Why Do We Need The Wall Now After All This Time: Its Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!

Air Date: 04/11/2019

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. 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 or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Liberties and Freedom Are Worth Defending

Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And, it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as , and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!

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Should Representatives Uphold the Founding Principles of Our Nation?

David, Tim, we got a lot of questions to get to today. Are y’all ready for the first one?

Tim:

Let’s do it.

Rick:

All right. First one comes–let’s see; I don’t have an author on this one, so I’m just gonna dive into it.Here it is.

“Here’s my concern of my question. I wish I knew more about history and was more knowledgeable of our country’s Constitution; but, since I’m not, I’m asking David Barton. Here’s the question: Would it be correct to say that because of the principles America was founded upon, our Constitution, and other founding documents, would it be correct to say that those guiding principles found in those documents and the Constitution are the quote ‘standards’ that should be used in crafting of any law by our representatives?

“Our representatives pledge to protect and defend our country and our country’s Constitution–right–against both foreign and domestic enemies. This is my rough interpretation; but, would that be close to correct?”

All right. He’s got some other questions; we might have time to get to those. But, let’s address that one first, guys. What about the principles of the Constitution and the founding of the country? Should all laws passed later reflect those things?

Article 6 of the Constitution

David:

Well, Article 6 of the Constitution contains what is called the “Supremacy Clause;” and, the supremacy clause says that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, the Constitution and laws passed under it. So, when you have the constitution and constitutionally-passed federal laws, that is to be the supreme law of the land.

Now, the problem we have with this is What do you mean by “Constitution;” how do you define “Constitution” and “supreme” and “law of the land?” How do you define “enemies foreign and domestic?” And, this is where we have the real problem.

It’s not what the Constitution says. It’s what does it mean? And, we don’t know what words mean anymore.

We Lost Control of Definitions; It’s all About Perspectives

We lost control of education over the last 30 years. And, when we did that, we lost control of definitions and with it, lost control of politics. So, my gender, the Constitution, words like “supreme are what I define them to be.

A “domestic enemy” clearly is Trump. If I’m a Democrat there’s no greater domestic enemy than Trump, and I have to fight him and oppose him every sense of the way. And, any state law that would limit abortion, that violates my federal belief, so the Constitution requires abortion.

It’s all about perspectives. We no longer have a standard. Now, you know, the question articulated what would have been called “an original-intent” understanding of the Constitution; but, we’re not there anymore.

We’ve taught evolution so long that evolution now applies to the Constitution, and the Constitution evolves depending on how I define it, how I identify what I believe about it. It no longer has the stability.

And, that’s why America really is in a shaky situation when the same word means 43 different things to 28 different people. You can’t have a cohesive base for a stable nation anymore, and that is that is the problem with this question.

Original Intent or Evolution

The philosophy is right if you believe in original intent. But, if you believe that the Constitution is an evolving document that reflects what I believe, then we’ve got real problems. And, that’s where we are today. That’s why the person who asked the question is perplexed over what seems to be an easy understanding; that’s just not where we are.

Tim:

Also, when you culture where the Constitution is changed based on what the current federal judge has ruled or whatever president’s in office who can make an executive order to make the Constitution say what they wanted to say. So, not only are you seeing the evolution as far as the application and how that phrase is now applied today–so, the “general welfare,” what does that actually mean and how is it actually applied? Well, Obamacare is the “general welfare” for the people because we all need health care.

So, we’re seeing things applied out of the original intent, out of context, improperly; but also, you’re seeing that federal judges now can come in and say what is and isn’t constitutional without even relating to the Constitution.

And so, although the fundamental principle is there, that we should not be able to do things that violate or go against the Constitution–and in fact, if you don’t like what the Constitution says, the Constitution even makes provision where you can go and change or amend the Constitution. We’ve done that 27 times in the history of our nation. There are ways to change the Constitution if we think it needs to be changed; if the people think it’s evolving really believe it should evolve, there are actually processes to change it to mean what you want it to mean.

But, instead of going through the actual process, which is the constitutional way to do it, they’re kind of superseding the process and going around it. That’s why it is confusing; it’s convoluted. There’s not a uniform system in it.

