The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States contains several action verbs which give it life, vigor, and meaning. It reads "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 ,,," Those verbs, "form", "establish", "insure", "provide", "promote", and "secure'; are they throw-away words or is the People giving the Federal government direction to do something? If so what? If not, why put them in there in the first place?
More importantly does it matter hundreds of years later?
Why shouldn't it matter. If doesn't matter, then wouldn't it also be true there is no purpose left for a federal gov't and it should simply dissolve and let the States have at each other as they were doing when the Constitution was created?
My take is as people who have the benefit of hundreds of years of scientific and political development we are far more qualified to decide what the country needs in the modern age.
The constitution is based on that which never changes: Human Nature.
Human Nature needs to be immersed in freedom in order to express
self-reliance through independence. Watch any two year old. Even at that age the child will proclaim,
"I want to do it myself."
Yes based on the tremendous psychological knowledge we had hundreds of years ago right?
If you want to know what human nature is maybe try an actual expert in it? I recommend B.F. Skinner.
...and what does B.F. Skinner know that is not shown throughout the vastness of time and human existence?
B.F. Skinner was a nut that placed human consciousness little higher than that of an amoeba. Skinner believed that humans did not exhibit the ability to freely choose anything. That everything they did was precipitated by what they thought the reaction would be to their action. Does anybody actually believe that drivel?
In reality, Skinner was a scared little mouse that wanted to make sure no one overachieved and left him behind. If we're talking about evolution in human thought, America's Founding Fathers were leaps and bounds more advanced than Skinner.
Choose someone who actually can form a reasonable theory.
Back to slugs are we, lol, although they are a little more advanced than amoebi
Sounds like an educated response from a trained professional in the field... wait you aren't one? Yeah.
Skinner happens to be the most influential and respected behaviorist in history.
On the other hand none of the founding fathers had any training in psychiatry or psychology. Not to mention the opinions of liberty from slave owners are less than a joke.
Skinner is the perfect example of "you can fool some of the people all of the time." For those individuals that are frightened of their own shadows and seek to live in a tightly controlled society where Big Brother thinks for them - yes, Skinner rises to status of cult leader.
It has long been said that Skinner, who set out to be a writer but failed, developed his nutty theories in retaliation against Christianity. Now, I'm an atheist, too, but I don't find it necessary to attack those who are faithful - just because we believe different things.
Read some of Noam Chompsky's stuff on Skinner. That should open your eyes.
When I want an analysis of psychological science a linguist (Chomsky) is definitely the guy to go to, that's why when I have a medical issue I go see my local carpenter.
The attack against Christianity stuff is just baseless nonsense, and as for "tried to be a writer" the guy sold over a million books... Seems he did OK to me.
I love that you cite Chomsky however given how far to the left he is.
Also note Skinner was just a suggested example, pretty much any behavioral scientist of note will do.
Just not slave owners views on tyranny and freedom, that level of hypocrisy deserves a medal but not emulation.
True, Chomsky is a linguist ... among other things. He had, has, and is having major influence as well on artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science, logic, mathematics, music theory and analysis, political science, programming language theory and psychology.
Can't say I buy off on his ideas of anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism however; they seem very impractical to me.
Amen! Skinner was a hack whose theories have been examined and discredited. If you want to train a chicken to shoot basketballs they work. If you are dealing with humans they are damn near useless.
If by discredited you mean widely accepted and used sure.
The Skinner box theory for example is the main component in game and film making today. Several directors use it constantly to make ridiculous amounts of money, notably J.J. Abrams.
The army uses operant conditioning
Teachers (as you mentioned are taught Skinner theory)
Stock market traders and programs use Skinner theory
SO just for starters, entertainment, the military, Education and Economics use Skinner theory daily...
I don't think Skinner is any more discredited than Freud, Jung, Maslow, or most anyone else that made a name for themselves in their field. Some of each scientist's theories have been accepted, some refuted, and some improved upon with further research. Such is the life of a scientist.
