A new Bill of Rights
By Bruce Walker
When our countrymen decided to end the loose and weak government of the Articles of Confederation and to replace it with the more robust federal system created by our Constitution, there were strong reservations held by many thoughtful citizens. Americans understood that strong governments had a tendency, over time, to squeeze individual liberty and the rights of sovereign states – always in pursuit of some great good.
Those former colonials who fought and bled to end the rule of distant Britain had no wish to surrender power to another big bully. Many Americans, often treated as witless buffoons by historians, were anti-Federalists. The Constitution had many foes, including famous patriots like Patrick Henry. The anti-Federalist Papers show the same knowledge of history, the same concern for ordered liberty, and the same love of this new nation as the more famous authors of the Federalist Papers.
Some ambivalent Americans supported the adoption of the Constitution, but only conditionally. Thomas Jefferson believed that a Bill of Rights was essential to the new Constitution. As a consequence of this qualified support, our Constitution was adopted with the understanding that the Bill of Rights would very quickly be adopted. So while the Constitution was ratified by the required nine states on March 4, 1789, the Bill of Rights was not ratified until December 15, 1791. Two the twelve amendments proposed in the Bill of Rights were not ratified.
America is simmering today. Confidence in government, which really means Washington, is at a fifty year low. Tea Party events are spontaneously demonstrations of the sense of betrayal which millions of Americans feel about the federal government and the huge number of accretions which are dependent upon federal power smothering our freedoms. What we need today is something concrete to demand from our elected officials. What we need today is a new Bill of Rights, to do what was intended in 1791: strictly limit the power of the federal government over our lives and to assert those values for which so many brave men have died.
The beauty of a defined set of specific amendments called the "New Bill of Rights" is that citizens may pose to every senator, every congressman, and every member of each state legislature the question: "Do you support the New Bill of Rights?"
Because the ratification of these amendments require the approval of state legislatures, every elected legislator in America has a vote in this process.
How should these amendments read? Simple, brief, and direct: Maybe like this:
The thrust of these amendments should be the devolution of power away from Washington and to the people. Move the House of Representatives back to the people in districts so small that no incumbent is safe. Move the capital close to the center of the nation. Left states secede, if federal oppression grows too great. Restore those ideas which we once all grasped: America is not a secular state, even if it is tolerant. English is our language and people who have not learned to read in English should not vote. The purpose of government is just what the Declaration of Independence said it was, to preserve "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Bruce Walker is the author of two books: Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie and The Swastika against the Cross: The Nazi War on Christianity.