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:
- Unity (as in “a more perfect Union” in the Preamble, which grants Congress no power).
- Freedom (based on the First Amendment, which begins with the words “Congress shall make no law …”).
- Common Defense (from Article I, Section 8).
- Knowledge (authority to promote public education, support arts and sciences, fund extensive research).
- Exploration (to justify funding “curiosity and boldness” — like 4, this comes from a convoluted reading of the clause granting Congress the power to issue patents).
- General Welfare (found in Article I, Section 8’s restriction of the taxing power, but taken here to mean “improving transportation, promoting agriculture and industry, protecting health and the environment, and seeking ways to solve social and economic problems”).
At first I thought I'd be sure to skip this monstrosity on our next trip to DC, but on second thought maybe the best use of this is as an example to our children of what can happen if we don't guard our liberty from those in power, whether elected or not.
I think I'll take my son here after reading the Constitution ourselves, or maybe bring a copy along, and let the elementary school brain of his pick apart the work of our present political leaders.
That shouldn't take long.