Thursday, January 3, 2013
Let's give up on the Constitution?
op-ed piece in the December 30 New York Times. Written by a constitutional law professor, its main point is that Constitution is frequently violated and we just pretend we didn't do so; every non-unanimous Supreme Court decision means one or more veteran Supreme Court justices believe that ruling was unconstitutional.
Moreover, several other rich nations have no constitution at all, and none have collapsed into chaos or dictatorship (while many tyrannies do have constitutions).
And our Constitution is un-Confederational. That is, it was written in defiance of the orders of the American government of that day, which had tasked the Framers with offering some amendments to the Articles of Confederation--not to supplant it with something else.
But above all, our Constitution was written for an almost completely different country. The USA of 1789 was a rural country where nearly everyone lived by farming; where there were no means of communications other than riders on horseback and newspapers; where we had almost no foreign trade in either direction; where we kept slaves, denied blacks, women, and men without land the vote; where "arms" to be borne meant flintlock muskets...need I go on?
The op-ed writer says we should be deciding on the validity of laws based on today's America rather than trying to divine what a handful of men who lived 200 years ago wanted for their infant country.
Naturally the RWM (Right Wing Media) are in their usual apoplexy about this--but instead of speaking to the argument's merits or weaknesses, they claim that the author is a Leftist and may therefore be ignored.
Yet another proof of the profound lack of critical thinking skills on the part of so many self-style conservatives.