He notes: In response to the argument that racial discrimination is now permissible because its for a good cause racial balance Justice Thomas pointed out that the Constitution does not waive the rights of the individual because an elite has decided its motives are pure. He noted that advocates of racial preferences in the last century also considered their separate but equally exalted aim (social stability) worth the ignoble means.
I admire Thomas. I always have. It takes character and wisdom to demand the same of yourself as you expect from others. Unfortunately, too many Americans have forgotten that, indeed, The Constitution does not waive the rights of the individual because an elite has decided its motives are pure. And not just on racial balance but on a host of issues.
As the preamble to our Constitution states: We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Note that establish justice comes before the general welfare in the preamble. Unfortunately, many place too much emphasis on promoting the general welfare or, perhaps, what they perceive to be the general welfare, at the expense of justice. Many will disagree with this. They believe that We the people legitimizes waiving the rights of the individual, indeed legitimizes everything government does. Except, of course, when it doesnt.
For example, if you like what the Democrats do, then you may feel that government should redistribute wealth, but that government has no right to launch a war against a brutal dictator. Or, if you like what Republicans do, then you may feel its only right that government cuts taxes, but its loathsome for government to tax and spend.
Ultimately, we cannot know the precise will of the people. Such is the nature of the beast. Yet despite what is generally known concerning that will, government never has the right to harm the individual for whatever the majority thinks is best for the individual.
Government should not, therefore, assume the role of parent to the citizen, doing what it thinks best for the child regardless of what the child wants. Clearly, no one will ever be completely happy with every, or even many, of the decisions our elected officials make, but we all should be concerned when government freely tramples our individual liberties.
Such trampling occurs when government enforces racial balance, forces a government-controlled retirement plan (Social Security) on you, redistributes a portion of your earnings to others, funds pork projects, forcibly takes private property from its owners for urban renewal, financially supports illegal immigrants, sends money to the United Nations, and many other well-meaning but ultimately freedom-suppressing programs.
Roads, military defense, police protection and certain other tasks are legitimate functions of government that benefit all citizens. But the previously mentioned illegitimate activities of government: pork projects, wealth redistribution, racial balance, and all the rest yes, even Social Security do not benefit everybody. Rather, they benefit a few or, in many cases, a very few at the expense of the whole.
Social Security, for example, benefits not everyone but mostly those who live beyond age 65. According to 1996 Disaster Center website death statistics, approximately 197 million people who were of working age but not yet 65 and who therefore contributed to Social Security, died before they reached age 65. Over 109 million of those died between the ages of 55 and 64 so close to a retirement they could have already been enjoying had they invested the money government took from them in Social Security taxes. Where is the benefit to all these millions of people?
Pork spending, as another example, wastes billions of taxpayer dollars on pet projects that almost exclusively exist to help politicians get reelected. Last year, Washington burned away over $13 billion on research of dubious value, grants to organizations that benefit only a tiny minority in a single town of a single state, and other wasteful schemes and causes. Indeed, a taxpayer in any small Georgia community may find himself paying for bridges to nowhere in Alaska.
If the Constitution truly does not waive the rights of the individual because an elite has decided its motives are pure then what do our elected officials in Washington think they are doing?
Apparently, showing they are not as wise as Justice Thomas. For, though the motives may indeed be pure, no personal crusade should infringe upon anothers individual liberty.
Jeff OBryant is an amateur historian and holds two degrees, a bachelors in education and a bachelors with honors in history. He can be contacted at email@example.com. or through his blog, rightnewsandviews.com.
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