This past Monday I wrote about the Constitution and the fact that it is NOT a list of our rights. Further, I clarified that it only applies to government (and originally, prior to selective incorporation, it only applied only to the federal government).
Today I want to remind everyone of something that I’ve already written about.
The beauty of the Constitution is that it is a STANDARD.
Think about this recent impeachment trial. Regardless of your stance on Trump, there was no Constitutional justification for the trial. If you notice, Trump was officially acquitted because the Senate was unable to get the 67 votes needed to convict him. And where does the number 67 come from?
A standard in action. The standard in action.
I love to watch the Constitution work, even today, even when it’s violated at almost every turn, it still somehow, holds power. It still, somehow, holds government and government officials accountable to something.
Think about the constant debates, court cases, legislative arguments and the like. What do they almost all have in common?
The Constitution. A Constitutional right that’s been violated, the Constitution’s relevance, the Constitution’s interpretation and the like. The Constitution and the liberty it protects is a given in our society. We don’t even realize it. We’re all squabbling over ridiculous partisan talking points, never realizing that we don’t even understand or comprehend life without the Constitution. The fact that we live in a world where there is a standard above government, and that such a world is historically almost never known, is not even on our radar.
We can’t imagine a world without rights and liberty. They’re a given. Those on the left fight for them and those on the right fight for them. We never stop to realize that the reason we can even do so is because we live in a world where it’s just assumed that there is a power above government telling government what it can and cannot do. We assume there’s always going to be a source higher than government to which we can appeal to protect our rights and liberty. Friends, rights and liberty mean nothing if there is nothing above government protecting us from government.
The Constitution is at work every day, protecting us from government, being the standard, stopping arbitrary power and confining government. All the while there are people, in this country and abroad, who are constantly at work trying to tear it down. It stands in the way of so much. It stands in the way of power, tyranny, arbitrary control, and more.
It stands in the way of our government doing whatever it wants to do, whenever it wants.
It stands in the way of the world being able to bring the U.S. down to their level.
The Constitution is not flawless. It’s not perfect. But it IS a standard. It is a law outside of government–telling the world that there is a law, there is a standard, above humans and human institutions.
If those who govern humans must also be governed, the very idea that they must be governed lowers the power of those who govern. It means that those in power are humans who need to be governed. They can be wrong. They cannot decide, arbitrarily what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. They must be held accountable to something outside of them.
This very idea changes the dynamic of everything. This is why, in America, people assume that everyone, no matter what level of power they hold, are accountable to the law equally.
The destruction of this idea destroys liberty.
Is this making sense?
Those who want power, who want complete control (I’m not insinuating this about any single party or person. Literally all humans want power and control) want and need for our Constitution and all that it entails to be erased. Erased from its current position of power, but more importantly, erased from the minds of the people. As long as the idea of the Constitution as a standard outside of government still lingers in the minds of the populace, the Constitution still holds power. As long as the idea that government can’t just do whatever it wants still exists in the minds of the citizenry, government is limited to the law that says it can’t just do what it wants.
Only when this idea is erased can governments go back to being what they were before the U.S. government burst onto the scene. They can go back to being completely arbitrary and completely in control.
Think about it. Aside from a few rare exceptions, all governments before the U.S. government, no matter the kind of government (oligarchy, tyranny, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy), were the final source of authority. They decided what was right and wrong, good and bad, and anything else… simply because, they were government. They were the final source of authority and power. What they said was final and the citizenry had to just suck it up.
When the government is the final source of authority, deriving its power from itself (or some divine source that it defines), government’s powers are truly limitless.
The Constitution says “No government. The buck does not stop with you, it stops with me.”
Take a moment and imagine something for me. Imagine this for yourself, personally, and then imagine it for the country at large.
Imagine what Americans would do if government started to make laws that severely limited free speech. We wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves and we’d all start appealing to the power that directs government — AKA the Constitution. We always have the Constitution as our last resort, as our savior from government. We appeal to it anytime we feel we’re being unjustly and illegally confined by government.
