Click Here for My Full Website

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Craziness of the Constitution

Harry Reid has set about a campaign based on framing his opponent, Sharron Angle, as being outside the main stream. We're seeing the same tact with Rand Paul and, in fact, the whole Tea Party movement. It would seem there are a lot of "crazy" people out there! One thing these leftist have to realize is that when they make fun of certain views that are shared by a lot of people, they create an enormous problem for themselves. The more they mock and mischaracterize the Tea Party, the more powerful it becomes.

But alas, this has become a typical strategy of progressives, although decreasingly effective. So lets address it.

Many people want you to think that you are crazy if you are principled. They want you to think that pragmatism and the realities of politics demand compromise. This is bunk. The best politicians are the ones who, when a bill is immoral or wasteful, vote "No" even if everybody else votes "yes." Sharon Angle is this kind of politician.

There is a concerted effort to paint anyone who believes in Constitutional government as impractical, and even crazy.

The Constitution limits the power of the government. When politicians get into positions of power, they often want more power--especially progressives. Therefore, they see the Constitution as an obstacle to what they want. So they'll say that the Constitution makes us less safe, or perpetuates racism, or prevents helping the poor. And for people who champion the Constitution, the effort is often to marginalize them, and characterize them as people who are an obstacle to progress.

However, the Constitution creates a framework, by which progress happens by consensus building, without abandoning certain principles. It sets up a free society, with such principles as checks and balances and division of power, and individual and minority rights. Progress can and must occur, but it must occur within that framework. Otherwise, the consolidation of power undermines morality, social stability and sustainability.

History is overwhelmingly clear about this point: that it is the consolidation of power that undermines progress, makes us less safe, perpetuates racism, and prevents us from helping the poor. Constitutionalists are often for helping the truly needy, and vigorous government activity in keeping us safe and enforcing individual and minority rights. But there is a concept called "diminishing returns." When politicians are over-empowered, for whatever excuse, the scope of that which includes progress grows to extraordinary levels, requiring enormous funds. Benevolence soon becomes monopoly, cronyism, favoritism and corruption. Hence, we get a government with a $13 trillion deficit, over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, where every taxpayer owes $117,000 as their share of the national debt alone, and owes an enormous tax burden on top of that.

The progressive movement of the 20th century went a long way to addressing many of the deficiencies in our society. This is why I recently wrote that progressives are intellectually trapped in the 1960's. However, what is really out of the main stream is when somebody wants to turn that movement into government run healthcare, Cap and Trade, 13 trillion in debt, and undermine property and economic rights.

Most people in America don't want any one person to have too much power, whether that be private or public actors. The Constitution is not perfect, but it helps set up such a system. Many of us are fighting for this cause. Trying to argue that being anti-status-quo and fighting for Constitutional government, equals "out of the main stream" is wrong. Also, personal character attacks are often wrong as well.

I'll admit that every politicians usually has some explaining to do when they first get introduced to the pubic, and Angle is no exception. In fact, her stubborn refusal to cooperate with her colleagues in Nevada, may even require some extra explaining. I personally love this about her, but I realize the public wants an explanation.

But Harry Reid is about to lose this election, because he and his crew in Washington D.C. are the ones who are really out of the main stream.

As a sidenote, lets address the politics of the moment. The Huffington Post and some of the specific arguments put out there by the left are already circulating. These leftist organizations and Harry Reid's campaign must be viewed for what they are: the best possible argument they can make against Angle, and for Reid. American politics is based on an adversarial process. Its just like a court of law: you try to characterize your opponent and control the perceptions of the jury. But just like any court, you have to listen to both sides before jumping to conclusions. You must also understand that neither side is a balanced view of the issue--rather, it is the strongest argument for either side, often not made fairly at all. There are some particular arguments floating around, and all anyone can ask is to hold judgment till the other side has its chance. The same goes for the arguments against Harry Reid.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, the federal government has been able to get away with expanding its powers beyond those enumerated in the Constitution because during times of crisis (war, stock market crashes, etc), many people are perfectly willing to surrender to the will of the government, who will "save" them from the crisis at hand. You and I know this is a ridiculous thing to do, but I'd argue the majority of people in this country were (or are i.e. progressives) willing to do that.