Trashing the Constitution: The Living Document Con

By:  Selwyn Duke
07/08/2011
       
Trashing the Constitution: The Living Document Con

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.

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.

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