The Platform of a Great Party  

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I found this of interest in my reading today.

Imagine a party built on the following platform (my comments added):

1. Resolved, That the federal government is one of limited powers, derived solely from the constitution, and the grants of power shown therein, ought to be strictly construed by all the departments and agents of the government, and that it is inexpedient and dangerous to exercise doubtful constitutional powers.
A government limited by the Constitution, with all grants of power to be strictly interpreted by everyone, and that it is wrong to exercise powers of doubtful constitutionality. Call me a right-wing extremist, but this makes a LOT of sense to me.
2. Resolved, That the constitution does not confer upon the general government the power to commence and carry on, a general system of internal improvements.
You mean the government doesn't have the authority to get involved in trying to fix everything that someone thinks is wrong with the country? This is MY party so far.
3. Resolved, That the constitution does not confer authority upon the federal government, directly or indirectly, to assume the debts of the several states, contracted for local internal improvements, or other state purposes; nor would such assumption be just or expedient.
The federal government has to stay out of state-level financial matters? Amen to that!
4. Resolved, That justice and sound policy forbid the federal government to foster one branch of industry to the detriment of another, or to cherish the interests of one portion to the injury of another portion of our common country—that every citizen and every section of the country, has a right to demand and insist upon an equality of rights and privileges, and to complete and ample protection of person and property from domestic violence, or foreign aggression.
So the federal government cannot work in favor of a particular industry, such as education, or to the detriment of another, such as tobacco or automobiles? No favoritism for people who look at themselves as members of some contrived group? No favoritism in favor of people in any particular part of the country over another? Every citizen has the right to demand that his unalienable rights be secured? Where do I sign up?
5. Resolved, That it is the duty of every branch of the government, to enforce and practice the most rigid economy, in conducting our public affairs, and that no more revenue ought to be raised, than is required to defray the necessary expenses of the government.
No more taxation than is absolutely necessary to maintain these very limited functions? Dude, I'm there.
6. Resolved, That congress has no power to charter a national bank; that we believe such an institution one of deadly hostility to the best interests of the country, dangerous to our republican institutions and the liberties of the people, and calculated to place the business of the country within the control of a concentrated money power, and above the laws and the will of the people.
Hmm ... Sounds like this policy could help to solve a lot of problems...
7. Resolved, That congress has no power, under the constitution, to interfere with or control the domestic institutions of the several states, and that such states are the sole and proper judges of everything appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the constitution; that all efforts by abolitionists or others, made to induce congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and that all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and permanency of the union, and ought not to be countenanced by any friend to our political institutions.
OK, now before anyone gets all bent out of shape over this party not wanting to take a stand against slavery, this platform does not in any way interfere with any state wishing to abolish slavery. It merely stands against abolitionists pestering Congress about the matter, and conferring upon the individual states the authority to deal with the matter individually. In other words, this platform does not seek to stop the abolition of slavery, but to see to it that those working toward that end follow the proper procedure, and work through the proper channels, namely, the states.

I personally would disagree that the federal government did not have the authority to get involved, since the Bill of Rights reinforces several rights that are retained by the people, and the slaves were being excluded from these rights. The federal government correctly banned slavery under the Lincoln Administration, but I do agree that the best course of action would have been to work through the individual states and abolish slavery state-by-state, and then pass the Thirteenth Amendment. On that level, I agree with this party.
8. Resolved, That the separation of the moneys of the government from banking institutions, is indispensable for the safety of the funds of the government, and the rights of the people.
Again, this policy could very well save a lot of the trouble we face today with the IRS.
9. Resolved, That the liberal principles embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and sanctioned in the constitution, which makes ours the land of liberty, and the asylum of the oppressed of every nation, have ever been cardinal principles in the democratic faith; and every attempt to abridge the present privilege of becoming citizens, and the owners of soil among us, ought to be resisted with the same spirit which swept the alien and sedition laws from our statute-book.
Amen. The laws that we have on the books today with regard to immigration, as well as those involving illegal border crossings, could very well be enough to curtail the problems we are having. There's one problem. They are not enforced. Why not? No serious penalties. Allowing for more stringent penalties and increasing border security, both at the federal and local level (the Minuteman Project is perfectly legitimate to this end), with or without a wall, will definitely help us secure our rights in this more dangerous day and age.

I largely agree with this platform. Again, I disagree that the federal government does not have the authority to ban slavery, but I also agree that going state-to-state before introducing the Thirteenth Amendment would have been a much better solution. With the strict limitations this platform places on the federal government, this party is head and shoulders above either of the major parties in power today.

Wouldn't it be great if a political party would again focus on the limitations that the federal government is supposed to respect under the Constitution?

Oh, by the way, this extreme right-wing agenda, as it would be called today, is the Democratic Party Platform of 1840.