the ambitions and greed of the so-called evil rich by the “invisible hand”, which is, “not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion” – that is given.

The real question is how much and how it is administrated.

A bit more is really questionable than that because it is not purely economics at issue. Issues like equal protection under the constitution, ethics and morals are involved.

Your money is a portion of your life. (taking more of one person’s life than another one’s is equal protection?)

Thou shalt not steal. (Now it becomes thou shalt only steal more from the rich?)

How much spending should government be allowed and for what purpose determines how much tax to collect and where it should go. The people spoke clearly in the last election, our government is spending too much and for the wrong purposes. At the very heart of that message are these three things: Size of government is too big, the scope of its powers are too intrusive and overreaching in our lives and it is consuming too much of our monies and resources. Which is the consensus among Tea Party members for anyone interested or asks what about something a talking head said who they think is a leader speaking for the movement. You can put their statement(s) up against the before mentioned consensus and if it does not concur, then the talking head in question is speaking for themselves and not the movement. (fair enough?)

It demonstrates how economies with more income equality are more productive, and also have more social cohesion and happiness.

What you want is wealth equality, economic parity. So did Karl Marx and he too wanted government to use its’ powers to achieve that goal. It isn’t constitutional, so change the constitution if you want to impose Socialism as a replacement to Capitalism.

Meanwhile, we are back to relying on the regulated Capitalism of our present Constitution and a proper and unencumbered functioning of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” to provide economic tranquility and a sense of social parity in this society.

Michael H. Smith

January 1st, 2011
9:42 am

I never explicitly said that I supported either one, sport.

And you won’t, sport. Though your leaning is very obvious.

Bill of Rights a forgotten document

January 1st, 2011
10:21 am

[...] Read more here >>> [...]

Michael H. Smith

January 1st, 2011
10:37 am

Joseph E. Stiglitz

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, says: “the reason that the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is often not there.”[15][16] Stiglitz explains his position:

Adam Smith, the father of modern economics, is often cited as arguing for the “invisible hand” and free markets: firms, in the pursuit of profits, are led, as if by an invisible hand, to do what is best for the world. But unlike his followers, Adam Smith was aware of some of the limitations of free markets, and research since then has further clarified why free markets, by themselves, often do not lead to what is best. As I put it in my new book, Making Globalization Work, the reason that the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is often not there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_hand

I really like this, so pardon my liberties in bring it to fore:

…the reason that the invisible hand often seems invisible is that it is often not there.

A proper use of government regulation would see to it that the “Invisible Hand” is always present and moving within our regulated market to serve the general welfare of the country.

I would have to agree with Stiglitz in the humorous use of irony serving to describe the aggregate infliction suffered by the disappearing “hand”, which is the visible reality of our government’s improper use of regulation.

Kamchak

January 1st, 2011
11:02 am

“Steal,” “Marxist/Marxism,” “socialist/socialism”—as I said, code words for fear.

JHB

January 1st, 2011
11:03 am

America is doomed as long as The Welfareites are PAID NOT TO WORK……
but are allowed to VOTE FOR MORE WELFARE ………..

JHB

January 1st, 2011
11:10 am

This new Congress will finally once-and-for-all get rid of the old out-of-date and contentious 2nd Amendment.
But, we have to remember, that old adage, “Those who beat their weapons into plowshares will plow for those who don’t”.
The 0bamastapo is watching and taking names………….

Ron Lewis

January 1st, 2011
11:12 am

Excellent, as always, Mr. Barr. But I sense the forgoteen and ignored Bill of Rights, sad though it be, is (if possible) a lesser catastrophe than the forgotten and ignored Declaration of Independence, especially paragraph two, which outlines the core principle of Americanism. As those vital words proclaim, our Constitution is just “a Form of Government” instituted to “secure these Rights” (Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness) or to be abolished by the People. This rash step was taken in 1788, after eleven years under the first Form of Government, the Articles of Confederation. It is the Declaration of Independence that is sacrosanct, not the Constitution, or any other “institution” of a “Form of Government.”

Viet Vet

January 1st, 2011
11:16 am

Mr. Smith suffers from the inability to see the world way in a complex way. For him progressive taxation = Marxism. Period By this definition virtually every democratic government in history, from ancient Greece through modern America, is Marxist, and Teddy Roosevelt must have been in league with Lenin.

I wrote “It demonstrates how economies with more income equality are more productive, and also have more social cohesion and happiness.” He read that as “What you want is wealth equality, economic parity.” No, I’m pointing out the conclusions of these studies. Again he demonstrates that he can only think in black/white terms. I said nothing about “wealth equality or economic parity,” neither of which do I believe are possible or desirable. I believe, based on the evidence, that taxes should be graduated and the wealthiest should pay more in taxes than the poorest.

Btw, he also completely misunderstand Stiglitz. He’s not praising free market fundamentalists, he’s mocking them and their the unshakable belief, against the evidence, that unfettered markets maximize individual freedom, that they are the only means to economic growth and that society should adhere to their specific ideas of progress.

