Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Pete Morin editorial review--Issue #58

The Consequence of ratification

What would have transpired if the States had not ratified the proposed Constitution? Would the Articles of Confederation simply have remained in force until a more efficient compact between the states could be achieved? The idea, and question of State Sovereignty, lie at the very heart of our predicament with respect to an all powerful central authority dominating our everyday existence.

The States, of course, ratified the Constitution, but they did not do so with the intention that they were acting as one body. The insertion of the 9TH and 10TH amendments guaranteed to the individual states sovereignty for those issues where the state could determine its own legitimate course of action. The Constitution went so far as to guarantee a Republican form of government to the states and as if to clarify this point, individual states retained their unique executive, legislative and judicial branches. It could be argued that if the states had intended to subordinate themselves to a central authority, there would be little, or no, need for duplication of such a governmental structure.

Despite all the arguments implored in The Federalist Papers, the fears expressed by the Anti-Federalists have come to fruition. We no longer have a Republican form of government, nor a Federal Government in any real sense; we now have a central government comprised of lawmakers who believe that their very election to high office makes them able to pronounce what laws shall be followed by all the people, regardless where they reside. Sovereignty is not an attribute assigned to the individual, but to the collective.

What has made us bow to this collective will; what sense of security and denial of human responsibility has become such a lure to cast off our individual freedom? Do we believe we are better off to reject our liberty and freedom in exchange for this security? Are we so weak-knee’d and pusillanimous that we cannot determine our own fate within our sovereign states? Evidently this question is rhetorical. We’ve decided to reject that which our ancestors fought and died for; we’ve decided that the cost of individual freedom is beyond our means. We look inward to a warmth and security of the central authority womb. We eschew our innate abilities and duties; we have become simple-minded wards of the state.

Benjamin Franklin warned that we have a Republic, “if you can keep it”, but we have shirked from our duty and our destiny as Americans to uphold this Republic. We must answer to those who gave their lives for the lost Republic; but even worse, we must look our descendants in the eye and proclaim our weakness to the cause of liberty. We must ask them to find this lost treasure and restore it to prominence in our civic lives. We must ask them to ratify, once again, a Constitution that places the sovereignty of the state and individual above the power of the Central State. Can they succeed in such an undertaking? Perhaps this is just another rhetorical question.