Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The Atlantic Joins the Chorus: Constitution Defunct
“America, we've got some bad news: Our Constitution isn't going to make it.” That is the lead sentence in The Atlantic article: “The U.S. Needs a New Constitution—Here's How to Write It,” by Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon's political reporter. Seitz-Wald quotes none other than Thomas Jefferson to justify his claim that “it's time to think about moving on.” Jefferson had famously written that Constitutions should be rewritten every nineteen years. Jefferson certainly qualifies as a founding father, but he had nothing to do with the Constitution. He was in Paris in the summer of 1787 and returned miffed that he had been left out. None of the actual delegates wanted to repeat the convention experience, and all believed they had written a constitution for what George Mason called “millions yet unborn.”
Seitz-Wald writes, “If men (and, finally, women) as wise as Jefferson and Madison set about the task of writing a constitution in 2013, it would look little like the one we have now.” I suspect those wise men and women would all be required to think in lockstep with Mr. Seitz-Wald. Again, not true of the 1787 delegates who possessed myriad ideas and perspectives.
Seitz-Wald further claims that the Constitution, “guarantees gridlock; and it's virtually impossible to change.” The framers called it check and balance. They insisted on balancing power with potent checks to constrain a runaway government. Mr. Seitz-Wald wants to tear through these restraints so he and his friends can do whatever they want. As a side note, the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times. The framers made it virtually impossible only when the people object.
The rest of the article touts the benefits of a parliamentarian system. By definition, a party in power has complete control in a parliamentary system. This is the real objective and the source of all the objections to our Constitution. In parliamentary countries, unrepressed power has built an elite class that increasingly rule over a growing dependent class. We used to call this feudalism.
Seitz-Wald’s final sentence reads, “After all, the status quo isn't working. We badly need a more perfect union.” Although weakened considerably, the Constitution is hindering runaway government, which means that it is working as designed.
Besides, I fear Mr. Seitz-Wald's more perfect union.