For those other than Mr. Smith who are actually curious and able to comprehend a viewpoint other than his/her own, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Stiglitz

Marlboro Man

January 1st, 2011
12:49 pm

Smith, you are full of crap.

Winfield J. Abbe

January 1st, 2011
2:27 pm

A good example of what Mr. Barr is talking about is Amendment 6 which demands a jury trial for criminal but not civil cases. Many judges and corporations object to jury trials for civil cases because they cannot corruptly control those outcomes, so it is good the Founders at least required a jury trial for criminal cases. Read the book “IBM and the Corruption of Justice in America” by Earl Carey, Bismarck House, St. Louis, 1992. Mr. Carey, a former engineer, acted as his own lawyer pro se. He lists no less than 42 federal judges by name and location who violated the very rules they were sworn to enforce and comply with. He dotted every i and crossed every t. This is a very disturbing book. All Mr. Carey ever wanted was a simply jury trial in his disupte with the computer giant. He tried every legal means to this end and every legal means failed. But he left this remarkable book to inform us all and document this legal obscenity. Our judicial system is a corrupt cesspool of legal tyranny, and lawyers are mostly to blame.

Liberal And Proud Of It

January 1st, 2011
2:28 pm

Yeah Barr used taxpayer money to go after Clinton and sat back in silence when his buddy Newt was doing as much if not more than Clinton ever thought of doing. And how many times has Newt and Barr been married – three marriages for each. Don’t you love it when the pot calls the kettle black?

What I Learned This Week (12/19-1/1)

January 1st, 2011
2:40 pm

[...] 42% of Americans believe the phrase “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” comes from the Bill of Rights. [...]

Winfield J. Abbe

January 1st, 2011
2:45 pm

As Mr. Barr stated, the great Founders of America sought limited powers of the Federal Government.
Abraham Lincoln was the first president to betray those intentions, as he illegally and without any legal authority, used armed force to compel the Confederacy to remain in the Union against its will. Voting was and is a peaceful and legal act. The States of the Confederacy voted to leave the Union. Rather than allowing them to leave as he could and should have, Abraham Lincoln allowed nearly a million victims to be killed or injured for no good reason other than “the ends justifies the means”.
Slavery was on its way out anyway and the Confederacy would likely have returned in a year or so anyway like a lover’s quarrel. Furthermore, not only was Lincoln only “elected” by a tiny minority of less than 40%, he was basically little more than a common thief and failed to compensate citizens for thefts in freeing the slaves, which were considered property under federal supreme law at the time, not southern law, and other thefts by the Union Army from private citizens. This unnecessary destructive war was the first ratcheting up of power to the federal government. Two more world wars separated by a great depression and followed by 9/11/01, and the current federal government is so powerful today it can destroy the whole earth. What was that hot air about limited government? Today we are all slaves or virtual slaves to all government, especially the bloated, bankrupt federal government which routinely violates the U.S. Constitution on a daily basis with impunity. Feel good?
Do we idolize Adolph Hitler? Why do we idolize Abraham Lincoln? He should be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Go visit the National Cemetery at Vicksburg, Mississippi and the National Prisoner of War Muserm at Andersonville, Georgia if you think it was worth sacrificing a million lives for this human massacre under the direction of Abraham Lincoln and his bullies in the North. Is it any wonder so many of his generals refused to fight before he came to the drunk and the psycopath to do the dirty deeds?

Winfield J. Abbe

January 1st, 2011
2:58 pm

The other problem which Mr. Barr did not mention, is the contribution of the Hollywood Perverts to the lack of understanding of our Constitution. It is they who for decades, have idolized the mytholgy of Robin Hood, with all those glamorous and exciting movies with Errol Flynn, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Our good for nothing local government “leaders” watched too many of these movies on Saturday mornings or afternoons and now put in place so many of our laws forcing many, who often cannot even vote, like businesses, to pay the costs of a little fun in the bedroom of others, which results in a child which must be clothed, housed, educated, fed, and doctored, usually at the expense of others, and usually forced, by the full military armed force of Georgia government at every level, from many legitimate and honest businessmen, who had nothing to do with fostering these children and certainly had none of that fun in the bedroom which produced thiese expensive “citizens” of our society. Shame, shame, shame on our good for nothing lawmakers for idolizing Robin Hood and Karl Marx and copying the secrecy of Nazi, Germany and the former Soviety Union in forming the tyrannical government of Georgia. All they did when in Europe was copy Adolph HItler and Joseph Stalin. Stupid is far too polite an adjective to describe the non leaders, but followers of Georgia. It costs about $12K per year to educate a child in public school.
I have a friend who is forced to support about 5 children of others in public school whom he did not foster. His own family of 4 children grew up decades ago. This is the “limited” government of Amerika in 2011 isn’t it? And we can thank our cowardly good for nothing mostly lawyer lawmakers for this situation.