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Video: Tom Woods educates Bill O'Reilly on The Preamble, and the "General Welfare Clause."

Bill O'Reilly, Constitutional Scholar


Published on Jul 6, 2012 by TomWoodsTV

O'Reilly tells a viewer that government health care is permitted thanks to the preamble to the Constitution. Bestselling author Tom Woods responds. http://www.LibertyClassro....


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The General Welfare.

Thank you Dr. Woods.

Even if the rule of law did allow the federal government to 'provide for the general welfare' of these united States, this Affordable Care Act a)will not make health care more affordable, b)will not enrich doctors, c)will not help the unfortunate, elderly, unproductive, or degenerate, c)will not decrease the governments indebtedness, d)does not allow for individuals to decide their own fate, e)does not empower small businesses(the defining characteristic of a peaceful and prosperous people), and f)will not allow the population to expand/or contract at a natural pace(technocrats will always and forever be culling the herd). Providing for the welfare of corporate drug dealers, big bureaucracy, and 'insurers' can not be defined as 'general'.

tom for prez

tom for prez

Tom Woods does it again...

Tom Woods does it again... well done, sir.

Tom is a good teacher however....

We must stop from putting others up on a pedestal. A good place to start to study to learn about the phrase general welfare is to absorb this liberty web site. This is all so simple. The Constitution is a document written for the states; hence, they called themselves (named): The United States. It was and is a document which gives enumerated powers to the federal government and its structured government concerning said defense and for their the States general welfare equally. The executive branch carried out the laws passed by congress. The welfare of the states is seemingly not clearly defined. I admit I needed to think this one over. The meaning of general welfare as defined in the Constitution are the Enumerated Powers which are clearly listed after. If the states want to cede other powers to the federal government they can amend the Constitution. Simplicity or commonsense wins the day!
Study the above link and see if you agree. Read the Constitution it is clear. It defines the General Welfare at that time. Change it through amending it. Nullify it as Jefferson stated in 1798 when and they have gone beyond the enumerated powers. We have a lot of nullifying to do!!!
See the Free Dictionary by Ferlex which shows the Hamiltonian confusion on General Welfare. I prefer the Constitution over what Hamilton wanted it to be. Tom Woods is correct, of course!! It is just that the words General Welfare as they are used in the body are defined in the document as the enumerated powers. If you want health care amend the Constitution so it is an enumerated power! Try it. Then tax it! The States signed the constitution. LET THEM ADD what they believe is in their General Welfare. I dare them.
I am not trying to demean anyone here I am just saying we must get a grip on this and get a firm understanding so we can speak with authority.
The Tenth Amendment Center and Randy Barnett are also useful resources for further study, however the above link and Tom Woods should help along with YOU (WE). Liberty people must not be scared of WE the people..............


Article 1 Section 8 does say "provide...general welfare"

however, it is only describing WHY congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. It is not a granting of power TO provide general welfare.

The power is to "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises". and the reason for the power is described.

Article 1 Section 8
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States


I'm glad I wasn't the one to have to bring this up - I get crucified every time I bring up facts that don't exactly jibe with the desired result!

BOTH problems I have with the U.S.Constitution are in Article 1 Section 8 (in the miltary 'Section 8' was for those considered not quite sane) - the 'power to lay and collect taxes' and 'to... provide for the... general welfare of the United States".

By the way, I would like to point out that 'taxing' individuals and using that fund to "provide for the ... general welfare of the United States" is NOT the same as FORCING you to BUY ANYTHING!

Thank you Liberty4us for your astuteness.

Ed in Phoenix

Rights are like muscles; you must exercise them to keep them fit, or they will atrophy and die.

O'Reilly goes down! O'Reilly

O'Reilly goes down! O'Reilly goes down!

I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be. Albert Einstein

Woods way, way over-complicating this

Re: O'Reilly's Constitutional ignorance regarding the "common welfare" clause.

There's really no need to go off on an elaborate, academic explanation of why preambles have no bearing. The sheeple's eyes will gloss over in 12 seconds.

The appropriate rebuttal is this:

If O'Reilly said the government is authorized to "PROVIDE for the general welfare" then he has misquoted the preamble and is confused (again).

The preamble says "PROMOTE the general welfare", not "PROVIDE" for it.

The distinction in meaning is obvious.

The government is to "PROVIDE" for common defence but only "PROMOTE" the general welfare. That is a diferent scope.

O'Reilly also said the Constitution doesn't say anything about gold or silver so apparently he never read so far as Article I, Section 10. He's a damn idiot.

Preambles have no legal standing

I'm not seeing how "preambles have no legal standing" amounts to "way, way overcomplicating this." The difference between promote and provide for, now that's something that would make someone's eyes glaze over.

And in Art 1, Sec 8, the Constitution DOES say "provide for" the general welfare, so your point is not valid.


It says "PROMOTE" not "PROVIDE FOR" the general welfare.

I havent heard BO's name in so long!

Sometimes I forget that he is still affecting anything. I guess that is what blocking all MSM networks will do to you.

fireant's picture

I'm wrestling' with this one Mr. Woods.

Included in the first enumerated power is "...provide for...the general welfare;...", which is open for a wide range of interpretation; as if the framers ultimately left it up to the people to decide what it means.
Conversely, contstitutional taxing authority to achieve such an end is clearly defined, and there is the error of Roberts' ruling. He created an extra-constitutional tax which enables the fedguv to ignore the taxing provisions of the Constitution, a clear violation of enumerated powers, and of his oath of office.

Undo what Wilson did

what is the meaning of General?

"general welfare" = that which benefits ALL the people. Redistribution schemes, in which something is taken from some and given to others, are not "general" welfare, but "specific" or "particular" welfare.
General does not mean "most" or "some", it means "all."

while we are at it, my other constitutional definition: "regulate". Historically, this word means "to make regular" or to remove restrictions. The power to regulate interstate commerce is to remove barriers which might impede trade between the states. think of "regular" bms. these days regulate is taken as its opposite, to in fact restrict or impede rather than to remove such restrictions...

If these two words were properly understood, "general" and "regulate", many of our current problems would clear.
As Bastiat would say, "The Law... Perverted!"

fireant's picture

I think you and the down voters are missing my point.

I'm operating from the assumption that the objective is to persuade others on the unconstitutionality of the ruling. Arguing based on the welfare clause is a near no-win; not because of the merits of the argument, but because of the ability of opponents to keep the point suspended without resolution.
On the other hand, arguing based upon the new tax created by the ruling is much clearer and more difficult for opponents to skew.

Undo what Wilson did

This is where I have recently

This is where I have recently pointed out that Roberts did those intent upon repealing Obamacare a service...he gave us something we could fight and repeal, sans the ambiguity of the general welfare clause and it's myriad definations. So, it would seem to me, and I am no constitutional scholar, that he put the ball in our (the congress's) court. If my observation is correct, this quite a cagey move not a betrayl.

If my need to be RIGHT is greater than my desire for TRUTH, then I will not recognize it when it arrives ~ Libertybelle

fireant's picture

Cagey? You want 9robes playing cagey with our liberty?

Making that argument suggests a failure to comprehend exctly what Roberts did.
While he may have provided an angle for repeal of ACA, he at the same time, created an extra-constitutional tax (one that does not fall into the category of "direct" tax), which is a direct affront to enumerated powers and the 10th Amendment. Repeal of ACA will not repeal this new tax! Let that soak in, The issue is less about ACA, but the royal stink bomb he left in it's wake.

Undo what Wilson did

I was responding, in agreement to your last sentence...

"On the other hand, arguing based upon the new tax created by the ruling is much clearer and more difficult for opponents to skew."

If my need to be RIGHT is greater than my desire for TRUTH, then I will not recognize it when it arrives ~ Libertybelle


I agreed with your second paragraph (first post), as well as the tax issue. I also agree that turning back the tide on the general welfare clause is perhaps lofty.
However I don't think the founders were vague, or the constitution. When it says provide for the common defense and general welfare, it then goes on to list several powers which do just that, providing for the common defense and general welfare. It is as if it realizes that these words would be taken as vague and then goes on to clear up the confusion with things like raise a navy, punish piracy, declare war, punish counterfeiting, coin money, establish courts etc.
It just seems so straight forward to me.

I never downvote someone who is being genuine and putting forth an idea. Its the ones who resort to name calling and have no real desire to enter a polite discussion and are obviously not prepared to consider an alternate view who upset me. we must always be open to learn something. thats why i come here.
have a good one.

He makes a really good and

He makes a really good and important point about the foxnews conservatives aren't talking about repeal but replace "What are the republicans going to replace Obamacare with?"

THIS IS THE GENIUS OF FOXNEWS!--they have managed to educate a generation of conservative traditionalists in the principles of socialism and to ignore the plain clear meaning of the constitution. The Bill 'O Reilly's have actually moved the Republican base more toward the left than all the left wing commie professor stereotypes did in decades!

Way to go foxnews! I nominate you for the Marxist of the century award! You've done far more than Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro ever did to advance the cause of socialism.

Tide comes in, tide goes out. You can't explain that.

Says socialized medicine is constitutional; still calls himself a conservative.

You can't explain that.


Paul ante portas.

Kind of sad that Bill

Kind of sad that Bill O'Reilly has his own show and Tom Woods doesn't. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a libertarian version of foxnews?

If Tom Woods actually had his

If Tom Woods actually had his own TV show on a major network I'd finally have a reason to buy a television.

Yes, you can explain it...

he is a liar. Simple as that.

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.
Friedrich Nietzsche



Predictions in due Time...

"Let it not be said that no one cared, that no one objected once it's realized that our liberties and wealth are in jeopardy." - Dr. Ronald Ernest Paul