Strike a Victory for Federalism: Eliminate the Public Schools

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In an
earlier article
, many of the local benefits to flow from the
elimination of the public schools were outlined. But eliminating
public schooling, an institution not extant at the country's
founding, would have national implications extending well beyond
the boundaries of any one state. Chief beneficiaries would be an
overall strengthening, and rehabilitation, of the American federal
system and an increase in individual liberty.

for Federalism.
Some of us have actually read the U.S. Constitution.
Readers may know the document I mean, the written one, the one containing
the set of behavioral limitations placed upon the created government.
Not the imagined version penned with invisible ink whose words and
meaning are discernible only by elites with special glasses. (Pointedly
many of these elites so-called have either been elected or appointed
and thus have been required by the written Constitution's Article
VI to take an oath u201Cto support this Constitution,u201D meaning,
because of the Framers' deliberate use of the definite article u201Cthis,u201D
the one visibly available to the rest of us.(*)) When reading that
Constitution, we know that the created federal government has no
authority to legislate on any matter dealing with education. On
this point we have Mr. Madison in our corner. u201CThe powers delegated
by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few
and defined [(**)]. Those which are to remain in the State governments
are numerous and indefinite.u201D ~ Federalist #45.

(*) In addition
to Clause 3 of Article VI (the Oath/Affirmation Clause), the phrase
u201Cthis Constitutionu201D appears in 11 other provisions of the
Framers' 1787 document, demonstrating unequivocally that the Framers'
use of the definite article u201Cthisu201D in pointing at the words
of their written document was intentional, not inadvertent.

(**) We know
precisely what those few and defined powers are because they are
listed — in writing — in the document itself. Education is not
on the list.

This understanding
undergirds the 9th and 10th Amendments. u201CYou may go this far, but
no farther.u201D Despite these clear restrictions, we have today a huge
federal superstructure called the U.S. Department of Education(!)
which intrudes not only into K-12 education but also into the collegiate
system. Since no provision in the Constitution authorizes federal
involvement in education (among countless other federal intrusions),
this can only be the result of government officials being unfaithful
to their voluntarily-taken oaths to u201Cthis Constitution,u201D
acting without the consent of the people, compounded by the people's
own failure to appreciate the genius of the American constitutional
system: by restricting governmental power, individual freedoms are

There is nothing
inherently American about a top-down, one-size-fits-all public school
system, a system drawn from the authoritarian Prussian model (promoted
circa 1840s by Horace Mann, a Massachusetts liberal, among
others). Hearthside teaching aka home schools, private tutoring,
and small community-based private schools (with the emphasis on
small) are representative of the American tradition.

The elimination
of the public schools would deprive Congress of the excuse that
it u201Cmustu201D take money from taxpayers in order to support education
by connivingly offering u201Chelpu201D to the several states, provided of
course that those states agree to a few controlling strings. In
short, eliminating the public schools assists Congress by forcing
it to obey the written Constitution. When government is limited,
then ipso facto the people have more freedom. u201CThe course
of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases.u201D
Thomas Jefferson.

That Congress
has strayed from the essence of the Constitution — limiting the
reach and power of the created government — can ultimately be laid
at the feet of the electorate. Not enough of us have demanded that
Congress obey the Constitution because not enough of us know the
Constitution, not a co-incidence since the public schools have gone
out of their way to avoid teaching the country's foundational underpinnings.
It's no surprise then that a sizeable percentage of the population
does not honor our Constitution since appreciating its ingenuity
has been replaced by academically-approved Statism and its worship,
a tactic accelerated under Obama but which began in earnest in the
1930s. Certain constitutional symbolisms may still prevail — congressional
and presidential terms still begin and end on January 3rd and
January 20th respectively; those nominated for federal office still
receive the advice and consent of the Senate; state of the union
addresses are given u201Cfrom time to timeu201D; and so forth — but the
substantive core thesis of the Constitution — its raison d'être,
namely, strictly limiting the reach of the created government —
has been so grossly ignored that the u201Csystem as practicedu201D would
be unrecognizable to the Framers.

Consider the
all-too-typical routine: (i) Congress (whether D or R controlled)
passes a putative u201Clawu201D that has no textual authority, thereby neglecting
its institutional duty to check-and-balance itself and only enact
measures for which there is express constitutional language, with
affirmatively-voting Members disregarding their individually-taken
constitutional oaths to support u201Cthis Constitution.u201D (ii)
The president, failing in his independent check-and-balance duties
to ascertain a law's compliance with the Constitution and unfaithful
to his special constitutional oath, signs that u201Claw.u201D (nb: Both
D and R presidents have been equally guilty.) (iii) That u201Clawu201D when
tested in the federal courts is, surprise, surprise, found to be
u201Cconstitutionalu201D because the judiciary, ducking out on its own independent
check-and-balance duty, relies on a long-practiced, judicially-created
legalistic convenience, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, known as presumption-of-constitutionality,
an artifice which holds that anything and everything done by Congress
is to be presumed by all courts (both federal and state) as constitutional.
[Having the benefit of this presumption is an enormous strategic
advantage: it shifts the burden of proving constitutionality from
the government (the proponent) onto the shoulders of citizen-challengers
who are then burdened to disprove the u201Claw'su201D constitutionality,
a very high legal standard to overcome.] In all other venues of
life, a proposition's proponent bears the burden of proof and persuasion,
but perversely not in the one venue where it really should be mandated
because in the federal law-making venue can be exercised the greatest
measure of control over the greatest number of people. The ObamaCare
u201Clawu201D easily comes to mind, and supporters of this pretense at law-making
have been quick to assert the presumption-of-constitutionality trump
card against the people.

