Piers Morgan: We All ‘Need The Nanny State Occasionally’

CNN’s Piers Morgan sees no reason why America shouldn’t turn into a nanny state. During his March 11 broadcast, Morgan insisted that, “people need the nanny state occasionally.”

With guest Christine Quinn, on his late evening CNN talk show Morgan lamented what he felt was a bad decision by a New York judge who shut down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda ban. Morgan was all in for a politician deciding for all of us what we are and what we aren’t allowed to eat.

During the discussion, Quinn said she disagreed with banning foods saying that the focus should be on expanding choice for healthy foods not just having government “say no” to the supposed bad choices. Interestingly, Quinn is a Bloomberg ally, a Democrat, and the President of the New York City Council, yet was still arguing against this particular nanny state action.

Regardless, Morgan, a British citizen, disagreed with his guest.

“This is where I disagree with you. I think people need the nanny state occasionally. Particularly on issues like smoking, drinking, guzzling sodas that are too big for them, you know, eating sixteen Big Macs a day, whatever it may be, the reality is we all need a bit of nannying about that that’s why so many people are on diets. That’s a form of nanny state,” Morgan said.

The CNN talker also took to Twitter to ask why Mayor Bloomberg’s nannyism is such a bad thing.

“If a Mayor can’t do things to make his city’s populace healthier – what’s the point of his job? Bloomberg’s 100% right on supersized soda,” he Tweeted on March 11.

Just as the soda ban was to kick in, New York state Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling put a halt to the rule saying Bloomberg’s new ban was illicit because he went around the City Council to implement it.

The ban, Judge Tingling said, would “not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it.”

This is why so many Americans look askance at immigrants like Morgan. They come here and bring their socialist ideas with them from their armpit countries instead of coming here to learn how to be an American. Go back to Britain, Piers. Your socialist, nanny-state nonsense is not wanted here.

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Posted by on March 13, 2013.
Filed under 2nd Amendment, Barack Obama, Big government, Constitutional Issues, corruption, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Health Care, Liberals, Media, Media Whores.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com "The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • JWH

    The soda ban was one of the stupider things around. Among other things, it didn’t really even ban soda. It just made the stuff a little more inconvenient to get.

    I say slap a surtax on the stuff (along with a surtax on other unhealthy, sugary goods) and funnel the proceeds into Medicare to pay for diabetes programs.

    IMO, the goal of the state shouldn’t be to ban the drinking of soda, but to get excessive soda drinkers (*cough* *cough*) to pay for the costs they inflict on the rest of America through their unhealthy habits.

    • LiberalNightmare

      Alternatively, the govt could get its nose out of the asses of law abiding citizens and that way the rest of us wouldn’t be affected by the good or bad choices made by individuals.

      • Jwb10001

        The mayor (and most politicians) are terrified of allowing people to face the consequence of their choices as a result they work to take their choices away.

      • herddog505

        I agree. If we weren’t in the business of guaranteeing everybody’s “health care”, then it would make no damned difference how people live their lives.

        However, if I’ve got to pay for somebody’s bad decisions (ranging from “didn’t wear a helmet” to “ate too much trans-fats”) then it stands to reason that I ought to have a say in whether or not they are allowed to make those decisions.

        Trouble is, I have no desire to be a dictator and, because *I* want to be left the hell alone, I’m willing to leave others alone, too.

        What am I thinking????

    • Josephine Violet

      That was the very point…not to prevent you from consuming as much soda as you want, but to structure the consumption in a way tha forced you to actually think about your choice. Having to go back and refill makes you think…did I really already drink that much? Do I really need more? If you want to, you can walk back and refill it, but it is a more concious decision that just blindly sucking down an enourmous anount that most people agree is unhealthy.

      • herddog505

        I take it, then, that you regard your fellow citizens as morons who are so incapable of governing their own lives that some wise, benevolent person (like that sawed-off little tinpot) has to FORCE them to “think” about their decisions.

        Are you such an idiot that you need somebody to make you think? I sure as hell am not.

