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For Visitors, a Capitol Scandal
Posted By Matthew Spalding, Ph.D. On November 27, 2008 @ 9:20 pm In First Principles | Comments Disabled
It’s a scandal what Congress has arranged for the public to be taught inside its Capitol Visitor Center, the $621 million underground gateway and “educational experience” that opens Tuesday.In the Visitor Center’s Exhibition Hall,  the theme is “E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One.” Initially, words etched in marble called that stirring phrase the nation’s motto. A bad plaster job now covers the reference, someone having noticed that, well, “E Pluribus Unum” is not our national motto. “In God We Trust” is. But so far that’s notably absent, along with other references to faith.
But what bothered me the most as I toured the Visitor Center on Tuesday at the request of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) – who first sounded the alarm last year on this politically correct outrage  — is how the Visitor Center twists and distorts the Constitution.
I thought the Constitution (because it says so) was about powers delegated to government by the people, who possess individual rights . Article I begins: “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” A written agreement on the extent (and limits) of those powers is critical to a government deriving its “just powers from the consent of the governed,” as the Declaration of Independence prescribes.
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare,” James Madison wrote, “the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”
Wrong, Mr. Madison. Congress’ new Visitor Center decrees the Constitution isn’t a list of powers but rather of “aspirations” Congress is expected to define and realize. The exhibit specifies six:
This exhibit is Congress’ temple to liberals’ “living Constitution,” the eternal font of lawmakers’ evolving mandate to achieve the nation’s ideals. No fixed meanings here, only open-ended “aspirations.” In this distorted view, the Constitution is an empty vessel, to be adapted to the times, as change requires. It means nothing — or anything.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2008/11/27/for-visitors-a-capitol-scandal/
URLs in this post:
 In the Visitor Center’s Exhibition Hall,: http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/Exhibitions/
 who first sounded the alarm last year on this politically correct outrage: http://demint.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=abe4e516-ea13-5c7c-6f5c-90f4c6b081dc&Type=Press%20Release&Month=12&Year=2007
 I thought the Constitution (because it says so) was about powers delegated to government by the people, who possess individual rights: http://www.heritage.org/LeadershipForAmerica/first-principles.cfm
 The Heritage Foundation has put the full text, including the script of an orientation film, online.: http://www.heritage.org/leadershipforamerica/upload/CVC.pdf
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