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Time: God Save The Constitution From These Wingnuts Who Wish To Read It —Ace

June 23, 2011

If only these wingnutz would understand the central message of the Constitution: People cannot be trusted to govern their own lives and require an appointed super-legislature of Learned Men to make their decisions for them.

via Ace of Spades HQ.

Which is why the left (and big government “RINOs”) want a “living/breathing” Constitution as well, one that is wide open to “reinterpretation” in order to handle of of these unforeseen advances/problems/issues/etc.

And don’t forget the ol’ RACIST!™ Charge thrown in their by claiming that our founders were simply rich, privileged slave owners, and as such, they’re pretty much substandard, old, backwards and simply provincial, and therefore must give way to our newly enlightened progressive betters…

I mean… they were slave owners, right, embracing slavery with a gusto only a RACIST! could have….

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9 Comments
  1. Michael Eaton permalink
    June 23, 2011 2:24 pm

    I would sggest that you might want to read the complete article that screed attacks before starting your ad hominem off base “RACIST!1!” stuff again. I know it would require a bit of a breather before tapping away at your keyboard about the Framers, but even the Framers debated what the Constitution meant, which is part of what the article discusses.

    Just a friendly suggestion.

  2. June 24, 2011 10:01 am

    Mike. Seriously dude. Seriously.

    Your attempt to come to the rescue of Mr. Stengel is weak and barely readable.

    When I read this,

    “that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy.”

    I realized this guy had no idea what he was talking about. None. At. All. And ofcourse, to his equally ill-informed audience, they’re probably nodding their heads in agreement…

    Simply that he knows that progressive politics are TEH AWESOME!™ and ain’t it a shame that we have those retards who won’t let us progress to them and stop holding on to that old, antiquated piece of paper.

    Mr. Stengel would like us to “redebate” the Constitution, and then simply “reinterpret” it as necessary.

    As a counterpoint to the rise of constitutional originalists (those who believe the document should be interpreted only as the drafters understood it), liberal legal scholars analyze the text just as closely to find the elasticity they believe the framers intended. Everywhere there seems to be debate about the scope and meaning and message of the Constitution. This is a healthy thing. Even the framers would agree on that.

    Mike. Our Framers would whole-heartedly agree that a debate is a HEALTHY thing. What they would DISAGREE with is “liberal legal scholars” analyzing the text “closely to find the elasticity” the Founders “intended”.

    Our Founders intended no elasticity. Looking at the Federalist Papers, which MAdison (but what did he do or know, right?) said,

    “Some, who have not denied the necessity of the power of taxation, have grounded a very fierce attack against the Constitution, on the language in which it is defined. It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.

    But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.” – Federalist 41

    Oh Mr. Madison, how incorrect you were, and how the anti-federalists are now vindicated…. but let’s just “reinterpret” the contract signed by the several sovereign states. Could you imagine if we could just do that with all sorts of legally binding contracts. AMAZING!

    And that is just ONE of the Federalist papers…

    Oh wait. This one is just too good to ignore:

    “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” -Federalist 45

    Huh. So what the author of the Time article, and every progressive big government type, including yourself Mike, want, is to ignore the system and rule of law, and simply use lawyers and judges to “reinterpret” as necessary to justify anything under the sun, as opposed to actually AMENDING the Constitution to grant new and unlimited powers to the federal government.

    Sorry. But like Ace said, people are starting to read beyond the sad and pathetic levels dictating by high school history courses.

    But here is the coup de grace, where we suddenly see that Mr. Stengel never bothed to crack a history book, much less the Federalist papers.

    If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so. Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the “necessary and proper” clause, which delegates to Congress the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” Limited government indeed.