      • jim_m

        WTF? SO if I decide that I really do want a 20oz drink then I should be classified a felon? The point of freedom is that I can do whatever I want to the extent that I want. Freedom is not circumscribed by what you think I need or what I find necessary. Freedom is about being able to do what you want not about being able to do what some fascist named Josephine Violet determines that you should be allowed to do. Freedom is not about pleasing other people. If my freedom offends you sensibilities than too freaking bad. Go live in a less free society if that is what you want.

      • JWH

        Note the number of exemptions (convenience stores, etc.) that were written into the regulation, making it essentially meaningless. It’s almost as if Michael Bloomberg wanted to take a stand against obesity without really doing anything that would actually change it.

        Want to change a behavior? Make it more costly. Or ban it. Or commission a public-education campaign. But enough with the low-budget Jedi mind tricks.

  • Conservachef

    That goes right along with what Chris Rock said- POTUS & FLOTUS are like the nation’s mom & dad. Kids need mom & dad to show them what’s good & bad.

    Morgan may need the nanny state, but I prefer my freedom.

  • http://www.wizbangblog.com David Robertson

    If Piers Morgan wants to live where a nanny state rules, then why did he leave his native land?

    • Brucehenry

      No different than Yankees moving here (NC) who immediately start bitching about how backwards and inferior everything is compared to NY.

      “Can’t get a decent bagel.”
      “Why do you close the schools for one inch of snow?”
      “Youse guys drive like old ladies.”
      “Can’t get a decent pizza.”
      “Your schools are lousy.”
      “Can’t get a decent fafafel.”

      • herddog505

        True. They come down here whining about how high the taxes are up there, how much everything costs, how the jobs are going away, blah-blah-blah, and then start demanding all the crap (including the taxes to pay for it) that they had, never DREAMING that there just might be a connection between economic misery and excessive government.

    • LiberalNightmare

      Do we know for certain that he left? Maybe he was kicked out.

    • jim_m

      He left because they all wanted him to leave. No one wants him back in the UK. He has been thoroughly discredited having been implicated in insider trading scams at the Mirror and in the phone hacking scandal as well. The Brits want Morgan back there like they want a recurrent case of the clap.

  • herddog505

    This underscores something I’ve noticed about lefties over the years:

    On a real, basic level, they WANT to be slaves.

    HELLLLOOOOOO!!!!!! “Freedom is slavery” is a line from a book, people! It’s NOT a motto for how you ought to live your lives!

  • Commander_Chico

    This is edition #22 of Warner: PIERRRRRRS!!!!

    This is why so many Americans look askance at immigrants like Morgan. They come here and bring their socialist ideas with them from their armpit countries instead of coming here to learn how to be an American.

    This is the most poorly-written and demented Warnerism in a long time. Funny.

    “immigrants like Morgan” – is Morgan even an immigrant? I think he’s in the USA on a long-term non-immigrant visa for performers. Even if he was an immigrant, what kind of immigrant would be “like Morgan?” Not too many immigrants are television talk show hosts getting big bucks.

    “armpit countries” – The UK would not be my first choice to live in, but it’s hardly an “armpit.” It’s quite pleasant, particularly London where Piers is from, and there are many many pleasant towns in Britain. I’ve spent weeks in London over the years. I doubt Warner ever set foot in Old Blighty, unless he got his ass kicked for playing the ugly American in some pub.

    • herddog505

      In response to edition #23,434,725 of some overpaid liberal half-wit: B-B…. B-B…. B-B….

      • Commander_Chico

        Of course the judge ruled the right way – mayors using appointed public health commissions to legislate rules is a bit of a problem in US cities and does violate separation of powers.

        But soda rules in NY theaters are not the Big Brother problem. Ignore total surveillance and government datamining, detention without due process, drones, paramilitary police searches, TSA checkpoints on highways.

        • herddog505

          Camel’s nose… give ‘em and inch… First they came for the [insert unpopular group here]… I say that ANY sort of infringement on the rights of people to live their own lives as they see fit, ANY effort by the government to turn itself into a tyrannical nanny, ought to be regarded with great suspicion.

          Further, I suggest that these sorts of petty, seemingly innocuous violations are actually worse than TSA, checkpoints, etc.:

          1. At least the “big” infringements have some sensible reason. I don’t like TSA at all (my wife has been felt up by them about three times), but I understand why it’s there. Soda bans… not so much;

          2. The small things accustom people to the idea that the government, whether a sawed-off tinpot wannabe mayor or some anonymous bureaucrat in one of dozens – hundreds – of alphabet soup agencies, DOES have the authority to do pretty much as he damned well pleases so long as he says some Magic Words like, “National security” or “The Public Welfare” or “It’s For the Children!”

