Has Our Constitution Failed Us?

First, an update on the situation here on the shores of the “Sea of happiness”. This blogger’s first paragraph sums it up quite well: (certain words are edited out for security reasons)

After three weeks of repression, fifteen dead, at least 60 reported tortured tortured and more than eight hundred detained, including opposition leaders and reporters, the XXXXXXXXX students have at least shown the world what little respect the XXXXXX  administration has for the human and civil rights of the people. XXXXXXXX has seen similar repression before during XXXXXXXXX rule, but never has it been compressed in such a short period of time. Or taped, photographed and videoed so extensively. By now, it is clear around the world, how prevalent repression, censorship and violence are under XXXXXXXX. XXXXXXX talks peace and repproachment with the opposition, the day after calling an opposition lady a prostitute and the day before the most repressive use of force in XXXXXXX. XXXXXXX decides to give two days of vacation ahead of the four-day Carnival break, in the hope or belief that by next Wednesday people may have forgotten what he has done.

They are not going to forget. There is no resolution in sight. Life goes on; such as it is.

On to today’s topic.

Do you believe our constitution has failed to protect the liberties it guaranteed to the American people? Zero Hedge posted an article by Ryan McMaken from the Mises Economic blog. Mr. McMaken does believe the constitution has failed. He writes:

If you’re still wondering if the US Constitution of 1787 failed to protect liberty, then just look around you. That scrap of parchment is an obvious failure. The US government is the hugest government in the world and meddles in the lives of its citizens (and people worldwide) in every way imaginable. The government accepts no limits on its power whatsoever. The president rules by decree.

Later  he quotes Murray Rothbard:

From any libertarian, or even conservative, point of view, it has failed and failed abysmally; for let us never forget that every one of the despotic incursions on man’s rights in this century, before, during and after the New Deal, have received the official stamp of Constitutional blessing.

There is also this quote  from Lysander Spooner: 

But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

So, are these learned men right? Has our constitution failed us? This humble observer of the asylum we all have to live in disagrees. The constitution is but an inanimate object. It is a blueprint, if you wish, designed by our Founders, on how man and a government may co-exist under a nation of laws that would provide a minimum of powers for the government and a maximum of liberties for the governed. The constitution did not fail us. We _ man _ failed to follow the blueprint. No matter what your religious views are, you must admit that man is a terribly  flawed creature. Frederic Bastiat understood this when he wrote in his pamphlet, The Law:

This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man — in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.

There is, in my opinion, more to it than the flawed character of man. For the blueprint laid out by our Founders to have worked as envisioned, an overwhelming majority of citizens would need to have spent a great deal of time and effort in making sure that only people of great integrity became candidates for office and they would need to be very diligent in making sure those elected abided by the letter of the constitution. Isn’t that asking too much of people? The time and effort needed to keep government in check would have to be taken away from the other demands of life.

Alexis de Toqueville said: “In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.” America’s constitution is a blueprint for a republic; not a democracy. But, for the reasons discussed above, our republic has become a democracy. I don’t believe people get the government they deserve. They get, in my opinion, the government they will tolerate. That government will only change when there is a critical mass of people who will no longer tolerate it.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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33 thoughts on “Has Our Constitution Failed Us?

  1. I got out one of my cook books and selected a recipe for a cake. The recipe is a simple one, BUT I DIDN’T FOLLOW IT. I left out most of the ingredients and substituted different ingredients. And I changed the other directions in the recipe.

    The cake was so terrible I had to throw it out.

    IT’S THE RECIPE’S FAULT! The recipe is broken. Get a new recipe!

  2. We are all just sinners, aren’t we? Who the heck ever had such high hopes for us anyway? My advice? Get a dog. Very loyal, dedicated and predictable.