    See. If he bothered to read the documents and papers of those WHO WROTE the Constitution and pushed for its ratification, like say, the two excerpts from the Federalist papers above, he’d realize his folly and how he’s totally full of crap. They most certainly never intended to allow a total of 6-8 word sentences to become catch alls for the federal government to usurp all kinds of new powers and jurisdictions…

    And he convolutes things in his attempt to make the Constitution fit his arguments:

    “The government also compels us to buy car insurance (if we want to legally drive our car), which is a product from a private company”

    And since those are state governments, not the federal one, his point is invalid. And it is also on condition of DRIVING a vehicle, where if you do not CHOOSE to drive or own one, you don’t have to pay it. The individual mandate is on condition of BREATHING and LIVING, unlike a car. I mean, I guess you can kill yourself, but that doesn’t seem like an option most will take.

    “The Constitution works so well precisely because it is so opaque, so general, so open to various interpretations.”

    And here’s the poison. Its so general because IT WAS SO LIMITED in its scope. It is quite obvious that it was written, by reading the words of its AUTHORS and PROPONENTS who were trying to get it ratified and assage the worries and concerns of the anti-Federalists, that there was no such intention by the Founders to have it reinterpeted, WHICH IS WHY THEY INCLUDED AN AMENDMENT PROCESS, and it wasn’t to be changed at any whim, which made it a DIFFICULT And BURDENSOME one.

    No one but the uneducated or the intentionally ignorant believe that

    “For them, it was a set of principles, not a code of laws. A code of laws says you have to stop at the red light, a constitution has broad principles that are unchanging but that must accommodate each new generation and circumstance.”

    It’s not a “code of laws”? Who knew? It’s just a bunch of “Broad principles that are unchanging”, except when we must reinterpret them to “accommodate each new generation and circumstance”?

    What? I guess all of that Bill of Rights thing are not laws, but principles, and we all know that principles are “fluid” and that principles can be violated.

    Mike. This is just a rehash of what I said it was, the “living and breathing” Constitution that leaves a legally binding document, the LAW of the Land, little more than some suggestions on how to organize the central government. It is a dangerous amount of thinking.

    Why is it dangerous, because it’s all fine and good while the people YOU support are in charge. But when the law is as fluid and open to reinterpretation like you and Mr. Stengel desire it to be, when the “wrong” people get in charge, you might not like their re-reinterpretations….

    I’ll sum up on this with this link...

    Meh. To view the Constitution as “law” would mean that we’ve got an out of control federal government that has usurped power from the states… and we can’t have that now, can we….

  3. texan2driver permalink
    June 26, 2011 4:43 pm

    I challenge anyone to show me where the constitution gives any branch of government interpretive power for the constitution. Our government was created by the constitution to have very specific, limited powers. The constitution was not created by the government, thankfully. And, no, the Supreme Court does not have the power to interpret the constitution, but rather has the power to judge the constitutionality of laws against the constitution.

  4. Michael Eaton permalink
    June 27, 2011 12:44 pm

    A couple of things, Craig. First of all, You refer to “The Federalist Papers” as “law”. Please let me know where that is written.., I can’t find it in US Code or a footnote in the Constitution that says “refer to…”. I know it must, because you use it as such.

    Second, you are proving Epps completely correct: the Right only accepts a particular way of interpretation as “correct”, despite weak support for that interpretation. You need to read Epps again, because it didn’t take:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/constitutional-myth-1-the-right-is-originalist-everyone-else-is-idiotic/239291/

    Trxan2driver: sorry, but wrong. Constitution was NOT written to limit goverment, whatever Palin tells you, it was written to empower government because the Articles of Confederation proved that the limited government was not working. It wasn’t until the Bill of Rights was enacted that any “limits” were put in place.

    You need to read http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/05/constitutional-myth-2-the-purpose-of-the-constitution-is-to-limit-congress/239374/

    Sorry, but your philosophy needs a reality check. I dont blame you, but those politicians who use such rhetoric without basis… George Washington’s quote is pretty telling.

    • June 27, 2011 3:42 pm

      “A couple of things, Craig. First of all, You refer to “The Federalist Papers” as “law”. Please let me know where that is written.., I can’t find it in US Code or a footnote in the Constitution that says “refer to…”. I know it must, because you use it as such. “

      Mike. I don’t even know where to start. Your argument that because the Federalist Papers weren’t themselves, along with the notes and writings from those attending the Constitutions creation as well as the ratifying conventions of the individuals states, somehow codeified into law, that somehow they have no bearing on the “interpretation” of the U.S. Constitution.