Unfortunately people with no knowledge on the topic will completely ignore the science in favor of some political or historic figure they like. Such is the state of scientific endeavor and knowledge among conservatives, a group so scientifically retrograde that more than half of Republicans don't believe in the theory of evolution.
Josak, this is real rich. You clearly FABRICATE FACTS and then say that conservatives are not interested in analytical science. How is fabrication of facts scientific? Get real.
Your inability to admit you are wrong is astounding! I provided the source document and additional proof, and you still can't accept it? Please provide proof that Sam Garret was a "gopher" or that he was involved in any way with the Hungerford study. You are merely making up facts!
Again, here is the source document that proves you are CLEARLY wrong:
Let's see a source, not the typical spin, rhetoric, or "logic." Skip the snide sidestep and provide proof. Prove that Sam Garret was involved in the Hungerford study. Let's see some quantifiable proof. If you are so interested in being accurate and scientific, let's see a source that confirms Sam Garret's involvement in the Hungerford study, not just the CRS.
Honestly, this is a small issue, but your inability to admit that you made up facts has made me pursue the truth. Either come clean or provide proof.
W H E R E I S Y O U R P R O O F ?
L E T ' S S E E A S O U R C E ! ! !
Still waiting for that proof. . .
Let's see a source.
You disappear each time we debate, and you don't want to answer a question. I wonder if it's convenient or coincidence.
I see the words as meaning to provide a vehicle to establish a living, adapting form of self government. I read an article years ago where a hypothetical question was posed to Benjamin Franklin. Living in modern time what would Franklins impression be on how the Constitution weathered the test of time. Franklin responded that he was amazed that the union was still intact with such a rigid, unyielding bridle on freedom and evolving government in this country. In other words it was supposed to be a living breathing ideal that would evolve with the people. Instead it has become an industry of lawyers and rules that create more work for themselves and assuring longevity of their industry.
In other words... the hypothetical Franklin response was someone else's response - formed by their impression of the purpose of the Constitution, yet framed as something Franklin would say.
Just as Franklin was supposedly amazed, I too am amazed. Amazed that you would offer this as anything other than what it is. Just someone's, other than Ben Frankin, opinion of the applicability of the Constitution to modern times.
Claiming to be channeling Ben Franklin is a bit too much of a stretch for me.
Yes to all of what you say! It was intended to express what another's study of Franklins writings and works could be interpreted as. I thought this forum was designed to express one's own thoughts and deductions from what they have learned, heard and felt in their life's experience. I thought I made it clear that it was not a quote (as no quotation marks surrounded any of the text) but an observation of what another thought what would be an observation of Franklin. I also concur with the author of this observation because of Franklins own disfavor of the Constitution. Franklin was quoted as saying addressing the Continental Congress :
"In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no form of government, but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered; and believe further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other."
How far along that "corruption" spectrum do you think we are?
hmm... I believe I have been trumped! Good choice of quotes to reinforce your point.
After all being said and done I think we lack the ability to self rule as despotism has entrenched itself very firmly in the American political system. I also think that it is a blessing in disguise as what alteration to the Constitution would any of us trust Congress to make let alone an impartial President to sign?
It really is a shame how the whole American experiment has developed.
Not all is lost, Rhamson. Just consider the cycle of American political history, it is a very long cycle, but there is one and sooner or later it cycles to the side of the fence you stand on.
A. Prior to the Constitution it stood four-square with those, to keep things simple, 1) believed States should be supreme to the central gov't, 2) only the aristocrats and property owners have enough common sense to vote, and 3) civil rights only applied to white males of means and, to some degree, white males of little means/freed slaves.
B. With the Constitution came a short era where the first point changed to the central gov't having supremacy over the States with those action verbs having meaning, but the States still having a strong voice. The second and third points remained the same.
C. With President Thomas Jefferson's administration, the first point reversed back into its original form and the other two remained the same.
D. With President Andrew Jackson's administration, point two was expanded to include all white males. While States still had supremacy, Jackson did have to exert Federal authority and troops once, but that ultimately led to the expulsion of Native Americans out of Georgian and the infamous "Trail of Tears" and hundreds or thousands of dead Native Americans.
