How many adults, let alone children, know that while state power is plenary (a state can do anything not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution or its own) federal power is limited; the federal government can only do that which is expressly provided for in the Constitution? How many adults, let alone children, know that the founding fathers’ greatest fear was not that which is prohibited by the Bill of Rights (which were amendments; i.e. afterthoughts) but the combination of powers that ought to be separated?

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”(The Federalist Papers : No. 47)

How often has ignorance in these and like matters made us easy marks for demagogues, flim-flam artists, and the just plain dull-witted who would profess to be our leaders, of whatever political stripe?

There is a little-known federal law passed in 2004 requiring every school receiving federal funding to teach the Constitution on Constitution Day (Sept. 17) but obviously this gesture is woefully inadequate to address the chronic ignorance set forth in Josh Hammer’s plea to do better. He calls it a “crisis in civics,” and the surveys he cites should frighten any lover of well-ordered liberty.

We would need to be ever watchful over exactly how it is taught, and carefully monitor the materials used, but we must never assume that our children are not up for it; such an assumption would be a curse upon them. In 1642 the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay passed The Old Deluder Act  providing for public education. It began thus:

“It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures….”

How much evil today has arisen – or will arise – from ignorance of our founding principles –

the same principles that make us unique, and what Lincoln called “the last, best hope of earth?”



Photo by wynpnt (Pixabay)

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