      Do you know how intellectually dishonest that makes you seem. Here’s a clue. Alot.

      The Federalist Papers were written to the State of New York in order to persuade them that they weren’t going to give over to the proposed federal government MORE than what was written and specifically enumerated. They were written so that people who has misgivings about this new government should have nothing to fear from it, and that it would be tightly bound by this new creation.

      You would argue that the sales pitch, the Federalist Papers, are not important. You prefer the bait and switch, where the States ratify a Constitution that they were sold in limiting the power of the federal government for one that is openly reinterpreted to mean what ever it means for today for the people wanting to usurp the power “for the people” or “The Elderly” or “The Children”.

      Your own logic fails you when you bring up the Articles of Confederation and how “limited government” failed and somehow, all of a sudden, the States decided to just give up the ghost and go all central government again. Do you actually reread what you write and put it through some sort of sanity smell test? Why would these people who distrusted the centralization of power, whether in the hands of one tyrant or in the hands of many, all of a sudden approve of a federal government with unlimited powers over every aspect of an individuals life? Why would they put in their the 9th and 10th Amendments except to make sure that the SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED powers, LISTED in the document, were to be the the limits of the government.

      And you can continue to read the Atlantic, 223 years AFTER the Constitution was ratified, listening to the revision of a man reading tea leaves and hoping no one notices, or you can read the arguments from those who actually wrote the damned thing. Ofcourse, those words would be inconvenient to your argument, so you choose to ignore them and choose the self-serving ones.

      “It wasn’t until the Bill of Rights was enacted that any “limits” were put in place. ”

      Mike. Let me direct you to Hamilton in the Federalist 84:

      I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.

      Holy COW! Hamilton even ARGUES that the Bill of Rights is unnecessary because the Constitution give the federal government its powers, and nothing more. He claims that TO give the Constitution the Bill of Rights would actually allow people like you to do what you are doing now, which is expand power on everything not specifically spelled out (even though the 9th and 10th are quite explicit. )

      Seriously dude. Crack a history book. Epps article is sad in its revisionist history, and you are deep-throating it shamelessly….

  5. June 27, 2011 4:20 pm

    And as to this bit:

    The current war on federal power, like the other attacks on its power throughout history, is really motivated by an entirely realistic fear that those idiots, the people, will enact progressive legislation. Only by importing prohibitions on Congress into the Constitution can that terrible outcome be prevented.

    But the more tightly we bind Congress with imaginary chains, the less we, the people, can create a “respectable nation.”

    See. What is sad is Epps attempt to cherry pick his examples, leaving out the entire groves of historic evidence to the contrary. Because he wants what he wants, and history and logic be damned.

    For instance, I do “fear progressive” laws passing, especially when those laws are oppressive in the name of “security” or “necessity”. When they are done for “my own good”. And yes, I will look to the Founding Document that sets the rules for government, and I won’t let some guy simply tell me that the Founders were actually FOR an all powerful government. While it is true the Hamilton wanted to make Washington King and to appoint all state governors for life at the discretion of the federal government, those Founders that you and Epps envision, for some strange reason, didn’t really take on those ideas of centralized power. I mean, to hear you talk I’m surprised they didn’t, because apparently they were for giving the federal government that ability to usurp whatever power that necessity came up with.

    “Necessity is the plea of every infringement of human freedom, It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves” – William Pitt, before the House of Commons, Nov 18, 1783

    “From the record and the text, that was the “purpose” of the Constitution–to create a government with adequate power, even under new circumstances, to make the United States what George Washington, in his final address as Commander of the Continental Army, called “a respectable nation.” ”

    Oh wait. That’s why they included an amendment process. Odd. Much better to “reinterpret”. Easier than amending to grant the authority. But don’t let that take away from Epps

    “In questions of power…let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson: Kentucky Resolutions, 1798.

