Misinterpreting the Constitution. Facing reality, how bad the federal mess really is, the misinterpretation of the Constitution, unconstitutional spending, and what the American people need to know. Find out this and more, here on WallBuilders Live!
Air Date: 02/17/2017
Guests: Allen West, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- The National Center for Policy Analysis
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re discussing today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and culture all from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. We’re here with David Barton he’s America’s premiere historian and our founder and president here WallBuilders. Also Tim Barton, national speaker, and pastor. And my name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas state rep.
You can find out more about us at WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com. Both websites have a wealth of information. Both of them are new websites for those of you that have been following WallBuilders and listening maybe to the radio program for years but haven’t been to the website in the last few months, you’re going to love it. Go check it out at WallBuilders.com and also WallBuildersLive.com.
WallBuilders has been recognized from coast to coast for its work in education, history, law, and public policy, always integrating the elements of Biblical faith and morality throughout all aspects of American life and culture. We’re glad to have you here, a part of it with us!
Fixing The Nation
David, Tim, I feel like we’ve moved into you know a used house and we kind of knew we had the inspection report a little bit when we bought the house but now that we’re in it we’re starting to maybe pull up some carpet. We’re starting to figure out, “Oh there’s, even more, problems here than maybe we thought. It’s time to get to work and get down and fix those problems.” I mean the nation and a new administration coming into the White House and starting to peel back the curtains a little bit.
Yeah, you’re exactly right. We’re now seeing numbers that have come out of the White House, not particularly out of the White House per se, but out of out of the government that showed the summary of what’s happened under President Obama, particularly with spending in certain areas and where it ended up that he was spending.
As he went out those last few weeks he spent a lot of stuff in Iran, etc. Well, now we’ve got some numbers back on how much has been spent and where it was spent and it is very, very revealing as to not only what this administration, the prior administration believed, but also as to how they viewed the Constitution or really how they misinterpreted the Constitution.
I don’t think that’s going to be a shock to anybody, that they didn’t really follow the Constitution. But it does provide a really good opportunity to say, “No, let’s go back to what the Constitution said.” And kind of get folks reacquainted with what the government is supposed to do now that we’re going into a new administration.
Major Changes Have To Happen To Our Country
The good thing is we have people who already knew the situation was somewhat dire in terms of finances. I’ve been watching some of the debt numbers and whatnot go up. But Colonel Allen West, for a former congressman from Florida, of course, has been a vocal critic of this out-of-control spending, and frankly, unconstitutional spending.
I recently read an article about this just saying, “Look now that we’re pulling back the curtains and we can get a little deeper look now that somebody else is in there and can ask the right questions. Whoa. It is bad and it’s going to take some major policy changes that turn the ship around.”
There’s a lot of changes, Rick, that are going to have to happen. Fortunately, most Americans understand that there are times when you sense the belt and you do something different, But it’s amazing, not just that we are in such a deep mess financially, but even as we mentioned constitutionally what we did constitutionally to get ourselves in that mess, how we misapplied phrases from the Constitution a misunderstanding.
For us that read and know the Constitution, in fact, Dad, when you and I were just recently teaching at a university and dealing with the Constitution and we read the Constitution. For most students in the class never read the Constitution. We read it together and their eyes are open and going, “Is this what that means? I’d have to, I’ve never seen this. I’ve heard it but I don’t even know.”
It’s not all that complicated and if you just read it and think about it. It’s easy to apply it. But when people don’t read it, when they don’t think about it, and they don’t apply it, that’s when we get ourselves in these messes.
Teaching The Constitution
Rick I will tell you, just to create a visual picture here, as Tim and I were teaching in this great college, the school of government, we were teaching that and what we decided to do was the whole week we were teaching four hours a day on the Constitution, four classes a day on the Constitution.
So what we did was by day three we said, “Ok, now we’ve laid the groundwork for the Constitution, the background, why it was done, how it was done, why they did what they did. Now let’s read the Constitution.”
So we just went around the class and everybody read a paragraph and we went around reading the Constitution. And don’t know Tim, what were we 15 paragraphs in before people started stopping? “What does that mean?” And they were asking questions and they got excited. Tim and I just kind of grinned at each other, “This is really kind of cool. It’s clearly their first time to read the Constitution.”
