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?