THE CONSTITUTION -- (House of Representatives - September 23, 2004)
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Paul) is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, the U.S. Constitution is the most unique and best contract ever drawn up between a people and their government throughout history. Though flawed from the beginning, because all men are flawed, it nevertheless has served us well and set an example for the entire world.
Yet no matter how hard the authors tried, the inevitable corrupting influence of power was not thwarted by the Constitution. The notion of separate States and local governments championed by the followers of Jefferson was challenged by the Hamiltonians almost immediately following ratification of the Constitution.
Early on the supporters of strong centralized government promoted central banking, easy credit, protectionism, mercantilism and subsidies for corporate interests.
Although the 19th century generally was kind to the intent of the constitution, namely limiting government power, a major setback occurred with the Civil War and the severe undermining of the principle of sovereign States.
The Civil War will finally change the balance of power in our federalist system, paving the way for centralized big government.
Although the basic principle underlying the constitutional republic we were given was compromised in the post Civil War period, it was not until the 20th century that steady and significant erosion of the Constitution restraints placed on the central government occurred. This erosion adversely affected not only economic and civil liberties but foreign affairs as well.
We now have persistent abuse of the Constitution by the executive, legislative and the judicial branches. Our legislative leaders in Washington demonstrate little concern for the rule of law, liberty and our republican form of government.
Today, the pragmatism of the politicians, as they spend more than $2 trillion annually, create legislative chaos. The vultures consume the carcass of liberty without remorse. On the contrary, we hear politicians brag incessantly about their ability to deliver benefits to their district, thus qualifying themselves for automatic reelection.
The real purpose of the Constitution was the preservation of liberty, but our government ignores this while spending endlessly, taxing and regulating. The complacent electorate who are led to believe their interests and needs are best served by a huge bureaucratic welfare state convince themselves that enormous Federal deficits and destructive inflation can be dealt with on another day.
The answer to the dilemma of unconstitutional government and runaway spending is simple: restore a burning conviction in the hearts and minds of the people that freedom works and government largesse is a fraud. When the people once again regain their confidence in the benefits of liberty and demand it from their elected leaders, Congress will act appropriately.
The response of honorable men and women who represent us should be simply to take their oaths of office seriously, vote accordingly and return our Nation to its proper republican origins. The result would be economic prosperity, greater personal liberty, honest money, abolition of the Internal Revenue Service and a world made more peaceful when we abandon the futile policy of building and policing an American empire. No longer would we yield our sovereignty to international organizations that act outside of the restraints placed on the government by the Constitution.
The Constitution and those who have sworn to uphold it are not perfect, and it is understandable that abuse occurs, but it should not be acceptable. Without meticulous adherence to the principle of the rule of law, minor infractions become commonplace, and the Constitution loses all meaning. Unfortunately, that is where we are today.
The nonsense that the Constitution is a living, flexible document taught as gospel in most public schools must be challenged. The Founders were astute enough to recognize the Constitution was not perfect and wisely permitted amendments to the document, but they correctly made the process tedious and difficult. Without a renewed love for liberty and confidence in its results, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to restore once again the rule of law under the Constitution.
I have heard throughout my life how each upcoming election is the most important election ever and how the very future of our country is at stake. Those fears have always been grossly overstated. The real question is not who will achieve the next partisan victory; the real question is whether or not we will once again accept the clear restraints placed in the power of the national government by the Constitution. Obviously, the jury is still out on this issue. However, what we choose to do about this constitutional crisis is the most important "election" of our times, and the results will determine the kind of society our children will inherit. I believe it is worthwhile for all of us to tirelessly pursue the preservation of the elegant constitution with which we have been so blessed.