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Murdering ourselves

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Mon, May 6th, 2013
Posted in All Commentary

John Adams once said that “democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide”. In a book first published in 1942 economist Joseph Schumpeter asks the question, “Can capitalism survive?” He answers, “No I do not think it can”. Neither man had confidence in the long term survivability of the United States based on what we were founded on.

Again we are being told by some of our leading “intellectuals” that the constitution as written is no longer meaningful or valid for a variety of reasons but one of the common criticisms is that the authors lived 200 years ago and had no concept of what our country would be like today. Moreover, critics have to conclude that the amendment process created to modify the constitution is inadequate. In other words, the founders were too ignorant to establish a constitution that could work forever.

Obviously the changes in the world have been enormous since the late 1700s. Human knowledge has expanded exponentially since our founding. For one to contend that the constitution as written isn’t as important anymore one must conclude that the changes during the intervening years are significant enough to make the constitution little more than window dressing.

However, there are at least four solid reasons that counter the argument the constitution is less valid today than when it was first written.

First, one must assume that the founders knowledge of history, human behavior, and the principles on which governments are founded is far less sophisticated than ours. Can our arrogant smarter-than-thou elite make the case that our understanding of history’s lessons of governance and human behavior is superior to that of our founders? I don’t think so.

One really needs to read the Federalist Papers to adequately understand that. Reading the old documents will give one an understanding of the depth of our founders comprehensive knowledge of human nature, government, and history. Were any of them still alive today, I am certain the last 200 years would only reinforce their judgment.

Moreover, we may not be as smart as we think we are. Some geneticists actually believe that human intelligence is declining. Writer Mike Barrett, in a recent article, points out that Stanford researcher Dr. Harold Crabtree, among others, thinks this is the case. He says, “I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas, and a clear-sighted view of important issues. Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues.”

Doesn’t say much for us does it? As a consequence of the September elections and observing liberals for years, this comes as no surprise to me, though the whole notion of declining intelligence is controversial to be sure.

Second, to believe that constitution is less valid one must also assume that basic human nature has changed since our founders wrote the constitution. Unfortunately human nature has not changed since then, not at all.

The seven deadly sins are still with us in abundance and the greed for power and control are as powerful as ever. The overwhelming impetus to seize power and destroy freedom and the megalomania that produces it has not waned at all. A mundane example is New York’s mayor who has taken it upon himself to dictate what people may eat and how much they can drink at one time. These things are not within the purview of government and are consequently little incremental tyrannies that over time make full-blown tyranny inevitable. Bloomberg has neither the authority nor the responsbility to do what he is doing but he is doing it anyway.

Is there the slightest evidence that human nature has changed or that human pathologies are fewer or different? Nope. Look back at the slaughter of 20th century. And now in the 21st we are again faced with another fanatic utopian movement.

Moreover, America is constantly under assault from those who would impose their will, rather than work through the constitutional process, to make things “better” for us. We being too dumb or ignorant to let the constitution work as it was designed. Politicians beginning with Theodore Roosevelt on through Obama seek to circumvent the constitution. They view it is an impediment.

And of course there are the activist judges who provide rulings based on emanations wafting heavenward from constitutional penumbras that twist the constitution’s meaning into something unrecognizable. The so-called living constitution is deader than a doornail and what is essentially a judicial tyranny based on nothing more than a philosophy of “what’s cool now”.

Third, our history, especially that of the last 100 years or so, confirms their fear of establishing a centralized authority that is not adequately checked. For example, nowhere in the constitution can you find any basis for creating the monstrous and, in some cases, virtually unaccountable, federal bureaucracies that exist today.

Many of our founders concerns however, were based on the perceived inadequacy of what they were trying to establish. They never imagined that the constitution would not be followed as it is not being followed today as the executive branch refuses to enforce laws it does not approve of.

Fourth, there is a critical achievement that the constitution followed establishes. However imperfect, it provides some restraint on government beset by our many untoward human frailties. The notion of a “living” constitution is nothing more than an arbitrary approach to self-governance and worse, it is often capricious. It is a conceit that has seriously degraded liberty and undermined the constitutions critical checks and balances.

We are out-of-control and are murdering ourselves.


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11:47:30, May 7th 2013

EW says: