Truth Before Dishonor

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Considering Preambles

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2009/11/29 gives this definition (and synonyms) for preamble:

  /ˈpriˌæmbəl, priˈæm-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pree-am-buhl, pree-am-] Show IPA
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1. an introductory statement; preface; introduction.
2. the introductory part of a statute, deed, or the like, stating the reasons and intent of what follows.
3. a preliminary or introductory fact or circumstance: His childhood in the slums was a preamble to a life of crime.
4. (initial capital letter) the introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the general principles of American government and beginning with the words, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. …”
1350–1400; ME < ML praeambulum, n. use of neut. of LL praeambulus walking before. See pre-, amble

Related forms:
preambled, adjective

1. opening, beginning; foreword, prologue, prelude.

In my understanding, that means a preamble sets the stage for the coming event. The preamble itself isn’t the event. It gives generalities as background information to more fully understand what’s coming next. The synonyms foreword, prologue, prelude are key to my understanding of preamble.

Nobody reads the foreword, prologue, prelude to a book to honestly understand the mechanics of the book. People read that to get a feel for what’s in the book (if they read that at all). And anybody who declared he knew all the specifics of a book, or merely knew the most important specifics of a book, by studying the prelude would be rightly considered a fool.

So why is it those who wish to do severe damage to the Constitution rely on the Preamble, and more specifically four words in the Preamble, to allow everything under the sun? Isn’t this just as foolish as relying on four words in a foreword to a book? Even James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, warned against using those four words to change the entire Constitution.

(quote of Madison from the now widely known MI teen, Jackie)

“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”

So, it seems to me that the liberals are focusing in on four words of a general, scene-setting opening for all their power-grabs, and have been doing so since at least FDR, despite the foolishness of such a tack. Despite their own mocking of people who would deign to do so with a piece of non-governmental literature. And despite the forewarnings of the Founders themselves. And despite a long history of constitutional understanding, such as Davy Crockett’s corrected understanding. (I accidentally added an extra “e” in his name (it looks better to me).) And, yet, it is the liberal who accuses the conservative of not being well-read and of being a fool?

One Response to “Considering Preambles”

  1. […] many other articles related to this but I’ll link three of them (one which is long) here, here and […]


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