Founding Fathers Article by Walter Williams

A great article by Walter Williams appeared in the Deseret News this week entitled “Founding Fathers would have contempt for vision of today’s Americans.”

37 Responses to “Founding Fathers Article by Walter Williams”

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Sounds like a call to arms to rise up in rebellion against the federal government. I personally liked the SL Tribune article on the Founding Fathers much better.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Here is an interesting take on how to implement some of the Founders' principles now:

  • Lewis, you're twisting again. :) Nowhere in Williams' piece does he sound a call to arms. He merely points out that the Framers came up with the 2nd amendment primarily for protecting oneself from a tyrannical government.

  • Arthor/BB, this is a great idea and Tea Partiers would at an appropriate time, I think, wholeheartedly support the idea. Jefferson did want local control as do all people who value republican government. Here's what I think would be necessary for it to happen.

    The big beef Tea Partiers have with government right now is that at the federal level the government has set up massive welfare programs and won't let bad ideas fail. We've had multiple bailouts with more on the horizon. There is talk of bailing out California and New York because again, they're “too big to fail.” As a result, mismanagement propagates to the expense of prudent individuals who had nothing to do with the problems.

    So for SLC or any other city to assume local control over those things that are truly local, would mean that Provo and Logan and Sandy and every other city cannot be held accountable to send any tax dollars to SLC. SLC has to stand on its own. It has to convince its citizens that tax dollars are being wisely spent and if SLC wants to move down the road of a welfare city and raise taxes to pay for it, that's the choice of the citizens of SLC as long as is doesn't impact any other city. The problem right now is this can't happen because the system has moved down socialistic paths and the federal government is engaged in activities that reach into state, city, and local issues so that they continue to tax Provo and provide dollars to SLC. Only when the federal government is living within its true limited constitutionally authorized activities, can states do the same, and then pass truly local responsibilities on to cities. Tea Partiers want to reign in the feds precisely to help restore local control. We've been the frog in the boiling water for so long with the temperature increasing, it took massive jumps in temperature (bailouts, health care, etc…) before the people jumped out and said “ENOUGH!”

    The link you posted isn't really a way to implement some of the Founders' principles, it's just stating what those principles are. The way to implement it is to have “we the people” vote out the big spenders and individuals at the federal level that don't understand the constitution, and then go to the state and have them examine their constitutions and ensure they are within their proper role. The states are the sovereign entities in this country. Our nation is a constitutional republic of republics but we don't act that way any more so we have lost local control that once existed. Nothing will change until the federal government stays within its proper constitutionally authorized activities.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    You are definitely a strict constructionist in more ways than one. Have you ever heard of tone and demeanor? The very last statements of the article set quite a tone:

    “…such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

    “Contrary to Alito's assertion, the central component of the Second Amendment is to protect ourselves from U.S. Congress, not street thugs.”

    “Today's Americans have contempt for our founders' vision. I'm sure our founders would have contempt for ours.”

    So is the author of this article advising Republicans to use their 2nd amendment rights to resist the execution of a (health care) law which appears to them unjust and oppressive?

    I stand by my earlier comment, Oak, and there is nothing being twisted around here. The difference is that I can read between the lines and pick up on the nuances and undertones of what people are trying to say. I was educated in the fine arts. I suspect you are a numbers type of person.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak I think you are way off.

    Step 1: No Utah liquor or drug laws or tax in SLC
    Step 2: No UEA or Utah school regulations in SLC, and SLC income state tax down to 2%

    Those 2 alone would stop most of the tyranny and theft implemented by the State, and the feds have little to do with either (except the failed federal drug laws)

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Arthor, you sound like a libertarian.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Sorry Oak I mean way off on what can be done now. Not on the overall note. I think Utah tyrants will be worse than the federal ones as they have fewer checks on them. Let's bypass them entirely. And do it today. The only real barrier is they are a bunch of liars that want power in their hands and not locals.

  • Come on Lewis, you've tried reading between the lines on my posts numerous times and put words in my mouth that I've never said or thought. The idea that somehow Mr. Williams is sending a coded message to pick up arms against the government is ridiculous.

  • Lewis, I just want to take this opportunity to point out that we are in perfect agreement on this point. Arthor does sound quite libertarian. :)

  • I disagree for the reason that the further removed from the public your elected officials are, the less likely they are to do the will of the people. You may disagree that *your* will is being done here in Utah, but you have far less influence on the votes of the United States congress than you do to those representatives who are close to you and even may live in your neighborhood and represent you at the state or city level.

