Reality Check

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” It is also a purveyor of wisdom.

The original U.S. Constitution was 6 pages long, contained 4,400 words, and set the foundation for the freest, most prosperous nation in the world. Last week, Barack Obama spoke of his plans for a health care bill expected to exceed 1,000 pages.

Further compounding this departure from the beautiful simplicity of America’s founding is the present day propensity to complicate legislative language. The Founders were careful to produce a document that all Americans could easily understand. The hotly debated health care legislation is too complicated apparently for even legislators to understand. As that staggering intellect, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI), said, “I love these members, they get up and say, ‘Read the bill,’ What good is reading the bill if it’s a thousand pages and you don’t have two days and two lawyers to find out what it means after you read the bill?”

My, how far we have come… but not for the better, I fear.

I comment on this abandonment of the ways of the past as it emphasizes a concern held by many: that this loss of legislative simplicity implies a complimentary loss of freedom. The eight year anniversary of the September 11 attacks is also a time to celebrate the liberty we, as Americans, have protected and maintained these many years. Though liberal activists have worked to marginalize the patriotic fervor of this most tragic anniversary, the majority of Americans not only remember those who were murdered, they also consider with reverence the strength and sustainability of America and her freedoms (so hated by our terrorist attackers). As we reflect on our liberty as Americans we should also remember the lurking legislative threats to our sacred freedoms, as signified by this rejection of simplicity.

This post was written by Caroline May, policy analyst the National Center for Public Policy Research. Write the author at [email protected]. As we occasionally reprint letters on the blog, please note if you prefer that your correspondence be kept private, or only published anonymously.

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The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.