I was on Twitter this morning and ran across a tweet from Ari Fleischer and his pejorative about The New York Times caught my eye. “NYT op-ed runs hit pieces on Black Republicans and now the Constitution. The poor Gray Lady has grown senile.”In a 1516 word screed penned by Louis Michael Seidman, we learn that the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law at Georgetown University is lending his pedigree to a movement to subvert the Constitution by our sanctimonious betters.A Harvard Law grad and clerk for former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, this well-heeled professor is entrenched in the Left’s paradigm that the Constitution is an obstacle to their desire to delegitimize the founding document blithely suggesting it is, “a poetic piece of parchment.”“As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”[SNIP]“Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.[SNIP]“What has preserved our political stability is not a poetic piece of parchment, but entrenched institutions and habits of thought and, most important, the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences. No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation, and I harbor no illusions that any of this will happen soon. But even if we can’t kick our constitutional-law addiction, we can soften the habit.”
“If we acknowledged what should be obvious—that much constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions—we might have a very different attitude about the obligation to obey. It would become cred text or our core commitments. Instead, we are all invoking a common vocabulary to express aspirations that, at the broadest level, everyone can embrace. Of course, that does not mean that people agree at the ground level. If we are not to abandon constitutionalism entirely, then we might at least understand it as a place for discussion, a demand that we make a good-faith effort to understand the views of others, rather than as a tool to force others to give up their moral and political judgments.”
“If even this change is impossible, perhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian. If so, we have to give up on the claim that we are a self-governing people who can settle our disagreements through mature and tolerant debate. But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”
Incidentally, Professor Seidman has a book nearing publication entitled “On Constitutional Disobedience.” Not having the text before me to read, I can imagine his sincere aim will be to persuade, by leftist pretzel logic, that it doesn’t matter what the Constitution says. Undoubtedly a certain Mr. Marx would have been thrilled to sit at his breakfast table this morning and read such bilge.
Karl Marx had a vitriolic distaste towards a bourgeois capitalist society and fervently endorsed a future communist society. The Communist Manifesto begins with the assertion, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Marx argued that if you are to understand human history you must not see it as the story of great individuals or the conflict between states. Instead, you must see it as the story of social classes and their struggles with each other.
The greatest risk to our Constitution does not come from foreign governments, terrorism or unscrupulous politicians. The greatest risk is ignorance. Ignorance of how it was conceived, what it says, and how crucial it is to our freedom. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”