          Finally, if the government can tell you what size coke you may drink – think about how minor, petty and inconsequential the beverage choices of people is – is it too much of a stretch to think that they won’t start monitoring your every action? For your own good, of course.

          ‘There, comrades! That’s how I want to see you doing it. Watch me again. I’m thirty-nine and I’ve had four children. Now look.’ She bent over again. ‘You see my knees aren’t bent. You can all do it if you want to,’ she added as she straightened herself up. ‘Anyone under forty-five is perfectly capable of touching his toes. We don’t all have the privilege of fighting in the front line, but at least we can all keep fit. Remember our boys on the Malabar front! And the sailors in the Floating Fortresses! Just think what they have to put up with. Now try again. That’s better, comrade, that’s much better,’ she added encouragingly as Winston, with a violent lunge, succeeded in touching his toes with knees unbent, for the first time in several years.

          Gotta get that BMI down! Obesity is an epidemic, comrades! A national security issue! Touching your toes is YOUR way of bending the health care cost curve down!

          “I think that it is incumbent upon government to tell people what they’re doing to themselves and let people make their own decisions. So our job is to educate people, and the ban on bigger cup sizes was a way to remind you if you wanted 32 ounces, you’d have to take two cups, so maybe you’d only take one. But people have a right to make products, and people have a right to buy them, and I don’t know which comes first,” Bloomberg said.

          http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/TV/2013/03/12/Bloomberg-defends-proposed-soda-ban-on-Late-Show/UPI-51801363110557/#ixzz2NV60bbLI

          Personally, I think people have the right to kick Bloomers right in the nuts, but I’m pretty sure he (and his heavily-armed police protection detail) would disagree.

          • Commander_Chico

            I still wonder about this “ban” though. Is it a matter of not being able to get more than 32 ounces, or not being able to buy anything less than 32 ounces?

            Theaters now sell everything – soda, popcorn – in these huge buckets, with pricing to match.

            Kind of like how the standard Coke bottle went from 6oz to 20oz in 40 years. And you can’t find the 6oz, or even 12oz much anymore. Except in Europe 33ml or Asia.

          • Vagabond661

            Funny but inaccurate. You do know you can easily find overweight people in Europe, right?

            Seat belts laws were a huge win for the march to the nanny state.

          • herddog505

            It’s a matter of choice, something I thought that you lefties were all in favor of.

            If somebody wants to sell Coke by the bucket, that ought to be his choice, based on his appreciation of the market for such an offering. And if I want to buy Coke by the bucket, that ought to be MY choice, based on how much I’m willing to pay and how much I want it. It should NOT be up to somebody else and their idea of what I do or don’t need.

            I am also not impressed with the usual argument that the nasty ol’ cola and candy and junk food merchants are tricking us – FORCING us – into buying Big Gulps and Super Sized meals.

            Part of being free, of having liberty, is having the freedom to f*ck up. History is full of people who thought that taking this freedom away was just a swell idea: “WE know what’s best for the people. WE will tell them how to live! WE will make a better world by removing temptation from their paths, by taking away the ‘wrong’ choices, by making people live in the ways that are best for them. And if they don’t want to go along with our benevolent, wise, selfless, scientific program… well, we know what to do with undesirables, don’t we?”

          • Vagabond661

            Women don’t really need all those shoes now do they? 2 pairs of shoes should be enough for anyone. And why so many bottles of shampoo?

          • JWH

            I have no desire to control folks; if you want to consume Coke by the buckets, that’s fine with me. But we do have a rather robust social-services net in this country. And folks who overdo the sugary stuff (yours truly included) are going to end up costing the social-services net more money because of the health complications. Which is why I say tax it and put the resulting funds into government-funded healthcare programs. If you want to make poor decisions, fine. But you also get to pay for it.

          • herddog505

            I can live with sin taxes, though I do not trust politicians to use those funds for the intended purpose; they always seem to find something else to “invest” the money in (cf. Tobacco Settlement; education lotteries). What I can’t live with is the government saying “thou shalt not”; it’s not of their f*cking business.