    From the notes of Thomas Pangle, a professor at The Teaching Company that did a great lecture called “The Great Debate” and covers the arguments of the Federalists and the Anti-federalists, come these notes.

    A. The Anti-Federalists argue that, at the state level, elected representatives are more truly representative and responsive to the people’s will for three reasons.
    1. The state legislators meet at a place closer to the people and are thus better observed by the people.
    2. The state legislators tend to live more among the people and as a result are better known to the people.
    3. The state legislators tend to resemble or mirror the people’s own character.

    Now I recognize that the Anti-federalists didn't want the strong central government and the constitution as it was drafted, but they have valid points for why local control is more easily bent to the will of the local population.

    As for tyrants (wait, is that a call to arms??? :)), the federal body is FAR more corrupt and tyrannical than the state or local governments. We have to live within our means. We have no power here (state/city) to spend what we don't have and campaign donation laws are far more restrictive and the money far less than what flows in Washington.

  • Come on Lewis, you've tried reading between the lines on my posts numerous times and put words in my mouth that I've never said or thought. The idea that somehow Mr. Williams is sending a coded message to pick up arms against the government is ridiculous.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    I never said he was sending a coded message. I just simply cited directly from the article. I can't help it if he said those things and created such a tone in his article. Think about it. Perhaps our Founding Fathers meant for the 2nd amendment to be used for an armed rebellion against unpopular congressional legislation, but this is the 21st century. Do you really think a civilian populace can use their handguns and hunting rifles against a government that is armed to the teeth with jet aircraft, tanks, artillery, laser guided munitions, and nuclear weapons? In the 1700's it didn't take much to have military parity with the government, but in the 21st century, that is impossible and to use the excuse that our 2nd amendment rights are rooted in the notion that we need to tote guns to protect ourselves from Congress is ludicrous. Look, I cherish my second rights and own guns myself, but for the protection of my family against other citizens who wish to do them harm. There is no chance in Hades my weapons would stand up against trained soldier with standard government weaponry. For Walter Williams to suggest otherwise is sheer lunacy in today's age. I know that you like to post up articles by people that are completely loyal to the “intent of the founding fathers” camp. That is a noble thing, but I am not convinced that our Founding Fathers wanted us to apply the intent argument to every single issue. If they knew of the kinds of weapons that exist in the 21st century, there is no doubt they would be for arms control of some sort. There has to be a line somewhere. We can't every family armed with nuclear weapons can we?

  • You just said, “I just simply cited directly from the article” but that's not what Walter said at all. You're reading into his article things he didn't say.

    I agree with you that it's not feasible for us to stand up against the full arsenal of the U.S. Military, but that also assumes they'd use those weapons against the population of our country like the Chinese did at Tienanmen Square. There the soldiers were drugged (told they were getting a vaccine because of the health hazard created by the civilians at the square) and then they marched in. I don't picture our military doing this. Walter's article though was merely an attempt to say, “look, this is what they actually had in mind in the 2nd amendment and it wouldn't hurt if we actually knew the truth about what they had in mind.”

    Very carefully reading between the lines in what you wrote, I can now see that you own nuclear weapons but don't want others to have them. “We can't [have] *every* family armed” means it's only good enough for you eh? ;)

  • Arthor Mill:

    In fact in Salt Lake City I have no voice due to the extremely unethical gerrymandering by the legislature. As an institution they are scum. I do believe in liberty. Most tea party people get upset that an insurance company can no longer deny me coverage for a pre-existing condition (regulation of a market) but think it is fine the state prohibits a free market on alcohol sales (destruction of a market). Hyprocrits and/or idiots as far as I can tell. You would think the LDS of all people would fear a monopoly of power at the State level. Anyone remember Illinois and Iowa? At least in DC there is more than one party. That is why Utah is more dangerous to me than the feds.

  • What do you mean you don't have a voice? You're typing here aren't you? You've got plenty of people in SLC who feel the same way as you and (assuming you live in SLC) you've had left-winger Mayors and legislators who have represented your views. Just because they are in the minority statewide and haven't accomplished the things you'd like doesn't mean you don't have a voice. If we both lived in MA or NY or somewhere very liberal, what would you say if our roles were reversed? Your views may be held by the majority while my views were not. My options would be to persuade people to my point of view and try to get someone elected (even if it was just 1 person), give up and live in that environment without making any effort and just complain about it, or move away. We all have a voice and options.

