This is supposed to be an argument? Is Stengel saying that a constitution can only matter if it anticipates every invention, fad, and world calamity? It’s a good thing he didn’t live in the Age of Reason like the Framers, because they probably would have laughed him out of the Pennsylvania State House. On second thought, the Framers were far more tolerant of alternate opinions. They were also much more learned. They may have been ignorant of Medicare, miniskirts, and collateralized debt obligations, but they knew more about government systems than any other collection of people in world history. By the way, for Stengel’s edification, flights in hot-air balloons were popular, John Fitch brought a steam ship to Philadelphia to show off his invention to delegates, Franklin had made eye-popping breakthroughs in theory of electricity, the Framers were dealing with war bond default of massive dimensions, Macaroni were a fashion rage that could give Lady Gaga a run, and these backward hicks had just defeated the world’s greatest empire in an eight year war.
Richard Stengel, of course, knows all this. He also understands that the Constitution is a restraining order placed on the government by We the People. Stengel’s intent is to brush aside this restraining order so he and people he admires can tell the rest of us how to live.
If we allow him to succeed, the Framers would be saddened.