Think back to American history class in high school or college. What did you learn about the reasons for the drafting of the Constitution in 1787? Did you learn that the Constitution was enacted in order to combat inefficiency?
That’s the way the 1787 Party, a new political party in the United States, seems to remember American history. 1787 is named after the year in which the Constitution of the United States was written and enacted, and purports to base its policy on a return to the values of the Constitution.
What those values? They’re spelled out in the introductory paragraph of the Constitution:
– federal union
– domestic tranquility
– general welfare
So, how is the 1787 Party addressing these constitutional values today? Well, it isn’t.
This morning, 1787 released a message on Twitter urging its 2,800 followers to “Check out our newest blog about 1787’s plan to stop government inefficiency!”
Inefficiency? Inefficiency is never mentioned as a concern in the Constitution. The word “efficiency” was not written into the Constitution, in any of its forms, even once.
So, what are the unelected leaders of 1787 talking about? The Twitter post links to an article in which 1787 declares that “America is the largest business in the world and it needs to be run as such.” In supporting this idea, 1787 likens the federal government to Wal-Mart, and cites the libertarian Cato Institute.
If the federal government were run like a big business, as 1787 suggests, what would happen?
– Rank and file Americans would have no say in how the country was run.
– Wealth would be concentrated in the hands of the elite, even more than it is now.
– Americans could be kicked out of the country in punishment for displeasing the leadership.
– We would all be given cubicles to live in.
– Centrally-dictated goals would be determined by the federal government, and most of us would be made accountable to managers pressured to meet the goals by any means necessary.
– Our taxes would be sent to offshore banks to evade accountability.
– Any program failing to make a profit for the federal government’s top investors would be eliminated.
If 1787 had its way, and the federal government were run like a big corporation, the American way of life would be destroyed.
The idea that the U.S. federal government should be run like a business is totally contrary to the values of the Constitution. The Constitution sets up the federal government in order to represent the ideals of the American people. It does not establish the federal government in order to make a profit. The word “business” doesn’t show up in the Constitution at all. The only time “commerce” is mentioned in the Constitution is in order to point out that the federal government should keep control over commerce by regulating it.
Perhaps, in the future, despite 1787’s centralized, undemocratic organization, the political party might be taken over by citizens who have some greater degree of sense. For now, however, the few people who tightly control 1787 are so narrowly focused on short term economic goals, from a fringe libertarian perspective, that the new party seems unlikely ever to gather the support of more than one or two percent of American voters.