Tag Archives: constitution

Limited Government – Fast Food Style

I’ve eaten at more fast food establishments than I can count. Some are quality and some are not. 

One of my favorites is Chick-Fil-A. Famous for their spelling-impaired cows, Chick-Fil-A has made a name for themselves by selling an amazing number of menu items that feature chicken. You can get it grilled or breaded and fried; patty, strips, or nuggets; on a bun, in a wrap, in a salad, or by itself. They even do chicken for breakfast! Chick-Fil-A basically does one main thing (with a variety of smaller things in the side) and does it well. 

In-N-Out Burger is another favorite of mine. This west coast establishment also has a “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. Where some fast food joints have over twenty combos, In-N-Out has three. (Of course there is also their “not-so-secret secret menu,” but that is just a re-arrangement of existing menu ingredients.) Missing is the bewildering array found at most fast food restaurants – there is a beautiful simplicity to their menu. I’ve watched employees in so many eateries have to look up seldom-ordered menu options. In my own (brief and fruitless) fast food experience, I had to look up things as well. At the well-oiled machine that is In-N-Out, I have never seen an employee bewildered at what something is. Their kitchen is open, so customers can see what is going on inside. A large window in the drive-through ensures that customers there can see in as well. Again, we see an eatery that does one thing, and does it well. 

Both of these culinary delights are quite popular despite not having the bewildering menu array we have come to expect from fast food restaurants. I would assert that the simplicity of their menus is a leading contributor to the quality that customers appreciate in their products. 

Now, contrast that with our government. Over the past century or so, the size and scope of our federal government has grown considerably, as have those of the states. Government is doing for us many things that we ought to be doing for ourselves. As a result, the bureaucratic intrusion in our daily lives has grown crippling to our liberty and the economy. Taxes, permits, fees, regulations, paperwork… the list grows rather than shrinks. 

In an attempt to “straw man” the concerns of conservatives, tea party activists, and others; those on the left have often accused us of wanting no government or even being anti-government. This is not at all what we want. We want what our Constitution mandates: a government limited to a few specific areas. Within those areas, the federal government has tremendous power and authority. Outside those, it has little to none. 

By seeking to do everything and taking authority away from the states, the people, private enterprise, private charity, and private organizations the federal government has bloated itself beyond reason. This is not just an argument against high taxes or high spending. The very fact that the government is trying to do things that is not designed to do, has no constitutional authority to do, and is not effective at doing is causing it to fail at it all. 

I would rather have the “lean machine” government that was both effective and respectful of the Constitution and the people. Eateries such as Chick-Fil-A and In-N-Out Burger are able to focus on quality through their relatively simple menus. The government would do well to learn from their “do one thing, do it well” philosophy. 


Hindenblog asserts that President Obama’s attempts to straw man fans of limited government opens the door for us to talk to others about just what limited government is all about.

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Term Limits Amendment

1. No person shall serve as a Senator for more than two complete terms.
If a person has served an incomplete term it shall be considered a complete term if the period of service were more than three years.  

2. No person shall serve as a Representative for more than six complete terms.
If a person has served an incomplete term it shall be considered a complete term if the period of service were more than one year.  

3. This Article shall not apply to any person serving in either House of Congress during the time that this Article becomes operative so long as that person maintains continuous service in that same House of Congress.  

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Many people (myself included) have long desired term limits as a means to limit the personal greed and power-lust of the members of Congress, as well as the undesired side-effects these have on the American people, our liberty, and the economy. However, getting the Congress to limit their own power voluntarily would be like asking a cat to be kind to mice. They would never voluntarily limit the years of their service. Many current and former members of Congress originally promised to limit themselves to a certain number of terms. Some may have actually intended to do just that. However, few kept that promise.  

The solution, as I see it, is to exempt the sitting members of Congress from such limits. New members of Congress would have their years of service limited by this amendment, but those serving at the time that the amendment is ratified would be exempt so long as they continued to be reelected to that same office. This exemption would cease to apply to any member of Congress who lost a bid for reelection or who decided not to seek reelection. It would also not apply to a member of one House of Congress who decided to run for the other House of Congress.  

I believe that more members of Congress would be willing to vote for term limits if they could exempt themselves from them. In addition, more might vote for this amendment since new members would be subject to limits. This would benefit the exempt members in the seniority-based system. Since many people have called for term limits for some time, they could easily accomplish a popular measure without affecting themselves personally.  

Some have called for the repeal of the 17th Amendment. In the unlikely event that this occurs, I believe this amendment will be unaffected as currently worded since the text simply refers to service, not the manner of election to the Senate.  

I realize that some people will view this as a flawed means of getting term limits, especially with the increase of power for the exempt members. However, I see this as the only practical way to accomplish that. I believe that the goal of term limits is important enough to accept this trade-off. The exempt incumbents will eventually retire or lose a reelection bid. Their successor would then be bound by term limits.  


Other relevant posts of mine:

Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

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Questions We Should Ask About a Constitutional Convention

Updated 3/30/2010, 4/22/2010, 4/24/2010

Article V of the U.S. Constitution states that an amendment to the US Constitution may be proposed by the Congress or by a Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Such a convention is called by Congress after two-thirds of the states petition them to call it. A Convention has never been called, as the threat of calling for one is often sufficient to force Congress to propose the desired amendment.

