Saturday, September 21, 2019

Did the U.S. Constitution really fail?

The subject of is the U.S. constitution a good paradigm of government, is it too restrictive of government power, does it address modern problems or is it a failure is a subject that makes the rounds of chattering class circles on both the left and the right. And the answer from most on the extremes of both left and right is yes. But is it really?

The answer can only be no, the constitution in and of itself did not fail. For the constitution is itself only a piece of paper with words written on it. The constitution does not have any agency nor is it able to influence people by its own will. For anyone on the right to think this way, shame on you, you're imparting sentience and moral agency to an inanimate object just as leftists do. In the end, a piece of paper with words written on it means something when the people whose actions it is intended to provide guidelines and/or limits for willingly obey what is written thereupon.

The constitution is therefore like any other law, rule or regulation, meaningless if it is disobeyed with the culprits not held accountable. To claim it failed because the present managerial state routinely finds ways to either circumvent it or outright disobey it and therefore should be abolished is as silly as saying for instance, that because people commit murders, the laws against murder have failed and should be rescinded. It means that those who violate the constitution should be held accountable, the responsibility for which rests in the end with the American people. The constitution did not fail, we did.

One problem is how many of us have forgotten that elected representatives are our employees, hired to represent us and our best interests at home and abroad, not foreign nationals or foreign governments. Too many Americans act as if their representatives are their boss and not the other way around or worse, treat politicians as if they were celebrities or rock stars. If you let any employee get away with not doing their jobs, pilfering the business and treating the boss with contempt, then it should be no wonder if the business eventually fails.

We need to remember that we are the bosses and make our elected representatives respect us, not the donors and lobbyists. It is we who pull the lever at the polls in greater numbers than the donors or lobbyists so let's remember that they are not as all powerful an influence in elections as anyone may imagine.

To claim the constitution does not reflect modern values and conditions and is unable to stop the advance of the left's overthrow of the bill of right is simply the childish whine of "it's not perfect, mommy take it away!" This is simple minded utopianism, or a way to deflect responsibility or an underhanded scheme to impose some other form of government. The framework itself is sound for a representative republic and the amendment process suffices to meet and address modern issues. Anything else is simply pure intellectual and moral laziness.

The fault lies not only with we the people of today, but of generations past who in turn gradually traded liberties in return for the care and freestuff of the nanny state. A government to take care of us and see to all our needs but failing to see the danger of unchecked power in too few hands. Being blind to the fact that a government that gives you all you have can likewise take it all away.

The remedy however, lies with us and our descendants for we didn't get into this fix overnight and it will take some generations to rectify. Are we as a people going to give up and allow the managerial state to grow until it collapses under its own weight or are we going to take positive action by electing political leaders who will follow the constitution and govern according to our founding principles. Are we going to hold our elected leaders accountable at the ballot box and demand the gradual reduction of the managerial state to a more manageable size? Do we have the will and character to reduce the welfare state to a minimum, reject the precautionary principle and accept more personal responsibility for ourselves? Will we insist judges read the laws and amendments as written instead of finding  magical penumbras, emanations or auras through some alchemy as a cynical cover for ruling as they wish with no accountability or check on judicial activism or otherwise demand their removal? 

As a free people, citizens of a republic, are we going to assert ourselves as the owners and operators of this country or do we feebly cry about the failure of a piece of paper to protect us and hope someone else comes to our rescue? It's a long, hard road to recover and reclaim our country and it will never be perfect but it can be better than what we have today as it had been before the excesses of the progressive era and the New Deal.
The choice is ours.

Donald Cavaioli

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