E. With President Lincoln points 1, 2, and 3 were briefly changed with the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments which technically freed the slaves and gave them the right to vote, once again asserting Federal power.
F. With President Johnson's administration the Supreme Court and later Congresses began nullifying the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments so that by 1875, virtually all of the gains in civil rights and suffrage from Lincolns era had been lost.
G. During President Wilson's administration, enough pressure was brought to bear to embarrass him into supporting the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote finally giving all segments of American the theoretical right to vote, but not necessarily the effective right to vote, that came later. Point 3 was expanded as well because expanded civil rights for women came along with the package.
H. Besides 1789, when the Constitution was ratified, 1933 was the next long-term change in American political history with FDR's reaction to the Great Depression and the 23 horrific recessions and depressions that led up to it. The Federal gov't reasserted its supremacy, and retained it; the gov't adopted a new economic theory which lasted in 2000; the Jim Crow Supreme Court lost its majority and the civil rights movement gained a partner rather than have an opponent - this continued until Rehnquist Court in the 1980s.
I. President Eisenhower expands civil rights to blacks by using federal troops, for the first time in American history, to enforce a Supreme Court decision forcing the integration of an Arkansas public school.
J. President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the last implementing laws to enforce the provisions of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments from the 1860s,
K. During the Reagan administration, changes in federal laws begin to move America back to the economic system in place prior to 1933 and the Rehnquist Court begins the process of chipping away at the gains in civil rights and the supremacy of the Federal gov't over the State gov't
L. By 2006, Congress has changed laws governing the financial system to reflect those in place prior to 1929. In 2008, there was the Great Recession of 2008.
M. The Robert's Court effectively sets aside the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Between 1980 and 2014, blacks and women have lost many civil and for blacks, effective voting rights gained between 1933 and 1980.
Just thought you would like to know.
Thank you for your input as many have forgotten the storied history of our country. I know there have been much more dire situations before but they were different generations and somehow I feel a little more involved. As voting polls suggest there has been a steady decline of those exercising their right to vote with the exception of the past two. Obama was able to get the vote out and also the anti vote against him. I don't know if the same thing will ring true with Hillary but we shall see. I can confidently predict it will be one of the most expensive election cycles we have ever seen. Is that a good thing? Who is paying for it? I also think the media will carry on with its circus like atmosphere exploiting every nuance and inflection they possibly can to sell copy. I hope you are right and we can see beyond the lies and skewed reporting to find someone who will exercise the spirit of what self rule really means and not the greedy self absorbed leadership we have seen the last couple of decades.
Oh my, I could not possibly disagree more. And on such a broad subjective point, there is little worth in saying more than - I feel the positives of the "American experiment" far outweigh the negatives.
Which do you disagree with, GA, my history?
Greetings My Esoteric,
I guess I should look back to find your "history" post, but my response was to the quoted comment by rhamsom, so I'll let you look back instead to see his(?) comments leading to my response.
Well thank you for your optimism. The more I see of the corruption and dirty politicking I have little hope as every election puts more of the same element in charge time after time. The problem exists because we allow it to exist. As I talk to people I also see an unmovable attitude that has a closed mind when discussing any compromise or common ground. I say good for you and keep a hopeful thought for us all.
While the scale of the "money effect" has become substantially more outrageous than in our early history elections - the other corrupting influences that disgust us all in today's politics have actually gotten slightly better.
Dig into the history of dirty tricks and "politicking" of the 1890s and early 1900s elections and you will be able to appreciate the positive changes our election process has achieved. As bad and corrupt as most of us think our current system is - it is better than it was. At least now, the worst of the worst try to hide their actions. Unlike, say the 1930s Chicago politics where a politician's level of corruption was almost his badge of, of, well certainly not honor, but I think that is how some of them thought of it.
For all the criticism it receives, (and deserves), and I have voiced my fair share too, our elections seem to be more honest than ever. Unfortunately, it can probably be said that too many of our politicians are also as corrupt as ever.
So, the answer is YES, they are there to give the federal government a viable purpose.
