Sunday, September 20, 2009

Defending the Constitution

Talifaitasi W. Satele

Originally, the US Constitution did not include a Bill of Rights. Federalists argued that since the Constitution didn’t give the government power to infringe on our inherent rights, like Free Speech, we didn’t need those 10 amendments explicitly protecting them. It was a naïve assumption to say the least.

Terrance Jeffrey, a reporter for Human Events, asked former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, in an interview a couple years back if she could “point to language in the Constitution that authorized the federal government to have a Department of Education.” Her reply: “I can’t point to it one way or the other. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I’ll look into it for you, Terry.”

She never got back to Mr. Jeffrey because the Constitution doesn’t authorize a DOE.

Supporters of the Bill of Rights did not buy the Federalists’ argument that government would restrain itself to the limits of its contract with the People. They knew better. They knew that the Constitution had to explicitly restrict government from infringing on our individual rights; otherwise, it eventually would.

But what makes the Bill of Rights so effective is that people go up in arms defending them. We will never see Congress ban Free Speech or the Freedom of Religion or the Right to Bear Arms. They can try, but Americans stand up for themselves, and it would be a cold day in hell before any of that stuff happens!

The point being is that no one pays attention to the Constitution unless someone stands up for it and defends it. Sadly, the ASG makes that point all too clear with its budget appropriations (spend first, ask later).

Luckily, we have a few heroes in the Fono who are working to change that. Hopefully, one day, we will have a Fono and a government we can all be proud of.

Friday, September 18, 2009

False Altruism

Talifaitasi W. Satele

We should be wary of folks who preach that we should live our lives in service of others. I say that because they usually don’t practice what they preach. Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks notes in his book, “Who Really Cares”, that “people who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away” to charities.

Not only do altruists not follow their own ideology to a tee, their rhetoric is often inconsistent. Some try to pass themselves off as advocates of the least fortunate amongst God’s Children, but they won’t extend that same compassion to their brother if he is branded an illegal immigrant. Nor if their brother is of a different race or of a certain income level.

Moreover, altruists contribute almost nothing to the actual welfare of the people they claim to want to help. Most supporters of the minimum wage, for example, don’t provide jobs to anybody nor could they show us how to provide living wages to our people. And some of altruists’ ideas actually harm the general welfare such as price controls or trade restrictions.

All altruism does is provide rhetoric for those who want to sound like they care when they really don’t. So until an altruist provides public access to his own private home, we should take his philosophy with a grain of salt.