Support the Liberty Bill Act And Put the Constitution on our Dollars

by | Dec 22, 2001

Congressional office-holders take an oath that says: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .” Wouldn’t it be nice if the Constitution had an amendment requiring office-elects to prove they actually understood the document they solemnly swear to […]

Congressional office-holders take an oath that says: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .”

Wouldn’t it be nice if the Constitution had an amendment requiring office-elects to prove they actually understood the document they solemnly swear to defend? That even if elected, they could not take office without earning a minimum grade on an exam? Sounds a little like school, doesn’t it?

In June of this year, Paul Craig Roberts suggested, somewhat cynically, that “American law schools should terminate their constitutional law courses, as the subject no longer exists.” Judges have stopped scrutinizing legislation to ensure conformity with the Constitution, he argued.

What is our political process today? Simply put: “It’s about power, stupid.” The Constitution no longer serves as a restraint on government.

We recently witnessed, with horror, how ingenuity, daring, and hatred can bring the world to its knees. But we may live to see something more astounding — a similar mixture taking us to new heights, powered by youthful exultation instead of hate. If certain school kids get their way, our dollar bills might start a revolution.

Four years ago students from Liberty Middle School in Ashland, Virginia developed a presentation about the Constitution. In working with the kids, their teacher, Randy Wright, had a thought: wouldn’t it be great if our dollars carried a copy of the Constitution on back? The kids liked the idea so much they decided to push politicians at all levels to make it happen.

On March 14, 2001 congressman Eric Cantor (VA – 07) introduced the Liberty Bill Act, H.R.1021, in the 107th Congress, after hearing a presentation by students. Then on July 24, students gave a 20-minute pitch to the Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology, and Economic Growth Subcommittee in Washington.

“The subcommittee gave them a round of applause,” Mr. Wright said in a telephone interview. “They really liked it or they wouldn’t have had a hearing to start with.”

If it becomes law we might be carrying novelty items in our wallets. Or, with enough initiative, the liberty dollars might help save the world.

Do I exaggerate? In the twentieth century governments world-wide slaughtered roughly 170 million of the people they governed. What could have prevented such carnage? Limited government.

The purpose of the United States Constitution is to limit government. This is the idea the Liberty Bill advocates want to spread. Can you think of a better idea for our youth to propagate? I can’t.

Ignorance of the Constitution is pervasive in our country. Politics is too big and out of hand. Demagogues know ignorance is easy to exploit, so it’s up to citizens to keep their governments within the law.

Congress often treats the Constitution as if it were “living,” meaning it supports whatever pet idea they find attractive at the moment. An example arose almost immediately after 9-11, when Arianna Huffington launched an attack on the media for its failure to arouse the public about terrorist threats of recent years. She was incensed that the report issued in February by the U.S. Commission on National Security, headed by former Sens. Gary Hart and Warren Rudman, fell dead-born from the press.

“[The terrorist attacks],” she quoted Hart as saying, “ought to call into question what is important in our society and how the media cover it. . . There seems to be no self-reflection, no understanding by the media that they have a job under the direction of the Constitution to inform, not just entertain, the American people.”

Is the media “under the direction of the Constitution” to behave a certain way? Apparently these people would like us to think so.

The media can be slammed for not trying harder to convince us that terrorist threats were credible. But ultimately the decision is in our hands. In a free market the customer is king, even if the king is wrong. It was outrageous for Hart to imply the media was in violation of the Constitution, yet where was the public outcry?

(Reading assignment for Hart and Huffington: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” U.S. Constitution, First Amendment; emphasis added)

Politicians would get away with a lot less if we knew the Constitution and demanded its respect. This is where the Liberty Bill Act can head us in the right direction.

With the Constitution on the back of our dollar bills, most Americans would carry a copy of the world’s greatest achievement. It beats carrying a national ID card and would remind us of our right not to. As the students’ web site (http://www.libertydollarbill.org) points out, liberty dollars circulating around the globe would serve to promote our written system of limited government while saving millions of dollars each year from federal programs designed to do just that.

Their web site also has a realistic image of the liberty dollar, along with other useful information. Check it out. Though there’s been talk of putting the Constitution on all denominations, its likely destination will be the dollar. “Our contention is the oppressed and the impoverished around the world are most likely to get their hands on a one-dollar bill,” Mr. Wright explained.

So far, Liberty Middle School has 22 other schools around the country actively supporting the Liberty Bill proposal. Earlier this year the Student Government Association of James Madison University voted unanimously to work for passage of the act and sent a delegation to Washington to lobby Congress. To date, 24 members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors.

Though the Senate has a variation of the act, showing the full Bill of Rights instead of the abridged Constitution, “the House version is the one to follow,” Mr. Wright emphasized. “I think the Senate will follow the House on this.”

The proposal was on the table early this fall for a decision. “I understand it probably would’ve been a favorable vote,” Mr. Wright said. “But with the 9-11 situation, that very committee is the one that has to look into where bin Laden is getting his money.”

The subcommittee has their priorities straight, but Randy Wright looks forward to the day when they return to the Liberty Bill Act. “That’ll say two things: one, we have solved a good portion of the terrorist problem.. And two, we’re ready to take a look at this [act] again.”

Freedom advocates should get behind the Liberty Bill Act. Write or email your congressional representatives. Persuade your friends to do it.. If you’re a schoolteacher, get your class involved. You’ll find an adaptable presentation on Liberty Middle School’s web site.

We won’t have restraint in government until more people understand the Constitution. Having it on our dollar bills is a good way to remind us of its message.

References: http://www.libertydollarbill.org – Students’ Liberty Bill Act web site

George Smith lives in Atlanta where he is busy writing screenplays and articles on liberty. In addition to parenting, he enjoys staying fit, tomato gardening, and making the occasional "killer sandwich."

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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