The God particle
JOHN REINIERS, More Than WordsScientists believe they have finally captured the mysterious Higgs Boson, more commonly known as the "God particle" which gives matter mass and holds the architecture of the universe together – the search for the mechanism that would prove the origin of the Big Bang. As one scientist said, "It's a moment for science."
Published: August 6, 2012
Published: August 6, 2012
Metaphors can be overused, particularly in political speech, but this discovery begs a comparison between the Higgs particle (particle physics), and the U.S. Constitution (political science.)
It even provides structure for an academic debate which follows:
Without the God particle you and I wouldn't exist. In fact the universe wouldn't exist. Without the Constitution we wouldn't exist as a democratic federal republic. That document was our Big Bang. If the Higgs discovery "is a moment" for physical science, then surely the Constitution has been a moment for political scientists. And as Higgs gives particles mass which allows them to interact with each other, then our Constitution likewise provides a methodology which allows Americans to interact with their government, and for the states and the federal government to interact with each other.
And just as it is impossible to understate the importance of the God particle for physicists, it is impossible to understate the importance of our Constitution for Americans. This statement sets up the debate nicely between those who believe the meaning of its words varies with our changing culture (hence the Constitution is a "flawed" document as our President said as a candidate), and those who pay serious attention to the language as used.
The Founders were, of course, influenced by the political landscape of the world at that time – monarchies as far as the eye could see with a centralized government of unlimited power.
These monarchs believed they were the God particle.
Americans have two almost impossible challenges. First, there are lawyers who believe words have actual meaning, and then there are lawyers who are creative semanticists. This is the backdrop for the ongoing war over the meaning of words in the Constitution; e.g., the General Welfare, Necessary and Proper and Commerce clauses.
And if your ideological underpinnings favor an expanding centralized federal government, you will never accept Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution because it enumerates the powers the sovereign states ceded to the federal government. This is antithetical to liberal progressives who firmly believe that all power emanates from inside the Beltway. And this ideology will not accept the 10th amendment which reserves remaining powers "to the states or the people."
For them, the feds are the God particle.
The second challenge we face as a country – and the most difficult to understand – is the paradigm of having evolved rapidly into a knowledge based society which has had a direct effect on society and our economy. Advances in science and technology exploded in the 20th century – increasing exponentially since World War II. This has created an enormous challenge for the private sector, and federal, state and local governments, as well as the general population. Keep in mind we were already the most powerful country on the globe in 1914 with only 100 million people. (We are now at 312.8 million.)
Coincidentally, these rapid advances in technology and science coincided with the rise of progressivism and liberalism. This called for a balancing act on the part of the feds – not a power grab – keeping the rules of the game in mind; i.e., the Constitution.
Nobody would argue the federal government needed to increase in size given the population growth alone. Breakthroughs in technology truly necessitated even more federal regulation.
The invention of the airplane led to the establishment of the Federal Aviation Administration in 1967. And except for aspirin, pharmaceuticals were unknown commodities in the 19th century. So the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration in 1930 also made sense given the rapid advances in medicines. The list is virtually endless given the remarkable headway in science and technology.
But then government exploded in size as liberals adopted a policy of micromanaging anything that had mass, and all human activity – their big bang. The federal government not only is the largest single employer in the U.S. – it consists of 1300 distinct organizations across all branches – with no end in sight. Given that, it is no wonder we are over-regulated, and that each new regulation and law is getting longer. Congress is staffed to the hilt with bright ideologues who have to do something. (Not to forget the federal agencies, departments, bureaus, panels, commissions, boards, councils, committees, centers and administrations.)
So here we are with ever expanding scholarship and scientific achievements, and an average voter who is clueless about virtually every subject in the U.S. Code or Federal Register. And not to forget our legislators. Most are not known for being learned. Some do have expertise in one field. Others freely admit they can't read or understand the very laws they pass. They are totally dependent on their staffs, on outside experts and lobbyists to even write the script they recite when holding public hearings.
Many rational people now realize the federal government needs to be restrained. Taxpayers simply can't afford it. This can't go on forever, or government will collapse of its own weight.
I am not optimistic. Progressive liberals and their large coalition of non-achieving, non-taxpaying federally supported voters do not want change. They want even more government. They are totally committed to European socialism.
They fail to realize that the only achievement the Greeks have to brag about is their historic ruins.
John Reiniers, a regular columnist for Hernando Today, lives in Spring Hill.