Let’s Give Up on the Constitution is an OP-ED in the New York Times dated December 30, 2012. The author, a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University, waxes eloquently on why “we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”
So what is the defining characteristic of this “ancient text” we call the Constitution?
Checks and balances my friends! Checks and balances that make it extremely difficult for a would be king, queen, Führer or dictator to come on the scene and impose his or her particular brand of utopianism, on “We The People.”
The professor has a point here; lets “give real freedom a chance” and Give Up on the Constitution. Now is the opportune time to give up on this ancient piece of parchment. We have in place right now a leader that would welcome such a shot at freedom (for himself). A president, who I suspect more and more, that should he find himself magically dropped into the leadership circles of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Soviet Union or China under Chairman Mao would find himself to be entirely comfortable with his new surroundings and comrades.
So where do we begin with this extraction from our legally binding “law of the land”, that which so many of us take an oath to uphold and defend; the Constitution of the United States?
The very structure of the Constitution, before we even get to the Bill of Rights amendments, raises a very profound warning that government can not and should not be trusted. That is why we have the protection of separation of powers between the branches of government and between the federal government and the states. Do we give up on those protections?
Then we get to the Bill of Rights which was added to the Constitution as a protection for individual citizens against a tyrannical government. Do we give up on those rights?
And we have the various amendments that were added for such things as the abolition of slavery, voting rights for all people regardless of race or gender. Do we give up on those rights?
The professor makes the point that “we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.” I would counter that Mr. Madison had an understanding of history, human nature and the nature of government that was much more in tune with human nature than the professor. Madison understood the depravity of man and of government and knew that unless constrained in some fashion government always bends towards tyranny.
The professor and others of his stripe would do well to emulate Madison; especially given the stark lessons of history and the depravity of man so chillingly demonstrated in the 20’th century, resulting in the deaths of some one-hundred-million souls.
So take a deep breath professor, and compare our light afflictions with the heavy and dark tribulations that have occupied almost all of human history.
Don Johnson – December 2012