    No. We need broad interpretations of the document in order to give “cover” for all kinds of wonderful new powers, new grabs of power that were “unprecedented” (I think Epps gives it away right there) in times of Crisis. Ofcourse, if its the GOP and big business in charge…. well… we all of a sudden find alot of fidelity to the written word. But Big Government Progressivism…. hey… it’s there…. our Founders dreamed of a government that would tell you how much salt to put in your food…. I promise….

  6. June 27, 2011 4:53 pm

    The principal purposes to be answered by union are these the common defense of the members; the preservation of the public peace as well against internal convulsions as external attacks; the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States; the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries.
    The more I dig into Epps interpretations… the more FAIL I find..

    From Federalist 46:

    “The remaining points on which I propose to compare the federal and State governments, are the disposition and the faculty they may respectively possess, to resist and frustrate the measures of each other.

    It has been already proved that the members of the federal will be more dependent on the members of the State governments, than the latter will be on the former. It has appeared also, that the prepossessions of the people, on whom both will depend, will be more on the side of the State governments, than of the federal government. So far as the disposition of each towards the other may be influenced by these causes, the State governments must clearly have the advantage.

    (snip)

    Were it admitted, however, that the Federal government may feel an equal disposition with the State governments to extend its power beyond the due limits, the latter would still have the advantage in the means of defeating such encroachments. If an act of a particular State, though unfriendly to the national government, be generally popular in that State and should not too grossly violate the oaths of the State officers, it is executed immediately and, of course, by means on the spot and depending on the State alone. The opposition of the federal government, or the interposition of federal officers, would but inflame the zeal of all parties on the side of the State, and the evil could not be prevented or repaired, if at all, without the employment of means which must always be resorted to with reluctance and difficulty. On the other hand, should an unwarrantable measure of the federal government be unpopular in particular States, which would seldom fail to be the case, or even a warrantable measure be so, which may sometimes be the case, the means of opposition to it are powerful and at hand. The disquietude of the people; their repugnance and, perhaps, refusal to co-operate with the officers of the Union; the frowns of the executive magistracy of the State; the embarrassments created by legislative devices, which would often be added on such occasions, would oppose, in any State, difficulties not to be despised; would form, in a large State, very serious impediments; and where the sentiments of several adjoining States happened to be in unison, would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.

    But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm. Every government would espouse the common cause. A correspondence would be opened. Plans of resistance would be concerted. One spirit would animate and conduct the whole. The same combinations, in short, would result from an apprehension of the federal, as was produced by the dread of a foreign, yoke; and unless the projected innovations should be voluntarily renounced, the same appeal to a trial of force would be made in the one case as was made in the other. But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.”

    Hmph. Yes, what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity that entire states would stand up to its ever growing power…

    Let me so bold as to correct President Madison.

    What progressive madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.

    We learning that very quickly now, exactly how that is defined, I think the term is push back…

    As I said, Mr. Madison, the anti-Federalists were correct…

  7. June 27, 2011 6:37 pm

    OH DEAR.

    Found a quote from Adams, hardly a Jeffersonian Democratic-Republican….

    “We may appeal to every page of history we have hitherto turned over, for proofs irrefragable, that the people, when they have been unchecked, have been as unjust, tyrannical, brutal, barbarous and cruel as any king or senate possessed of uncontrollable power … All projects of government, formed upon a supposition of continual vigilance, sagacity, and virtue, firmness of the people, when possessed of the exercise of supreme power, are cheats and delusions … The fundamental article of my political creed is that despotism, or unlimited sovereignty, or absolute power, is the same in a majority of a popular assembly, an aristocratical council, an oligarchical junto, and a single emperor. Equally arbitrary, cruel, bloody, and in every respect diabolical.”

    Yes sir. Our Founders really wanted some progressive politics and an unchecked federal government to fulfill them…

  8. June 27, 2011 9:37 pm

    Um, yeah. What he said. Limiting government was indeed the intent of the constitution.

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