The first problem with the Preamble is the second phrase. It says, “in order to form a more perfect Union.” “more perfect”? There is no such thing. A perfectly fitting shoe does not lead you to ask the salesman for a “more perfect” one. Now, you may say that is not important. Wrong. Every single word, especially in a document of this nature, is important.
I find no fault with the next three phrases: “establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense,” for protecting individual rights is inherent in all these. However, individual rights must be stated explicitly. After these is “promote the general welfare.” Government should have nothing to do with any kind of promoting. Its purpose is not to advocate for this or that, but only to protect, and to do so justly. As soon as you have promoting you have promoters, and then people asking, and then paying for favors. And then, of course, how can anyone possibly promote “the general welfare”?
Either individuals are getting along well, or they are not, and either individuals will start improving themselves, or they will not. (“General welfare” is a group concept; it blurs the individual into a vague mass.) Self-improvement, or lack of, is absolutely no business of the government! The government is not Papa, God, big brother, or anyone to lean on! Mind your own business, government, which is enforcing laws which protect individual rights and putting violators into prison. And you—individuals—don’t you dare ask the government to give you anything! Make that a law: No individual shall ask the government to give him anything (with the exception of protection) on pain of fine or imprisonment. For, by asking for something, he is asking the government to violate someone’s individual rights to get that thing.
So, we see that the Preamble has got us off on an imperfect foot already. How can we possibly hope to steer a straight course? Now, I will write, “We, the representatives of a large number of the people, in order to form a sound union of self-responsible individuals, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, and secure the goodness of personal and productive liberty-of-action to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
How simple, how clear, how keeping within the bounds of common sense! And then, when we look at someone’s Section 8 proposal–“The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect taxes, duties, impost and excise,” we immediately see that that is wrong. When it says “To establish Post offices and Post roads” we clearly see that that is wrong, and so on and so on. The clearer one is at the beginning, the easier it is to remain clear.