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Conservatives And The Constitution

Written by | October 31st, 2009

I believe, a very fundamental truth in respects to conservatism, in The United States, is a firm belief in the wisdom of our founders, and our founding documents. The Constitution was written to be the law of the land, and all subsequent laws were to likely have it’s foundation based on The Constitution. Also, through our founder’s great wisdom, they set forth a fair process for which amendments to The Constitution can be made, through the consensus of several states. As a conservative who believes in our Constitution, and founding principles, I do believe that each and every law that is being considered by Congress, “must” have a constitutional mandate to even proceed forward in the legislative process.

I don’t consider myself a hyper-partisan, in regards to party politics, but increasingly, I am having less and less tolerance for these so-called progressives who seem to completely disregard, even have a disdain for our Constitution, and founding principles. I have heard Barack Obama himself talk about the incompleteness of our Constitution. Really? So is the inference that our founders were not competent enough to consider the necessary factors? Or, subconsciously, would you like to toss the Constitution to the wind, and create laws as you and other progressives see fit? If that is the progressive thought process, then in my mind, that is a true subversion of our Constitution, and of the very system of governance that our founders set in motion.

I have said this many times, but it is worth repeating: If all of Congress were forced to create laws that are in line with The Constitution, as opposed to a bunch of renegade laws, I think we could get back to some uniformity and well-needed continuity in this nation. It is not hard to imagine, if all of Congress, in both parties, were forced to follow the same rule book, increasingly, the gap between both major parties would begin to narrow.

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5 thoughts on “Conservatives And The Constitution

  1. markross Post author

    Judge Andrew Napolitano, interviewing Kevin Gutzman and Thomas E. Woods on The Constitution of The United States, while guest-hosting for Glenn Beck. Well worth watching! Very relevant to the post.

  2. cn8of10

    The Founding Fathers were NOT gods, they were fallible men. They did not (or could not) plan for the specifics needs of the population much beyond the horizon of their mortal lives.  For example, they enumerated in the Constitution that the value of 'non-free persons' and "Indians not taxed" was three fifths that of a whole person (Three-fifths compromise).  This provision was, naturally, repealed to reflect the evolving social realization that "all men are created equal" and required equal protection and representation.  In fact, the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times in the history of the United States in order to adapt to constantly evolving social realities.  In the case of the eighteenth and twenty-first amendments, a federal power is enumerated (Prohibition) and later repealed in the same document.

    The Founder's were wise men that created an excellent framework for future generations to build on but the Constitution is NOT a static document.  It is unlikely that the Founders even intended it to be so.  The Constitution established the federal system of government by explicitly enumerating the powers of the federal government and reserving all unenumerated powers to the respective states.  Yet in another revered historical document in U.S. history that preceded the Constitution it is clearly stated that Governments are instituted among men to secure certain "unalienable Rights" ("among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness") for all men and "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness"

    I think the fact that government and the means of governance were intended by the Founders to evolve with time is something that many conservatives steadfastly ignore in their desire to turn the social clock back to decades and centuries past.

  3. Jackie Durkee

    I also believe that one of the biggest “threats” to our Constitution is the fact that the Supreme Court is NOT doing it’s job which is to make sure that all laws passed by the legislative branch are Consitutional.

  4. cn8of10

    Thank you for the well-reasoned response.

    I did not intend to insinuate that anybody really thought of the Founding Fathers as Gods, but my statement was incomplete and I stand corrected. When the U.S. Constitution was ratified the country was comprised of 13 States, covering approximately 400,000 square miles, with a population of less than 3 million. The Constitution was clearly not intended by the Founders to remain a static manuscript for all time, explicitly and dogmatically defining the law of the land for all the generations that came after it was penned. Referring to the Constitution and the explicitly enumerated powers as an absolute limit to the powers of the Federal government to "secure the Blessings of Liberty" for all of the People and their Posterity is ignoring the evidence of 200 years of history that proves exactly the opposite.

    Regarding the Slave Trade Act of 1808, I find it necessary to point out that although the ban on the importation of slaves became effective on Jan 1, 1808 the Constitution (Article 1 Section 9) explicitly allowed the trade to continue for 20 years past the ratification bringing the estimated number of imported slaves within the borders of the United Stated to 4-million which was enough to: 1) continue to increase the population of slaves, and 2) keep up an active slave trade between the States that continued until Abolition in 1865. Based on your interpretation of the rationale of this act the Founders chose to sacrifice the "unalienable rights" of slaves for national security and stability. Unfortunately, they failed to forsee the eventuality of slavery leading to the Civil War that would claim over 650 thousand American lives.

    Also, consider your stated position on the Tenth Amendment: It precludes the Civil Rights Act of 1964. If the Federal government had left 'the people of the respective states to make their own laws regarding social issues', lynchings, Jim Crow, segregation and all the institutionalized racism of the early 1900's would have endured in parts of the country to this day.

    The Founding Fathers were wise and progressive thinkers of their day. They created a framework for future generations of Americans to build on and adapt to their evolving values. Through the framework of the Constitution they created a governmental system that could be modified by popular decree. To many Conservatives, however, popular decree that disagrees with their worldview is somehow un-American or un-Constitutional and they are quick to resort to Constitutional purism in support of indefensible inequities in our country. Since the ratification of the original Constitution, the country has grown to 50 States encompassing 3.75 million square miles, subdivided into thousands of municipalities with a population of over 300 million diverse private citizens, tens of thousands of corporate citizens, and millions of immigrants continuously interacting via instantaneous mass and private communication, all trying to secure the blessings of liberty to themselves. The simplistic version of a federal governmental system that the Founders created did not anticipate this. It borders on irresponsibility to expect that a document sagely written and adopted 222 years ago could still structurally support the country today without some new carefully considered enumerated powers to adapt for the age that we live in.

  5. markross Post author

    Here is Barack Obama, in his own words, in regards to The United States Constitution… It is very disturbing to me…to say the least…

    “…But The Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”

    And to that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted, and the Warren Court interpreted it in the same way that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. It says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn’t shifted. And one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which to bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that.”

    2001 interview on Chicago Public Radio Station WBEZ FM
    You can listen to the full interview here


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