Political discourse can cover a wide range of topics, from extremely broad to the most trivial. It can also reveal the differences in worldviews of adversaries. How one views not just a topic but how one should view it directs how they view it. Does that make sense? In other words, my position on an issue will flow from my overall values, not the other way around.
For instance, if you feel strongly that government should control things, that will cause you to endorse laws that enable that. It could be about guns or drugs or the environment, but the bottom line is you getting what you want through the force of government.
What many miss at this point is the shared fundamental belief, e.g. that government deserves ultimate control. Pick a topic and one group may be adamantly opposed to this, with another for it. But, choose a different topic and the positions may be reversed.
There can be problems with any particular position on any single issue, but the biggest problem is usually the propensity for more government. In the U.S. this usually means the federal government, which has grown relentlessly. All of this can get fairly bogged down in political wrangling but at some point it leads back to the U.S. Constitution.If we believe we should have a strong national government, how do you think we are going to interpret the Constitution? Or, if we believe in limited government, how will that alter our understanding of what the document says? Click To Tweet
Federalists, Antifederalists and the Constitution
Now, back to that idea of how we think things should work in this country. If we believe we should have a strong national government, how do you think we are going to interpret the Constitution? Or, if we believe in limited government, how will that alter our understanding of what the document says?
There is nothing new about this predicament, of course. Even at the time of the founding of this republic, strongly divergent views led to heated debates before the Constitution was even drafted, much less ratified. And, those arguments have continued ever since.
Strong research and writing in recent years offer good insight into this controversy.
“When the American people were considering whether to ratify the Constitution, the principal argument of its opponents (Antifederalists) was that the Constitution would grant too much power to the central government. The Constitution’s advocates (Federalists) countered that the central government’s authority would be strictly limited…
“To reinforce their position, the Federalists promised a bill of rights that would remove some subjects—such as religion—entirely from federal jurisdiction…History well remembers the Bill of Rights. But despite their importance, the lists of enumerated non-federal functions were long forgotten…
“Liberal law professors have long floated innovative—and rather far-fetched—claims about the Constitution designed to show that the document somehow authorizes the welfare and regulatory state. The latest essay discusses two of the most recent assertions of this kind. My essay shows that both the Constitution’s text and the latest evidence flatly contradict these assertions.”
See much more on this at How the Founders told us the Constitution would restrict federal power.