            Incidentally, how is this sin tax-funded healthcare system supposed to work, anyway? There’s always talk of money being set aside to fund “programs”, but how does it work? If a portly individual gets diabetes allegedly from overindulgence in Moonpies and RC Colas, is he supposed to fill out a voucher so that Nanny McSam can help him defer the costs of his health insurance? Can you imagine the adminstrative (and politically juicy) nightmare this would be?

            The problem with government “using” sin tax money is that it assumes that the government ought to be in the medical care business. As we’ve learned (well, SOME of us have learned), having Uncle Sugar in the health care racket is about like having John Wayne Gacy in the youth mentoring biz: not the best idea coming down the pike.

          • JWH

            Herd:

            It’s actually a lot more sensible in a fully single-payer system.

            But in private insurance, it works something like this: If you’re “portly,” then your insurer increases your premiums via underwriting. You pay more than others because your risk factors are higher. I’m not a huge fan of this (particularly because a private insurer underwrote me for my weight), but on an intellectual level I recognize I got hit with this because of my own poor dietary habits.

            In a government-funded system, the idea would be to simulate those higher premiums by putting the sin tax on risky behavior. No vouchers, mind you. Just an admittedly blunt way to force those who increase healthcare costs to foot some of the bill. Personally, I’d toss all of the proceeds into Medicare or Medicaid.

            PS. Don’t even get me started about the tobacco settlement. I’m all for rules that strictly regulate smoking in public venues; smokers were created a passel of negative externalities by smoking indoors, and they showed no inclination to internalize them. But the tobacco settlement was just wrong. It basically forced tobacco companies to advertise against their own products, and channeled a lot of money to state governments on a legal theory that I found quite dubious.

            PPS. I also found it dubious that states tried to stiff their lawyers’ bills once the settlement money started coming in. I, for one, support paying your lawyer, and paying him well.

          • Jwb10001

            You forget that Chico is a Libertarian can’t you tell by his each to his own attitude? What would Gary Johnson’s position be on banning soft drinks I wonder?

          • jim_m

            Chico’s support of Johnson was never anything but a pose. He never really supported him unless someone pushed the issue hard. He supported obama in virtually every issue (almost never criticized him) and criticized conservatives at every opportunity. The pose of supporting Johnson was merely to shed the obligation of defending obama’s policies when they were crap and to still allow him to attack obama’s opponents.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Feel free to emmigrate. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out, chicka.

          • Commander_Chico

            I’m in Indonesia right now, people are friendly. I prefer Singapore and Malaysia, though.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Don’t hurry back.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      This has been episode 222 of chicka Derp!

  • Hank_M

    Hate to say it but that supremely obnoxious blowhard Morgan is right.

    Considering what our so-called education system now churns out, a nanny state is almost a requirement.

    Check out the answers to the recent Jimmy Kimmel video where people on the street (Obama voters) are asked what they think about Obama pardoning the sequester and sending it to Portugal and tell me these idiots don’t need someone else to think for them.

  • Josephine Violet

    The part of the Constitution no one likes to refer to is a clear statement in the preamble that says the government is charged with “Promoting the general welfare” of it’s citizens. Just as valid as the 1st amendment, just as parce-able and debatable as to it’s modern interpretation as the 2nd. I think the ban on the size of drink is an effective straddling of helping us help ourselves, without preventing us from hurting ourselves if we feel strongly about it.

    • JWH

      You are completely, totally, wrong.

      First, while the federal Constitution may come into play, the most relevant documents are, first, the New York state constitution and New York statutes, and second, the charter or other foundational documents of the City of New York. Why? Because the government that enacted the ban was the New York City government.

      Second, the Preamble to the federal Constitution is not an affirmative grant of power to any branch of government. It is, well, a preamble, an introductory sentence that states the purposes behind the ensuing document and summarizes the aspirations of the men who signed it. Courts may look to the Preamble to gauge the state of mind of the forefathers, but they will not read the Preamble as granting federal or state governments any power whatsoever beyond those enumerated in the Constitution.

      The closest analogue to a “general welfare clause” in the federal Constitution lies in the Taxing and Spending Clause, which reads:

      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

      Note that this is not a free-standing power, but rather a modification of the taxing and spending clause.