We’ve Made Everything Subjective

And, Dad, as you’re mentioning, it’s become this very subjective thing: Well, here’s what it means to me. And, this is not just true constitutionally but, across the culture. We could talk about even for Christians, we read the Bible and say, “Well, here’s what it means to me.”

I don’t care what it means to you, I care what it actually meant when it was written. Like, how does this apply in real life? And so, we’ve made everything subjective in life. It’s how I feel, or what I want and what I think; and, the Constitution was not written to be a feel, want, or think kind of document, but that’s how it’s applied today.

Which is why it’s easy to see the confusion because what’s happening is not what was written.

Rick:

Tim, you mentioned that the federal courts, every time a judge hands down a decision it changes the law. I mean, that’s exactly what Madison was talking about when he said, “If you don’t stick with that original intent and that clear meaning, there’s no stability.” And, that’s kind of where we are; there’s that lack of stability and understanding and common ground of what that philosophy, and that view of government, its role in our lives, and all those things that used to be understood by most Americans and agreed upon. Now, man, it’s just all over the map because–

That’s Your Problem: Absolutes

David:

You just expressed a problem: In your view, clearly you believe that there were absolutes when it was written. And, that’s that’s your problem, and you got to catch up. There’s no absolutes; t’s whatever you–and see.

What you expressed, going back to James Madison. was original intent.

Tim:

By the way, for anybody not picking up, he’s being sarcastic. There are absolutes.

Rick:

Well, wait. I thought he was saying that just like there’s gender fluidity, now there’s constitutional fluidity.

David:

There is; it is how you define it. And, that is the difficulty. And so, when we have two groups talking to each other, we’re talking past each other.

One is talking French, and the other is listening to Russian, essentially. When you’re talking original intent to someone who doesn’t believe there’s gender construction, that is absolute. As Tim pointed out: X and Y chromosome.

Opposite Views of the Constitution

When you’re talking to people like that, you’re arguing to the wind. And, same with them to us: they’re not going to convince us that the Constitution can mean whatever they individually want it to mean. But, that is the difficulty we have, and that is why the nation is so polarized.

We have opposite views of the Constitution. I really take this back to the election between George Bush and Al Gore, when they started saying, “How do you define the Constitution.” And Gore said, “Well, it’s a living document;” Bush said, “Well, it’s original intent.”

I mean, that’s the first time politically, at the presidential level, I’ve ever seen those two worldviews laid out. And since then, both sides have progressed pursuing those beliefs. So, you have judges now being appointed who are more constitutional intent, original-intent-kind-of judges. And, the other side is wanting more judges that are evolutionary-kind-of judges who believe in progressive revelation, progressive truth, progressive construction. And, that’s that is the culture war we have today: whether there are absolutes.

The Culture War and Millennials

Currently, four out of five millennials say, “There are no moral absolutes {no right or wrong} in gender, marriage, sex, or anything else. And, the original-intent people say, “No, there are moral absolutes.” So, that’s really kind of the conflict we’re seeing in the culture today.

Rick:

Our next question is this. This is from Doug who says, “Do I understand correctly that a treaty agreed to by the president and ratified by the Senate becomes equal in jurisdiction with the Constitution, the supreme law of the land? Can a ratified treaty’s jurisdiction reach more broadly than the enumerated powers allowed to the federal government?

“What steps must be taken to revoke a national a ratified treaty” Would it depend on a revocation provision in the treaty? If there were no such provision, how could its ratification be revoked or the treaty otherwise voided constitutionally? Thanks for your help, Doug.”

International Treaty, Equal Jurisdiction With the Constitution?

Okay, great set of questions here, guys. Let’s start with Doe a treaty, an international treaty that the president signs on to and then the Senate ratifies, have equal jurisdiction with the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the land?

David:

Well, the Constitution says that the Constitution, federal laws, and treaties are the supreme law of the land; it puts them all together. However, under original intent, you would argue that the Constitution is higher than treaties or federal laws. It has to be because the Constitution is what gives the authorization to the other two; the others don’t give the authorization of the Constitution.

So, under original intent you would say that the constitution is supreme, and any treaty that’s done under the Constitution is also supreme, unless it violates the Constitution itself; then it’s not. And, the reason the treaty clause was originally done was not because we had a bunch of treaties or were looking to do international treaties. As matter of fact, George Washington warned us to avoid what he called “foreign entanglements.”

