The Constitution: Property and Free Markets
The Declaration of Independence acknowledged that each person’s right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” derive in an equal manner from a Creator, not from the government.
The Constitution: Property and Free Markets
Equality and Property
The Declaration of Independence acknowledged that each person’s right to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” derive in an equal manner from a Creator, not from the government. Later, the United States Constitution (the law of the land), 1 under the Fifth Amendment, further defined these elements to life, liberty, and property. The Founders also affirmed that a government of laws for a society of moral and free individuals must be structured to supply protection for such rights under the law equally. More importantly, they recognized a government developed by men for their safety has no inherent right to deny Creator-endowed rights.
Our Constitutional Republic set up protection for people from government abuse. Nevertheless, the founders, by in large, had a fear of overarching democracy 2 as well as monarchies. Thus, the laws allowed by the people, through their duly elected representatives under the Constitution, ensured even protection under the law for each person. 3 Law and regulations should not differ for persons of various talents and abilities. While the struggle for liberty does involve the question of equality, the Founders saw that fairness while keeping freedom shall be the law of the land.
The Constitution and Declaration of Independence recognize that each person deserves equal treatment before the law as our foundation. The core principle, true or “classical liberalism,” is about fundamental liberty restrained by self-imposed mores. Coupled with values and principles, limited laws are consistent with that liberty. The laws are to administer equality toward persons of different abilities and positions in life. Nobody should be above the law, but unfortunately, we have seen many examples of highly placed individuals that have abused the law. Let us not forget the French Revolution, as unrestrained liberty led to anarchy and back to tyranny.
It is important to note a particular fact hidden or scorn by the collectivists. Specifically, when individuals are free, they will by nature perform in various fashions with different results. This positive core fact is the greatest but weaning strength and vitality of the USA. With other results (a positive), people are driven to achieve, which fuels self-reliance and economic growth. The drive to do better or the “work ethic” 4 also creates quality and excellence, which is impossible, as shown by collective experiments. Otherwise, the natural desire to produce and a transparent monetary system consisting of an intrinsically sound currency policy, 5 ensures a thriving economy.
If people lose the drive to a positive (constructive) goal, the system collapses, and a debased currency spawns. This has occurred repeatedly for all the experiments in Utopia from the French Revolution, to the commune known as New Harmony, Indiana (circa 1825), to communism/socialism, and the Neo-Marxism of today.
Sadly, just like New Harmony, we are at the brink of collapse. This is due to the spawning of collectivism, unfettered fiat currency, Leviathan government, debased education, defunding police pogroms, communist leaning DAs, WOKE big businesses, reliance on China to make products, unfettered invasion (so-called migrants), situational ethics, politically correct military, sovereign-phobia, etc.
Realistically, in a positive economic format, most people start at a low wage and work hard to achieve better, knowing the more one works or learns, the higher their rewards. This is a concept that is impossible whenever there are too many controls or excessive redistribution.
One person who saw the early Utopian experiments was John Adams. He first arrived in France on April 1, 1778. The deist French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau died on July 2, 1778, and he believed that all men were equal in every manner. Adams wrote:
“That all men are born to equal rights is true. Every being has a right to his own, as clear, as moral, as sacred, as any other being has but to teach that all men are born with equal powers and faculties, to equal influence in society, to equal property and advantages through life, is as gross a fraud, as glaring an imposition on the credulity of the people, as ever was practiced...”
From copious study and analysis of classical works, the Founders realized that with liberty come dissimilarities between the people concerning material possessions and real estate. Also true is the fact that each person has different talents, abilities, and variations in the influence of each other. There is a significant difference between equality before the law and equality of results. According to this sound philosophy, real liberty is destroyed when wealth redistribution is (taxation and overarching social programs). Any quixotic (make-believe) reality of equality in possessions by compulsion disappears with the establishment of true or positive liberty. Specifically, liberty checked by morals, values, and principles. The antithesis is the copious laws and decrees to try and address every conceivable human condition (the road to tyranny and post-modern serfdom).
Today, we forget that a government made up of imperfect “leaders,” under an “evolving Constitution” has the power to deprive a specific group of its prerogatives to own property, might exert its powers to deny all others of their liberties. That was a reality that the Founders realized, and they insisted on limited governmental power. 6 They provided us with a Constitution that has the instruments to foster a productive society. Thomas Jefferson proved this concept at his First Inaugural by saying “equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion ...” which underscores one of the major principles underlying American government. This principle fulfills the purpose of the law to liberate human beings for the achievement of their Creator endowed potential.
Unfortunately, it is infuriating to witness how our crummy educational system and mainstream establishment programming media have swept these critical building blocks of our society under the rug. Asking most newly minted college “educated” folk about these precepts, we get the deer in the headlights look.
We should be grateful for the extraordinary intellect of the Framers of our Constitution. They saw the truth and integrated it into a document with an acknowledged purpose “to Secure The Blessings Of Liberty” and “to Establish Justice” for themselves and posterity. These comforting words are from the Preamble to the Constitution.
With the above said, one can imagine the anti-USA crowd saying that our founding precept of equality fails because of slavery. So, it is necessary to make a short statement about this issue.
Such an abomination of slavery indeed existed, and it is impossible to justify this “peculiar institution.” Slavery was a “blind spot” in the founding era, just like a peculiar institution of modern times – abortion. While one can debate the position that personhood begins at conception or not, the “choice” mantra is nothing less than the same argument that some had made about slaves – they were considered “less than human.” This same mantra can be the only debased argument for the gruesome anti-medical procedure known as “partial-birth abortion.”