  3. How can anyone not love P. Huldah? All that and common sense and we are still losing the day…

  4. I don’t think the Constitution has failed us but rather we have failed it. Failed to understand it, failed to uphold it, and by and large failed to appreciate it. Franklin’s remark regarding what the Constitution created ” A Republic, if you can keep it!” seems prescient. We’re letting it slip through our fingers daily.

  5. The constitution has not failed us, we have failed the constitution. When asked what the founders had given us Ben Franklin said “a republic, if you can keep it.” We are on the verge of losing it and we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

  6. Our founding fathers predicted that we would not keep our freedoms. Power is an drug and our federal government is an addict that always needs more. And there are not enough patriots with enough time, enough energy and enough drive to stop it.

  7. Am always late here since I check in at night. Publius and I have a mutual friend, Tim Brown. I love her recipe analogy here. And I love your last sentences in your post, Jim. I hope we are not without hope to turn the progressives out. A miracle needs to happen….seems to me.

  8. I appreciate this opportunity to add my voice to my fellow patriots’ voices.

    “Unless restrained, all governments devolve to tyranny.”

    “It can never be assured, nor should we ever believe, that government could never become oppressive and devolve into tyranny.”

    No clue who said these, but they were 100% correct.

    The People loosened their hold on the reins of our government MANY, MANY decades ago. We let go of the reins entirely several decades ago. The People being in control is the ONLY way our Constitutional Republic can function as intended, the only way it can survive.

    When did our Country begin the divergence from its correct path? I don’t know if it can be pinpointed to one particular event. I know that WE are the ones who failed in our duty to protect, uphold, and be the guardians of our Constitution. Our government is as corrupt as WE have ALLOWED it to be.

    New rules are the answer? No. We cannot replace the Constitution – the beauty of its simplicity; the protection of our Rights that it guarantees; the freedoms and liberties we have because it was intended to lace Congress up straightly within the enumerated powers. How could ANYONE alive today create anything coming close to the Constitution.

    I have heard people who believe in the Constitution being accused of ‘revering’ a piece of paper, or revering the old white men who wrote it. I revere what it represents, what it symbolizes, the ideals for which it stands.

    I fear we are closer to losing it than many people realize.

    “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet…”

    1. If America had a few million more people like you, Laura, it wouldn’t be in this mess. Sadly, we have too many who are either ignorant, apatheic, or gullable and the political elites take advantage of them and we all suffer the consequences.

  9. I’m a big believer in turning it back on the other guy, so I hope the crowds in the street are chanting “no pasaran!” Don’t look to the US to save you; at least in Ukraine the US hands are hogtied — it would be a nuclear war. But the soft-handed and empty-headed beauty in the White House could have regained some respect if he had then done what Russia is doing in Ukraine, only in that unnamed country you are referring to — he could have sent in the bombers the way he did in Serbia for three months. But no. Those are his soul-mates doing the repression and he won’t lift a finger. More cheap words. It’s up to the people now.

  10. and as for the Constitution, it was easily foreseen that the people could again lose their liberties through neglect and a failure to teach the lessons of the past to their children. It is exactly what happened — the left too saw the power of education and they undertook to subvert American from its infancy. It ain’t the Constitution’s fault. It’s ours.

  11. For those of us who were around and remember and voted in the 70’s and early 80’s ask yourself this question: In 2012 would Jimmy Carter have been re-elected after the utter failure of his first term? Considering today’s electorate we all know the answer. Now ask yourself this second question: Is it we the people or the constitution on its own precipitating our downfall?

  12. Count me in the “we failed it” camp. The founders knew that human beings were greedy, both for money and power. They tried to produce a Constitution that gave us protections from our own worst nature. The problem is that another part of our nature is to, as Bastiat said, avoid pain, and yet another is to allow ourselves to be fooled. So we did not fight as we should have, and we let too many believe in things that just aren’t true. Now we have the counties immediately surrounding Washington DC as the richest counties in the country, as, seemingly by stealth, those who long for money and power have moved us closer and closer to having the same kind of top-down, feudal system that the Founders fought to free us from.

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