When confronted with the fact that the Founders were not in favor of massive military, surveillance, or other federal programs – neocons will often resort to one of two claims:

  1. The founders couldn’t have possibly understood what we face today, so times have changed.  This, mind you – is the same argument given by the Nancy Pelosi-types, who believe in a “living, breathing” constitution.
  2. The founder who said ____ was awful and shouldn’t be trusted.

In response to a quote from Elbridge Gerry calling standing armies “the bane of liberty,” self-proclaimed President Trump, Allen West and Brent Bozell supporter Steven Bass resorted to at least one, if not both, in just one short comment.

Going isolationist are you? This “founder” was all about being isolated from the rest of the world. It didn’t work out so well back then, and sure wouldn’t in modern times.

By putting the word founder in quotes, he clearly is attempting to diminish the importance of Mr. Gerry.  He was James Madison’s vice-president, who also warned of the dangers that Steven dismisses:

War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.

The fact is this – the view among the founders that standing armies were dangerous to liberty was universal.  They only differed in degree. None of them, however, would have supported the neocon policies of today.

The level of constitutional education on both the right and left is embarrassingly poor.  We’re working to turn that around, will you join us?

Michael Boldin

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