The U.S. Constitution Thread

10 posts

Bob Dylan Roof
SteamshipTime ; Broseph ; Bronze Age Pervert ; niccolo and donkey ; Thoughts ; Thomas777 ; mlad ; etcetc

I'm interested in posters' thoughts on the U.S. Constitution, in particular how one would define the concept of a modern constitution, what the U.S. Constitution is in fact, what its function is, what it should be, how it should be used, and any other general observations.

A slew of liberal intellectuals have begun to question the wisdom behind retaining the U.S. Constitution and the utility of modern constitutional government in general. For example, Sandford Levinson at the University of Texas recently published a book calling for the creation of a new constitutional convention operated by citizens randomly selected by lot; and Louis Seidman at Georgetown has called for America to give up the Constitution . Such opinions aren't particularly novel in American politics - the basis of Levinson's argument is very similar to Jefferson's, and New Deal liberals have always expressed contempt for the utility of the document - but why should liberals go on the offensive just at the moment when the Constitution has provided them with their greatest political victories since the reign of Roosevelt?

Liberals aren't the only ones evincing this sentiment, either. Ron Paul, one of the most prominent theologians of sola scriptura Constitutionalism, recently declared the Constitution to be a failure in his farewell address to Congress .

I'll be adding to this thread later. However, I'm more interested in what others here believe -- what they think of this new trend etc.

I'm no pro with this stuff, but I'll throw in my 2 cents.

In practical and contemporary terms, I think Bush Jr. was right. "It's just a goddammed piece of paper!". It looks to me that no legislation is created today that keeps the constitution in mind and only the SCOTUS makes any use of it/references it. There's a liberal interpretation of free speech, the general welfare clause, and constant abuse from the interpretation of the commerce clause.

A constitution would be a new agreement between the states (or the people of the states), and there has to be some reflection of non-contradicting values in the new constitution. I think it's hard to find consensus in the American populace, so it would only be possible to craft a new one as an agreement between states. It would probably include business buzzwords like "synergy" to describe the relations between the states/etc... Whatever makes the current governor look good to get more votes.

Niccolo and Donkey

What are the benefits of having this constitution in place?

What are the drawbacks?

What is the mechanism for convening a new Constitutional Conference?

What is the impetus for doing so?

1789-1860 - strict constitutionalism?
1861-2013 - liberal interpretation?
2014 - post-constitutionalism?
Bob Dylan Roof
No, there were several constitutional crises during that time period, including the Louisiana Purchase, the Embargo Crisis, and the Supreme Court's declaration of sovereignty in Marbury v. Madison. The story of a golden age of fidelity to the "plain meaning" the document is pure myth.

This period should be characterized simply as the triumph, through armed conflict, of the Federalist interpretation of the Constitution. Since then, conservatives and liberals have used the magnified power of the Federal Government to impose their social philosophies on the rest of the population.

I don't see too much change on the horizon. The civic religion of the Constitution is simply too useful to both parties as a means for entrenching power.
Bronze Age Pervert

I'm sympathetic to the idea that the Constitution is not responsible for the success of America, that it's badly conceived and that the written laws and govt. of America have been mostly bad, but that the country prospered because of the unwritten laws or mores of the Anglo people and those who assimilated to their ways. Tocqueville makes this case very well, and so do others. Willmoore Kendall, a conservative populist (called an American "national socialist" by Jaffa) made a case that the Constitution is just a series of procedures, and that there are no "rights" in the Constitution. That said, he still thought it was important, he just opposed the liberal interpretation of it. Overall though, the point that the Constitution has been an instrument of govt. expansion and has led to its own destruction is convincing.

On the other hand I see in the actual political positions that people hold today, that the most uncompromising enemies of the Constitution, and those who disrespect it most, are liberals and progressives. They don't see it as a helpful instrument to achieve their aims, they actually do see it as a limit and check to their ambitions. Unless you want to claim they're playing a long and deceptive game, I think this fact is decisive, because if they feel threatened by it, then maybe it is an obstacle to them. From this you can guess that the American people, at least as they exist now (including whites) don't have virtue, don't have good mores, and that the Constitution, as flimsy as it is, is the only thing barely keeping their recklessness and stupidity in check. The other possibility is that the progressives are miscalculating and that without the Constitution a populist backlash is possible, or that the country would break apart in different regions. But I think the first alternative is more likely, and that without it, the progressives would be able to offer such bennies and stolen goods to the masses that the country would become more bankrupt and chaotic faster than it already is. But then again, accelerating decadence may be good.

