The Constitution as a Fire Insurance Policy
by Clarence Manion
Noted Lecturer and Former Dean. Notre Dame School of Lai
WK live in a countr) of tightly-organized eiml expertly-directed special
interests. There has never been a time
in the history of the world when there
was grouped together in one country so
ii.am well-financed, well-oriented, and
tightly-organized special interests of men
ami women, and all of these special inter-
ests know what they want.
The farmers in Seattle knew what they
wanted and they resolved in favor of it.
The doctors in Chicago knew what they
wanted and they resolved in favor of it.
\ml -o eliel the brewers at New Orleans
and the manufacturers in Boston, and
so all over the countn.
In all of the I nited States I have nol
found any group of people unileil and
organized with determination in the general interest of this country, and il is
precise!) because '.I lack of organization
in the general interest of llie United
States thai it i- critically late in the his-
lorv of lhe' I nited States.
Occasionally, there are- chilling r.'-
minders in the- headlines in the news ac-
counts. It has been several vi'eirs now
since vou read about the governmenl of
Guatemala, suddenly eiml peremptorily
seizing 230 thousand acres of land belonging to tin- United Fruil Company.
Two hundred thirty thousand acres ol
land is quite a gob of geography.
N..». what did the United Fruit Coin-
pan) do about it? They didn't do anything about it. There isn't anything any.
bod) can do about a seizure of that type
in Guatemala or any other country ..I
the world except tin- I nited States.
We had a similar seizure in this coun
in a few months afterward. The then
President of the [nited States seize! tin
steel mills in wheel lie undoubtedly believed was a justifying emergency. The
ease' wi'iit lo the court. Ultimately lli"
Supreme Court of the I nited States quite
casually decided thai tin' Presidenl would
have lo give the property I.ink because
he had violated something called the
Constitution of the United States. The
Cieiistiiulie.il is the general interest ol
ihi- country. The Constitution is the real
Ine^iin'ss of the farmers, the merchants,
llii' manufacturers, the doctors ami the
lawyers. Tl there wasn'l any Constitution
of the I nited States, there wouldn't be
a farmer in Seattle, or ;i elm leer in I hi
*This article- e- .eel edited copy oi ee -|..aa I.
given liefe.re tlle Louisiana Steele- Heir \—... lee
tion an.l copyrighted !.^ the- Louisiana Um
cago — there wouldn't l.e any private
business in Ibis country. We would all
l.e- working for the stale.
The Constitution of this country is the
difference between Guatemala and the
1 nited Slate-. That i- the measure of
difference between the Iron Curtain and
the free world. Anil there' isn't any free
world oulside eef the geographical limitations of our country. Please understand that.
And the thing that makes our country
free is not its geography, not its glorious
history, not its traditions. The thing thai
makes the country free is the constitutional limitations that are placed upon
lhe government of this country. Without
those limitations, we would all be slaves.
How diel we happen to have a constitution? What is its genesis?
Recentlv some Polish lawyer ran past
the armed guards of his U.N delegation
into the freedom ol New ^ ork City. Fortunately, he was able l.. break loose, because he had no wile or child in Poland
who would be a hostage in such an event.
This Polish lawyer has been telling us
ever since as a preface to all of his radio
ami television interviews. "America," he
says, "is the last remaining hope of man-
Do we have to have em escapee from
the Iron Curtain to tell us that to underscore the facl of it? "The' I nileal Stales
of America is the last remaining hope' of
Suppose the I nited States disappeared
from the face of lhe- earth tonighl as
\tlanli- i- supposed to have disappeared
into the sea in the ancient days?
Atlantis was a prosperous, healthy,
scientific continent, too. but it disappeared from the (ace of the e-arth.
If the I nited Steele's of America disappeared tonight, lhe rest ol mankind
would immediatelj be subjected to a
torture' so terrible, -.. demoralizing thai
ihe- people who survived ii would envj
ei- ulio eliiln I sur\ Ive il.
That i- whal the United Males means.
\- long ee- we' exisl ei- a free, independent, and prosperous people, communism
can attain no permanent victor) ems
where on earth.
Lei nn- repeal that. The fact of our
.■vi-leaiee' gives the- lie' Iel the- Ceinimun i-l
pretension thai only in a state of slaver)
can men be fed and clothed and housed.
That is the lie they sell to the millions
who buy il all around lhe world.
Well, as long a- people live in a Irei
prosperous, strong, and independent
United States of America, the world eem
look and see in us the' refutation of tin'
And so I tell you that we have a moral
obligation, not only to our children, bul
to our brothers and sisters around the
world, to keep tbe United Stales free and
strong and independent We need, in
other words, to reinculcate in our minds
and to reestablish in our vocabularies
the word and the meaning of American
patriotism. That word lias dropped oul
..I America's lexicon.
It needs to be revived, because Amen
can patriotism is the besl hope of lln
world, just as America's security einel independence are the best hope' of tin
The United States of America to which
the world looks hopefully and enviously
is the incarnation of four basic fail-.
and here is where our education has
fallen down. I don'l mean education
merely on the campus. I mean the adull
education thai ought to be going on all
America, through our dereliction, ami
perhaps through our forgctfulness. has
forgotten the four basic facts upon which
tin' wliole- glory, grandeur, ami future ol
Ihis country logically swing.
What are the four facts of America"
life? Well, ii s,, happens that they wen
spoken with the firsl breath of lhe new'
life of the republic. There weis a linn'
when the I niled States was nol llie- lio|"'
anil the envy of lhe world at all. Then'
was a time' when the United States wa-
a vacant lot and on lo lhat space i ein"
ei group of determined, |ialrioli< men-
men who were passionately devoted i(l
liberty and independence. There on tl"'
vacant lot that was Vmerica In ITT<*-
these men wrote a document called Th1
Declaration of American Independent*
As a matter of fail, "independence
was the last ami leasl importanl thing
declared in lhat document. The) eliel" '
call ii a "declaration of independence.
They called it a "declaration,' ami the!
began that declaration with a ringi"?
statement of truth, of fad. They call**
them self-evident liullis, and there wef*
just four of them. I tell you lhal win"
those four basic fads are denied*
doubted, or discounted, America »''
collapse, definitely, whether we an' ovef'
um militarily or not.
"We hold this truth lo l.e' se'll-e-\ ideal-
FACTS FORUM NEWS, September, It*1