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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Change the Constitution?

For John, BLUFThe thing is, the US Government is designed to avoid a well oiled machine, because that way leads to tyranny.  Be thankful for cranky government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From Powerline, 26 January 2018, by Steven Hayward.

Here is the lede plus one:

We should be grateful to Ryan Cooper for acknowledging so forthrightly in The Week what has been obvious to conservatives for a long, long time—liberals really really hate the Constitution, because limited government is an impediment to their endless dreams of ruling over us more completely and fixing every human problem: “America’s Constitution is terrible.  Let’s throw it out and start over.”

Cooper makes five main points, some of which merely expose his constitutional illiteracy.

And here are the five:
  1. Get rid of the Senate filibuster.
  2. Radically change the way House members are elected.
  3. Neuter the Senate.
  4. Elect the president from the House.
  5. Throw the entire Constitution in the garbage.
Regarding Item 1, the filibuster is not part of the Constitution, but does cling to the idea of preventing the majority from oppressing the minority.  Change the filibuster and you change the idea of minority rights.  We are founded on the idea of "Majority Rule/Minority Rights".

Regarding Item 2, the writer, Mr Ryan Cooper, wants to adopt Lawyer Lani Guinier's idea for dealing with limited problems of racial discrimination in voting.  I liked it when Ms Guinier proposed it, back in the early 1990s, but am not so sure today.  One of the things this three in one district does is remove local feelings, local considerations, from the election.  An example from today is Alaska.  Representative Don Young represents the whole state and has represented it at least from when I lived there in 1980. One man for over a half million square miles, a geography that stretches, north to south the distance from Lowell, Massachusetts, to Miami, Florida.  It is a good thing Alaska has a small population, so he can be close to them in terms of degrees of separation.  This is a solution in search of a problem.

The third item is a bad idea unless we redraw all the state lines so that each has an equal amount of population.  The Senate works, and allows our nation to work, because it makes sure the small states don't get stepped on by the big ones, and because it makes sure regions can band together, for good or for ill, to represent their needs.  Otherwise you get succession.

Item number four means replacing the President with a Prime Minister.  That is a whole other thing.  The balancing of the separate branches of government goes away.

Item five is just another way of saying we should be a parliamentary nation, just like all those nations in Europe.  The ones who keep getting into wars and then we have to step in and help them sort it out.  Well, except for the last time, when we in the West agreed to a big, expensive alliance, known as NATO, to "keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in."

This writer, Mr Cooper, is living Thomas Jefferson's dream of overthrowing the government every nineteen years, with nothing owed to the past.

Mr Hayward ends his own critique of Mr Cooper this way:

I often like to say that “our Constitution may not be perfect, but it’s better than the government we’ve got!” (Or, as I like to say about how the Supreme Court made the Commerce Clause a general writ of central government power:  “If only Stalin had had a Commerce Clause. . .”)  It is a funny thing how a century of the “living Constitution” still leaves liberals unsatisfied, such that they still want to trash the Constitution and write a new one that has as its central feature more power for the government.
Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

  I wonder if he means "Progressives"?

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