The citizens of the United States are living today in post-Constitutional America. There is no longer any part of that document that has not been ignored, and willfully so. And very, very few really care.
You may say you support the Constitution. If you’re a government employee in a uniform you may have even sworn to uphold it. But be honest with yourself: Do you really care that that poor old piece of parchment is nothing but a historical artifact?
• Do you believe the national* government should force every business owner to serve every person who comes through its doors? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe that the national government should institute a universal health care plan for all citizens? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe that the national government should create laws and regulations to enforce “equal pay for equal work?” If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe there should be a nationally-decreed minimum wage? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe the national government should create and enforce laws against the use of recreational drugs? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe that the national government should make any type of firearm illegal, or should restrict the purchase and ownership of firearms in any way? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe the president, as commander-in-chief, should, without declaration of war by Congress, send US troops around the globe to seek out and kill ISIS members? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe “9/11 changed everything?” If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
• Do you believe NSA spying is necessary to protect and defend the citizens of the United States? If so, you have no use for the Constitution.
No matter what you would like to see the national government do, to force everyone to do, or not do, if the authority for that is not stated in the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, the national government has no authority to do so.
Yes, I am well aware of the doctrine of “Implied powers,” the loose interpretations of the General Welfare Clause, and the Interstate Commerce Clause. These are simply used as pawns in games of mental gymnastics by the government to justify ignoring of the original intent of the Constitution, which was to narrowly define and limit the scope of the national government.
I heard a government official say (I forget who, but I remember well the statement) that requiring every citizen to purchase health insurance was constitutional because the American people wanted universal health care — the requirement to purchase insurance was necessary to implement the will of the people. He disingenuously seems to be saying that whatever the majority seems to want is constitutional. But he’s wrong. The Constitution was specifically intended to guard against the tyranny of the majority and the inherent problems of democracy.
“But the restrictions of the Constitution have to have limits,” you say. Really? What are those limits and who decides what they are? You? If you get to decide to ignore one restriction, then you have to give the same ability to millions of others.
“But it’s so difficult to change,” you say. Of course it is. That’s so people aren’t able to make hasty and ill-conceived changes. Even with those difficult impositions, mistakes are made. Look at the eighteenth amendment. There aren’t many who will defend alcohol prohibition, given the violence, lawlessness, and corruption that resulted from it.
But now, because it’s so difficult to change, we don’t even try. If the national government wants to prohibit the use of marijuana, they simply write whatever laws they want and to hell with the Constitution. They rest assured in the fact that the Supreme Court will go along with them, being part of the same club, the National Government. They may have to completely pervert the Necessary and Proper Clause or the Interstate Commerce Clause. But they’ll find a way to shoe-horn whatever law they want into the narrow confines of the Constitution. (Miraculously, somehow, the powers that be realized that the eighteenth amendment wasn’t even necessary. How foolish could we have been?)
So go ahead and force your economic mayhem on the rest of us because you feel bad that some people don’t have the intelligence or skills for which a free market would pay $15 an hour. Later that will be $20, then $25, then $30. But won’t you feel better?
Go ahead and force every private business owner to offer his or her services to everyone who requests them. The idea of freedom of association is long dead anyway. But please explain why someone who runs a private business owes you anything.
You cannot force laws of economics to change any more than you can decree a reversal of the law of gravity. And when a KKK member comes to you and requests a cake with a burning cross on it, remember that you were the one who said every business should be forced to serve every person equally, without prejudice. Is a KKK celebratory lynching the equivalent of a lesbian marriage? Of course not, but that’s not the question. The question is, does a private business owner have the right to decide whom he or she does business with? Does a person have the right to decide not to purchase health insurance? Does that person have the right to purchase an insurance plan that does not include coverage for pregnancy? Or abortion? Does a private insurance company even have the right to offer an insurance plan that does not cover costs related to child birth? If not, why not, and who the hell are you to decide? Who gave you the moral authority to tell the rest of humanity how to act? Do you claim authority by the “social contract?” If so, show me the contract. Tell me what I have agreed to—definitively, without question or any misunderstanding, what is expected of me and what can I expect of everyone else. Show me my signature on it. If you say it was decided democratically, remember that a gang rape is a democratic action. Is that really the type of society you want to live in?
The Constitution was designed to prevent the tyranny of the majority and to prevent the national government from growing into the monstrosity it has become. But don’t blame politicians for that cancerous growth. The power of the national government grew one step at a time with the consent of the people. If it were not so, we would recall those who created the misguided laws and replace them with people who would follow the rules. But we like our handouts. And we like feeling protected. And we feel good thinking that everyone who wants a job is able to earn at least $30,000 a year with free health care and can take six months (or is it a year or two years?) off with pay when they decide to procreate.
So when you hear that someone is arrested and imprisoned without charge; when you hear that the national police have confiscated someone’s property before he is convicted or even charged with a crime; when you hear that innocent human beings have been imprisoned and tortured in Cuba; when someone’s home is taken under imminent domain to make way for a new shopping center; when makers of obesity-inducing high fructose corn syrup are subsidized to the tune of billions of dollars a year; when the CIA disrupts the national politics of another country and creates terrorists who fly airplanes into office buildings…
Remember, you set all this in motion by demanding the national government do something unconstitutionally that you thought was a good idea. But political deals are never clean, never pretty, and they ALWAYS come with unintended consequences. To give you what you want, to vote for your favorite bill, your congress-critter is going to have to promise to support fifty amendments by other congress-critters that you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. But that’s the nature of politics. If you play the game you have to accept the outcome.
I prefer not to play the game. I’ll take my chances in the market and with free-will charity and giving of individuals. The nature of government is to force you to do what it prescribes, or not allow you to do what it proscribes, under threat of violence and death.
That’s the pure and simple fact. Next time I ask someone to bake a cake for me, I’d much prefer the chance that they refuse my request, causing me to have to bid for the services of another bakery, than face the prospect that every facet of my life be determined by someone who will put me in a cage for refusing to order my life according to his dictates.
That’s what the Constitution was supposed to guarantee.
One of the most inspired documents in the entire political history of mankind is dead, all so you can demand a minimum wage and force someone to bake you a cake.
*Words matter also. We don’t have a federal, but a national government.