Now imagine this same scenario, except in this scenario, there is no Constitution. What would we appeal to if there was no Constitution? Imagine life without a standard over government. Imagine trying to stop government from making laws that limit our free speech, or gun ownership etc without a Constitution?
What could we say? Really?
Ever thought about what life would look like without a standard?
Just imagine a police officer pulling you over and frisking you for no reason, or barging into your house and turning it upside down looking for whatever they want for whatever reason? Now imagine this happening with no Constitution to appeal to? You could say that the police shouldn’t be there, don’t have a right, are invading on your privacy but what would that matter? The police are government and you’re not. And without the Constitution, the police (the government) are the final source of power, the final arbiters of good and bad, so what they say goes. You can fight back all you want but it is a fruitless fight because you are nothing and government is everything. You have no one, nothing, to turn to. You only have government and yourself.
THIS, my friends, is arbitrary power.
Imagine what the people marching through the streets chanting death to America would do if there was no Constitution? They’re using their right to protest (given to them by the country they want destroyed) and would presumably fight for that Constitutional right, should the government try to hinder their protest. But what if there was no Constitution? What could the protesters say to the police rounding them up if they had no Constitution to appeal to?
Do you see how this works? Do see the power, THE IMMENSE power, that the Constitution holds? Do you see the critical role it plays in protecting liberty? In protecting US from an arbitrary and all powerful government? Do you see why a standard, outside of government, is SO essential?
It’s probably hard for you to even imagine a world where you couldn’t appeal to the Constitution as your protection against government. We’re so spoiled and so blessed in this nation. We really don’t recognize the precious gem we’ve been holding.
The ability to appeal to a power higher than government is truly radical and truly unparalleled.
I’ll take this idea a step further. Say we do have a Constitution but government does not respect or follow it because the people don’t respect or follow it.
The Constitution IS a piece of paper. It’s the idea and the reverence of the Constitution that gives it power.
So, should the police barge into your house in the middle of the night with no warrant and no Constitutional justification and you appeal to the Constitution, your chances of being protected from arbitrary government are only slightly improved if such a Constitution does exist but those in power don’t care or respect it.
Your chances are slightly improved simply because, maybe, just maybe, there are some people in the country and government who do respect it and therefore your appeal may have some power in the end. At least you have something to appeal to. The world is truly a dark place without that. However, don’t miss the point. The world is still a dark place even with the Constitution if those in government and those governed by government don’t imbue the Constitution with power by respecting and reverencing it.
The more respect and reverence the Constitution has, the more powerful it is and the more protected you are from government’s arbitrary power. The more the government knows that you respect the Constitution and will demand that they follow it, the more they will respect the Constitution and feel the need to follow it. Government is always trying to find a way around the Constitution and they would be thrilled if the Constitution simply didn’t exist. Since it does exist, they will try every method possible to dilute its power and minimize your respect for it. The less you respect it, understand it and demand they follow it, the more arbitrary power they hold over your life.
I’ll dig into this “world without a Constitution” further in my next posts. First, I’m going to respond to a few articles entitled “Why I Hate the Constitution” and then I’ll delve into the world without the U.S. Constitution.
It’s a frightening prospect. I hope simply imagining what your life would be without it, even in something as simple as a routine traffic stop, scares the living day lights out of you. It does me. I can’t imagine a world where no standard above government exists. A world where I’d have nothing to appeal to because the highest source of power is government itself. I can’t imagine being forced to do whatever government says with no recourse.
This type of world is the world that has existed for thousands of years. This type of world is what almost all humans have known since the beginning of mankind. And this type of world is what so many around the world and in this country are fighting to bring us back to.
And friends, there is only thing standing between us and this kind of world.
The U.S. Constitution.
Should we protect her? Is she worth that?
I’d say so, at all costs… wouldn’t you?
The Liberty Belle