      However “parce-able” [sic] the Preamble to the Constitution might be, it is nevertheless not relevant to the large-soda ban.

      That said, there are mechanisms through which federal, state, or local governments may regulate soft drinks if they so choose. At the federal level, I could see the government drawing on the Commerce Clause, though that rather elastic clause of the Constitution has been blunted since Lopez. State governments and local governments, on the other hand, would be on firmer ground either through the exercise of their power to regulate intrastate commerce or through their general police power.

      • herddog505

        JWHThat said, there are mechanisms through which federal, state, or local governments may regulate soft drinks if they so choose.

        I agree. It has always been my understanding that the Constitution and the federal system it was intended to establish had in mind that the various states, counties and cities could enact such laws LOCALLY as they see fit to meet the needs of their people. If, for example, the City of New York wishes to enact a ban on Big Gulps, this is within their power, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments make it pretty clear that Uncle Sam has no say in the matter.

        Now, what the SCOTUS would say after decades of “incorporation” and “penumbras and emanations” is anybody’s guess…

        • JWH

          Well, Herd, I’m OK with “incorporation.” That leads to nifty things like ensuring that the Bill of Rights applies to state governments as well as feds. Just think, without incorporation, California could declare Scientology the state religion.

          • herddog505

            I often puzzle over this. Did the Founding Fathers intend (for example) that the First Amendment would protect free speech against ALL levels of government, from the Congress down to the town council, or did they mean exactly what they said: that it restrained ONLY the Congress? In a way, this makes sense: such things as laws against shouting “fire!” in a theatre are properly the business of local governments, not the Congress.

            Or did the Founding Fathers believe – rightly, in general – that Americans, whether from Massachusetts or Georgia, had a similar view of liberties and the law and trusted that they would all take similar actions in restraining the power of the government?

            The last, of course, is the point of the Constitution, and indeed of the great legal documents from Magna Carta on: they state that the government shall NOT. Our ancestors, going back to the barons in 1215 and likely before that, understood that government ought to be restrained lest it trample all over the people. Sadly, quite a lot of people, including that bilious Brit Piers Morgan, want to remove the fetters.

            Bad idea.

          • JWH

            If you ask me, the Founding Fathers actually didn’t intend to protect free speech at all. Keep in mind that the Founders were still in charge when the Alien and Sedition Acts passed Congress.

            But otherwise, as far as I can tell, I think they intended to restrain the federal government with the Bill of Rights, but not the state governments. If I recall my constitutional history correctly, the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments were not interpreted as restraining state governments until after the Fourteenth Amendment, with its language regarding due process and equal protection, was added to the Constitution.

            I think two things impelled the courts toward incorporating the Bill of Rights against the states. The first, of course, is the practical matter of the Fourteenth Amendment giving the language. The other, I think, was the realization that the federal guarantees of liberty were meaningless unless the states were held to the same standard.

            It is no good, for example, to prevent the federal law-enforcement authorities from searching your home without a warrant, but allow them to, say, make a phone call to the state law-enforcement authorities across the street. That sort of thing eviscerates the intent of the Fourth Amendment.

            That said, I think the Founders trusted that states would protect at least some of the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Indeed, many of the rights protected descended from, as you note, the Magna Carta, or from rights that states already protected.

            That said, “rights” came in a lot of flavors. It’s worth comparing, for example the original religious-liberty clause in the Massachusetts constitution to that which was enshrined in other state constitutions at the time.

            And if you REALLY want to get a sense of how long we’ve been debating certain things in government, take a look at the Preamble to the Confederate Constitution:

            We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America

          • herddog505

            JWHIf you ask me, the Founding Fathers actually didn’t intend to protect free speech at all. Keep in mind that the Founders were still in charge when the Alien and Sedition Acts passed Congress.

            I think that this is less a case of intent than of expediency: “ZOMG! French agents are undermining our country (and our political party)!!! WE GOTTA DO SOMETHING, and to hell with the right to free speech!”

            Principles are a fine thing to have as a guide, but the sad fact is that they sometimes have to be tossed aside. I suggest that the measure of a man can be made in examining WHEN he tosses them aside.

