“Separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the Constitution!

Recently this tired argument got trotted out in /r/libertarian, by someone who is supposedly a libertarian and a proclaimed Constitutionalist.  At one point he stated that it didn’t matter what we thought, all that matter was what was in the Constitution.  So here’s my reply, can we lay this tripe to rest now, please?

Yes, it is the Constitution that matters. And the Constitution is clear in regards to those matters. And while the phrase “separation of church and state” does not exist in the Constitution, the intent is there. The phrase is merely a shorthand for the intent that is in the document.

Want to know what other phrases aren’t in the Constitution yet we don’t have bullshit semantic arguments over the intent being in the Constitution?

State’s Rights.

Inalienable rights.

Separation of powers.

Checks and balances.

Each of those phrases have come to describe the intent laid down in the Constitution but appear nowhere in the Constitution. Yet you’d be a damn fool to argue that the Constitution doesn’t have any of those things simply because the phrase doesn’t appear within it.

So, yes, there is a separation of church and state. It is right there in the First Amendment. The problem is most people remember the whole “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” part but utterly forget what comes before between.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

That is church/state separation. Just as state’s rights refers to the 10th, inalienable rights refers to pretty much most of the Bill of Rights. Separation of powers and checks and balances refers to Articles I, II and III and how they interact respectively.

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The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!!!

“The sky is falling,” should be familiar to every person older than elementary school aged.  The tale of Chicken Little, crying about calamity when there is none so often than when it finally comes to pass, nobody listens.

It has been over a day now since the sky has fallen, yet again.  I refer to the shutdown of the US Government.  A calamity of epic proportions that should have been avoided at all costs.  Except it wasn’t.  And you know what?  Just like many of Chicken Little’s yelps the reason it wasn’t avoided, and should be of no concern, is that this isn’t a calamity.

First off, the US Government is not shut down.  In fact, 70-80% of it is still operating just fine.  What has been chosen to be shut down, or have employees furloughed, are what have been deemed as “non-essential”.

Think about that paragraph for a second.  When was the last time you heard of a business that was shut down yet continued to operate with 70-80% of its staff and most of its duties?  Around these parts, and I dare say around your parts too, that would be called “Open for Business!”  So the US Government has not been shut down.

Also, if government is there to provide essential services that would otherwise not be provided otherwise, why is it that 20-30% is deemed non-essential at this time?  If it is non-essential now, it is non-essential at any other time, too.

On top of that, notice that there are choices that were made here.  If anyone thinks the choices made aren’t designed to sell a certain narrative, well, then those people need to pay a tad more attention.  For example, The Atlantic tweeted the following, “The Saddest Paragraph You’ll Read About the Government Shutdown Today.  With NIH furloughs, children with cancer are being turned away from clinical trials.”  But here is a simple question to ask, why not the NSA instead of the NIH?  Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago we were still all supposedly enraged at the notion that the US Government, the very same government that is open for business during this catastrophic shutdown, was spying on us?  Wouldn’t it make more sense that a government for, of, and by the people, in such trying times, would attempt to lessen the impact to its citizens by cutting first the programs which are almost universally reviled?  Instead the executive has decided to cut what is popular and in the public eye.  Just as they did when Sequestration came about.

Speaking of Sequestration, remember how that was a huge looming cliff that we dare not go over?  Remember we did go over it?  I mean, you do remember, right?  What with all of the catastrophic warnings we were given on how essential government functions would suffer.  Except I can’t think of one way that my day-to-day life has been impacted by such a miniscule cut to the Federal budget.  Little wonder as under Bush II and Obama the Federal Government had grown over 100% since 2001.  What’s a slight decrease in spending increases compared to that?

So, instead of panicking as Chicken Little claims that calamity will befall us once again, why not instead look, actually look at what is happening.  Look to see how little things are going to be affected.  And maybe, just maybe, come to the realization that the largest Federal Government the US has ever seen could stand for some actual reductions that we lay-people would call cuts.  I mean, if it can operate at 70-80% by culling “non-essential” personnel on short notice, certainly we can trim it by that much… or more.