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Originalist Sin

Every once in a great while an article will say, as the great political philosophers C&C Music Factory once sang, “Things That Make You Go Hmmmm…“Sam Adams to America: “I told you so”, is such an article.

Much of the Conservative conventional wisdom heard today is that Progressive “reforms” have moved our nation away from the original intent of the Founding Fathers as set forth in the Constitution. While there is truth to that, the author, Joel McDurmon, goes back further. However, he goes back not to the Civil War, and Lincoln, as some have, but to the Constitutional Convention itself, which he calls “…the first great advance of tyranny…”

While, on its face, this seems shocking, the Constitution replaced the loose confederation of states under the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution. Sam Adams, and other liberty-minded patriots, feared the loss of state sovereignty to a consolidated (national) government.

One of the elements of the Constitution that these patriots anticipated would lead to tyranny was the Supreme Court. As McDurmon writes, 

“Candidus,” attributed to Samuel Adams, warned that it would “occasion innumerable controversies; as almost every cause (even those originally between citizens of the same State) may be so contrived as to be carried to this federal court.”

So while today we debate the original intent of the Constitution and hope that members of the Supreme Court will follow that same intent, Sam Adams, and other patriots of his time  foresaw the tyranny of national government that is now upon us.

Despite the genius of the Constitution, and the character of the Founders, the Constitution was the sin that put power in the hands of a central government which has taken our sovereignty, thinks nothing of taking our property, and takes our money and later bribes us with it to stay in power.

If Sam Adams were alive today he might well point to the originalist sin and urge not the restoration of the Constitution, but the Articles of Confederation.

Note: HT @tjholthaus for pointer to original article.
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