            As for the Confederacy, it is sometimes astonishing at just how much they considered themselves REAL Americans (Those People being… something else). Indeed, the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America features an image of none other than George Washington, regarding by Confederates as the Father of THEIR country.

            There is an amusing scene in the movie “Sergeant Rutledge” in which the president of a court martial asks to see a copy of the Articles of War and is outraged to find that he has been handed a CONFEDERATE manual. He then reads the flyleaf and finds that it was copied without changes from the United States Army.

          • JWH

            As for the Confederacy, it is sometimes astonishing at just how much they considered themselves REAL Americans (Those People being… something else). Indeed, the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America features an image of none other than George Washington, regarding by Confederates as the Father of THEIR country.

            The first time I ever really lived in the South (around fifth grade, mid 1980s), I was surprised at how many people still held a grudge over the Civil War and how many people identified with the Confederacy. Even today, I continue to look askance at people who attempt to (pardon the expression) whitewash the Confederate side of the Civil War. I’m not just talking about people who argue that the war was really about states’ rights (to allow slavery) or some notion of regional allegiance, but people who try to argue that slavery was something other than the abomination it was, or even ignore slavery altogether when recounting 19th-century history.

    • herddog505

      “Promote the general welfare” is a clause in the preamble that explains the purpose of the Constitution. It is not a binding, legal operable clause. In comparison, consider the clause “provide for the common defense”: this does not give the Congress the power to raise an Army and a Navy or declare war; this is laid out in Art. I sec. 8. In a similar fashion, “establish justice” is fleshed out in Art. I sec 8 and at more length in Art. III. “General welfare” similarly appears in Art.1 sec. 8 and is followed by a list of enumerated powers that the Founding Fathers thought were necessary for the government TO promote the general welfare; it was not written as a carte blanche.

      The Founding Fathers were pretty specific on the meaning of “provide for the general welfare” and that it did NOT mean, “Do whatever you want so long as you say the magic words ‘general welfare’”. James Madison writes in Federalist #41:

      Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

      Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.”

      But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.*

      Madison goes on to note that the phrase “promote the general welfare” appeared in the Articles of Confederation; what need of a new constitution if the Articles gave the Congress the (unlimited) power to “promote the general welfare”? Indeed, what need of a constitution of any length; why not simply vest the Congress with the powers to “provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare” by such means as they might see fit?

      President Jefferson wrote in a letter to Albert Galatin:

      Our tenet ever was that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated, and that, as it was never meant that they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money. **

      The idea of a Congress of unlimited power was anathema to the Founding Fathers, as it SHOULD be to every American. Unfortunately, there are far too many who, in the pursuit of political power or simply their own ease (“Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”) insist that the Congress – government generally – has and OUGHT to have the power to do whatever it sees fit to “promote the general welfare”. This is about as sure a road to tyranny as can well be imagined. What dictator in history DIDN’T base his program on promises to “promote the general welfare”: “Give me unlimited power, and I will make our country into a paradise!”

      Just ignore the mass graves and the concentration camps…

      ===

      (*) http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa41.htm

      (**) http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/quotes/govt.html

      • JWH

        Since when do you and I tag-team constitution interpretation against liberal commenters? It’s unsettling.

        • herddog505

          The funny thing is that my wife is the lawyer.

          But I do loves me some Constitution. God bless it!

  • http://learnstofly.tk Klem

    For all of you who cherish their “freedom” and hate the “nanny state”, I have a few suggestion for you that I’d like to see come true

    -Hard drugs dispensers in the streets for cheap
    -Allowed to own a tank and nuclear warhead
    -Same sex mariage allowed, as well as polygamy, menage a 3, bigamy….
    -Abortions drive thru
    -Flag burning areas
    -Porn for minors
    -Alchool for minors
    -Abortion commercial on Sesame street
    -Smoking allowed in kindergarden schoolyards.
    -Extasy ads in night clubs
    -Heroin commercials during superbowl
    -Human fat in soap
    -Necrophilia allowed

    I want all of these because they’re muh freedoms and no nanny state can take it away from me…..

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      Seek professional help.

      • http://learnstofly.tk Klem

        Why is that?

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  • Jeremy

    Gee a Brit academic elitist who thinks freedom is an overrated concept; I would have never guessed.