1. to form what?
2. establish what?
3. insure what?
4. provide what?
5. promote what?
6. secure what?
1. a more perfect union... of individual states.
2. justice…through law and order as established by the justice system, including the checks and balances incorporated into our system of government.
3. domestic tranquility…peace for the lives of the individual citizens and their families.
4. common defense...through the power to wage war against enemies
5. general welfare…(not "Welfare.")
6. blessings of liberty…freedom (as opposed to tyranny) is always the goal of a democratic system of government.
1. A more perfect union of many indiviuals state, are not like living beings seeking unity and are unable to establish a union by design concept and purpose in the constitution.
2.The justice system in The United States must be altered or abolish. Checks in balances are needed to be incorporated to prevent justice from becoming too expensive for individual citizens
3.Domestic Tranquility (reality tv, )
4.Who should have the power and money to wage war, the government, the states, or the people?
5.General welfare providered by the federal government to the state governments so the states can provide general welfare to the county government so the county governments can provide for the local governments is The General Welfare. Farm, business and corporate welfare is also general welfare.
6. The pursuit of life Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, opposing tyranny by government or private sector and commerce to reap the blessing of life liberity
- maintaining a sense of morality will help our nation. What shall the morals be based on?
Common sense, common courtesy, common kindness, empathy, In time we may get on the same page.
(But how long will the wealthy/powerful endure/promote the suffering of the masses?
How long will they enjoy guilt-free sleep?)
The welfare is capitalized. In fact, each object of its associated verb is capitalized, except defense. Why is that?
Oh, no doubt, that is a very interesting and significant detail! Because defense is a very insignificant and un-interesting feature of maintaining an insignificant and " worthless slug" of a nation.
Hey, don't blame me, I didn't write it, they did. They chose to write common defense and general Welfare, not me. What do you suppose these very careful wordsmiths point was?
The viable purpose of government is to take care of its constituents and treat them like the worthless slugs that they truly are. I mean they don't even have shells on their backs!
...we are talking about gardens are we not?
I'll take a snail over a slug any day.
However, have you ever come across a banana slug? They are like tongues: Very hard and tough. You can't smash them.
...so maybe some slugs are not so worthless.
In education, one must study Skinner. In history, one must study Franklin. Having studied both, I'd choose Franklin over Skinner when it comes to forming a government.
Would anybody, other than Josak, favor Skinner over Franklin for this purpose? If so, I'd love to hear your reasoning.
Using a historian in a study of psychological science *facepalm*.
Though Franklin was a leftist so fine if you want.
No, she said she would prefer Franklin, a historian, over Skinner, a psychologist regarding matters pertaining to the formation of a workable government. We have a long history of successes and failures of various types of governments throughout the world, which we cannot afford to ignore.
Then that was not the correct question since the point on Skinner was specifically a question on "human nature" for what makes a good government you would want a sociologist, still not a historian.
Though really if you want to design a government system you need an economist, a sociologist, a psychologist etc. all of those disciplines study areas of history to understand their significance to their relevant fields.
Franklin was a leftist? He would be more conservative than I am. You're stretching for a rebuttal.
I still don't see anybody choosing Skinner over Franklin.
Umm this would be embarrassing if we are referencing different Franklin's.
You don't mean head of Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association Franklin who wrote "From slavery to Freedom" My mistake then, please give the full name.
AH correctness by consensus. The truth is given the question was on "human nature" Skinner is the only eligible candidate thus far by virtue of being the only psychologist/sociologist, you know the actual relevant specialties.
D\o you visit your carpenter with medical issues?
"D\o [sic] you visit your carpenter with medical issues?"
Under Obamacare, I won't be able to keep my own doctor without paying a significant premium, so. . .
You've used the "correctness by consensus" argument before. Didn't you use the same argument about President Obama and the election?
I still don't see anybody choosing Skinner over Benjamin Franklin.
Well, Josak, since we're pitting Skinner against Founders, I should think the Franklin in question would be obvious.