What do abortion and slavery have to do with equality and the Constitution? Plenty, and it is also true, that not all the Founders owned slaves, and many were firmly against it. In the beginning, the Constitution jump-started our nation and paved the way for it the eventual abolition of slavery. Today we have a “blind spot” known as reproductive freedom or “choice” (read abortion). The bottom line, we should not let a blot from the past or the present make us forget the overarching good parts. Also, see Frederick R. Smith Speaks The Sin of Slavery.
“Agriculture manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”
“The enviable condition of the people of the United States is often too much ascribed to the physical advantages of their soil & climate but a just estimate of the happiness of our country will never overlook what belongs to the fertile activity of a free people, and the benign influence of a responsible government.”
The Constitution does not explicitly mention “free enterprise,” but some scholars have written lengthy treatises that claim it is an economic instrument. While this is debatable, the Constitution set up a system of laws to secure individual liberty and freedom to choose a form of income. These essential precepts are in keeping with Creator-endowed natural rights. As a result, free enterprise flourished naturally, as illustrated in the above quotes by Jefferson and Madison. During the forming of the Constitution in 1787, the people enjoyed the rewards of free markets and individual enterprise. Also known as the “work ethic,” an innate drive to do better also secured freedom to prosper.
The Delegates to the Constitutional Convention and others in the new nation understood history. They were well-read and educated in humankind’s struggle against poverty and government oppression. Much of the original writings show that they studied and analyzed the ideas of the great thinkers and philosophers. They were familiar with the historical reality of the near-starvation that the settlers in the early Plymouth Colony experienced when they were under a joint production and distribution system. The original writings from Plymouth showed how all benefited after the agreement that enabled each family to do as it wished with the fruits of their labor. 7
In 1776, Adam Smith from Scotland wrote The Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Smith is known as the father of contemporary economic thought, and his work had come at just the right time and was widely read by the Founders who, along with the people at large, had a passion for individual self-checked liberty. Jefferson showed that this work was among the best of his collection as a precept to form governments based on freedom. The Founders saw a free market economy as the only natural result of their ideal of liberty. Unfortunately, way out of sync with Smith, today we have a cauldron of big business, and big government engaged in a Neo-Marxist cult movement. In a word, WOKE. Also, see Frederick R. Smith’s The Debate on the Constitution.
The Founders envisioned a prosperous Republic (not a pure democracy) of free citizens with minimal interference by the government. They feared the concentration of power and intimidation that planners could use to direct people. Freedom with acceptance of responsibility of the consequences for wrong actions proved to be the positive path. The Founders’ writings show us that they believed American people were deeply rooted in morals, values, and principles. Through these building blocks, people were free to:
Access free markets
Acquire and own property
Acquire goods and services which they desired
Produce what they wanted
Travel and live where they would choose
Work for whom and at what they wanted
To the Founders, such a free market economy was the natural result of true/positive liberty carried out in the economic aspect of society. Their philosophy worked to enhance individual freedom and not restrict or reduce individuals’ right to make financial choices. Individuals were to succeed or fail based on those choices. The economic role of their constitutional republic was to secure rights and encourage commerce. Through the Constitution, they granted the government some minimal powers to:
Assure that the rules were fair (a fixed standard of weights and measures)
Encourage initiative and inventiveness (copyright and patent protection laws)
Enforce free trade (free from interfering special interests)
Protect individuals from the harmful acts of others
Provide a system of sound currency of intrinsic and established value (gold and silver coin)
Some call it the free enterprise system, Madison referred to it as “the benign influence of a responsible government,” and Smith called it “the system of natural liberty.” By whatever name in use, the economic system envisioned by the Founders and encouraged by the Constitution allowed the individual enterprise to flourish. That merged into the most extraordinary economic progress in the history of humankind. Americans became the first people to realize the financial aspect of self-checked liberty.
Today, many scorn “big business” for its oppressive influence on the economy and success at thwarting competition. Neo-Marxist big businesses and a Leviathan government are problematic, and we need to debate these issues honestly. Maybe it is time to invoke a “separation of government and business” policy. Nevertheless, we must never forget this fundamental precept from Smith:
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”
In closing, your author proclaims that the term “American Experiment” is crapola. While there were blemishes such as unequal suffrage and that “peculiar institution” (see Frederick R. Smith Speaks The Sin of Slavery), the foundations were otherwise positive in the early years. It is time to scrap the “experiment” bubble soap as it plays into the hands of the WOKE 8 folk. Finally, Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!
Cogent author and publisher, Frederick R. Smith
It is a sad fact that in our post-modern world, virtually all actions of Congress (both chambers and both parties) are outside the bounds of the limits set forth under the Constitution
The book The Trouble With Democracy shows the issues that abound with the form of the so-called self-government touted by the social engineering luminaries
It is necessary to point out that there are abuses concerning equality under the law as there are many well-known cases where a person with extreme wealth has been able to thwart justice. We must strive for true equality under the law.
In the now post-modern situational ethics ethos, “work ethic” is considered to be a racist construct
As detailed in Frederick R. Smith’s blog post The Debate on the Constitution the largest struggle concerned the balance with too much power by the Federalists vs too little by the Antifederalists
History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650: “All this while no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any. So, they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other thing to go on in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.”
Willfully Ordering the Killing of Entrepreneurship