View Poll Results: What should be done with the Founders' ideas?

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  • We should build upon them, but not completely transform them.

    50 70.42%
  • They need to be fundamentally transformed.

    6 8.45%
  • They're dead. Who cares what they thought?

    7 9.86%
  • Other (please elaborate)

    8 11.27%
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Thread: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

  1. #41
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by 1984 View Post
    I'm not ignoring that fact. I'm well aware that it contains ambiguities, which is why I think we ought to take into account the Founders' views when interpreting said ambiguities.

    However, there ARE parts of the Constitution that are completely unambiguous, but that doesn't stop people from distorting the plain meaning of words.



    I agree. Not sure what that has to do with me, though.



    So long as you accept the fact that your interpretation will be inherently inferior to the one informed by the actual writers of the legal document in question.

    I also find it sad that you consider the opinion of such brilliant and principled individuals "irrelevant". Typical liberal hubris.



    How ironic. You're using the alleged intentions of the Founders to justify your position. I thought they were irrelevant?



    If you don't like being called an ingrate then cease acting like one.



    You're saying the Founders' opinions are irrelevant. The obvious implication of this is to throw said time period into the trash. That's the logical conclusion of your position; sorry if you don't like having your own position thrown back in your face.



    I never said I wanted to give their opinions MORE weight. I just think that they should be given SOME weight, as opposed to none at all, which is what you're suggesting.

    It helps if you actually remember what was said and by whom.



    There's this thing - dunno if you've heard of it - called "the Amendment process". It's a mechanism for change and adaption that was put in the Constitution so as to allow future generations latitude in the governance of their nation. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with it.
    After thinking it over some, I've come to the conclusion that you're partially right. I guess I don't really think the founders' opinions are completely irrelevant. I just think they're a lot LESS relevant than people who are alive.
    If you build a man a fire, he'll be warm for a day.

    If you set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  2. #42
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    Some examples of ambiguity.

    Article I section 8, the infamous "general welfare" clause. ...
    Let's start with this one.

    Madison expected you to say that and disputes your assertion in Federalist 41:

    "It has been urged and echoed, that the power ``to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,'' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. "

  3. #43
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by molten_dragon View Post
    No, but if there were some ambiguity in the contract, then it would be up to a judge today to rule on it, the opinion of the man who drafted the contract would be irrelevant, just as the opinions of the founding fathers on how the documents they wrote should be interpreted are irrelevant.

    I'm not saying we should ignore the constitution, I'm saying that when it comes to interpreting it, the opinions of people alive today matter and the opinions of people who died 200 years ago don't.
    LOL Why would it be irrelevant?

  4. #44
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Let's start with this one.

    Madison expected you to say that and disputes your assertion in Federalist 41:

    "It has been urged and echoed, that the power ``to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,'' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. "
    Who was the other author of the federalist papers and what were his views on the general welfare clause?

  5. #45
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by 1984 View Post
    The Founders are irrelevant! They failed to foresee the advertising leviathan that has emerged and displaced their noble thoughts and profound commentaries. All tremble before the mighty Flo! Destroyer of the Founders and oppressor of humanity!

    YouTube- Progressive Insurance Commercial - Flo Craves Tacos in "Back Up"

    Egad, how will we ever contend with such a mighty force as thee!?
    Well, I applaud your ability to be a superman who is not influenced by these things. You are truly a giant among us mere mortals.

    Really though, I guess until you come back down to reality, there is no point in debating.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 05-15-10 at 06:27 PM.

  6. #46
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Why do the ideas of the founding fathers matter more than the ideas of Americans today? The founding fathers weren't gods. They were human beings. We are no less human than they were, and our ideas of what our country should be matter as much or more than theirs did.

    I don't really understand why some Americans tend to believe that the founding fathers' views mattered more than someone like Abraham Lincoln or FDR or John F. Kennedy.

  7. #47
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    Why do the ideas of the founding fathers matter more than the ideas of Americans today? The founding fathers weren't gods. They were human beings. We are no less human than they were, and our ideas of what our country should be matter as much or more than theirs did.

    I don't really understand why some Americans tend to believe that the founding fathers' views mattered more than someone like Abraham Lincoln or FDR or John F. Kennedy.
    Or every single effing person in this country. After all, it collectively belongs to everyone who is currently alive and is a citizen.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 05-15-10 at 06:44 PM.

  8. #48
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by drz-400 View Post
    Who was the other author of the federalist papers and what were his views on the general welfare clause?
    Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote them. Madison is considered to be the Father of the Constitution and comments on the absurdity of the modern liberals interpretation of the so-called general welfare clause, in Federalist 41, and a portion of which I already quoted. A lengthier passage follows here:

    Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power ``to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,'' amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction. Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms ``to raise money for the general welfare. ''But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter. The objection here is the more extraordinary, as it appears that the language used by the convention is a copy from the articles of Confederation. The objects of the Union among the States, as described in article third, are ``their common defense, security of their liberties, and mutual and general welfare. '' The terms of article eighth are still more identical: ``All charges of war and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury,'' etc. A similar language again occurs in article ninth. Construe either of these articles by the rules which would justify the construction put on the new Constitution, and they vest in the existing Congress a power to legislate in all cases whatsoever. But what would have been thought of that assembly, if, attaching themselves to these general expressions, and disregarding the specifications which ascertain and limit their import, they had exercised an unlimited power of providing for the common defense and general welfare? I appeal to the objectors themselves, whether they would in that case have employed the same reasoning in justification of Congress as they now make use of against the convention. How difficult it is for error to escape its own condemnation!

  9. #49
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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Catz Part Deux View Post
    Why do the ideas of the founding fathers matter more than the ideas of Americans today? The founding fathers weren't gods. They were human beings. We are no less human than they were, and our ideas of what our country should be matter as much or more than theirs did.

    I don't really understand why some Americans tend to believe that the founding fathers' views mattered more than someone like Abraham Lincoln or FDR or John F. Kennedy.
    Because every president, soldier, sailor and airman who has served this country has sworn an obligation to protect it.

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    Re: Our Founding Fathers' Ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    Because every president, soldier, sailor and airman who has served this country has sworn an obligation to protect it.
    They swear to uphold the constitution, not the additional/other writings of the founding fathers. And, the constitution is a fluid document that has been amended over time, as the founding fathers intended.

    Try again.

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