    By the way, Utah does have more than one party. There are just a lot of conservatives in this state and where the Democratic party have been hijacked by the Progressives around the nation who have become extremely polarized toward issues that are very contrary to the beliefs of many of the people of this state, we tend to vote against the candidates from that party because we don't want legislation that matches those standards. (ex. abortion, gun rights issues, etc…) We still elect Matheson every 2 years even though he votes with the liberals whenever his vote matters. His health care vote is a perfect example. He voted against it but didn't announce his vote till the day before the vote issuing a strong statement about how it was so bad. Then weeks later when a vote for a bill came up that would overturn the mandate portion of the bill, he voted against removing that clause. He's a hypocrite of high order. He acts conservative when his vote doesn't matter so he can tout how conservative he is to the people in his district, and then votes liberal whenever there's a danger of a close vote.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak I agree with you on New York. I have the same view there. This is why we have to gets State's out of local businesses. Yes there are people in the state house that do not get their marching orders from the Tea Party, but that is just for sound bites. The main business of the state house is to steal resources from people to give to their buddies and try to control our lives. The very definition of what the Tea Party claims to oppose but obviously they are idiots or liars as a group or they would implement their supposed principles here at home.

    Also the bubble you live in here in Utah seems to have damaged your perspective (a man that lives in a cave thinks that an Indiglo watch is bright). The US is the most conservative Western country. The Democrats are currently a right of center party. The Republicans are now an extremist party. Richard Nixon would be too left to be a Democrat now (he favored single payer) and Ronald Reagan would be far too left for Republicans (he would be about where Obama is). Obama in his actions is definitely right of Nixon.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Let me cite Williams again: “Contrary to Alito's assertion, the central component of the Second Amendment is to protect ourselves from U.S. Congress, not street thugs.”

    And again: “…such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

    I'm just doing what you have been doing, using quotes and coming to my own conclusion. C'mon, you take quotes from Goodlad and then come to the ultimate conclusion that he is a Korihor, but then you get bothered when I take a few quote from Walter Williams and label him a rabble-rouser who advocates the potential overthrow of a corrupt Congress as a justification for the 2nd amendment–but at least I haven't made Book of Mormon character comparisons with Walter Williams, but I should take a cue from you and try. All is fair in love and war!

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Utah does have more than one party…on paper! In practice, we have one political party that does everything in its power to maintain a monopoly. Just look at the Freedom Festival's Grand Parade where the Democrats were shut out while the Republicans were free to spread their political messages. I'm a life-long Republican, and I was disgusted by such behavior that is unbecoming of a free country.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Lewis, how can a life-long Republican be part of today's Party? It used to be the party of individual liberty and fiscal responsibility. They are far from either of those things now. I'd be happy to vote for Ike or Nixon, but it is the party of Palin now.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    I guess I'm now considered a moderate Republican. Utah County Republicans would call me a liberal because they have migrated to the far right precipice of the party. Some would call me an independent because I have no compunction about voting for a Democrat if he/she wasn't too far to the left. I've given serious thought about registering as an independent, but that would preclude me from trying to bring about change to the Republican party from within (something die-hard, far right Republicans would be overjoyed about). As the party becomes more libertarian, the more unhappy I've been with the Republican Party. I do agree with some libertarian principles, but it seems that the Republican party has also endorsed some of the bad things about the libertarian platform. If I do decide to leave the party I could definitely say what Ronald Reagan said about the Democrat Party: “I didn't leave the party, it left me.” I have to laugh at how fringe-right Republicans refer to themselves as Ronald Reagan Republicans. Reagan was actually quite moderate for the time and would cringe at some of the things Republicans are doing now. There are very few real Reagan Republicans left. The country has become a victim of extremist politics as Republicans have run to the far right in response to the Obama's far left agenda. This country needs the best ideas that both parties have to offer, not a “my way or the highway” approach to politics. The clock is ticking while the squabbling continues and continues and continues.

  • Arthor Mill:

    What is Obama's “far left agenda”? I have seen none of it, but maybe I am missing something. Obama has done nothing anywhere near as leftist as Bush's Medicare Drug plan or Utah's school system.