And the more they read it the more they started looking at the stuff going on around them. And there were people in there from foreign nations as well. And interestingly enough, there were some there from France and they got it faster than the Americans did. It was amazing. And the next day when we came back in and Tim and I were starting to ask questions of the Constitution the one from France was answered all the questions on the Constitution.
She understood the application and the practical way it played out better than most Americans, which I thought, and dad and I talked about, “How sad is that for American education? That someone from another nation recognizes the way our Constitution is supposed to operate better than we do.”
Understanding The Constitution
But again that’s when you look at how in the world these last eight years that we’ve been going the wrong direction and doing these things? It’s because Americans don’t understand the Constitution. We don’t know the way it works, the way it’s supposed to be applied or the original intent. Again, this is why we’re in this mess is because we just don’t know things we don’t know.
But think about the response of those students in that class. I mean that’s what we find here at WallBuilders is that people are hungry for it. They want to know, they just don’t know where to get it. They didn’t get it from basic education here in America anymore. So all of a sudden they hear a presentation, hear one of our radio programs, or in your case and the in the classroom, and I mean it’s like they’re lapping it up. They’re going, “Oh wow. No kidding? Give me more.”
That’s a good sign.
How long have we been taught in America that you can’t understand the Constitution unless you’re on the Supreme Court?
If you’ve got a law degree, or you get a Ph.D., then maybe you can kind of grasp, maybe you can kind of glimpse it, but the average person can’t know. And when they started reading that for themselves. It was just cool to see the lights go on.
So what happens is, Colonel West has kind of looked back, now that everything’s out the door, and summarized the percentages and where the spending went and what it did. And it really is a very good snapshot in sight of really the misinterpretation of the Constitution which is going to give us a great chance to say, “Here’s what the Constitution really says.” So Colonel Allen West, great hero, a great guy, great article he did on this.
Glad to have him with us! We’ll be right back with Colonel Allen West. Stay with us on WallBuilders Live!
DVD On Common Core
Hi, friends! This is David Barton of WallBuilders. The current condition of education in America is abysmal. Not only is educational achievement plummeting, but every year, some 19 percent of high school seniors who graduate is completely illiterate. They can’t read at all but it was not always this way.
For generations, we taught students how to think. But after the progressives took over education in the early 20th century, things began to radically change. Education shifted from thinking to learning, which made the emphasis on the teachers rather than the students. And that elevated indoctrination above knowledge.
At that time, progressives also made massive changes in the way we tested students. They extended school from 8 to 12 years. They introduced graded education and they added compulsory education. Statistics prove that these changes have harmed education rather than helped it. And now the progressives are pushing common core.
In our new DVD on common core, we give you eight reasons why this current approach is so dangerous to our kids and our culture. We also show you an amazing history of education. So get this new DVD at WallBuilders.com.
Now That He’s Gone We’re Learning The Awful Truth
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Colonel Allen West, a former congressman from Florida, now, of course, living in the great state of Texas with us! Colonel, thanks so much for your time!
Good to be with you, Rick.
Great article on, Now That He’s Gone We’re Learning The Awful Truth, just pointing out some of the things that maybe people didn’t realize. Underlying that, we’re going to pay a price for it, there’s going to be consequences, but hopefully we can we could turn it around.
You just you just go through a list of a lot of the things that people may not have been aware of. Before you dive into the article, also want to give out the website for your organization here in Texas that you’re working with now.
Yes, it’s The National Center for Policy Analysis. It’s a 30-year-old conservative free market think tank www.NCPA.org
Alright, we’ll make a link today at WallBuildersLive.com as well. Great resource! It’s good to get on their email list folks so you can get updated. Allen and others put out great articles almost on a daily basis there, so check out their information as well.
Colonel, let’s just go through some of these things that you pointed out in the article that, even just that the spending, and the numbers from OMB and how much of a problem that frankly President Trump and the American people are inheriting at this point.
What The American People Need To Know
Well, the bottom line is that we wanted to share with people. It was such great research done by Terence Jeffrey with CNS News that we had a president that was the first one to spend more on welfare programs than he did on our defense.
