RE: [RLC-Action] "... promote the general welfare, ..."
- Madison did not want the "General Welfare" clause in the Constitution, but Hamilton did.Hamilton won the argument, but only after he convinced Madison that General Welfare wasbroad in nature and only provided an introduction to specifically enumerated government powers. Hope this helps.Mitch
Toby Nixon <toby@...> wrote:
I agree with Thomas. The key point is the modifier "general". The Founding
Fathers had no clue what "welfare" was and certainly weren't referring to
the modern form of government-provided "welfare" by this term in the
preamble or in Article 1 Section 8. They weren't talking about direct
transfer payments to individuals, but to capital infrastructure, services,
and legal structures that benefit society as a whole.
The government "promotes the general welfare" most by helping us to defend
our lives, liberty, and property. The welfare of everyone is promoted by a
stable system of laws and protection of property rights that enables
investment without concern that those investments will be lost to thieves.
The "welfare system" your liberal friend defends is exactly the opposite of
that, since it depends on the violation of property rights to fund it.
I do not buy the argument that welfare payments to the poor do in fact
promote the protection of property rights, by appeasing the masses who would
otherwise revolt and take the property of the rich -- in other words,
welfare payments are a form of protection racket (giving in to extortion).
This presumes the most base characteristics on poor people, and I maintain
that many of the most proud and honest people I know are or were poor. The
fact is that the welfare system has done immense damage to individual
character in this country by creating an entitlement mentality where none
previously existed. And I speak as one who knows, who grew up on AFDC, food
stamps, Medicaid, government surplus food, and housing subsidies, and hated
what that dependency mentality did to my father.
From: RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com] On
Behalf Of Thomas Sewell
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 6:55 PM
Subject: RE: [RLC-Action] "... promote the general welfare, ..."
I'd start with a definition of the adjective General:
So this would apply to things like a canal that affects the vast majority of
people, but not something like cash for poor people because only poor people
would benefit, thus making that an instance of providing for a specific
group's welfare, not the general welfare.
Then move on to discuss how the main part of the constitution that mentions
the general welfare doesn't provide for ANY "rights", it merely enumerates
powers that the Federal government may exercise.
So since these sections define purposes and government powers and not
"rights", how could it indicate any sort of "right to welfare"?
Then there is the extreme example case. What if everyone in the US was poor.
If they all have a "right" to welfare, it's impossible for them all to
exercise that right at the same time. This is not an issue with "true"
rights, like say, freedom of speech.
Of course, government welfare and redistribution of wealth is really just
theft at gunpoint. Why do we call it welfare just because the government
From: RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RLC-Action@yahoogroups.com]On
Behalf Of DGHarrison
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 7:34 PM
Subject: [RLC-Action] "... promote the general welfare, ..."
I am about to embark on a discussion with a flaming liberal who thinks that
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union,
establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to
ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for
the United States of America.
defines the people's right to "welfare" from the Federal government. It's
pointless to try to convince the wacky liberal that started the argument,
but there are about 100 others on the line, and some of them might be led
astray by this jerk, unless I provide an adequate counter point. Does anyone
have a quick argument to toss back at this moron? Maybe a link to a
discussion about it? I've been working to encourage members of the group to
look into the RLC, and they are looking for answers to such word games
played by the Left.
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- Go to the federalist papers. Madison and Jefferson
wrote extensively about how they feared the "general
welfare" clause would be misunderstood,
misrepresented, and misused. I can't remember exactly
who insisted it be in there).
--- DGHarrison <DGHarrison@...> wrote:
> I am about to embark on a discussion with a flaming____________________________________________________
> liberal who thinks that
> We the people of the United States, in order to
> form a more perfect
> union, establish justice, insure domestic
> tranquility, provide for
> the common defense, promote the general welfare,
> and secure the
> blessings of liberty to ourselves and our
> posterity, do ordain and
> establish this Constitution for the United
> States of America.
> defines the people's right to "welfare" from the
> Federal government.
> It's pointless to try to convince the wacky liberal
> that started the
> argument, but there are about 100 others on the
> line, and some of them
> might be led astray by this jerk, unless I provide
> an adequate counter
> point. Does anyone have a quick argument to toss
> back at this moron?
> Maybe a link to a discussion about it? I've been
> working to encourage
> members of the group to look into the RLC, and they
> are looking for
> answers to such word games played by the Left.
> Doug Harrison
Start your day with Yahoo! - make it your home page
Terrence Geoghegan wrote: On another note ... is it really necessary for responders in this group to always leave the entire thread of previous messages in their messages every time?
I agree with you, Terrence, that the fat should be trimmed from messages, especially for the convenience of the folks who get the digest. I try to do that, but sometimes I forget. You will note that I usually snip all but the main point that I am addressing and format a snippet from the original message as a reference, as in the above, which I formatted to set it apart from my own message. I've noticed that sometimes folks just toss out a reply that leaves you wondering to whom or about what he is actually responding. It takes only a little effort to tweak a reply so that your reference is clear and your message is streamlined. Now all I have to do is figure out how to say more with fewer words (although when talking with a liberal, I find that I have to carefully define all my terms so that the bastard can't conveniently take things out of context and twist the meanings of words to suit his own demented purposes).
As for the responses to my original plea for assistance, I can only say I am humbled. Thank you for your willingness to share your thoughts and provide suggestions for reading. I will look at the Federalist Papers to get an education on this and other matters. Since I am homeschooling my children (now ages 2+ and nearly 4) I will need to make myself a Constitutional expert. To this end, I will be acquiring a home library with references such as the Federalist Papers and other important historical documents and history books. If anyone would care to recommend a list of "must have" materials, I'd really appreciate it.
- From: DGHarrison <DGHarrison@...>
> [preamble] ... defines the people's right to "welfare"Some excellent responses offered. I'd put the basic
> from the Federal government.
arguments in four aspects:
1. Original intent [if they respect that], with quotes
from Madison in Federalist 41:
2. Legal construction [if they're lawyers], with the
note of Justice Story that a broad interpretation runs
contrary to the enumerated powers that follow:
3. Common sense [if they have any ;o], with the
distinction between "promoting" conditions that are
beneficial to all (noting equal treatment under law),
rather than *providing* for every need (which must
4. Moral sense [...] that charitable assistance to
those who are innocent victims of misfortune cannot
be coerced, since that destroys any moral value in
I like the last one, for many reasons. The best
way to disarm opponents is to appeal to their values.
Government cannot provide *love* for those in need,
attending to their individual suffering or encouraging
their efforts; it can only take and give according to
the cold strictures of law. Nobody in government can
*care* about individuals.