In Good Faith

Charles W. Kraut

10 May 2017

The question for us is whether our public officials can be held to a standard of always acting in good faith. Can we?  Do we require them to always speak and act on behalf of the language of the original Constitution?  Or do we tolerate them promoting their own or others’ Progressive ideas of a massive, all-powerful government that controls every aspect of our lives?

A close study of early American history, particularly the correspondence of the major players, reveals something quite rare in human history.  We see it in the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. We see it in the way George Washington attempted to define a Presidency that had no precedent. 

That something is what we call good faith.  All of the Founding Fathers, as well as many of those who were labeled Tories during the Revolution, agonized over their stand regarding independence and freedom. It took brutal and heavy-handed actions by King George to bring about the decision for independence.

Certainly, during the debate on the Constitution, positions were established that were declared inflexible, but these were based upon the wishes of those the delegates represented.  The debate on slavery, for example, became the compromise that enabled the Constitution to come into being.  Even in this, however, the players acted in accordance with the positions of their constituents, their firmly held principles, and their own consciences.  In other words, they acted in good faith.

I watched a portion of an interview with Senator Chuck Schumer this morning.  I have seen hundreds of interviews like it, given by both Democrats and Republicans.  In it the Senator discussed the matter of the firing of the FBI chief James Comey.  His comments were laced with innuendo, material misstatements of fact, political posturing, and an antagonism toward President Trump he made no effort to conceal.

Both Republicans and Democrats play this game of political posturing; the Democrats are merely much better at it.  Their voices, thanks to a heavily biased media, are more pervasive.  As both parties engage in these misrepresentations and distortions, the truth is often lost – if it had ever been found in the first place.

Acting in good faith is not something that can be affirmed in an oath of office.  Rather, it is something that must be expected of those who are granted power in our constitutional republic.  To act in good faith one must understand the truth and be committed to acting in its light.

Is there truth in the public sphere?  Of course there is.  It springs from our founding documents, but more from what those documents imply than what they actually say.  The truth is that We, the People of these United States have, at one moment in time, agreed through our appointed representatives to seek the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our families.  In so doing we agreed to create a government and we put severe limitations on its activities.  The primary goal of our government is to protect all Americans in their liberties.  In fact, that about sums up our government as it should be.

If that is the truth, we must ask ourselves if it should still be the truth today.  After all, isn’t the world much more complex than it was in 1787?  Doesn’t our government have to deal with all sorts of issues that didn’t exist then?

The overly simplistic answers to these questions are:

1. By usurping authority and delving into issues prohibited by the Constitution, our government has not only failed to solve the problem they intended to solve, they have created two or more problems of equal or greater magnitude.

2. If our government had held to its original mandate, Americans would have vastly more freedom than they do today.  There would be no IRS, no standing army stationed in more than 120 countries around the world, no Federal Reserve, no Department of Education, no Department of Energy, and so much more.

3. Thomas Jefferson, living in Paris at the time of the Constitutional Convention, commented upon the “assembly of demigods” who met in Philadelphia to draft the Constitution. He recognized that these men were acting in good faith in creating something the world had never seen.  The question for us is whether our public officials can be held to a standard of always acting in good faith, always speaking and acting on behalf of the language of the original Constitution – rather than promoting their own or others’ Progressive ideas of a massive, all-powerful government that controls every aspect of our lives.