“Foreign Entanglements”

Don’t get into a bunch of treaties with other nations. What they were talking about was treaties that we were making with Native American tribes. Georgia is a great example.

We had federal treaties with the federal government and the Cherokee, and Georgia says, “Well, we ignore those those treaties and want the Cherokees moved off the lands that they have a treaty.” And so, the supreme law of the land was really designed to say that we have separate, distinct nations among us. And, under the Constitution and today even, reservations are not federal territory or property; they are independent nations within United States.

The various Native American reservations are independent nations. They have their own laws and police force, their own everything, unless they make a treaty with the United States to provide that. So, it was really designed to do Native-American protection so the states couldn’t come in and start throwing Native Americans out of lands that the federal government agreed to a treaty. That was what is designed to do.

Now, we’re at the point where we’re looking at the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, or the U.N. Treaty on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and climate-change treaties. We see all these other things and say, “Oh my gosh, if they get passed, that’s equal to the Constitution.” Well, they would be today because of the language of the Constitution.

But, by original intent and those who wrote it, no; they’re still subservient to the Constitution because the Constitution’s the authorizing document.

Mutual Defense Treaty

When it comes to getting rid of a treaty, sometimes the treaties have provisions whereby the parties can, by notice, get out of them. There’s times, for example, in 1778, America created a treaty of mutual defense with France. And, that’s why France came to America aid throughout the American Revolution.

They came to our assistance against the British and were immensely helpful because we had this treaty of mutual defense. Well, in 1798, the French are fighting Great Britain, and we’re at peace with Great Britain. France says, “Well, you’ve got to come help us fight the British because you’ve got a treaty of mutual defense that you signed; so, you’ve got to come help us fight the British.” We said, “No, we’re not doing that.”

So, France started attacking America. France came after America in what we call “The Quasi war of 1798.” And, at that point, that the Congress said, “OK, we’re out from under that treaty. We’re not doing that treaty anymore.” So, they set it aside.

How Do You Get Rid of a Treaty?

So, 1798 is really one of the very few times that a treaty has been set aside by a joint resolution of Congress. Often treaties are set aside by an act of the president. Now, for example, the defense treaty with Taiwan.

Jimmy Carter set that aside in 1978, so he could start negotiating with China because Taiwan was not part of China, and China wanted Taiwan, and we said, “We’ve got a defence treaty with Taiwan. If China attacks Taiwan, we’ll defend Taiwan.” And so, Jimmy Carter said, “Well we’re not going to follow that treaty anymore because we want to negotiate directly with China.”

He also–the Panama Canal treaty. We had treaties with Panama Canal. He gave that up and gave that over in {‘78.}

You have Abraham Lincoln who also set aside treaties. You have a number of other presidents. And, there’s just a number of different ways to do it.

I mean, we have examples where Congress set them aside, or the president set it aside, or a joint resolution of Congress that was ratified by the president, or the parties became belligerent and started ignoring the treaties.

So, there’s not really a set way; and, the Constitution does not give a set way to set aside a treaty. It tells you how to make a treaty; you do it. And, the advice and consent of the Senate to what the president decides is what it takes to make a treaty. But, it really doesn’t give you a clear directive on how to get out of it.

Rick:

Well, we’ve got more questions to get to. So, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back.

Your questions can be sent in to [email protected] Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

A Moment From America’s History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. In the case, Abington vs Schempp the Supreme Court ruled that the Bible could no longer be an independent textbook in public school curriculum. Would our Founding Fathers have agreed?

Benjamin Rush certainly would have disagreed. Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and he was a leading educator of the day. In fact, he was the first Founding Father to call for free public schools.

Benjamin Rush declared, “The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of extinguishing Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. The Bible should be read in our schools in preference to all other books.”

In the view of Founding Father Benjamin Rush, the Bible was the textbook of preference for public schools. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

Abraham Lincoln said, “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts. Not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We’re diving into your questions; so, be sure and send them to [email protected]

Why Wasn’t the Border Wall Built 200 Years Ago?

This next one comes from Wayne in Amarillo, Texas. He said, “I have a question about the border wall. Nobody’s even asking this; but, why didn’t they already have it totally built 200 years ago when we beat the Mexican army led by Santa Anna?