I think that what I tried to do is bring out from the preamble of the Constitution two very interesting phrases where it talks about, “Provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.” Well, provide is an active verb and promote is a passive word. If you think about it, it seems that in the eight years of the Obama administration we juxtapose that. So now we just kind of promote the common defense but we provide for the general welfare.
When you look at the incredible expansion of Americans on food stamps, going into poverty, the expansion of Medicaid, which you know is you know free government health care for those people at or below the poverty line, we’re going in the wrong direction. It’s not about economic growth. I’s not about our national security. And I think that’s the big challenge for you know President Trump going ahead.
That’s a great point. I love that perspective on provide and promote, because it seems like the Founders the way they saw it is if you were if you were providing good defense and promoting the general welfare simply by making sure the system of free enterprise was in place and protected then you would have a good general welfare. But it wasn’t a specific individual welfare. It was a general welfare, just like they talked about in the article Confederation’s. So it was the system.
The Free Enterprise System
Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And it is a focus on the policies that enable that system, that free market, free enterprise system. So, how do you make sure you have the right tax regulatory policies that enable the small business entrepreneur to grow?
When you think about the mentality of a person who back in 2012 said that if you own a business you didn’t build that, that gives you a window into the philosophy of governance of someone such as a Barack Obama.
But what we saw coming in now is that here is someone, Donald Trump, who is trying to get economic growth going and is meeting with the captains of industry so that they can be provided those policies and enable that to happen.
We want the trillions of dollars of capital, that offshore to come back to the United States of America for a new generation of investment, innovation, and ingenuity, which can get Americans back to work and not have them sitting around being part of the dependency society and the welfare nanny state.
So bring in those dollars back requires policies that literally “promote” the general welfare, meaning, it makes for a great environment to do business.
That’s absolutely right. So when you think about one of the points that have been brought out, what if we had a one-time repatriation at a lower corporate business tax rate, let’s say 8-10% of these trillions of dollars of capital coming back and the revenue that is generated off of that there. You make sure it goes toward the infrastructure repair because that’s critical if you’re going to have economic growth.
You want to have the infrastructure that can support that. Especially when you look at the road networks and everything here in Texas, we have so many people moving here for the economic opportunities that it offers.
Why Bernie Sanders Packed Stadiums
And then following from there you have policies that keep that corporate business tax rate, which right now is the highest in the world and an understandable and manageable tax rate that enables our businesses and corporations to grow. Therefore, guess what it helps, it helps those subcontractors and those small business owners as well.
So, that’s the mentality that you want to have in Washington, D.C. which is the policies that promote the general welfare. Not specifically try to provide welfare to people which is where we’ve gotten off the path.
That’s such a great distinction. Before I let you go, just in terms of how to be able to pass policies that do create that environment, it requires really turning this cultural trend towards being anti-business, anti-entrepreneur, and even anti-people that are that are wealthy. That’s partly due to the president and other politicians rhetoric. It’s partly due to our education system,
It’s almost like if you’re a free enterprise person, if you’re for free market, for businesses being able to go out there and compete you’re the bad guy. That’s kind of the mentality we’ve taught in this next generation. I think that’s why Bernie Sanders was packing stadiums openly being for socialism. So how do we turn that? How do we get people to once again, just as an individual rooting for business owners to be successful?
The One Percent
Well, you know, it’s very simple. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. And I remember when the Atlanta Falcons came to town back in 1966. I was only five. Guess what. We’re all cheering incredibly for the Atlanta Falcons because it’s only the second time since 1966 and they’ve been to the Super Bowl. Which means that they’re in the 1%.
So why is it that we go out and we cheer so strongly so vehemently for our sports teams or you know things of that nature but yet we don’t understand that we want everyone to be able to be a part of a 1%? And they can define what that 1 percent is. But don’t retard people from being able to pursue their dreams, pursuit of happiness, as opposed to somebody believing they can guarantee happiness.
So, either New-England or the Atlanta Falcons are going to be the Super Bowl champion. And if it’s the New England Patriots guess what, that means that Bill Belichick is the all-time winning-est NFL coach that’s won, I think five or six Super Bowls. He is truly in a 1 percent.
