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claudia's Journal: A Message from a father of the Constitution 16

Journal by claudia

The Most Dreaded Enemy of Liberty by James Madison, August 1793

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. . . .

[There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .

[It should be well understood] that the powers proposed to be surrendered [by the Third Congress] to the Executive were those which the Constitution has most jealously appropriated to the Legislature. . . .

The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war . . . the power of raising armies . . .the power of creating offices. . . ..

A delegation of such powers [to the President] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.

The separation of the power of declaring war from that of conducting it, is wisely contrived to exclude the danger of its being declared for the sake of its being conducted. The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them, is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them. The separation of the power of creating offices from that of filling them, is an essential guard against the temptation to create offices for the sake of gratifying favourites or multiplying dependents.
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James Madison was the fourth president of the United States. This is from Letters and Other Writings of James Madison.

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A Message from a father of the Constitution

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  • You don't believe that the US should ever go to war? What about for freedom? Is it wrong to go to war for freedom? Certainly I agree that war is A BAD THING. But we must all do things we don't want to do. If we want to have a land where we can protest the war, that requires someone fight to protect our freedom to speak out against them. Strange, isn't it? Do you know what Switzerland has that we don't have? Guns. The citizens have guns to defend themselves. Like a national militia. Also, what doe
    • I said none of those things. I posted his words because I think they are, after two centuries, highly worthy of a good, long think in this current climate. Maybe in a nice hot bath with a glass of wine.

      If we want to have a land where we can protest the war, that requires someone fight to protect our freedom to speak out against them.

      I'm curious: can you tell me who exactly is encroaching upon my right to speak out? Are we in Iraq to guarantee our First Amendment rights?

      P.S. I love constructive debates

      • I'm curious: can you tell me who exactly is encroaching upon my right to speak out?

        There are more rights we have in the US then just free speech. We expect liberty, and airplanes smashing into buildings seriously retards our ability to do as we please.

        Furthermore, free speech *is* a right that must be fought for continually. People like Saddam hate free speech and do take it away from people.

        Are we in Iraq to guarantee our First Amendment rights?

        Not really, but that is one of the side benefits,

        • My first impression upon reading Jefferson's words regarding war was that it must not be entered into blithely or recklessly. It also reinforced my opinion that war should only be the last resort after all other avenues are fully exhausted (diplomacy and disarmament and the United Nations).

          I supported the first Gulf war because Saddam invaded Kuwait, although I did have misgivings about it. I find this war, however, unpalatable for many reasons (and trust me, this is a difficult stance as my brother may be
          • It also reinforced my opinion that war should only be the last resort after all other avenues are fully exhausted (diplomacy and disarmament and the United Nations).

            In this case, it was a last resort. In fact, it was beyound last resort. Bush worked with the UN for far longer then many believed he should have. But he stuck with the talks until it became clear that France and Russia were unilaterally going to hold their oil contracts above doing what was best to stop terroism.

            Oops, sorry, even if you

    • I'm not quite sure where you're getting this information about Switzerland, but know this: scarcely a person I know in the US doesn't own a firearm. I have a loaded shotgun sitting next to me. My parents have a weapon in the house.

      When I worked for an engineering firm, we kept a gun in the truck.

      Here's some statistics:
      "Canada was in the mid-range of firearms ownership. Nearly 22% of Canadian households possessed at least one firearm. Possession was highest in the United States (48.6%) and lowest in Englan
      • ...I don't own a gun, and likely never will. I don't see the point. I don't hunt. Anything. I get my meat from the store in cellophane, like a good, post-industrial consumer. The only other reason I can see for having one is target practice, which, for me, is like auto racing. A waste of raw materials, and loud.

        So, no guns for me. Not good, nor bad, just don't need 'em.

        And good point about Switzerland and war.

        • I'm quite fond of the things. Them and bats. I'm getting to have a rather nice bat collection. You know, you start putting together a good bat collection and the desire is to really go all out. It starts with a nice carbat. Something you can pull out and assault some other motorist if need be. At this day in age, you can't take personal protection too lightly. There's some deranged motherfuckers in the world. Then you need a homebat too. You can't just shoot some guy who kicks the door in unless he has a gu
      • scarcely a person I know in the US doesn't own a firearm

        In your part of the country, yes. In other parts of the country, no. I don't have a gun. That's my choice. I deliberately made that choice and am happy with it. I probably know only 2 other people out of hundreds around here who have a gun. They deliberately made that choice also. I have no problem with that.

        However, a certain group of people have been trying to ban weapons for years. I am against that. I think that it violates our Constit

        • In your part of the country, yes. In other parts of the country, no. I don't have a gun. That's my choice. I deliberately made that choice and am happy with it. I probably know only 2 other people out of hundreds around here who have a gun. They deliberately made that choice also. I have no problem with that.

          Dude, you live in Minnesota. I live in South Dakota. It's not that much different is it? A nice lever action 30-30 winchester will bring joy and fertility to any house. They're not too accurate beyond
          • You can be anti-war and not be anti-gun.

            You can even be liberal and not be anti-gun, like me. I grew up with the things, my father is a gun dealer (and NRA member). He even makes his own bullets. Guns are an artform (and sport) to him. I also definitely enjoy the occasional shooting at the range or out in the desert (even fired an M16 in Cambodia).

            It's rather perplexing to me that the right tends to think the left wants to take away their guns. Maybe a hard-core contingent does, just as a hard-core right
          • Dude, you live in Minnesota. I live in South Dakota. It's not that much different is it?

            Quite. I live in a suburban community. Suburbs tend to be inhibated be people who's lifestyle does not include guns. If I go an hour out into the rural areas, all of the people I know do have guns. I just don't know many people out there ;)

            -Brent
  • I like seeing stuff like this. Hopefully more people that read this will take it as face value and think about it instead of jumping down your throat as if you were making some firey stand against war from the mountaintops, chaining people to their seats and making them listen to you. :)

    I've challenged my political dogma the last few days because I felt like I was buying into the war too readily. While I agree that it needs to happen, I also don't feel that comfortable about it, for the reasons your frien

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