"Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. . . If it is, then we have no Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson
"On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." - Thomas Jefferson
Anyone with a brain can understand that "loose" construction of the Constitution is an excuse for politicians to pay lip service to the document when it fits in with their agenda, but then totally ignore it when they want to do something that should be illegal. In his book The Revolution: A Manifesto, Ron Paul describes the inevitable result of a Constitution with no objective meaning:
"A 'living' Constitution is just the thing any government would be delighted to have, for whenever the people complain that their Constitution has been violated, the government can trot out its judges to inform the people that they've simply misunderstood: the Constitution, you see, has merely evolved with the times . . . such a thing is completely unable to protect us against the encroachments of government power."
Now some people will ask, "but if the Constitution doesn't change with the times, how can we adapt it to our current situation?" It turns out the Founding Fathers were actually kind of smart and decided to put in a way for us to change the Constitution with regard to its rules and without totally ignoring its core principles and meanings. What is it? A constitutional amendment. According to Article V of the Constitution, a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress is needed to propose an amendment. If three-quarters (38) states ratify the proposed amendment, it is added to the Constitution.
Many loose constructionists dishonestly cite the "general welfare" clause as an avenue for the Federal government to overstep its boundaries and do whatever it wants in the name of the general welfare of the people. Once again, the Founders saw this coming. James Madison wrote:
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions."
Madison also pointed out that if the "general welfare" clause gives the government the power to do anything that promotes the general welfare, then what was the point of writing out the rest of the Constitution when that one clause gives the government all the power it needs anyway? What would be the point of the 10th Amendment, which states that any power not specifically delegated to the Federal government belongs to the individual states and the people?
"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government." - James Madison
The Constitution either means what it says, or it doesn't.