So, why do we not want to celebrate success? When we look at it being the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Chicago Cubs, the Seattle Seahawks when they won.
So we need to talk to people on a very basic level to say that we don’t want you to cheer for teams to be the champions, we want you to be a champion. I think that very simple thing that we should use, Rick, is that socialism promotes victims. But what we’re talking about is promoting victors.
National Center for Policy Analysis
That’s great! I love it! NCPA, National Center for Policy Analysis. If you’d like to learn more, in fact, they’ve got a young patriots essay contest going on right now. You can find out more about that there at the website. Colonel, as you said in the article and just mentioned briefly in your comments, it doesn’t say the guarantee of happiness or redistribution of happiness, it is that pursuit of happiness that makes our nation great and it’s actually a fun pursuit as well. So thanks for all you guys are doing to promote that that free enterprise! Appreciate you, Colonel, let’s get you soon!
Colonel, as you said in the article and just mentioned briefly in your comments, it doesn’t say the guarantee of happiness or redistribution of happiness. It is that pursuit of happiness that makes our nation great and it’s actually a fun pursuit as well. So thanks for all you guys are doing to promote that that free enterprise! Appreciate you, Colonel. Let’s get you soon!
Thank you, Rick.
Stay with us folks. Be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. The Reverend James Caldwell was a famous minister during the American War for Independence. His sermons taught liberty and God’s opposition to tyranny.
The British hated him and tried to kill him. So for his own protection, he would actually take loaded pistols with him into the pulpit and lay them beside his Bible as he preached. In the 1780 battle of Springfield, the Americans ran out of wadding for their guns which was like having no ammunition.
Pastor Caldwell ran inside a nearby church and returned with an armload of Watt’s Hymnals, the pages of which would provide the much-needed wadding. He took this great Bible-based hymnal, raised in the air, and shouted to the troops, “Now put to watts into them, boys!” This pastor’s ingenuity saved the day for the Americans.
For more information on Pastor James Caldwell and other colonial patriots go to WallBuilders.com
Promote The General Welfare
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Thanks again to Colonel Allen West for joining us today and helping to not only let us know how bad the money problem is but, David, Tim, he pointed out why this is unconstitutional and why this led to the problem. If we would have stayed within those constitutional jurisdictions boundaries we wouldn’t be in this mess.
We’ll see, as he pointed out, we spent more on welfare than we did on the military. And when you look specifically at the Constitution- and let me just read the 52 words out of the preamble of the Constitution. Now I know this is a radical idea but back in elementary school every one of us was required to memorize the preamble to the Constitution.
Misinterpreting The Constitution
I don’t know if anybody reads it in school anymore, much less memorize it, but it says, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Now, in general welfare, it says, “To promote the general welfare.” And the way that’s been interpreted is generally promote welfare, they’ve reversed the clause. The way the Founding Fathers said it is, “You promote the general welfare by doing only the 17 things that we gave you in the Constitution.” They said very clearly in their writings, “When we said, ‘promote the general welfare’ we meant if you would do the 17 things we told you in the Constitution, that’s for the benefit of all the United States.”
Provide Versus Promote
And what a great point that he made, in clarifying it doesn’t say, “Provide general welfare.” It says, “Promote general welfare, provide the common defense.”
Here’s the deal. Let me just take and define those words because those are key words and when he said that I thought what do those words mean. Common English, real simple stuff, to provide means to furnish, to give, to hand over, to implement, to dispense, and to take care of. To promote means to advertise, to popularize, to recommend, to call attention to.
So promoting means you just talk about it providing means you do it. And so when you go back to the preamble you’re supposed to provide for the common defense but promote the general welfare. So, even with those two words, you’re supposed to take active actions in doing something in common defense but you don’t do anything with welfare except talk about it.
That is such an interesting distinction too. Again, having read the Constitution before, those are things that we should see, know, and apply. But I hadn’t really thought about it until he’s explaining, and I thought, “Well yeah, those two words were significant. There’s a reason they chose those words.”
I have to explain sometimes in conversations with friends and people that words mean things. Sometimes I’ll be talking to a friend and they’ll say something and I say, “That’s not really what that means.”
