Our original lockdown
To the editor:
A substantial portion of the Declaration of Independence of July 1776 supports the assertion that “the history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” For example: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” “He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.” The colonies chose independence.
Then came the writing and adoption of the Constitution (1787-1790). “In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution.” (Thomas Jefferson) Our Constitution was a lockdown mechanism, designed to prevent concentration of power.
One of our outstanding presidents wrote: “This was my first introduction to the Constitution of the United States. Although I was but thirteen years old the subject interested me exceedingly. The study of it which I then began has never ceased, and the more I study it the more I have come to admire it, realizing that no other document devised by the hand of man ever brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. The good it has wrought can never be measured.” (The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, 1929, p. 40)
Compare that estimate of our Constitution with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s statement that the Bill of Rights was above his pay grade, a dismissal of the very Constitution he solemnly swore to support. He and many like-minded people in government have impeded rather than promoted normal legitimate human activity. The direction of lockdowns has been reversed.
Of these two sharply contrasting views, I believe the view of Coolidge is correct. So instead of sidelining the Constitution, limiting the people, and enlarging government, let’s follow the Constitution, limit government, and enlarge the liberty of the people. Let’s turn lockdowns back in the right direction again.