Friday, October 20, 2006

Should We Scrap the Constitution?

Most of us can think of ways in which the Constitution of the United States could be improved. I have suggested three ways on earlier posts. However, I believe the document itself is sound and needs nothing more than some fine tuning, mostly clarifying and reinforcing points that founding fathers did not bother with because they were taken for granted at that time.

However Sanford Levinson, a professor of Law at the University of Texas suggests that maybe the Constitution is the problem. He centers on three complaints. He first bemoans that small states are equal in power to the large states in the Senate giving small groups veto power over majorities. Secondly he says it is too hard to remove President Bush from office (and he singles this out.) Then he says the Constitution is too hard to amend.

His complaints are all true but it was all for a reason.

First off, I wonder if he feels it's unfair that America and Cuba speak with an equal voice at the UN? I suspect he doesn't.

The purpose of the Senate and the Electoral College is to prevent a tyranny of the majority. It ensures that small states are not robbed blind by the large states. It means you need more than a majority and ideally, should force consesus rather than "We outnumber you so f*** you."

Ok, so he can't remove Bush by a simple vote of Congress. Where would Bill Clinton have been in January of 95 had the Constitution read as he thinks it should? Would he have prefered that?

The Constitution was written by men who had an inherent (and very wise) distrust of government and was originally written to limit and restrict the government (though not quite as much as the Articles of Confederation did). A government that is forced to act more slowly will make slower, more thought out changes.

The American Spectator (who linked me to the editorial) points out that we don't have the same problems Europe does because we were unable to pass such monstrous welfare packages because of our ponderous government (and I say Thank God.)

Also consider this; had the German Constitution in the 1930's been identical to ours, Hitler would have never been able to sieze power the way he did, and probably would have been no more than an minor footnote in Germany's political history.

The biggest difference between this guy's view and mine, is I don't think the government can solve most of our problems. While I am not quite a Libertarian, I am in most ways a governmental minimalist, especially at the Federal level.

Update 10: 26 Crazy Politco also posted on this a couple of days ago. I read and commented on it and then promptly forgot about it. His posting is worth reading as well.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Paleoconservative I think it's fine. If we could just keep 'theory' based politcs from interfering with it and take it for it is we'd have no problems IMO. Long live the Republic!

Get a mount there Shop. We're going to retake Washington once I get enough horses, men, and muskets mustered up.

10:54 PM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Levison is a dangerous man.
But at least it is nice that there are some liberals that openly show thier contempt for the Constitution, instead of just paying lip-service to it while trying to gut it.

5:56 AM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

Very nice explanation Shoprat! I love the examples you give. Thank God our forefathers had more insight than Levinson! And, thank God we have American citizens like you with common sense!

10:35 AM  
Blogger The Oneonta Teletype said...

IMHO, the only mistakes I can see with the Constitution (as written, NOT amended) is lifetime provisions for Supreme Court.

We need a way to elect Justices, so we're not stuck with bad ones forever.

Gunz --the mount I'd like to choose is an M113 with dual '50's. ;-)

Roger Thornhil

10:55 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Levinson's ideas would be a disaster for all but about the five biggest states. The rest of the country would be screwed if he got his way on things.

Luckily his ideas will never the required number of states ratifying them to become the law of the land.

12:46 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Thanks all
I don't think the Constitution is perfect, but it is a darned good thing, no nation has produced a better one. My concern is all changes must be improvements (ie reducing our depency on the federal government.)

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen brother...

11:41 PM  
Blogger Gayle said...

I agree with Roger that Supreme Court Justices should not be elected for life. That is one thing that should be changed, but other than that, the Constitution is just fine. Amendments to it should be as you say, Shoprat, and not for tearing down what our forfathers intended.

10:20 AM  

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