Princess Bride Quote
You used that several times when we were at the college last week. You kept quoting from Princess Bride.
“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
I’m afraid a whole lot of people don’t even know what the context of that is anymore. But that’s exactly it. They use words without really thinking about what they mean or knowing what they mean, and every word in the Constitution was put there very deliberately and very clearly.
Those guys were thinkers and they explained- that’s what the Federalist Paper does. I mean it goes to the words and phrases of the Constitution and explains very clearly and there is a huge difference between provide and promote, and Allen West got that.
Alright, quick break. We’ll be right back. Stay with us, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Hey, guys. This is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “I wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand. See the things they did.”
I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.
Or you can just go to WallBuilders.com. We have a section for our library. And under that section, we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites. Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. WallBuilders.com is a great place to go.
The Capitol Visitor Center Not Facing Reality
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us! We know you didn’t have time during the break but make sure after the program you go rent Princess Bride so you know exactly what Tim was talking about, “that word not meaning what you think it means.” Which we run into a lot with these constitutional phrases, guys.
And also we run into people that will take and misuse the words. I’ll give you great example. Back when they built the Capitol visitor centers, they were building that, they started that back in 2000 or so. I was asked by leadership in the House and the Senate at that time to help oversee and be the eyes for the House and Senate leadership of what was going in there.
I think there were 270 internal displays and each one was going to present some type of history to those to go through. And you have between 15,000-22,000 Americans every day that go to the Capitol Visitor Center. They wanted to make sure it was accurate.
And over the course of that time, there were so many things that were inaccurate. And so we had to change them and point it out. But one of the really intriguing things was they had an area for rotating displays, and those rotate displays, they would bring over documents from Library of Congress. They had another area where they’re just engrave parts of the Constitution in stone, so you’d walk in and see parts of the Constitution.
Leaving Out Critical Facts
Interestingly, here’s what happened. For example, with documents, one of the first documents they displayed was the Northwest Ordinance. In the Northwest Ordinance Article 3 they quoted from that, it says, “Religion, morality, and knowledge be necessary to good government and happiness to mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
Except, what they did was they took out, “religion and morality” and they said, “Knowledge be necessary to good government and happiness of mankind, schools, and means-” What happened to religion and morality?
Well, they left that out. Another thing they did in quoting the Constitution, you know we just talked about the preamble, how the preamble says very clearly that you provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. What they engraved in stone was, “Provide… for the general welfare.” Wait a minute, that’s exactly the opposite of what it was supposed to be.
So they really got that wrong. And that’s that’s what gets communicated wrongly to the next generation is the kind of stuff you see when you walk in the Capitol Visitor Center at the rate of about 22,000 people.
They literally change the words?
They change the words. Now they tell us, “Well, we put an ellipse there.” Yeah, you put an ellipse there that made it say the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to say.
“Well, it was hard to include those two extra words, the ellipse is so much easier.
The ellipse was as long as the words.
I mean, guys, come on, you want them to say what the document actually said. “We just, you know, dropped a couple of words. What’s the big deal? It just changes history. People do it all the time.”
Misinterpreting the Constitution
And they’ve done that, and that gives every congressman the ability to get up and say, “See, we’re just providing for the general welfare.”
Yeah, I mean they gave Obama a defense before he was ever in office, by what they did back there, is they have misinterpreted the purpose of the Constitution. You know thankfully, Allen West pointed, “No, no, that’s not what it says.”
And let me go back saying, that again, we’re highlighting misinterpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution is not that confusing. It’s easy to read, take you 20 minutes. Sit down and read it. It will make sense, you’ll see how it applies, and we even have a little commentary on the constitution if you want to get a little more in depth.
Constitution Alive is available WallBuilders.com. You can watch those videos. We’ll take you into Independence Hall. Listen to our Moments from American history as well, constantly talking about the little phrases or things from the Founding Fathers. It’s all available. It’s not like we have to go hunt this stuff, it’s not like it’s hidden treasure. It’s available to us right now.
If nothing else just sit down folks with a copy of the Constitution or read through it today, so you know where your freedoms are guaranteed. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live!