I wrote this awhile ago and republished it in March. Given the expansion of government we are seeing it seems relevant.
The basis of Constitutionalism is that, if the maximum limits of a government were written down, adhered to strictly, and difficult to change. The government would be free, fair, stable, and weak. As long as the government was acting in a way that didn’t contradict the constitution, the people had no complaint. If the government acted extra constitutionally, the people did have a legitimate gripe.
History had shown that governments become corrupt, and tyrannical over time. The political innovation of Constitutionalism was to be the fix for this tendency. Livy’s history of Rome is a good example of the rise and decline of a civilization, and the rise of the next. There are many other examples of this tendency. Gilgamesh’s dynasty in Ur, The Spartan civilization, The Warring States Period of Classical China, and the Mongols. It was obvious that some form of muzzle must be placed on government. I am amazed that the politicians willingly applied the muzzle of Constitutionalism to themselves.
The very strength of a constitution is it’s great moment. The amount of force needed to change it. Without this immutability, a constitution is not worth the paper it is/was written on. If the constitution can be changed easily the powerful will change it to suit themselves. It will be changed first to keep the Elite in power. Then in the name of safety it will be paired back to nothing.
To say that the constitution is a ‘living breathing document’ and that it can be ‘reinterpreted’ to ‘grow with the times’ is really to say that “the dammed thing means whatever the hell I say it does.” The first way is more expedient, the second more accurate. The problem with this reasoning, is that, if you agree with the changes made today, you may not agree with the changes made tomorrow. ‘Rights’ and ‘Power to regulate’ that can be read into a constitution, outside it’s original intent, can be just as easily read out, or enlarged.
Saint Augustine said, in the city of man, that “People get the government they deserve.” When people let their rights slip away, and let their constitution be changed by an oligarchy of five, they will deserve the tyranny that they visit upon themselves and unfortunately, their children.
In fact, we are seeing these very gouges taken out of the US Constitution. The First Amendment is there specifically to protect POLITICAL speech. Not pornography. That pornography is also protected is a side effect. We see that political advertising is now illegal. Saying something bad about a person who is in office before an election is now illegal, unless you are a special organization, 527k or some such. This requires reams of paperwork, a roadblock to individual participation at that level.
The government was not to make laws respecting religion and not establish a state religion. It has been twisted so that we do now have an official state religion, Atheism.
The Second Amendment is, we are now told, was put their to protect the government’s right to keep and bear arms. This is absurd, even taken at face value. Why would the framers give the government the right to keep and bear arms in an addendum to the actual constitution. An addendum there specifically to protect the rights of the people. An amendment that is redundant, in that the power of the government to keep a standing army is in the main document. The Federalist Papers, Number 10 Madison mentions that the people regularly have guns in their homes. We shall see what the Lawyer oligarchy says about the Second Amendment pretty soon.
The most ignored Amendment is number 10. Every possible avenue of human endeavor has been interpreted as interstate commerce. Apparently if you pick your nose it can be regulated by the Federal Government, due to the possibly of it’s being sold across state lines.
We are on a slippery slope. Meddling with the constitution as much as has been done in the twentieth century is foolish. The slope is getting steeper, and we are moving faster. I don’t see a bottom in site, do you?