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Ben Shapiro
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Is the Constitution for Everybody?

Comment

According to The New York Times, the American Constitution is losing popularity with people around the world. "The Constitution," writes Adam Liptak, "has seen better days ... its influence is waning." Liptak points out that in 1987, over 160 of the 170 countries on Earth had cribbed from the Constitution — but today, few countries do. Why? Liptak suggests, quoting Professor David Law of Washington University in St. Louis, that our Constitution is "Windows 3.1." It's difficult to amend, and it doesn't guarantee so-called "positive rights," such as healthcare, housing and education. Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said that he relies more on the legal framework of India, South Africa and New Zealand than on that of the United States.

Intuitively, this sounds wrong. Why would you rely on the legal frameworks of nations that still allow disparate treatment of "untouchables" or countries that until 20 years ago still had different legal standards for blacks and whites? Why not rely on the legal framework that provided for equal rights as early as 1868 and that guaranteed freedom from government overreach almost a century earlier than that?

The answer is simple: More countries today want governments that provide for them rather than governments that keep them free. That is why tyranny is on the move across the globe. The choice to reject the principles underlying the U.S. Constitution isn't a mere choice of one legal form over another — it's a choice in favor of a philosophy of slavery over a philosophy of freedom. The same countries that provide their citizens with "free healthcare" force their citizens into relative poverty and undercut their citizens' access to high-level healthcare; the same countries that provide "free housing" breed slums and crime.

There's another problem, too: More countries today want governments that are "efficient" rather than governments that leave them alone. In order to provide those positive rights, governments must have the ability to act quickly, to tax easily and to invade property rights regularly. Sure, those governments can be corrupted and frequently are, but they "get things done." And in a world where the government is both father and mother, getting things done is the priority. As defenders of Mussolini put it, at least the trains run on time (the trains didn't, by the way).

Sadly, the international notion that the Constitution is antiquated has now penetrated our politics.

President Obama said last week, "What has frustrated people is that I have not been able to force Congress to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008. Well, you know it turns out that our founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes." This is the international critique of the Constitution to a T: the Constitution creates inefficient government that can't cover all your needs. Hand me power and all will be well.

Unfortunately, America moves closer and closer every single day to the international constitution rather than our historic Constitution. No other constitutional government has been half as durable; none has withstood the test of time. Newfangled constitutional theories may sound pretty, but they always exact penalties rather than granting actual rights — and they invariably open the gateway to tyranny.

Today in America, tyranny comes from two sources: the courts and the administrative government. This week, the Ninth Circuit ruled, in insulting and absurd fashion, that the state of California was banned by the federal Constitution from enshrining traditional marriage as the standard. How did they come to that conclusion? They simply imposed it from above, without any legal explanation whatsoever. They were efficient; they granted a "right." And they removed the right of the people of California to determine their societal wants and needs in the process. Real rights were subverted in favor of phantom leftist rights.

Meanwhile, the administrators at the federal government decided that Catholic employers had to guarantee birth control to employees. Once again, this was a "right" enshrined by the Obama administration into law, via a broad provision in the Obamacare bill. Again, government was efficient; again, it granted a "right." And all government had to do was destroy religious rights in order to do it.

Is the U.S. Constitution dying? It isn't dying because it was never alive — it's a document. What is apparently dying is the constitutional mindset in America, the mindset that says, "Leave me to my own devices, and I'll succeed. I just need the right to be free." The rest of the world has relied on America's constitutional mindset to support it through trials and tribulations for well over a century. Who will support us when we abandon the philosophy that has stood for American freedom for centuries?

 

Ben Shapiro, 28, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School. He is the four-time bestselling author of "Primetime Propaganda." To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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Comments

5 Comments | Post Comment
Beautifully stated, Ben. Keep up the good fight.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Yvonne Prelutsky
Wed Feb 8, 2012 6:53 AM
Today's column was very well-written, the propaganda was very cleverly concealed but bursting at the seams, you sly dog, you. This isn't about the demise of the Constitution at all. It's another slick, sick, fear-pandering article written by someone with more brains than sense. I'll just take issue with the following: "The same countries that provide their citizens with "free healthcare" force their citizens into relative poverty and undercut their citizens' access to high-level healthcare; the same countries that provide "free housing" breed slums and crime." Great way to try to undercut Obamacare, slick.
We haven't had "free healthcare" that I know about that has forced citizens into relative poverty. We had/have a corrupt capitalist system that forced citizens into relative poverty and a corrupt President and Vice President who forced the country into war and relative poverty. Ask President Obama, he who is tasked with trying to clean up the mess the previous administration left behind and the current Republicans are doing their best to make the task as difficult as they possibly can. Ask anyone who was once middle-class with a good retirement portfolio and is now either renting or homeless and their job has been out-sourced, the bank has their house, they had to give up their pets to the animal shelter and all their savings to the Wall Street financiers. No free healthcare there. Not before, not after. But a whole lot of poverty.
No, it isn't and wasn't free healthcare that will bring about the demise of this country or the Constitution. And it isn't 'free housing' that breeds slums and crime. Corruption and greed are the culprits. But I'll save that argument for another time.
Comment: #2
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:13 PM
Ruin the money and you will destroy the middle class and make possible the rise of tyranny. Worked in Weimar
Comment: #3
Posted by: Kalim Alaka
Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:43 PM
Ben, excellent thought process that gets to the root cause. Your line "governments that provide for them rather than governments that keep them free" hits the nail on the head, hard. It's clear the liberal comments are based on govt providing for vs govt providing an environment for people to provide for themselves. It's about responsibility: Are you responsible for yourself (conservative) or is the government responsible for you (liberal). Forget all the hogwash in between. Our country was created, and grew strong, in an environment of individual responsibility. For the last ~50 years, the trend has been for govt to take over more and more individual responsibility. The path we continue to go down is not new. The European countries have left a well worn path, and we see how well the nanny state works - all of them wringing their hands about their economies. America would do well to study the history that exists - the answers are there.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Doug Freeman
Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:30 PM
Re: demecra zydeem

Corporation and government are allies. Facism is not capitalism. The government uses corporations to implement policy. The policy helps larger corporations and squezes out the smaller businesses that dont have the resources to implement the policy and then the corporations "capital" becomes "revenue" or campaign "bundles" . Socialism is when the government controls the means to production and that includes facism. Examples include China, North Korea, United States, etc.
Comment: #5
Posted by: SCOTT
Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:07 PM
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