I believe your understanding of the founding documents and the history of this country is proportional to your despair, discontent and anger at what you see happening today.
The Nation’s 2010 Report Card for Civics show only 12% of 12th graders are proficient at a 12th grade level.
To give you an idea of how students scored in science let me just say, chemistry.com is a dating site.
It’s much easier to manipulate a populace when they don’t know they are being manipulated. Can a society protect something if they don’t know what that something is.
The founders understood this and you can find many quotes where they emphasized how important it was for the society to be informed. Government by the people can only succeed when we completely understand the issues and what is at stake. It is no accident that much of our history is no longer in text books or being taught. The progressive movement started in academia and now monopolizes our educational institutions.
The Federalist Papers are recognized as some of the “greatest political writings in American history”, yet few people have read them and I venture to say according to the latest national report card few even know what they are.
When the Constitution was being proposed it faced a great deal of opposition.
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Joy Jay wrote 85 essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. The three men published their essays under the shared pseudonym “Publius.” These are The Federalist Papers and thereby make the argument for the Constitution.
Just as the Constitution is amazing so are The Federalist Papers. Contained in the work are examples of not only why the Constitution would work for all but reasoning as to how that government should work and why. It’s astonishing just how much was foreseen.
With the size and complexity of the bills it’s no accident you feel detached from your government. The less you understand the more they can get away with. Congressmen even joke about, “you expect us to read this” and seriously report that we’ll know what’s in the bill after it’s passed. Unbelievable but foreseen by the founders.
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?
What Madison was saying was that the common man should be able to read and understand the law. He went on to say that if this wasn’t the case not only would the citizenry become detached but commerce would suffer as well as the respect for the government.
With that in mind consider:
2409 pages Obamacare
1073 Pages. A stimulus bill
2010 tax code is 71,684 pages in length
It was 16,845 pages in Y2006 (now there’s some growth for ya)
The Growing Complexity of the U.S. Federal Tax Code (Political Calculations)
The authors of the Federalist papers also had a greater plan in mind. According to Federalist 1:
It has been frequently remarked, that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not, of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend, for their political constitutions, on accident and force.
That’s a big deal… Whether we can govern ourselves or be governed by force, such as a monarchy or some other form of tyranny. We must stay informed!
You can download free the Federalist Papers here (Gutenberg.org)
If you find the early English that was used at that time a bit hard to digest then you should check out “The Original Argument”, a book that Glenn Beck has put out.
The book was inspired by a young graduate student, Joshua Charles, who originally drafted this idea and writes a ten page preface.
The Original Argument: The Federalists’ Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century
An interpretation of The Federalist Papers where Glenn updates a wide selection of them into modern English for modern readers.
I’m spending more time listening these days so for those of you into audiobooks here’s a great price deal at Amazon: