Written by Daniel Greenfield
From all the outrage over congress opening with a reading of the Constitution, you would have thought that the Republican party was proposing to outlaw green labels on household products, put up a fence made entirely of snarling dogs across the Mexican border, and haul Obama off to Gitmo. Even an upcoming attempt to repeal the Obama Care monstrosity, hasn't generated nearly as much outrage as a reading of the United States Constitution.
The reading has been attacked on many contradictory grounds. It's been attacked for wasting money by taking time out to read the Constitution and attacked for not reading repealed amendments. Congressional Republicans have been lambasted for using the reading to imply that the Democrats don't care about the Constitution... and for worshiping the Constitution which is just an old document written "over a hundred years ago" by dead white men to be reinterpreted by Wise Latinas today. There is no intellectual consistency in the media left's line of attack. And it could be dismissed as another case of the droopy wing of the Democratic party breaking into that old Groucho Marx number from 'Horsefeathers', "Whatever it is, I'm against it." But the story is a little more complicated than that.
The Democratic party has a natural sore spot for anyone who questions their patriotism. Which is only natural, because their patriotism has been watered down more than the drinks at the sleaziest bar in town. The liberal claim that they love the Constitution, but disdain the military, falls apart every time they get into power, and suddenly they decide that the Bill of Rights only applies to Muslim terrorists, but does not in any way, shape or form restrain them from compelling the American people to do anything that the snake pit of lobbyists and leftist agitators think is a good idea. The bizarre situation where foreign terrorists are assigned more rights than American citizens arises naturally from the mindset of tyrants. Applying the Constitution to terrorists is non-threatening. Because terrorists generally don't vote. But to apply it to ordinary Americans would be a recognition that Obama, Pelosi and their ilk are not the masters of the people, but their sworn servants.
Tyranny may be defined as a state of affairs in which those who make the laws, are not bound by any laws. The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land, because it applies first and foremost to those who make the laws. It is the law for the lawmakers, restraining their power and defining their limits. To read from the Constitution in congress is to echo the slaves who whispered in the ears of Roman Caesars and generals, "Memento Mori", "Remember Thou Art Mortal". And when generals and Caesars shut their eyes to the reminder of "Memento Mori", they take a long step toward tyranny.
A disdain for the Constitution translates into a disdain for the limits of power. It is the ultimate warning sign of tyranny on the horizon. The comprehensive aim of the Constitution was to define the structure of government in order to maintain a balance between rights and responsibilities, powers and freedoms, and the branches of government and the people. The fact that every amendment after the original ten that did not deal with procedural issues proved to be either redundant or a usurpation of authority shows the wisdom of the framers. And though the framers were certainly not perfect, nor was their document, not that any human document could be, in the last century we have not shown ourselves any wiser. We have certainly not created a system that sets forth a better balance or establishes more freedoms. At our best we rescued the explicit meaning of the Constitution from the compromises of earlier generations, at our worst we permitted everything from compulsory sterilization to seizing private property for corporations.
For too long liberals have subverted the Constitution without displaying the courage of their convictions. If they truly believe that it is an irrelevant document written by white male slave owners that can only exist as it is reinterpreted by their enlightened judges-- reinterpreted to the extent that it almost consists of entirely new laws... then why bother having a Constitution at all?
If Hugo Black and Earl Warren really trump Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, then let's burn the Constitution and have no law but what the current batch of Supreme Court justices and a bunch of NGO's and UN covenants dictate. Plenty of countries do it that way already. And it helps them lock in the socialist flavor and criminalize political dissent. But instead of dragging us slowly down that muddy road, let's go there right now. Stop calling the Constitution a work in progress when we all know where you want it to progress to. And stop pretending that you found a new law in some random word that you picked out by throwing a dart at a copy of the Bill of Rights. End the masquerade, take off the masks and say it loudly and clearly. "We don't believe in any laws that supersede our ability to make laws."
I suspect that the 2006 Democratic congress would have been all for torching the Constitution if half of them even knew what was in it. It came as a surprise to most of them that there might be something vaguely unconstitutional involved in requiring Americans to buy products from the companies that donated to their campaigns. Instead they treated constitutional objects with bafflement. "Oh is that old thing still around." "Really the Constitution, how peculiar." "So what does this have to do with us anyway?" It's not too surprising that people who can't even be bothered to read their own laws, can't be bothered to read the Constitution either. Especially when they recognize no other law than their own power to do what they please.