President Camacho
IIRC, when the document was first adopted there were harsh critics of it among both conservatives and liberals in early post-colonial America (I use those terms loosely as this was before any party system had actually formed), although different statesmen mistrusted it for disparate reasons.

In general though, it was the [proto-]Federalists who were tentative supporters and defenders of the Constitution and the [proto-]Democratic-Republicans who were its chief critics. Madison is largely credited with its drafting, and he was originally oriented towards the likes of Hamilton and Washington, though he was lured into the Jefferson camp around the turn of the century and eventually became TJ's closest confidant.

The Democratic-Republicans often shunned and downplayed the significance of the Constitution and instead touted Jefferson's document-- the Declaration of Independence-- for its populism, idealism, and the deliberate formlessness of the State which it suggested. The Federalists disdained the Declaration because it implied a permanent revolt against authority; its inflammatory anti-monarchial rhetoric was viewed as damaging to America's potential to court European allies and trade partners, especially Britain.

The rule of bourgeoisie is based on controlling money and wealth, not on any one piece of paper.

Ron Paul woke up too late, the constitution gasped its final breath around the time of Spanish-American war over Cuba, inspired by magnates reaching into US politics - since then the US have been pretty much the same like the rest of us.

The Britts have their powdered wigs and "aye, nay" votes in Parliament, the Americans - their constitution worship and dusty George Washington quotes. All of those are artifacts of the past having little to no bearing on political reality of today.

A Jew and another Jew, both of them operating out of Jew run universities, are against the US Constitution?

Ron Paul said that the constitution failed because it counted on Americans to be virtuous. He believes the constitution is good, but that the American people are too retarded and selfish to apply it.

The purpose of a constitution is that the founders of the system still have authority, even over the inheritors of that system. "You can't do that, the founders said you can't!" And this is exactly what they expected. It is a power grab from the grave and an attempt at immortality by its authors. A gaggle of Gnostics and Free Masons, as the founders were, would have no faith in the Christian afterlife and like Greco-Roman pagans would strive for eternity in the memory of mortals.

But in time the Lesbian Catholic Latinarchy will cite this as cause to throw the constitution out as a vestige of WASP power and patriarchy. They'll compose a new system based on social media feeds from hundreds of millions of state dependent single moms with no more political acumen than "it takes a village" and "legalize weed".
Team Zissou

The Constitution could have been more tightly-drafted at points. In its favor, it was written by men who clearly thought it was only giving the federal government enumerated powers, as it should be. The idea that its flaw is it keeps the government from doing whatever the hell it wants is just power-hungry Bolsheviks who want to give the Soviet Union another try. The Constitution's drafters phrased "general welfare" to modify the enumerated powers. And "regulate" didn't have the same meaning then. Interstate commerce was supposed to be "regularized" or "standardized." All that was really intended was a free-trade zone among the States.

One provision is violated continually: there should be around 2,000 Congressmen at this point. Also, nobody ever thought the War Powers were supposed to fund an army on permanent deployment.

The Bill of Rights maybe shouldn't have been added as judges now use it to clobber taxpayers for a deviant few. Judges would have just looked to common law rights of Englishmen. Of course, given an "evolving," rationalist view of common law, this wouldn't have made much difference by this point. The 14th Amendment was sloppy and ill-conceived. All that being said, I'm glad the Internet isn't censored and we can still buy long guns.

I think a secular government has to have a written charter given the virtually worldwide consensus that "the people" pre-date the government.

What you and Ron Paul fanboys fail to take into account is that the Constitution didn't just come out of the blue. It came by to replace Articles of Confederation, the previous constitution: since inception the US have been moving towards more and more centralisation, non-stop: Hamilton, Lincoln, Roosevelt.

The degree of centralisation was merely a question of political viability and how much of centralisation could be forced onto the states without having an outright revolt or secession.