National Center for Constitutional Studies
|"A primary object.should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing.than.communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?"
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One of the most remarkable aspects of our American Constitutional system is the method in which we the people regularly redistribute the power to govern. It is not done by chance or as a result of a no-confidence vote on present leaders. Nor is it done by military force. It is accomplished at regular, pre-determined intervals wherein everyone has sufficient notice of the process and what exactly will be done. When we really think of the election process in this country, we must admit it is the process that would have been embraced with enthusiasm and gratitude by the oppressed masses throughout the history of this world. Is it not something for which we should be eternally grateful, especially at Thanksgiving time?
Think of it--every two years the American people, if we want to, can turn out of office every member of almost every state legislature in the country. We can, if we want to, turn out every member of the United States House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Every other two-year period we can change governors and presidents. This is truly a system worthy of our most ardent participation. Our thanks must be continual to our Founding Fathers and to our Heavenly Father for inspiring them.
To What Kind of People Should We Entrust Our Delegated Authority?
The year the Constitution was ratified, 1788, Samuel Langdon stood before the Massachusetts legislature and declared the qualities of people we should be electing to public office. Said he:
"On the people, therefore, of these United States, it depends whether wise men, or fools, good or bad men, shall govern.... Therefore, I will now lift up my voice and cry aloud to the people....
"From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and the higher powers [offices] of government. Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness, and sincerely wish for the public welfare.... Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators.... If the legislative body are corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations.... Never give countenance to turbulent men, who wish to distinguish themselves and rise to power by forming combinations and exciting insurrections against government.... It is a debt you owe to your children." ( The Making of America, p.9)
No doubt Samuel Langdon was well acquainted with the kind of leaders Moses counseled the people to choose:
"Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you." (Deuteronomy 1:13)
But How Do We Know If Candidates Are Really These Kind Of People?
This is a frequently asked question at election time. Trying to sort out what candidates say to get elected from what they will do once they are in office for a while is a delicate matter, particularly if we are not well acquainted with the candidate. NCCS has been trying to popularize a set of principles for government which, if learned, can give any citizen a clear idea if a candidate's position is truly in accord with the Founders' Constitutional formula for America. Here are a few questions about each of the Twenty-Eight Principles of Liberty (outlined and discussed in The Five Thousand Year Leap) which, when asked of candidates, can give a pretty good idea as to their understanding of correct principles.
Principle 1 . The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is Natural Law .
Q. Do you believe that each proposed law should be evaluated in terms of God's Natural Law?
Principle 2. A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong .
Q. Do you believe the statement of John Adams that "our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people?"
Principle 3. The most promising method of securing a virtuous and morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders .
Q. Do you support the idea that a public official must be as moral and honest in his private life as we expect him to be in his public life?
Principle 4. Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained .
Q. In your opinion, are religion and morality indispensable supports to our republican form of government?
Q. Do you agree with the Founders that only religious and God-fearing people should be elected to public office?
Principle 5. All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible .
Q. Do you believe in God?
Q. Do you believe that public officials take an oath to God and will answer to Him for their conduct in office?
Principle 6. All men are created equal.
Q. What do you think about the New World Order mentality that some people are inherently born to be our rulers?
Principle 7. The proper role of government is to protect equal rights, not provide equal things.
Q. Will you vote for or advocate any government program except those designed to protect the unalienable rights of the people?
Q. Do you believe that unequal or graduated taxation violates the rights of some people?
Principle 8. Men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.
Q. Do you believe that the Creator gave each person certain rights, such as life, liberty, and property, and that these rights cannot be taken away by man or government?
Principle 9. To protect man's rights, God has revealed certain principles of divine law.
Q. Do you believe that God's decrees form the basis of all good laws?
Principle 10. The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people .
Q. How will you be sure that you represent the whole people(majority) and not a special-interest group?
Principle 11. The majority of the people may alter or abolish a government which has become tyrannical .
Q. How will you work with the people to bring about real change in every election?
Principle 12. The United States of America shall be a republic .
Q. Tell me the difference between a democracy and a republic. Will you ever call our system a democracy?
Principle 13. A constitution should be structured to permanently protect the people from the human frailties of their rulers .
Q. What provisions does our Constitution contain to protect the people from the weaknesses of our elected officials?
Principle 14. Life and liberty are secure only so long as the right of property is secure.
Q. Do you believe that government's taking of land for so-called environmental reasons is a threat to the people's lives and their liberty?
Principle 15. The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free-market economy and a minimum of government regulation .
Q. Do you believe the government's role in the economy is limited to the prevention of force, fraud, monopoly, and debauchery and that all other control is wrong?
Principle 16. The government should be separated into three branches - legislative, executive, and judicial .
Q. Do you adhere to the original understanding of the separation of the functions of government into three branches?
Principle 17. A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.
Q. As an elected official, what checks will you vigorously try to enforce against aggressive acts of other officials?
Principle 18. The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written constitution.
Q. Have you recently studied the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers? Explain some protections the people have in this document.
Principle 19. Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to government, all others being retained in the people.
Q. What are the specific powers you will have if you are elected to public office? Do you believe you have more powers from the people than these?
Principle 20. Efficiency and dispatch require government to operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority.
Q. How are minority rights protected by the Constitution?
Principle 21. Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom .
Q. How have higher levels of government been oppressive to lower levels? What kind of problems can lower levels of government deal with?
Principle 22. A free people should be governed by laws and not by the whims of men .
Q. Do you believe that all laws should go through the people's representatives? Are there any laws you would accept by executive or administrative decree?
Principle 23. A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education .
Q. From where should the control and funding of education come in this country?
Principle 24. A free people will not survive unless they stay strong
Q. What defense programs do you favor for the Untied States?
Principle 25. "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliances with none."
Q. By what authority or reasoning are we sending our military to nearly ever quarter of the globe?
Principle 26. The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity.
Q. What do you think of the current efforts being made to redefine the family? What laws would you suggest are necessary to protect and strengthen the family unit?
Principle 27. The burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest.
Q. What should governments attitude be toward debt?
Principle 28. The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race.
Q. What things can the US do to be a better example for the rest of the world?
Let's begin asking these insightful questions to candidates. Surely, God and the Founders expect us to find candidates who can answer them correctly!
Earl Taylor, Jr.
PS. Don't forget to register for the January Citizenship Conference. See enclosed flyer.