    What worries me about the Republicans now is the parasite may have taken over the host. In the 50s and 60s the Republicans used the Birchers (who from what I can tell are 100% in agreement with Tea Partiers) but then made sure they didn't get real influence and William F Buckley and his clan were active in marginalizing them. Not sure current Republicans. The thought of somebody like Palin matching wits with Putin makes me shudder. I never thought I would say it, but the Democrats seem to be more reality-based of the two parties now.

  • Wait a minute Arthor, individual liberty and fiscal responsibility is *exactly* what the Tea Party movement is about! What exactly is your beef with them again?

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak all the Tea Party people I know favor a bloated military and continuing the drug war. The last one in particularly is against liberty and fiscal responsibility. When Bush decided to blow three trillion dollars on an optional war the Tea Party people were nowhere to be seen. As far as I can tell the Tea Party is just the John Birch Society.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak, as an example, just listen to Mike Lee on rocketry pork and his utter silence on the Drug War. Rand Paul might be better (his dad is and my criticisms do not apply to him). Utah Tea Party in particular just seem like Birchers.

  • Arthor, I think if I understand your position here, you think the JBS are equivalent to neo-cons, is that correct? If you like Ron Paul, the JBS has almost identical positions to him. I'm not a JBS member but I do have a lot of respect for their regard of the constitution and they've been quite outspoken against Bush, Iraq, and now Obama. I just went out to their site and watched this video (…) and the last few minutes of it seem pretty clear they are against the war, and I've spoken with some of their members (one a local coordinator) and he's been very critical of Bush for a long time. I wonder if you just harbor some of the negative media painting that's been done of them for many years but if you actually knew their positions you would find a lot in common. I don't know their positions myself all that well like on the drug war or such, but I believe they are very libertarian.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Even the LDS church distanced themselves from the JBS in the 1960's when some members became outspoken against Mormons, Jews, and a myriad of other ethnic groups. The JBS views almost everything the government does as a part of a new world order conspiracy. They accused former Pres. Roosevelt of pressuring Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor, and implicated Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower as part of a communist conspiracy. Even former Secretary of Agriculture, Ezra Taft Benson, was accusing his former boss, Eisenhower of being a communist agent. While they certainly have a few platform issues worthy of noting, they haven't come close earning my respect with all their paranoia. The editor of the Idaho Stateman said it best: “”When day after day they hear distortions of fact and sinister charges against persons or groups, often emanating from organizations with conspicuously respectable sounding names, it is no wonder that the result is: Confusion on some important public issues; stimulation of latent prejudices; creation of suspicion, fear and mistrust in relation not only to their representatives in government, but even in relation to their neighbors.”

    Phyllis Schlafly, an avid member of the JBS, founded the Eagle Forum in 1972 as the JBS declined in influence after the Goldwater debacle. Gayle Ruzicka, Utah's Eagle Forum chapter leader is also a signatory of Oak's online petition, and I'm assuming that, you (Oak) are an Eagle Forum member and therefore a great admirer and peddler of old John Birch Society ideology as evidenced on this website. Some of their ideology is agreeable, but the problem is all the other garbage that comes along with it.

    I'm not sure as to what degree the JBS/Eagle Forum have in influencing or financing the Tea Party movement, but it is well know that Ron Paul is a JBS supporter and his son, just won a primary election as the preferred Tea Party candidate. Phyllis Schlafly is tickled pink with the Tea Party as evidenced by a visit to her website. It will be interesting to see how all this shakes out and who is behind who.

  • Dang it. I had a response all typed up and accidentally clicked something that wiped it out. :(

    The short of it was this, I may agree with 90% of the JBS or E.F. simply because I'm conservative. I'm not a member of either. I have a lot of respect for these organizations because they do love the constitution and fight for their principles. They are consistent. Gayle in particular is a great example of a citizen being involved. I have no idea if I agree with every position of either organization. I might, I might not. I don't have the time or inclination to find out really.

    Schlafly, to my knowledge, didn't start E.F. as a result of waning JBS influence but as part of her effort to fight the feminist movement in the 70's. From there it expanded into other conservative areas.

