The Daily Switch

Posts Tagged ‘Statist’

Whither the Constitution?

Posted by maker on May 1, 2009

With the recent revelation that Justice David Souter will be retiring from the Supreme Court, we are given an opportunity for debate on a matter of great importance. Is the Constitution of the United States of America relevant or even worth consulting? Surely, foundational respect and reverence for the Constitution is an apolitical issue, no? If only it were that simple.

Justice Souter

There are two sides to the debate over the Constitution and its legitamacy. On the one hand, there are those that believe that it is a ‘living, breathing’ document that changes over time as cultural or societal norms shift or decay. On the other are those who say the Constitution means what it says and says what it means, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Unfortunately, this is another issue that is pretty clearly divided along ideological lines. Liberals, or more accurately, Statists tend to believe that as times change the Constitution must adapt and change as well. Conservatives trend towards acknowledging that the values and morals implicit in the Constitution are timeless and just as applicable today as they were at their writing. It seems that in valuing the Constitution we are faced with an ‘all or nothing’ decision. As Mark Levin writes in his new book Liberty and Tyranny ,

“If the Constitution’s meaning can be erased or rewritten, and the Framers’ intentions ignored, it ceases to be a constitution but is instead a concoction of political expedients that serve the contemporary policy agendas of the few who are entrusted with public authority to preserve it.”

Is the Constitution a binding contract prescribing the standards for governing? Or, can the laws be changed based on trends or feelings indicative of different social ‘values’? Levin goes on to say,

“To say the Constitution is a ‘living and breathing document’ is to give license to arbitrary and lawless activism. It is a mantra that gained purchase in the early twentieth century and is paraded around by the Statist as if to legitimate that which is illegitimate.”

Article V of the Constitution addresses the ways that changes can be made to the Constitution. There are but two, and only one has ever been used. The built-in difficulty of changing the Constitution speaks to the critical nature of its reliability. A constitution is made powerful by its permanence. If it is something easily altered or ‘reinterpreted ‘ it is a sand-like foundation at best.

The Constitution

The Constitution

 

 We can mostly agree that the founding of our country was a net good. And, judging by the 200 plus years since, it has birthed the greatest nation in history, both in might and benefit to the rest of the world. This success is owed entirely to the Constitution that has liberated, prospered and strengthened generations of people united under its protections, and to the principles and faith upon which it was founded.

 The question I submit for your consideration is this: If the Constitution is a malleable thing, upon what foundation is our country now built?

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