In short, we
have the textual and apparent form of a limited, appropriately checked-and-balanced
government, but not the actual substance which will only occur,
indeed, can only occur, when men and women of honest character,
whose u201Cyesu201D is their u201Cyesu201D and whose u201Cnou201D is their u201Cno,u201D serve,
individuals to whom the letter and spirit of the Article VI oath
to maintaining a government of limited reach is a meaningful undertaking.
To this point Founder John Adams was prescient in assessing the
efficacy of paper handcuffs, u201COur Constitution was made only for
a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government
of any other.”

Today we have
Members who openly acknowledge that they do not read bills before
voting, even apart from performing a thoughtful analysis of a bill's
provisions for compliance with the Constitution, a document to which
they have taken a personal oath to support. Some even openly acknowledge
that most of what Congress does is unconstitutional (see the recent
remarks of Democrat Rep. James Clyburn, SC-6, found here).
Despite these admissions, they're re-elected! Again and again! have
we gone mad? A private employer would never tolerate such behavior
from an agent or an employee, but we the American people do. That
we are in this state of affairs can be blamed in large measure on
the American public school curriculum where an appreciation of the
ingenious American system is neither taught nor admired. We've now
arrived at the point where a sitting Congressman (Democrat Rep.
Phil Hare, IL-17) can openly state (see this recent video here,
at 00:45) that he doesn't care what the Constitution says, a sentiment
obviously held by a majority of Members since Congress continues
to putatively enact u201Clawsu201D in the utter absence of express constitutional
text. The recent health care reform act may be the largest and ugliest
example, but it hardly stands alone. Contrast the Clyburns and Hares
of the world with Davy Crockett (yes, that Davy Crockett), a former
Member of Congress (Tennessee, 1827–1831, 1833–1835),
in an attributed speech, u201CNot Yours To Give,u201D found here.


Where is the
express authority to enact so-called health care reform legislation;
or the authority to give billions in u201Cforeign aidu201D; or the authority
to enact national educational funding and academic standards; or
the authority which enables the executive branch to conduct war/s
without express declarations; and on and on? Obviously no such authority
exists except in the minds of those privy to the Constitution's
invisible ink. To maintain that Congress's authority to do as it
wishes may be found in the Interstate Commerce Clause, or in the
even more nebulous General Welfare Clause, is to say that the Framers
went through their painstaking work of setting forth limitations
on power, with memories of the harsh treatment which British unlimited
government meted out still fresh in their minds, only to learn that
they had written two clauses (ICC; GWC) that swallow and emasculate
the core concept of limitation. With this sort of open-ended reasoning,
nothing is beyond the reach of Congress, Article I, section 8's
enumerated listing be damned.

On this score
there is no middle ground: Either we have limited government, or
we live under its only known alternative, unlimited government.
What should we see as worse: Having Members of Congress who are
ignorant of the Constitution's purposes, or having Members who understand
those limiting purposes but who intentionally undermine them through
blatant disregard? One is dim-witted, the other dishonest. The answer
to this question may be of little moment since the result is the
same: a corrupted government that does not play by the people's
agreed-upon rules for conducting self-government. Want proof? Listen
to the recent words of Democrat Rep. Alcee Hastings, FL-23, member,
House Committee on Rules, u201CWhen the deal [i.e., the process of legislating,
-editor] goes down, all of this talk about rules, we make [th]em
up as we go along.u201D Video found here.

Contrary to
the portrayal by the MSM and the left generally, the current 10th
Amendment and Tea Party movements are not anti-government; rather,
they are anti-corrupt government. Their existence and the
various state proposals to fight the perversion of the Interstate
Commerce Clause through intrastate statutes (for example on gun
matters or health care reform u201Cmandatesu201D) are healthy signs of an
engaged citizenry acting as self-governors. That more and more Americans
are carrying pocket-sized versions of the founding documents is
evidence that a strong sense of independence from government
animates many, and is further evidence that the pathetic efforts
of the public schools to erase the personal responsibility heritage
of our history have not been altogether successful. Could all these
efforts at reviving federalism flourish? Yes, without question,
but only if the people follow through and do what they must: Insist
that their federal and state representatives strictly confine Congress,
binding it, borrowing again from Jefferson, u201Cwith the chains of
the Constitution.u201D Such should be a bedrock principle found in the
2010 campaign literature of every worthwhile candidate.

And lastly,

for Drivers
. Eliminating the public schools means never again
being caught behind a yellow behemoth as it lumbers red lights aflashing,
ever so slowly, from one pick-up / drop-off location to the next.

28, 2010

Paul Galvin
[send him mail] conducts
his legal, tax and business advisory practice for businesses and
tax-exempt organizations in Springfield, Mass.

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