He killed everyone at the Alamo in San Antonio, and we went after him at San Jacinto and beat him and his army then. I’m not sure if it’s the correct place, but I think you know that history.”  And, you’re right; it was San Jacinto.

Rick:

Guys, that’s a good question: Why didn’t we have better border security 200 years ago? I guess it wasn’t quite 200 years ago.

Tim:

Well, I don’t know that the 200-year-ago question is being asked; but, I’ve certainly heard people make an argument against the wall of why Trump is a racist because we’ve never needed one before, and we’ve gone for hundreds of years. And so, this topic has been brought up; although, it is an interesting question to kind of say, “Why haven’t we done a border wall before,” because certainly, you can look and you can see where Congress has arguably been in positions where they’ve supported some of this, and there’s been no movement from it.

Government Positions are Often More Political than Practical

And, it does raise an interesting question as we look, sometimes politically, and you see people that are in government positions and then recognize that a lot of times things are much more political than they are practical. For example, when when President Trump was first there, he had the House and the Senate; Republicans had the House and the Senate the first two years. So, if Trump was going to build a border wall, why didn’t they fund it in the first two years?

Why did they wait until Democrats were taking over the House, and now we want to fund it, now that we don’t have the votes anymore. Well, that doesn’t seem like a very politically expedient move, at least not a practically expedient move. But, politically, you had Republicans going, “Whoa, if I do this, I’m gonna get myself in trouble; so, I don’t want to come out and support or fund a wall. Let’s not have that vote.”

And so, they they suppressed the vote; and then when Nancy Pelosi gets there, Well now we can make the Democrats look bad, so politically now it’s a good deal. Thus, what you see, at least in some of the present scenario, is there’s a lot more political posturing than there are people actually trying to get the job done. One of the things we’ve appreciated about President Trump is that he’s someone who is not just into political posturing; he’s actually trying to do something, which is abnormal for most politicians.

And, he’s doing things sometimes, actually almost all the time, against very loud critics. Which, you know, with CNN–you pick the groups that are against him–he has great opposition that he’s going up against all the time; and, he doesn’t mind it because he’s principled. And, he’s doing some of these these things based on what he said he was going to do.

But, you have a lot of Republicans or elected officials who don’t feel the same “umph;” I don’t know the right word, but the same the same principled position stance that they’re going to take.

Rick:

Certainly not the same commitment to those principles.

The Need is Great

Tim:

There you go. They’re not following through with things that they even ran on and said they’re going to do. And so, this is to me–and, I’ll throw it to you, Dad, and let you kind of answer back historically–because we could even have some fun conversations about after we defeated Mexico and what that looked like. But, at least from a modern perspective Why it hasn’t been done before is largely political, not necessarily because there hasn’t been a need–because there’s been drug smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal immigration going on for decades.

I mean, really since the beginning, on some level some of this has been happening. It’s just the political posturing has kept people from doing something prior to this. And, that’s why it’s such a big stink right now.

French and Indian War

David:

Well, part of the answer to this goes back to–you look at the history of America because America, a number of times, has grown. And, each time she did not build a wall at the border; we had agreements and enforced them pretty well.

When you look at the original 13 colonies along the Atlantic seaboard, the French had the area along the Mississippi River. And, America said, “No, you don’t go into French territory; you stay out of the Mississippi River.” The French said, “No, you don’t go into English territory.”

When they started violating that and crossing into each other’s territory, that’s where you had the war the French and Indian War. Which, you know Pittsburgh was the center of that for George Washington, back when when he was a 23-year-old colonel. So, you had these boundaries agreed on; and, when they were crossed, it often led to wars. But, nobody built a wall along the Mississippi.

The Louisiana Purchase

And then, we get the Louisiana Purchase when we get all that territory. We didn’t build a wall between Louisiana and Texas because Texas is at that time was owned by Mexico. We just said, “Here’s the boundary; you don’t go in there.”

So, if Stephen Austin wants to go in there, he’s got to get permission from Mexico to go in, and he takes a colony and does it as a Mexican colony.

Then, when we were able to get a hold of Mexico and the Southwest, or when we got the Oregon Territory or anything else, we never built walls there. We always abided by the territorial lines, and so did the other side. So, when we had Canada, we never built a wall with Canada. Canada respected us; we respected  them.