In the progressive reading, the Constitution is an old clunker that we keep tinkering with for sentimental reasons. But it took KKK members, eugenicists and Tammany Hall lawyers on the court to truly bring out its "humanity". And truly humanitarian law can only exist as part of a global consensus. Which means that the the United States Constitution must defer to the collective of tyrants at the UN and the whip and axe of Islamic Sharia jurisprudence. That the Constitution is national, rather than transnational, already makes it irrelevant in their eyes. National documents are not likely to be respected by those who view the nation state as a cancer on the globe, to be cured through integration into global ruling bodies. But the Constitution's worst presumption is to set limits on the rulers, not on the ruled.
The Framers of the Constitution believed in a very dangerous notion. A notion so dangerous that few American leaders have believed it since. That notion was governments exist at the pleasure of men, not men at the pleasure of governments. It's a dangerous notion, because it eliminates government as anything but a collection of public servants. Not rulers who style themselves first citizens or servants of the people, but who are actually are forced to be because they are denied the power and autonomy to be anything else. It was assumed at the time that the system would eventually devolve into anarchy, instead it has somewhat predictably devolved into tyranny.
Given a chance the political and cultural elites always rewrite the laws to suit themselves. The Constitution was meant to be a leash on that dog, a chain around its neck to keep it from staying too far. And it worked better than any other system had. But given time water will wear down a stone, and lawyers, politicians and agitators will wear down even the most promising document. Today the Constitution exists as a reminder of what we should be, not what we are. A reminder of what rights we have and how many of them we have already lost. It once stood as a barrier to tyrants, but the barrier has been breached. The dikes still hold, but water flows through them in a hundred places. And it is only a matter of time before they burst, unless we plug the holes first.
The Democratic left insists that we don't need a document to protect our rights, because they'll protect us. Our rights just get in the way of them being able to offer us sweet juicy entitlements and preventing us from shooting ourselves in the head, or getting sick or doing the other stupid things that we do when the smothering blanket of the Nanny State isn't completely covering our heads like a socialist burqa. Where the Constitution held that we need to be protected from government, the Democratic left insists that we need to be protected from ourselves. And anyone who disagrees is obviously shilling for the big corporations. You know the ones whose health insurance we're now obligated to buy, by an unconstitutional law passed to protect us from ourselves.
The limitations and balances of the Constitution were meant to answer the question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" or "Who watches the watchmen". It was the hand of history on the shoulder of power, warning it back from its present course. It still is. It's just more likely to be disregarded or misconstrued. WW1 and the Great Depression wrote in their own temporary exemptions to that hand of history, but the greater danger always came from the humanitarian exemption, from the argument that the Constitution has become a reactionary document that inhibits the progressive impulses of government. An argument that eventually leads to the question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" going unanswered, because there is no longer anyone to watch the watchmen. The booth is empty. The tower fallen. And the watchmen turn into sullen robbers taking what they will.
Liberals create shadow governments based on community associations and advocacy groups, a network that shuts out democratic participation, replacing it with a puppet electorate, that votes the right way because that way lies payday. This dangerous phenomenon goes back to the earliest days of the republic, beginning with Aaron Burr's hijacking of the New York vote with the "Manhattan Company" (today J.P. Morgan Chase) which created the template for Tammany Hall, which later began importing and naturalizing massive amounts of immigrants, building plantations of voters. The formula has since been applied successfully to minority communities and is the foundations of the electoral base of the Democratic party. In a strategy where electoral choice is superfluous, a supreme legal framework limiting their power is even more superfluous.
Who needs the Constitution? The people do, the government doesn't. The judiciary which was supposed to protect it from the assertiveness of the executive and legislative branches instead turned into its worst enemy. Like the priests of a degraded faith, they have replaced its laws and tenets, with their own laws and tenets. They claim that the Constitution must be modified to be current because laws are made for men, but it is not men that they make their laws for, but for themselves. The Constitution was meant to exclude the possibility of such absolute power being wielded. And so it has been declared irrelevant. Old words made by by the hand of dead men, who are only of such relevance as our Wise Latinas determine they should be.
The attack on the Constitution is an attack on law. The supreme law that stands between those in power and the people, between the tyrant of the pen and the clerk of the chain, and the free man and woman who refuse to bow to government. The left accuses us of worshiping the Constitution, when it is they who demand that we bow at the altar of government and acknowledge the absolute wisdom of their haloed politicians. Who needs the Constitution? We do, because it is our sword and shield upraised against the tyranny of the powerful. The Constitution says that those who would make law should fear law. And it is those who would be tyrants who above all else want us to forget the law