Agribusiness Freedom Foundation  
Home arrow Sentinel e-Newsletter arrow September 2007 arrow Freedom's Framework
Main Menu
About AFF
Latest Op/Ed Release
Sentinel e-Newsletter
Newsletter Signup
Staff Bios
Make A Contribution
Contact Us
Freedom's Framework PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Thursday, 20 September 2007
AFF Sentinel Vol.4#30

This week marks the anniversary of the launching of one of mankind's most radical - and successful - governmental experiments. That framework of government proved marvelously adept at protecting the liberty and freedoms of a people, while allowing and encouraging the individual economic activity and innovation that lifted the well-being of the common man above all previous levels.

That launching was the Constitutional Convention passage of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. That document, plus the Bill of Rights, would subsequently serve as a model worldwide. It drew upon previous human experience, from the Greeks and Romans and English law, as well as the recent experience of the colonial Americans. But the blending of the lessons of true - and eventually failed - Greek democracies with representative governance, ignoring the hereditary ruling traditions of the time, was a remarkable feat. One can study history for perspective on how singular an accomplishment the U.S. Constitution is. Or, one can observe current events and contrast our lot with most of the rest of the world and marvel at the difference. We too seldom do either.

But some spend time concentrating on what the Constitution doesn't do - often in the way of restrictions or providing government coercive powers - to find ways to get around the Constitution to accomplish so-called "good" outcomes.

"America's greatness, and the success and prosperity we enjoy, is no accident, and it has everything to do with the document that was hammered out by our country's founders two centuries ago," a Colorado Springs Gazette editorial pointed out ("A Happy Anniversary," 09/18/07). "Our Constitution has directly contributed to our development and success. The individual rights and freedoms we enjoy encourage individual achievement, which fosters invention, investment and information. Those building blocks contribute to our advancement as individuals, and as a community as a whole."

The genius of our Constitution is that it provides the common man voice in his country's government, while providing representative bodies as moderating influences and practical means of handling numbers in a large population. The blueprint also created three branches of government to divide the power of the central government and provide checks and balances.

We often use the terms liberty and freedom interchangeably. Yet, there is a difference and in that difference is the genesis of our country.

"Liberty refers mainly to ideas of independence, separation and autonomy for an individual or group," David Hackett Fischer said in Liberty and Freedom. "Freedom means the rights of belonging within a community of free people."

In other words, liberty was our right as a people to be free from British rule intent on depriving us of the God-given rights Jefferson expressed in the Declaration. Freedoms were the rights our Constitution guaranteed us as citizens within our government framework.

Yet every day there are Congressional proposals to subvert the aims of our Constitution, to take away individual freedoms, to make the federal government the controller of lives, a gargantuan setter of standards, regulator of activity, limiter of innovation, substitute for individual thinking and action. It is a measure of the complexities of managing the affairs of a large population combined with the lack of rational interpretation of the Constitution's basic principles - not the blueprint's failings - that allow both sides of public policy issues to clutch their copies of the document and proclaim they are right. It is ironic that some of the meetings I have witnessed in which groups pushed for government-set limits on business size, to strip certain people of the rights to own livestock, to oppose free trade or strip other citizens of the right to make company-to-company business agreements, are the ones whose members proudly pull their copy of the U.S. Constitution from their pocket.

I had my copy with me, too, and AFF believes its interpretations of the blueprint, based on principle not desired outcome, on opportunity not guarantee, on freedom not restriction, are the proper interpretation and a guide for long-term prosperity and individual freedom for a people.

The Gazette had one more point - a call to action.

"The magic of the document - which is both its strength and weakness - is that it depends entirely on the people to carry it off." The Constitution created the great nation we have become and " ... we are responsible for maintaining that greatness."

*Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, p. 717.

Email your comments to the author



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 October 2007 )
< Previous
designed by