Here’s a provocative thought experiment from Jacob G. Hornberger, president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. In a recent article “Why Did Our Ancestors Approve the Constitution?“ Hornberger poses this question:
“Suppose our American ancestors in 1787 had been told that the proposed Constitution, which they were being asked to approve, was going to bring into existence a federal government that would have the following powers:
- The power to tax people’s incomes in any amount government officials deemed appropriate.
- The power to regulate people’s economic activities.
- The power to incarcerate and fine people for ingesting harmful substances.
- The power to round people up and incarcerate them indefinitely without trial by jury and due process of law.
- The power to torture people.
- The power to assassinate people.
- The power to invade foreign countries and wage wars of aggression against them.
- The power to establish military bases in foreign countries.
- The power to take money from people and give it to others.
- The power to secretly spy on people and monitor their activities.
- The power to incarcerate and fine people for spending money in other countries.
- The power to make paper money the official money of the United States.
- The power to control and regulate gun ownership.
“Imagine, also, that the American people were told that the Constitution was going to bring into existence a vast, permanent military establishment as well as a secretive governmental agency (i.e., the CIA) with the omnipotent powers to kidnap people, conduct medical experiments on them without their consent, torture people, and assassinate people.
“Imagine, also, that they were told that a vast welfare state was going to be brought into existence, with the federal government charged with the task of taking care of people with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, foreign aid to dictators, and the like.
“One thing is beyond dispute: If our American ancestors had believed that the Constitution was going to bring into existence that type of federal government — the type of federal government we have today — they never would have approved it.”
There’s much more provocative reading in the rest of “Why Did Our Ancestors Approve the Constitution?“