The biggest difference betwixt the two - imho - is that Franklin was revolutionary, who dedicated his life to inventing items of benefit to society and insisting that liberty was the most important factor human society, whereas, Skinner invented a glass box that he left his toddler in and discouraged personal freedoms in favor of state control.
Franklin - a revolutionary thinking.
Skinner - a devolutionary thinker.
There's really no contest. Skinner was never in the running.
That was so wrong... I don't even.
OK to begin with the box he put his toddler in was not really an invention it's just a replica of a hospital incubator.
Second the Skinner box is a different thing (probably what you are referring to)
Third the fact that you only know of that development by Skinner proves how inadequate your knowledge on the subject is.
Benjamin Franklin was a great guy, and quite the inventor, however he had no training or expertise in psychology so is obviously inadequate for the role of determining "human nature". Any psychologist would be better.
Martin Luther King was a great guy, I would not suggest he design a skyscraper, it's just not his field and suggesting he should is beyond ridiculous.
Though if we were going for founding fathers I am happy with that as long as I get to choose the founding father
Now, what would make you think that I would be talking about anything other than the box Skinner put his child in, when I specifically said, "Skinner invented a glass box that he left his toddler in?" The box wasn't a glorified hospital incubator, by the way, which only shows how very little you actually know about Skinner. He kept his daughter in that box for 2.5 years and here is an article he published in Ladies Home Journal after she'd been in the box for 11 months:
http://web.archive.org/web/200406031429 … page_8.htm
Note how he addresses his daughter in the same terms as one would address a lab rat experiment.
You've shown that you know nothing about Skinner - you just looked up behavioral researchers and his name popped up.
B Franklin was also a philosopher -but I don't know why I waste my time trying to educate someone with so little knowledge on that about which he argues. He published on the study of the human psyche - another thing you did not know, obviously.
For you to say he had no expertise in psychology is ludicrous, since he was among the first Americans to study human behavior and how it related to society.
Your comment on MLK is fine, but you fail to understand that B Franklin had much more experience in political society than Skinner could ever hope to have. Perhaps you should consider that before you promote a controversial behaviorist's opinion over the opinions of those who studied, debated and compromised to bring the most liberating form of self-rule that had existed in that time - and up until about 30 years ago - when liberals started chipping away at those freedoms.
Ben Franklin was a liberal, a son of the Enlightenment. So were such personages as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington, James Madison.
Some who were weren't and probably more conservative than you EA were John C Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, maybe Patrick Henry and John Hancock.
That's true, but those men were "liberal" in the sense that they refused to accept the restrictive status quo of Britain. As decades passed after the Revolution, the ideas of those same men became ingrained the psyche of the nation. At that point - those solid and proven ideas became the conservative norm. Those who therefore seek to upset that applecart are now the liberals.
Funny how history and life works out that way.
The real test is which Party each would join if they were alive today. My bet is that it would be the Democratic Party for one simple reason ... each that I labeled as Liberal believed in an evolving Constitution, not a static one; hell, Jefferson wanted an actual revolution with a new Constitution every generation at one time; fortunately he softened this view by the time he became President and accepted an election every four years to be revolution enough.
Those that I labeled Conservative didn't really want the Constitution in the first place.
One could also argue that Jefferson distrusted government encroachment upon freedom so much that he advocated revolution. That's could easily be considered a conservative value.
I really don't know that the Founders would join either party. If they did - I suspect they would go in both directions, but I would put more in the GOP than in the Democratic Party. Many seemed to lean toward what we today see as Libertarian.
As Education Answer points out - Jefferson (and this backs up your statement about his constitutional leanings), was intent on not allowing the govt. to gain too much power. Today, that translates into conservatism that objects to big-brother governing, or - the GOP.
Our problem is that our two-party system now contains wild factions that do not represent the average citizen. But they are the squeaky wheels.
Currently, we have a strong liberal faction -- and we have a strong conservative faction fighting them, but that is not indicative of most of us. They used to balance one another out - now, they just result in govt. shutdown.
Democrats like to point to Republicans and say - hey, you're not passing any laws? Where are your laws? Republicans want to respond - hey, we don't want anymore laws. Let's get rid of some of the ones we already have that hinder business and freedom.
