The NY Times hosted an editorial writer just recently, which, as an editorial, ultimately represents the opinions of the paper. Nice to see they’re finally showing their true colors. From Louis Seidman, one of those lettered “Constitutional Law Professors” much like the president who wants to destroy it.
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
What follows is the kind of steaming pile of garbage that would have been considered parody of a leftist a few years ago.
Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.
Hint: James Madison was smarter than you, Mr. Professor Something-You-Want-To-Be-Nothing. Also, the objective was to create a political system that would actually create gridlock, that would prevent immediate and rash decisions made by a central power. The Constitution functions when it slows the processes of government to those that are deliberate and considering of input via the representative republic. That’s the point. In such a manner, its objective is to preserve the maximum amount of liberty for the citizen.
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
Acted illegally under tyrannical law, and in accordance with natural law, and made laws that intended to free men from tyranny. The “fine to own slaves” argument is defeated in and of itself by the actual intent of the 3/5 compromise, by which southern states would be admitted to the new nation but couldn’t count slave populations towards their representatives, thus limiting the power of slave states, with the subtle intention to ultimately, slowly break the institution of slavery.
If NASA decides that the world is flat after considered judgement on their next rocket launch that they decide is best and “suddenly” someone bursts into the room and reminds them that Eratosthenes already showed the world was round, is it remotely rational that NASA should acknowledge the wisdom of those who came before them? Nah, let’s just launch that rocket into the dirt. Dead white guys are stupid and they know nothing!
Seidman represents the kind of rot from inside that Yuri Bezmenov warned about years ago.
Suddenly, Thomas Paine!
From The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine:
But it will be first necessary to define what is meant by a Constitution. It is not sufficient that we adopt the word; we must fix also a standard signification to it.
A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.
When “Constitutional professors” come to the conclusion that you should throw out the document and organization by which a government is created and ignore the law in favor of the whim of their current favored ruler, then yes, maybe some of us start sounding like Walter Sobchak. But unlike bowling, a government unfettered by rules is instant tyranny.
Idiot Seidman rambles on:
The two main rival interpretive methods, “originalism” (divining the framers’ intent) and “living constitutionalism” (reinterpreting the text in light of modern demands), cannot be reconciled. Some decisions have been grounded in one school of thought, and some in the other. Whichever your philosophy, many of the results — by definition — must be wrong.
Seidman is an idiot. Paine explained what a Constitution is. There is no “living constitution”. It says what it says. If you want to change it, you amend it. If not, government is limited by what it says. There are no powers that can be divined from the Constitution that aren’t enumerated. The Constitution is what it is.
The problem stems from those who want expansion of government, and in their relentless desire for more and more and more control, they seek to, as Seidman says “give up on the Constitution”. The thing is, the Constitution is what limits government. It maintains a rule of law. Without it, we have the rule of men, of tyrants, of mobs and dictators.
And that leads, as usual, to the oppression of the individual, the minority in number, the minority without government power, ultimately the oppression of both the few and the many, which is why we have a Constitution to begin with.
I was almost done, but Seidman the Idiot had this gem that jumped out:
This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.
Seidman comes across not only as a useful idiot for totalitarians, but as incredibly, woefully, dangerously naiive. If the charter which orders, establishes and defines government is meaningless, then the laws are meaningless. Saying that “we should follow those requirements out of respect” really goes to show what a profound fool he is, assuming that truly powerful men unburdened by rules have respect for those they dominate, the peons they could crush like insects.
Seidman then goes on to couch his statements by saying things he wants and doesn’t want – like the tyrant he begs for but then thinks he can say no to. None of those benevolent things he wishes for happen in a situation in which the government does what it wants, and then he goes on with this:
What would change is not the existence of these institutions, but the basis on which they claim legitimacy. The president would have to justify military action against Iran solely on the merits, without shutting down the debate with a claim of unchallengeable constitutional power as commander in chief. Congress might well retain the power of the purse, but this power would have to be defended on contemporary policy grounds, not abstruse constitutional doctrine. The Supreme Court could stop pretending that its decisions protecting same-sex intimacy or limiting affirmative action were rooted in constitutional text.
If there is no Constitution, there IS NO LEGITIMACY. Then there is no “We The People”, there simply is the government – there is simply force. “Might well retain” is pretty slim. Plenty of parliaments get dissolved by executive order, and plenty of strongmen rule nations with weak or no constitutions. SCOTUS right now making decisions that are “living constitution” decisions with no input from the Constitution are very simple to solve – stop making them. The 10th Amendment is there for a reason. Prior SCOTUS decisions like Wickard v Filburn are the reason for many of our current problems, as progressives who wanted to expand government simply did so by abusing the Constitutional system and fabricating laws through that “living constitution” chicanery. Ignoring the Constitution in one manner and then saying because you ignored it, it should be trashed, is the height of self-destructive, self-fulfilling stupidity. It’s like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer and then blaming your head for hurting… so you choose to hit it harder until your head is gone.
I could fisk Seidman’s entire piece, but each element of it falls apart in its own sanctimonius hubris.