Sunday, September 06, 2009

Restoring the Constitution - Is it possible and which Constitution?

America is in the middle of a Constitutional crisis. Congress and successive administrations have repeatedly violated the spirit and the letter of the Constitution. Usually this is done in order to "help the __________" (fill in cause ju jour). Sometimes its purely a naked power grab.
The crisis is that no one paying attention to the Constitution. Politicians continue to pander to citizens that are ignorant of the limitations of government. And they abuse citizens that are ignorant of their rights.

The Smallest Minority examines the idea of Restoring the Lost Constitution or whether or not its even possible.

His follow up, Entropy Happens, links to a wonderful post, Parasite Memes and Monkeyspheres, at Atomic Nerds explaining, using evolutionary theory, why it may not be possible for the Constitution to be revived and why horrible ideas never go away and fail on their own merits.

They even explain why Libertarianism fails: It even explains why libertarianism is always such a minority political theory in nearly any given society: if there is any concept that is completely and utterly alien to the original primate, it is “mind your own business”. Show me a monkey that does THAT.

This lack of knowledge about Constitutional principles, American history, and American governmental principles, is the cause behind the disconnect between the "intellectual conservatives" and the "grassroots." The grassroots conservatives know conservativism when they see it. However, that conservatism may not be the same conservatism that is was Kirk's and Buckley's.

Because the conservative masses are uneducated in the principles of "Conservatism" or rising stars in the GOP do not articulate the those principles, they are disregarded by the intelligentsia. Those citizens, because its part of their everyday environment, do not realize just how much socialism they demand and/or depend upon. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, are perfect example of "third rails" not to be touched even by truly conservative politicians.

Willam H. Buckley was able to connect with much of the base. He is held up as an example for all conservatives to follow. Unlike him, however, he did not disparage the common conservative as a fringe element but always sought to educate them. Today's conservative intellectuals tend to look down upon the social conservative or Tea Party member as fringe, demanding that they reign in their hostility to Congress or telling them to ignore as wacko theories any concerns they might have of the legitimacy of a President that has a history of falsehood and secrecy. The average conservative does not follow politics. He does not care about the "principles" of conservatism and cannot express them. He does know that the Constitution is being violated, even if he cannot accurately describe how. He knows that the current administration, Congress and both parties do not represent his ideas and seem to be ignoring him. And the intellectuals continue to tell him to "shut up and vote Republican." Those calls to the "base" to tone it down and "move to the center" will continue to fall on deaf ears, nay, will continue to piss off the base, as the base sees that all moves to the center keep moving the center towards the left. The right has watch the left win with the tactics of aggressive noise. Now they will use it.

That said, the base needs to realize that there are actual principles that should be followed in order for a cohesive conservative movement. Populism is not conservatism. The base needs to stop demanding more and more government power in THEIR favor. The "elite" can be used to provide a coherent theory behind the instincts of American conservatives. They provide the big picture. Not all governmental policies and actions are evil. Some are necessary. Some are desirable. Democratic debate is needed to determine which are which. And then we see if those policies pass Constitutional muster.

The basic principles of an American Conservative, one that has not studied theory, are
The Bill of Rights and that the government is there to protect the rights of Americans in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

This idiotic argument that protesters demanding no Obamacare should also demand an end to Medicare and Medicaid is disingenuous. Americans have been forced to depend on these governmental programs for too long. While the removal of those programs would be satisfactory in theory, too many people are dependent on government for the easy removal and return to free market incentives. Just because conservatives demand that the government NOT take control of the health care industry does not mean that they want to remove all "safety nets." They are conservatives not libertarians. Ideally though, any safety net should still follow Constitutional principles. Of course, that would take total reform of the government and how Congress makes laws.

Hmmm, perhaps I'm a reformer after all.

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