Trashing the Constitution: The Living Document Con
(The New American) -- by Selwyn Duke --
Is constitutionalism akin to blind faith? Some statists certainly think so, as they have called the position “constitution-worship.” In light of this, what should we call those who lack that “faith”? Given that they don’t believe in the Constitution, and that the document is the supreme law of the land, can it be said that they don’t believe in law? Are these people, who are often atheists, also “alegalists”?
Whatever you call them, they’re more visible and brazen than ever. Writing in Time magazine recently, Richard Stengel insisted that our Constitution “must accommodate each new generation and circumstance.” Georgetown professor Michael Dyson said recently, “When I talk about the document being living and vital, I’m talking about the interpretation of it.” And these appeals are buttressed by the notion that our founding document is fatally flawed. For example, Harvard Law School professor Michael Klarman wrote, “For the most part, the Constitution is irrelevant to the current political design of our nation.” And CNN’s Fareed Zakaria recently opined, “The United States Constitution was … drafted in a cramped room in Philadelphia in 1787 with shades drawn over the windows” — which, presumably, is worse than an idea coming out of his cramped head.
Of course, it sounds oh-so sophisticated to speak of a “living, breathing document.” But if someone is trying to sell us on the idea that our national rulebook shouldn’t matter, we should ask two questions: Who benefits from ignoring the rules? And what is the alternative to following them?
The best way to answer the first question is to apply the relevant concepts to something everyone will understand. So imagine that we’re going to have a baseball game and I tell you I want “living” rules. Furthermore, while you’re going to be a player in the game, I’m going to be an umpire. Thus, you’ll have to live under the rules; I’ll decide how they live. Wouldn’t this give you reason to suspect that I was being self-serving?...
But it’s no secret why the Left pushes the living-document con, and it isn’t just that many of their fellow travelers have become “umpires.” It is also that most everything prescribed by our Constitution — a limited central government, states’ and gun-ownership rights, etc. — is contrary to the Left’s agenda. In fact, a progressive is a natural enemy of a constitution. Why? Well, the one consistent definition of “conservative” involves a desire to maintain the status quo. And a constitution is a document that, by enshrining certain principles in hard-to-change law, does perpetuate a status quo. In other words, it is a conservative document...MORE...LINK