Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A general ideal for the American Constitution

I'm an idealist.  What that means is that, in the realm of politics, culture, or generally the way any group of people do something, I dream about an ideal even if it's not likely others will implement it.
For example, when I'm making a sandwich and the miracle whip is getting low in the jar, I have the unpleasant job of sticking the knife all the way into the bottom and pulling it up again.  The result is a messy handle and not as much sandwich spread sticking to the knife as it would if the jar were near-full.  This happens because the jar is (a) roughly twice as tall as it is wide and (b) is narrower at the mouth than it is at the rest of the jar.  If I let myself go, I could go on a tirade about how absolutely clueless the people are who make the decision to market my sandwich spread in a jar like that.  Why not put it in a plastic container no taller than it is wide, without a narrowing mouth at the top?  That's what butter/margarine comes in.  It's so simple, and it would end the frustrations of sandwich making.  The first food company to make this change would put the other companies out of the miracle whip business.
But I digress.  I'm actually thinking about the Constitution.
Our Constitution is like a castle wall.  Inside the castle are our freedoms and God-given rights.  Outside the castle are people who don't believe in freedom and who want to use our political system to take them away.  To them the constitution is an obstacle to be overcome.  (That's the definition of a progressive, by the way -- someone who wants to re-order our society along radically different lines from a constitution that limits his ability to do so.)
When the constitution was first ratified, the castle wall had glaring weaknesses.  There were not nearly enough limits on the kinds of laws Congress could pass.  To prevent the federal government from grabbing power, ten amendments called the Bill of Rights were added shortly thereafter.  Thanks to the bill of rights, progressives have had an enormously hard time trying to accomplish things on their wish list, like banning guns, shutting down talk radio and forbidding any criticism of homosexuality.  But they are getting scarily close.  They are determined to scale the wall, and the wall may just not be high enough.
We need to build the wall.
Progressives attempt to take advantage of the people's ignorance of the constitution (soldiers on the battlements not paying attention), some places where the language is not plain and simple and explicit (the wall is lower there), and activist judges who will pretend the constitution says whatever they say it says, either legislating from the bench or upholding unconstitutional legislation from a progressive-run congress (ladders, grappling hooks, siege towers).  There's also the thing called "judicial precedence," meaning judges are not supposed to overturn previous policy of the court.  (This is where the enemy has actually scaled the wall and is fighting us on the battlements.)
We need to build the wall!
The constitution has problems, and this (and only this) is what I mean: there are not enough restrictions against what congress can do.
Here are some of these problems:

  1. It gives congress the power to tax with hardly any restrictions.  Congress' power to tax should be limited, and its ability to raise taxes should be hampered, while leaving its ability to lower taxes easy.
  2. The 10th amendment, which prohibits congress from exercising any powers outside of what the constitution specifically grants it, has been overwhelmed by the tide of progressive and liberal programs.  (Unfortunately, the precedent was set during the Civil War when Washington gave itself the right to deny States any right to secede from the Union. [Please, no comments on the reasons for the Civil War -- I want to stay on topic.  If you must know, I do not agree with either the South or the North.  The South was violating human rights and insisting on spreading it to the point of denying a northern state's right to outlaw slavery; the North was violating the constitution by coercing states to stay in the Union.  Understand my point and leave it at that.])  This tide of liberal programs includes such darlings as Social Security and Medicare, and the not-so-darling Obamacare.
  3. There is no provision for overturning unconstitutional legislation of Congress.  The Supreme Court has given itself this power, which has mostly been a good thing (though sometimes bad).  But really, the states should have this power, at least to some extent.
  4. The nature of religion and morality are not defined.  This was not a problem for most of our nation's history, when our ethics were decidedly Judeo-Christian.  But now we have both secularism and Islam to deal with.  Secularism is having a hay-day in our national policy because it's not defined as a religion.  Islam is also a very different religion than Judaism or Christianity, because its "holy book" advocates using violence to take over the world.  Islam would love to impose Shari'a law on the American people.
There are doubtless many other weaknesses in the wall that need to be fixed.  Do you have any suggestions along these lines?  Please comment.


Laura Elizabeth said...

You're completely right! Especially about the miracle whip jars :) My mom and I have talked about that before.
But, seriously, yes, your ideals are very similar to mine. The sad thing is that they probably won't ever be implemented :(

Kyleigh said...

Hey, there's a reason jars have small lids! It's so people like me with small hands can break the seal! ... I was trying to open a jar the other night and couldn't get a good grip on it because the lid was bigger than my palm.
... and plastic can be dangerous because of the chemicals it leaks.

You can have an ideal, but that doesn't mean it'll work, and that it's an absolute ideal - some things I'd like to be ideal are preferential, others aren't.
That's not saying your ideals for the constitution are that, they aren't, just saying in general.

Yes. It is getting scarily close to abolishing the constitution. Do y'all get the HSLDA magazine? There was an article in there that literally sent shivers down my spine.
I agree, there are so many weaknesses. I think, though, the greatest is not in the document but the intent and nature of the people interpreting it.

James Dunn said...

Hey Kyleigh,
I just want to clarify a few things.
I'm sorry I said "plastic." The ones we have are plastic, it's been a while since we've had any in glass jars, so "plastic" slipped out. Plastic is irrelevant to the ease of getting stuff from the bottom of the jar -- it might as well be glass.
The point isn't for lids to be bigger, but rather for jars to not be wider than the lids.
The most important point on the subject is that the jars should be SHORT. Like the tubs that butter comes in. That way one doesn't have to fight and get the handle of one's knife messy in order to scrape the bottom of the jar.
But I digress.
I agree with your larger point. :)
Unfortunately, we don't get HSLDA magazine...

Kyleigh said...

... but then you'd need to be buying it more often.
... or you could just make it. We did that once.

You could look for the article on their website. I don't know if you can access it there, we can't get on the HSLDA site from here. It's about the third wave of homeschool persecution.