... led the new generation to believe the US Constitution, through its government, grants it's citizens rights - when in fact, the actual wording only serves to restrict the powers given - by the people - to their own government.
This is true, but there's more to it than that.
Virtually everyone I talk to believes that America was a great experiment in democratic rule, showing that the revisionism has successfully erased the single biggest aspect of our nation's founding principle. The idea that America was a bold experiment in a new concept of democracy is false: by the time the Constitution was written, democracy had been around for a couple of millennia. We all know the ancient Greeks did it, but somehow fail to connect those dots.
During the American revolution, John Adams went to the Netherlands seeking loans to support the American war effort. Even at that time, the Netherlands were democratic, with Adams appealing to their parliamentary body. So it can even be said that part of what enabled the independence of America was the pre-existing democratic states.
Democracy is a red herring, it's just a by-product of the real triumph.
What was really revolutionary about the US Constitution and the nation it defined was the idea of government that only possesses limited, explicitly enumerated powers that the people have decided to cede to it (as described in Thomas Paine's Common Sense
, which I urge you to read in addition to the text of the Constitution itself).
In this paradigm, no matter how much we believe that some policy is a good idea, the government is only allowed to undertake it if it's one of the powers granted by the Constitution. There is an explicit list of what Congress is allowed to do in the document, under Article I Section 8
. Consider the types of things that our federal government does today, and try to find some justification for it in that list. Regulations covering the War on Drugs, universal healthcare, standardized education, federally-defined drinking ages, and countless other things require huge stretches of the imagination to find in that list.
In other words, almost everything the federal government does today is illegal, given an objective reading of the Constitution. This is nothing new, it's been going on since the early 20th century, if not longer.
Most all of this crap started from the G.W. Bushy era
This is quite false. The problems with invasions of our private communications began under Clinton, at least (recall, for example, the Clipper chip
). The ridiculous War on Drugs was brought to us by President Nixon. The vast reach of the Nanny State began with FDR, with big bumps under LBJ, GWB, and Obama. But the seeds of the preeminent federal government (as opposed to the sovereignty of the States) was planted by Lincoln (of course slavery is evil, but Lincoln's actual goal wasn't to stop slavery, but to cement a strong federal government; Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, but freeing the slaves didn't happen until the war was well underway, a strategy to weaken the South).UPDATE: fix spelling