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  • by jamiemccarthy (664) on 2003.05.15 12:14 (#20139) Journal
    Oh, poor weepy pudge.

    The total population of the United States when that was written was less than half the size of Los Angeles County is now. The Constitution was great, its authors were brilliant, forward-thinking men, astounding foresight, etc.

    But anything has trouble scaling over 200 years. There was huge uproar and griping over Marbury v. Madison but it turned out to be necessary to balance powers. Income tax turned out to be necessary to stabilize the middle class and literally save millions of lives, without plunging the government into debt. Creation of corporations and extending rights like patent/copyright ownership to them, this was a huge departure from the Constitution in the 1880s but ended up fuelling economic expansion in the 20th century. (And causing big problems in the 21st but that's another story.)

    The point is that it's a living document. "General welfare" administration is vital to, again, literally, save millions of lives in the 21st century. You don't like that, back when the entire country could fit into half of L.A., its authors had a different opinion about what the scope of that phrase should be? Tough.

    Grow up and live in the country we have now. In scaling that document to cover 100 times as many people, sometimes we have to go by what the document says, and not the wishful thinking of the people who wrote it. Gee it'd be swell if we lived in your world or Madison's where we could have a nice happy society where a minority was literate and we lived off of slave-picked cotton and indentured servitude. But we don't, we live in a society where universal, compulsory education is necessary. That means stretching the meaning of "general welfare" beyond what Madison intended. It's all perfectly legal and Constitutional and the only disadvantage is that people like you whine about it.

    If you don't like it, maybe on your next cross-country trip you should hold your own little protest by refusing to drive on federally-funded roads. Damn highway system, how dare those big-government bureaucrats in the 1950s build thousands of miles of high-speed freeways and justify it all as "general welfare"! It's outrageous I tell ya! Show us how much you love Madison by sticking to the roads funded exclusively by state and local governments. AAA can make you a map for that right?

    This has been Reality Check, and I am through.

    • Marbury v. Madison is hardly relevant here. What Marshall said is that Congress has implied powers: those powers that are necessary and proper to perform their expressed powers. That is not a blanket "do whatever is in the general welfare" interpretation.

      The point is that it's a living document.

      Feel free to amend the Constitution, if you can. Until then, it is law, and violating it is illegal. Being a "living document" does not mean you can modify the interpretation to fit what you think it SHOULD m
      • I note for the record that your interpretation of the commerce clause to allow the government to build roads and bridges is found nowhere within the Federalist Papers. Read Nos. 12 and 22 for example. Or just look up the commerce clause in the index and read through every mention of it. Every single time, you will find what is discussed is taxes, duties, import taxes, evading import taxes, tariffs, import taxes vs. property taxes, taxes, taxes and taxes.

        It took over a hundred years for our Supreme Cour

        • I note for the record that your interpretation of the commerce clause to allow the government to build roads and bridges is found nowhere within the Federalist Papers.

          You say that as though it has some relevance to your point, or mine. Mine is that things like Medicare are not in any way related to, and therefore not implied by, any of the expressed/enumerated powers granted to Congress, but that the interstate highway system is.

          That Madison never mentioned it has no bearing, because Madison, to my know
    • But anything has trouble scaling over 200 years.

      Liberty scales indefinitely.

      J. David works really hard, has a passion for writing good software, and knows many of the world's best Perl programmers