Rexford Tugwell, part of FDR’s original “Brain Trust,” published a section of the 1974 book, The Emerging Constitution, entitled “A Constitution for the Newstates of America,” which is filled with dilutions of the rights granted to individuals and to sovereign states in the Constitution.
A good example of what Tugwell intended as an "improvement" on the First Amendment is Section (A) of Article One, which would presumably replace our God-given rights to freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed by that Amendment. This new constitution instead reads: “SECTION 1. Freedom of expression, of communication, of movement, of assembly, or of petition shall not be abridged except in declared emergency”; “SECTION 3. Public communicators may decline to reveal sources of information, but shall be responsible for hurtful disclosures”; “SECTION 7. It shall be public policy to promote discussion of public issues and to encourage peaceful public gatherings for this purpose. Permission to hold such gatherings shall not be denied, nor shall they be interrupted, except in declared emergency or on a showing of imminent danger to public order and on judicial warrant”; and “SECTION 8. The practice of religion shall be privileged; but no religion shall be imposed by some on others, and none shall have public support.” (Emphasis added.)
What does all that replace? The First Amendment is very brief and clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
It has no exceptions of “public emergencies” or “hurtful disclosures.” (Hurtful to whom? Who determines the damage?) It is “public policy” to promote discussion of issues? Who determines “public policy”? What is the basis of a “judicial warrant” to stop a peaceful assembly? The vague socialist theme runs through other parts of the document, like Section B of Article One regarding taxation: “SECTION 6. Each shall pay whatever share of governmental costs is consistent with fairness to all.” Who decides what is “fair”? Apparently, the statists managers of this new, surreal America.
Article II, which deals with the complete reorganization of states into new entities that must conform to national policies — as more or less cookie-cutter provinces — reveals a profound intention to destroy sovereign state governments, the greatest cornerstone of constitutional liberty. (So important did the authors of our Constitution deem state sovereignty that they wrote language into the document prohibiting the denial of any state its equal representation in the Senate — not even by amendment.) Article III, dealing with the “Overseer of electoral procedures,” allows the state to set rules for how political parties operate: the Overseer must be “fair," and shall oversee all elections. Indeed, it requires very little imagination to see how the Overseer could become a virtual dictator by the funneling of the electoral process into narrow, controlled pathways.
Perhaps most revealing is Article IV, the “Planning Branch of Government.” This branch is given the duty of determining the direction of American government, which under this socialist constitution means America itself. The relentless insistence by statists that more central planning will bring a happier national life — in spite of the horrors of the Soviet Five-Year-Plan failures, Mao's ghastly Great Leap Forward, and Goering’s oversight of Nazi Five-Year-Plan schemes — remains untouched by the wisdom of history. The “Regulatory Branch” in Article VII requires high-level government bureaucrats and officers to ensure that American commerce operates efficiently: “SECTION 4. Chartered enterprises in similar industries or occupations may organize joint Authorities. These may formulate among themselves codes to ensure fair competition, meet external costs, set standards for quality and service, expand trade, increase production, eliminate waste, and assist in standardization. Authorities may maintain for common use services for research and communication; but membership shall be open to all eligible enterprises. Nonmembers shall be required to maintain the same standards at those prescribed for members.”
Tugwell, even long after statism in Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Maoist China had proven far more horrific than any of the imagined flaws of America society, still clung to the old, failed, bad idea. Were regulators, planners — all the rest — going to make America greater?
Tugwell's real intention was to destroy America and make it like the dreary, regimented rest of the world.
Photo: Rexford G. Tugwell, Right, with Agriculture Secretary Henry Wallace as he tells reporters November 18, 1936 in Memphis, Tenn., of his resignation as resettlement Administrator and Undersecretary of Agriculture to return to private business: AP Images