avatar
Limits of the Constitution


A lot is made of supposedly restoring the constitution, but it sees to me there is a confusion at the heart of the discussion.

I believe the constitutional laws (at least as they are popularly interpreted) are failing. There is no question that the limited form democracy that has been the legacy of the ‘Founding Fathers’ represents an advance over monarchy. But, elevating the Constitution to the status of a religious text is, I believe, not only a mistake, but also potentially destructive. Today a serious progressive movement has to transcend, not ‘restore’, the Constitution just as the colonists arguably aimed to ‘transcended’ the limits of monarchy. Power has evolved in such a way that the built checks and balances, apparently inspired by Locke, have been circumvented in manifold ways (as is well known).

Doubtless the British monarchy had much to recommend it over earlier alternatives and would have rightly deserved praise for these advantages, in the same way our own government, in its design, deserves praise for the wisdom that went into its creation. But it must at the same time be admitted that the Constitution is not the final word. Political history did not with the American revolution. No matter what course history takes, it is clear our country, along with the rest of the world, will evolve in a radical direction. Every social arrangement is positioned somewhere between totalitarianism and anarchism; but it is up to us to decide to which of these pole our world tends more toward. If we are complacent power will decide and we will certainly develop more in the direction of the former.

Leave a comment