    Then one last comment on your post about William's statements. The difference between him and Goodlad is with his statements, you have to make inferences and read between the lines to try and see him making a call to arms. Goodlad's statements require no reading between the lines. For example, “Parents and the general public must be [resocialized] also… Otherwise, children and youth…may find themselves in conflict with values assumed in the home.” This is quite clear. His Agenda is well stated in his books and on his NNER website. He is moving it forward. Williams isn't calling for arms against the government, but I would agree he is pointing out it is a constitutional right of the people to have arms to resist tyranny from their government just as our Founding Fathers resisted England. I have a hard time believing the people of this nation would ever do that though. I think the people will opt for the ballot box over the ammo box.

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak I think your post got me to realize my two big problems with the Tea Party as I actually agree with most of what they say. First: consistency. That is why I like Ron Paul even though I disagree with much he has to say. Most Tea Party people in Utah say they are against income transfer but happily tax the crap out of the gentiles to send the kids they can't afford to school. In addition, they say they like liberty but are against gay marriage (none of their business) and recreational drugs. The arguments they make against them apply equally to the ice cream and white flour and red meat they overeat. The JBS is against drug legalization “because it is wrong”. No consistency at all. Social security and Medicare? don't get me started.

    The second thing is the sheer ignorance and craziness so often exhibited. For example, saying Obama is a socialist. He has not pushed single payer, nor nationalizing the banks. Given that our economy is a huge part of our national security, he could have made a case for nationalizing them. He didn't. Add to that “death panels”, birth certificates, thinking that Sarah Palin could possibly be presidential material, new world order, we need to support Israel because of the end times, and on and on. Now saying those are just some kooks would be valid IF the Tea Party called them out on it. Anyone in the Tea Party that did fight the death panel garbage is a greater threat to our nation than Al Queda can ever hope to be.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    If you have a lot of respect for the JBS or Eagle Forum, why haven't you joined them?

  • Do you join every organization you have agreements with? :)

  • Arthor, will you please give me your definition of a socialist?

  • Arthor Mill:

    Oak in the most narrow context (the one I used for banks) it is the government control of the means of production, so nationalizing the banks would be a key step. The way many tea party people use it is a system where there is redistribution of wealth. So under their definition, the Utah school system, the military, Medicare, and Security Security would all socialist. Under that latter definition the most socialist president we have had since Johnson was GW Bush who put in the unfunded Medicare Drug benefit. More hypocracy from the tea partiers. Or is it stupidity? Whatever it is it makes no sense.

  • lewisbarnavelt:

    Don't forget highways and the biggest redistribution of wealth of all time: the child income tax credit where those that use the services the most contribute the least in taxes.

  • Arthor Mill:

    True Lewis. An irony of Utah is although it has the most people saying they are conservative, it is probably the most socialist state because of the large families some of the people have combined with taxes being weighted to income rather than property. In addition it has the lowest enlistment rate for the wars. So maybe Utah's license plates should say “Home of the Socialists/Peacemongers that lie about their beliefs”?

  • Arthor Mill:

    It is particularly fun to watch lying scum like Carl Wimmer dodge this issue of Utah's socialism. If he believed even a single thing that came out of his mouth, he would do something about it. And his voters are either too dishonest or too stupid to call him on it.

  • To read these last few posts, you two sound more right-wing than most tea partiers I know. Also Arthor, most people I know are VERY disgusted with Bush for a host of reasons. Things have been building for many years. The fact that things have really exploded since Obama took office is not a condemnation of these people that they didn't do it earlier. We've mostly been the frog in the pot with the heat being turned up slowly. Bush's first bailout was a shock to a lot of people (especially conservatives). Since Obama has taken office he's done a lot more radical stuff like taking control of GM and even firing the CEO. Shareholders got crushed. He has moved for a single payer health care system ( and he has raised the debt more than any president in history (almost combined–if he has his way it would be). I don't blame the people of Utah for accepting so many socialistic programs and tendencies. We've all been asleep for decades. Many of these programs started with the federal government and they forced their way into our lives which then paved the way for people to look to those principles and accept other programs of a similar nature. Overturning liberty is far easier than overturning government dependency under socialism.

    I would like to know the following:
    1) Arthor, just where do you consider yourself to stand politically? If you and Lewis were to be believed in your last few statements as holding those things to be true, I would conclude:
    a) you are extremely in favor of liberty and want to remove all socialist programs, or
    b) you accept these socialist programs but you think some people are hypocrites for picking a few to fight against if they don't pick all of them to fight against.

    2) Are you in favor of privatizing the school system so that families with children pay for their childrens' education?