It's all a game.
A dangerous game.
They wouldn't want to, they hoped that "factions" would not raise their ugly head, but reality always has a way of asserting itself.
As to which Party, it would depend on which founders you were talking about. If it are those who would attend or walked away from the Constitutional Convention, they would be the bulwark of today's Republican Party which used to be the Democratic Party for most of the 1800s. If you are talking about the signers of the Constitution itself, then most would be today's Democrats (Republicans from the 1860s) because most believed in the need for a strong central government to be supreme to the various States in order for the requirements in the preamble of the document they created to become a reality.
All of the signers of the Constitution understood the need to have a restrained gov't, that is straight out of Locke; but there is no one definition of "restrained" or "limited" that any two people will ever agree on; which makes the Constitution such a wonderful document, it doesn't try to define it but leaves it up to those who use it to apply to the times they live in.
As to Jefferson, which one are you talking about? The one that sided with Madison and argued strongly that the federal gov't didn't have the scope to created a national bank (although Madison did when he was President) or the Jefferson who by Executive Order executed the Louisiana Purchase?
Of course they were radicals for their time; Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and Madison wanted revolution! That's pretty progressive. That goes without saying.
Politically speaking, they were HIGHLY conservative by today's standards.
Actually, EA, that is not true. None of those four wanted a break with England; not until the very end they fought very hard to convince the King to allow them to remain His subjects but allow them to run their own Parliament just as English law proscribed. There was only a handful of Revolutionaries,, one of Adam's cousins was one, who actually wanted a complete break from the get-go.
It was only after the King left them no choice was a very reluctant Thomas Jefferson drafted to write the Declaration of Independence. But, even then, it seemed like the several States seemed intent on having the English win the battle given their amazing lack of interest in supporting the effort after the initial funding.
If it weren't for the Continental Congress, George Washington, two financiers (one of them French), Lafayette, France and a couple of other European countries, and thousands of unbelievably dedicated citizen soldiers, the war would have been lost. Most of the States themselves were a waste of time and often an impediment.
Not only was most of the States an impediment and a waste of time,most of the United States was not established or purchased when the Founding Fathers felt that they needed a Declaration of Independence. The nation is much bigger, with hundreds of millions of highly educated,citizen, the founding fathers its said were highly educated Masons. France was a friend to the US before The Louisiana Purchase. In todays world the so called founding fathers would have to be just some more know it alls on line.
So you think George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison George Mason and John Adams would be considered just some *know-it-alls* on-line?
What is not true? I don't see what I have said that disagrees with you. I never claimed that all four wanted a revolution immediately. They all did decide, however, that revolution was necessary.
You'll get little argument from me, based on what you have stated.
Here is Know-It-All, Thomas Jefferson: "The general (federal) government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working for its own cures."
Here is Know-It-All, John Adams:
"Elections to office, which are great objects of ambition, I look at with terror."
Here is Know-it-All, George Mason:
Representatives are the "trustees of the people and at all times amendable to them."
"Whenever government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, the majority of the community hath an indefeasible right to reform (it)... in such a manner as most conducive to the public weal."
Thank goodness for these Know-It-Alls. Better than Don't-Know-it-Alls!
Kathryn, I'm with you on this.
Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Washington, Madison, and Hamilton were geniuses. People across the world study them, for a reason.
For what it is or isn't worth, Time Magazine ranked the 100 most significant figures in world history.
George Washington was number six.
Thomas Jefferson was number ten.
Benjamin Franklin was number thirty-five.
Alexander Hamilton was number forty-five.
James Madison was number fifty-one.
John Adams was number sixty-one.
Oddly enough, I couldn't locate any know-it-all bloggers on the list! Maybe I'll put on some bifocals, invented by Franklin, and have another look.
I'm with Katherine and Education Answer as well.
To discard the wisdom of these men who lived and rose above the tyranny of a king bent on domination - is foolhardy.
The human psyche does not change from generation to generation. The scenery might change but we're still asking the same questions - and the answers are still the same.
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