On the southern border, nobody’s respecting that. Which is why they now want a wall.

Tim:

Well, in a lot of situations, if you had mass migration from one country to another, you could start a war that way, right? And so, you respected people’s private property or you got yourself in trouble. You’re getting punched in the mouth if you don’t respect somebody’s private property. Thus, it was even a different moral structure on some regards.

States-Run Immigration

But even, we’ve talked about before on this program how when you look at immigration in early America, it was just very different because the states had a lot more control over who came into their state and what it looked like. States were really ones running this immigration situation.

Actually, Dad, catch us up for second on the state-immigration issue because if it was up to the states, Texas could build this wall. And, we actually could fund it ourselves; we could make that happen.

David:

That’s right.

Tim:

Today people would be outraged, “No, you can’t do that!” But, it used to be states were in charge of their own immigration.

David:

Well, when the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution 1787, ratified in 1788, went into effect in 1789, it talked about a uniform rule immigration and naturalization. So, you had that on the outer borders; but, those borders were controlled by states. And, it was not until Supreme Court decisions in 1875 and 1876–we’re talking 100 years after the American independence–that the Supreme Court for the first time said, “Well, we think the federal government should be in charge of immigration, not the states.”

And so, prior to that time, Tim, as you were mentioning, you would emigrate from state to state. But, it was states that controlled that because when you came to America, you didn’t live in America, you lived in Texas or Virginia or Maryland. And, people in those states had a right to say what they wanted in those states.

The Texas Rangers

So, immigration was very much a state issue. And, it was actually the Texas Rangers that protected the border with Texas because that’s the Texas border with Mexico. By the way, the Arizona Rangers did the same thing.

And, part of the reason we didn’t build a wall after defeating Santa Anna was that would have only been a wall with Texas and Mexico. You still had other territory over in California that would not have provided a wall there or in New Mexico or Arizona. So, the wall was not built on the southern border because at that time, it would only involve the state of Texas; but, each state had its own force to protect the border.

Tim:

And, when you have undeveloped land and unclaimed territories it seems silly to build a wall before anybody is really claim those territories. So, it would’ve been a little premature to build one early; whereas, now land is pretty much been well established. The borders are pretty well established.

At this point it makes a lot more sense to say, “No, this is a good way to secure the border. Let’s go ahead and put something up along to make sure that we know who’s coming in and going out and what’s happening, whether it be drugs or human trafficking. Let’s let’s do what we can to protect our nation and our citizens.”

An Invasion at Our Southern Border

David:

And, it’d be very hard to argue that there’s not a foreign invasion going in at the southern border. It’s not an invasion of an army we’re talking about; they’re not coming across with guns. Although, some are, like MS-13; but, it is invasion when you have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people coming from another nation into your nation.

You’ve got to be able to control that. And, that’s part of the reason the wall is needed now. That kind of of crossing was not happening in previous generations. It’s something new for this generation.

And, you want to protect the integrity of your borders. And, that’s why you had police forces doing that before. But, now it may take a wall to do that. But, that’s why it was not built previously.

The Emergency Declaration Makes Sense

Rick:

Yeah, as we’re closing out on this, guys, I just had to point out Senator Ben Sasse, who has not always been a Trump supporter, explained why he flipped on the border emergency declaration because he was going to go against it, along with a handful of those GOP senators. But, he said, “Look, guys, he’s got the authority to do this. There’s no question there is an emergency on the border, and we’ve got to secure the border,” basically. I was impressed.

Sasse has been a good senator. And, for him to come out and make that case is very helpful because he’s going through the one-two. There are actually a couple of great articles on this of why the emergency declaration makes sense and why Trump should, in fact, veto Congress’s attempt to overriding them.

Why Do We Need a Wall After All This Time?

Okay, guys, we’re out of time for today. I know we had some other question we were going to get to. We’ll save those for next Thursday.

Folks, send them into [email protected]. We’ll address them from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. And, be sure and visit WallBuildersLive.com today and check out that donate button.

No, no, no, don’t just check it out. Click on it and make that one-time donation or monthly donation to help us continue this great message and equip and inspire folks across the nation to get involved, make a difference, help restore America’s constitutional republic, and pass it intact to the next generation.

You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Be At All Times Armed

Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”