There have been some who have said that we need to call a Constitutional Convention to bring forth term limits, protect some right, or pursue some other worthy cause via Constitutional amendment. Of course, others have wondered if such a convention would choose to disregard our current Constitution and forge a new one, as the first Constitutional Convention did.  One then has to wonder what such a new Constitution would say.  However, all the speculation that I have heard ended there. 

Let us ask a few further questions:

Would the proceedings be open to public viewing or scrutiny?

Would the proceedings be in secret?

If such a new Constitution were produced, what means would be set to ratify it?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution nullify the old one, even if the new one were rejected?

Would the drafting of a new Constitution dissolve the union?

What about a new Constitution that was not ratified:
     How long would the possibility of ratification remain?
     Again, would the old Constitution be nullified or the union dissolved?

What about a new Constitution that was ratified:
     Would a state that refused to ratify be bound by the new Constitution?
     Would they be out of the union?
     Would they be forced to obey a Constitution that they rejected?

Before dismissing any of this as idle speculation or stupid questions, let’s remember that we are in uncharted territory here. Anything could happen at a Constitutional Convention.

These questions and others need to be considered before an action as drastic as a Constitutional Convention is considered.

Personally, I hope it never comes to that.


3/30/2010
I am not opposed to the idea of calling a convention in theory.
However. I am still not completely sold on the necessity of the idea. Also, I am still not sure that the outcome would be beneficial to the cause of limited government.

Satellite radio talker Mike Church is a major proponent of the Article V Convention and has planned a conference to discuss the issue on April 9, 2010. Linked article includes a summary of proposed amendments.


4/22/2010
Mike Church has made available the audio from the town hall conference on April 9, 2010.

Here it is.

I have listened to the audio. They have answered some of the questions that I have asked above.

I am not completely sold yet, but am more in favor of the idea than I was.


4/24/2010
I do believe that we need to amend the Constitution to safeguard our liberties, though. If things keep going the way they are, I should reach 100% support of this idea soon.


Other relevant posts of mine:

Term Limits Amendment


For more info:
Article 5 of the Constitution
Convention to propose amendments
State ratifying conventions
Forbes.com A Bill Of Federalism by Randy E. Barnett – proposed amendments

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1787 US Constitution Flag

1787 Constitution Flag

1787 Constitution Flag

The Flag of the Alamo, also known as the 1824 Flag is believed to be the one that flew over the Alamo during the battle there.  The date 1824 references the Mexican Constitution of 1824, which the government under President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was not honoring.

 

The 1787 flag is a variation on the Unites States flag, with the date 1787 added, referencing the date of the adoption of the US constitution.  (Note: The U.S. Constitution was not finally ratified until 1788.)

Now, I have to say that by referencing the Alamo, I am certainly not advocating any kind of violence or revolution.  I designed this flag to represent my support for The United States Constitution and my desire that all elected officials would truly seek to honor and obey it.

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gun control quotes

“Gun control? It’s the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I’m a bad guy, I’m always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I’ll pull the trigger. We’ll see who wins.”
Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, mafia hit man and informant, in Vanity Fair, August 1999.

Der größte Unsinn, den man in den besetzen Ostgebieten machen könnte, sei der, den unterworfenen Völkern Waffen zu geben. Die Geschichte lehre, daß alle Herrenvölker untergegangen seien, nachdem sie den von ihnen unterworfenen Volkern Waffen bewilligt hatten.
[The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to permit the conquered Eastern peoples to have arms. History teaches that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by doing so.]
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), April 11, 1942, quoted in Hitlers Tischegesprache Im Fuhrerhauptquartier 1941-1942. [Hitler’s Table-Talk at the Fuhrer’s Headquarters 1941-1942], Dr. Henry Picker, ed. (Athenaum-Verlag, Bonn, 1951)

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights.

“The great object is that every man be armed . . . Everyone who is able may have a gun.”
Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Convention on the ratification of the Constitution.

“The advantage of being armed . . . the Americans possess over the people of all other nations . . . Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several Kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”
James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, in his Federalist Paper No. 46.

“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”
Sigmund Freud, General Introduction to Psychoanalysis

Here’s my credo: There are no good guns, There are no bad guns. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a good man is no threat to anyone, except bad people.
Charlton Heston, actor and President of the NRA

No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thomas Jefferson Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence, and Third President of the United States

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H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill) Is Unconstitutional Ex Post Facto Law.

 “Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day of Y1.”    – excerpt from H.R. 3200 (the healthcare bill)

Correct me if I’m reading this wrong, but doesn’t that back date the law’s effectiveness to January 1, 2009?  Let’s say I took out a policy on February 1, 2009. If this bill becomes law, would it render my policy illegal?

“No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” – U.S. Constitution: Article 1, Section 9.  An ex post facto law is a retroactive law, that is, one that makes something illegal before the law was passed.

Could someone explain to me how this is not an unconstitutional ex post facto law? If my reading of the bill is correct, it would render any policy made on or after January 1, 2009 null and void after the fact.

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