Monday, April 30, 2007

Constitutional lunacy

The Constitution is not an instrument for government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government--lest it come to dominate our lives and our interests.

— Patrick Henry
Of course, Patrick Henry got it right. The problem is that public schools tend to trivialize our Constitution--of course one should suspect nothing less from a unionized workforce protected by a government monopoly. Instead of teaching the concept that our Constitution is designed to limit government, schools teach that our Constitution provides for unlimited government; unlimited government in the form of one group of citizens having a legal claim to the property of all others.

There are no such positive rights in our Constitution, nor will you find them enumerated in our Declaration of Independence. Constitutional rights are purely negative rights; rights that protect you from the actions of others, including government, who seek claim to your property.

I submitted the following letter to the editor (unpublished) to respond to the lunacy being taught to students. I am posting it once more as it appears that the idea of in-class, or in-school, constitutions are becoming more popular.

This Hillard City Schools activity is one step away from codifying a Lord of the Flies legal system. Oh, wait, we almost have that already. Anyway...

Dear Editor:

"Then he whomps the other student with a pillow." (from "Hilliard students take law into own hands", Columbus Dispatch, September 16, 2005.)

Let's see, Constitution Day was passed by a Congress that does not understand state's rights and the role of the federal government, and is being implemented by schools that confound the US Constitution with codes of conduct and civil law. Is this really as wonderful as it seems?

Students in Hilliard are being taught that a good constitution enumerates the behaviors which govern good citizens. It would appear to me that teachers at Horizon Elementary understand a constitution to be a document that empowers citizens to enforce vague "feel-good" terms under the threat of violence (see first sentence).

Our Constitution was drafted in order to limit the powers of the federal government, though Sen. Byrd -- D-W.Va., sponsor, and the rest of Congress missed that lesson. Or, maybe they also spent their youth writing school constitutions similar to those being created in elementaries in Central Ohio.

A true school constitution would have to be constructed in a manner that circumscribed the powers of the staff within the God-given rights of the students. That would be an interesting exercise to say the least. Instead, the teachers had students codify classroom behavior expectations and called them a constitution.

I know, this all sounds like a fun activity, but what is really being taught? And, most importantly, what does this say about the teachers' understand of such valuable concepts as the guarantees of freedom from government contained in the document signed by our Founding Fathers?

Constitution Day failed in Hilliard.

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