Georgetown University law professor, Louis Michael Seidman, wrote this in the Op’Ed section of the New York Times the other day:
AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.
As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
We conservatives read the professor’s words and they are like blasphemy to us. We believe the constitution is as pertinent today as the day it was ratified. To us, this unique document, put together by our Founders, codified into the law of the this new nation those remarkable words in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The constitution was ratified on March 4, 1789. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness were concepts that were easily sold to the American people of that time. The battle for ratification wasn’t over whether we should or should not have a limited government that guaranteed our rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness; but whether the limitations on the central government were sufficiently clear. Eleven states did ratify the constitution on March 4, 1789 on the condition that the first order of business for the new congress was to pass ten amendments to the new constitution. Those ten amendments would be called the Bill of Rights and they were approved by three-quarters of the states in 1791.
In the late 1700’s, the things that mattered to most Americans were individual freedoms and a limited and unintrusive government. Today, we conservatives still hold to those values. We understand that as the central government grows and becomes more powerful, we and all Americans become less free. But, the federal government has grown in size and power insessently over the years and especially in the last decade or two. Although we conservatives still hold to the same values that “most” of the original Americans held important, today we are no longer “most” Americans.
What if Professor Siedman is right? What if “most” Americans today are not concerned about losing rights protected by the constitution? What if “most” Americans today do not see big government as one of their problems but as a solution to their problems? What if, as many politicians on the left believe, the constitution is an impediment to solving the problems of “most” Americans? What if the America we love is not the America that “most” Americans want?
Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?
29 thoughts on “Is America’s Constitution No Longer Wanted by “Most” Americans?”
Blasphemy and sacrilege. He’s certainly free to relocate his inflated sense of intellect to another country.
I wish it were that simple, CI. Do you remember that video that was making the rounds during the campaign of an Obama supporter so excited and singing about having an Obamaphone? Do you think people like her, and there are millions, care one whit about the constitution? True Americans are a minority today. That is the sad reality in which we are living.
I doubt most Americans have even read the Constitution, much less the Federalist papers. So they buy the default position of the media that the Constitution was written by old white men (God but how self-loathing the white press is) and it must be abolished or amended to give our DEAR LEADER more power. Power. POWER!
If you try to talk the ignorant about the constitution, liberties, being resposible for oneself they will look at you like your nuts. Those aren’t the things they worry about.
Georgetown University has received quite a bit of funding from Saudi Arabia.
Georgetown University also “gave” us Sandra Fluke.
So, we shouldn’t be surprised that a professor there is spouting treason.
If it were only him, I wouuldn’t be concerned, but he is one of millions.
We have had fifty years of liberals teaching this nonsense in schools, that the Constitution is an old document that needs to be changed. It is not surprising that the same people who vote for the government to keep giving them stuff, believe that the laws don’t amount to a hill of beans. Just look at Gov. Christie, all outraged because Congress failed to give his state and others aid in a package so filled with pork that it just is basically a gift package. No one wants to deny states aid, but there are limits to what the aid package contains and yet they think it should be a give me now situation every time it is in their favor.
Georgetown is just the tip of the iceberg. Schools start this indoctrination in grade school and the people are being dumbed down so much, they are ostracized if they have the guts to ask questions. It is a sit down and shut up society that needs to change.
“Georgetown is just the tip of the iceberg”
And sadly, it is a very big iceberg that includes the majority of academia, the media, and the political elite.
I agree, Loopy. This professor has no business teaching constitutional law after writing that op-ed.
Progressives like the expremely stupid professor who wrote that twaddle will not be satisfied until they have a dictator, and they deserve one. Too bad their’s no way to give them on without also harming the rest of us…
The lessons of history do not stay with these people. They have never known tyranny and so don’t see it coming.
The Seidman NYT article was written on Dec. 30th, after John Boehner had deferred action on the fiscal cliff deal to the Senate as required by the Constitution.
Seidman’s real beef wasn’t that there is anything wrong with the Constitution. His real beef was that on that day for one issue, the Constitution wasn’t working the way HE wanted it to. His solution… change the Constitution! Its ridiculous, but not uncommon thinking.
The example he cited for what is wrong with the Constitution is that spending bills must originate in the House… he wanted the Senate to do that on that day.
He summed up his personal bias by foolishly asking, “Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy?”
