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View Diary: Responding to Ayn Randian distortions (13 comments)

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  •  Must disagree to an extent. (0+ / 0-)

    The Constitution is the contract under which the Union of the states was formed. It is an agreement among diverse groups of people as to how they should be governed. Without that agreement there is no union.

    If you "evolve" the agreement so much that it's really nothing like it was to start with then at some point it's really a breach of the agreement. The point at which different aspects of the community living under that agreement will feel that way about it will vary from group to group.

    But I think that group of people gets larger the more it seems like we're arguing that the agreement itself doesn't matter and that's what it sounds like to most people when you start talking about the need for the law and the Constitution to "evolve".  I think the basic trouble is that it's hard to see where the end of such evolving is. The Constitution sets a series of limits on power and establishes a philosophy for thinking about how power should be used and limited. The idea of evolving government just seems to sweep all that away. What change or expansion of government power couldn't be justified with an appeal to changing circumstances, requiring an evolution of our government. In fact, it seems to me this is exactly the approach the Bush administration took after 911.

    I think for most people, the idea of an evolving government feels like re-founding the country on shifting sand dunes in a place prone to monsoons.

    •  Spock36 - The major evolution occurred after (0+ / 0-)

      the Civil War. The federal government grew immensely in power at the expense of state's rights. The current Republican "small government" ideology is a reaction against the post Civil War and the later New Deal and post WWII changes.
         The original Constitution was a compact among 13 states. The expansion of the US to encompass 50 states means that the current US system and its governance is only distantly related to the original Constitution and the Founders.
         And, in fact, the expansion of the US to encompass 50 states could not have taken place absent substantial increases in federal power.
        The Constitution has been successfully modified by amendment and by reinterpretation by the courts, Congress, and President. Despite right wing whining, our Constitutional system has been working rather well.

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