The professor also appears fuzzy on the Constitution vs. procedure. There is nothing written into the Constitution mandating a two-party system that sits on opposites of an isle and endlessly bickers. That is all OUR doing!
Conservatives are just as guilty about wanting to bend the rules for their own political purpose as are Liberals.
Yet the Constitution is still here, after a couple centuries. It ain’t gonna go nowhere!
“Conservatives are just as guilty about wanting to bend the rules for their own political purpose as are Liberals.”
That can’t be true. Anyone who calls themself a conservative but doesn’t want to live by what the constitution says is not a conservative.
I agree with you that conservatives embrace and absorb the Constitution in the strictest literal sense more than do liberals. The above article is good example of that.
But to deny that conservatives want to bend the rules to their own advantage would be to deny human nature.
Fyi… its not always timely, but I always answer every question you ask.
I answered the one about how many Americans come of age into the workforce per month, as well as how many actually enter the workforce per month here:
Hope that info is useful.
I don’t put too much importance to what an academia cook has to say about the constitution or about anything else actually (remember that Obama was also a constitutional professor), with minor exceptions to the sciences department.
Off issue: I am for Boehner for Speaker. We have been, and still are (witness the Christie attack to get his ‘pork’) supremely unfair to him. (Maybe if only because he has been the only one to tell Reid, “Go F*** yourself”)
Seidman is the tip of a very large iceberg, John.
True, but nobody pays attention to all those cooks either. The eighteen year-olds to whom they are preaching are too full of testosterone to be thinking about the constitution – except the one in flesh.
J. Galt…I was very happy to hear that Boehner told Reid what to do with himself. ‘Bout time. That is what we need to tell nearly everyone in DC.
The sad thing about that Georgetown professor is he is merely saying what most on the left, and their dear leader O, is saying. The left has been ripping the Constitution to shreds for 100 yrs. And the universities are covered up with like-minded socialist leftists who hate the Constitution. Frankly, it barely exists at all today. It seems to just sit there, a relic that no one in DC heeds anyway. I’d be willing to bet that 90% + of the laws and regulations holding us hostage right now are un-Constitutional. But no one does anything about it.
I think most Americans, if there is such a thing as “most Americans” anymore, would like to think the Constitution still is the guiding doctrine of governing in our nation. Sadly, it isn’t.
Cheryl, please see my reply to Constitutional Insurgent.
Jim, here in greater Illinois, seems the ones in power are at it again: Thought you might be interested in this…I would say it is a trial run to see if they can get away with it here…talk about going against the Constitution!
As I understand it, Chicago already has some of the strogest gun laws in the nation and they had 512 murders last year. Yup! More gun laws ought to fix the problem. I´m sure all the criminals will turn in their guns. Sigh!
I don’t think that most Americans no longer want the constitution, I think that most Americans don’t know or understand what the constitution stands for or represents and this is has been done deliberately by liberal politicians who have removed the teaching of history and civics from our schools.
Ditto except the the deliberate part. The deliberate part is a recent development.
What happened is that we got lazy. Think about the sheer stupidity. Parents send their precious children to be taught by people they do not know. On the sayso of politicians–people we do not trust–we hand our children over to teachers we do not know. And these teachers just happen to be the members of labor unions that contribute to political campaigns.
That kind of stupidity we cannot blame on anyone but ourselves.
This guy is just a Hanoi Hannah, saying “Give up GI Joe, you cannot win”. The man is a hired gun for the collectivists to drive public opinion. Fortunately, the NY Times circulation is way down, and fewer people give credence to what it says.
If most Americans knew the score, and where it leads, they’d be more adamant about the Consitution being followed.
We have a president who says the Constitution is flawed. There are those who believe it because he said so. Unfortunately, most can’t begin to explain one thing about the Constitution – which lets me come close to thinking most Americans don’t have a clue what they think. We cannot solve this until we teach the Constitution in public schools. That won’t be happening any time soon. Sad times.
Most Americans support the Constitution, from what I can tell. However, a small class of powerful elite see it as an obstacle to their plans.
Let’s see… The leftists don’t like a document written specifically to limit the power of the federal government… I’m shocked! Shocked, I say.
The constitution BARELY holds our government in check. Just barely. I can only imagine the chaos without it.