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  • Why Preserve the Constitution?

    For over a hundred years, Progressives have been trying to persuade Americans that times have changed, and therefore our founding documents (especially the Declaration of Independence and Constitution) must evolve to meet the needs of a developing society. This notion of a “living constitution” is certainly predominant in intellectual circles, but has also seeped into our everyday discussion and way of thinking about the Constitution.

    If times have changed so much, then we must ask (especially on Constitution Day) why is the Constitution worth celebrating—or even preserving?

    On one level, we celebrate and preserve the Constitution because it coherently organizes the structure of governmental affairs and “is the arrangement that formally constitutes the American people,” as Matthew Spalding writes in We Still Hold These Truths. But the Constitution is not praiseworthy simply because it enumerates particular institutions (like the executive, or the judiciary, or the states).

    To understand the importance of the Constitution and its worthiness, we can turn to its great defender and preserver, Abraham Lincoln. For Lincoln, the Constitution was not meant to be celebrated for itself. Reflecting on the teaching in Proverbs 25:11 that “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver,” Lincoln describes America’s principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence as the apple of gold, while the “Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it.” Although the picture of silver is indeed beautiful and good, “the picture was made for the apple-not the apple for the picture.” Thus, what makes the Constitution worthy of preservation are the eternal principles of the Declaration of Independence secured thereby.

    Assuredly, the daily habits of American life have changed since 1787. But a global economy, technological advances, and women in the workforce do not make the Declaration of Independence moot or necessitate a new Constitution. Ever during the current assault on the Constitution, Americans nevertheless turn to this revered document for guidance. After all, in the words of Calvin Coolidge, there is a finality to America’s principles: “If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people.” This Constitution Day, let’s remember and celebrate the principles that have made our Constitution the most successful written constitution in history.

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    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Why Preserve the Constitution?

    1. Otto Maddox, U.S. says:

      " Progressives have been trying to persuade Americans that times have changed"

      Persuade Americans?

      How about "continually circumventing the Constitution?"

    2. Brad, Chicago says:

      The persuasion is the Nancy Pelosi, "You'll understand when you see it," type of persuasion. The progressives who actually have the power to bring about change believe they have the responsibility to fix things for everyone else. They won't ever say it, but the only reason they need to fix things for other people is because they believe those other people are too stupid, stubborn, lazy, or careless to change things for themselves. This used to be called paternalism and manifested as a form of racism when we (as a nation) felt we had to "help our brown brothers" (as one of my high school teachers described it). I don't understand how people do not feel insulted by the same sentiment, today. Then again, maybe that's just because everyone, these days, feels entitled to something and values money/possessions over pride.

      The people writing 2,000 page bills could learn something from the Constitution. Any lay person can read through the Constitution and understand exactly what is being described. Any bill that does require "2 lawyers and 2 days" to decipher is probably not a good bill to pass into law.

    3. Bobbie says:

      It's sad that people would not interpret this document to be fitting for all times!!!!!! AS IT IS!!!

      It's dangerous when governmental authority doesn't.

      An inspirational document to be free and live independently. Immigrants from third world countries would REALLY BE INSPIRED if they were given proper understanding. Most immigrants were educated on America before their arrival. They must have been reeducated when they got here? The government's way.

      This document holds no bias, no discrimination, no racism. Yet authority destroys the intent USING bias, discrimination and racism. That to which it directly conflicts.

    4. Billie says:

      It's sad that people would not interpret this document to be fitting for all times!!!!!! AS IT IS!!!

      It's dangerous when governmental authority doesn't.

      An inspirational document to be free and live independently. Immigrants from third world countries would REALLY BE INSPIRED if they were given proper understanding. Most immigrants were educated on America before their arrival. They must have been reeducated when they got here? The government's way.

      This document holds no bias, no discrimination, no racism. Yet authority destroys the intent USING bias, discrimination and racism. That to which it directly conflicts. Only the weak, leading Amer I can'ts, deliberately misinterpret it…

    5. Urs Buehler says:

      I am a common man with a simple question and I sincerely hope that those of you who are schooled in matters of law will please provide me with a simple and straight forward answer.

      Example:

      Let us assume that “We the People” have elected a politician to the highest office of the Land and nearly half way through his first term we learn that while managing our budget he, and his administration, are directly responsible for committing our citizens to some $3’000’000’000’000 (3 Trillion) of unfunded future debt.

      Let us assume that although this politician has already received one Trillion dollars from the American People (our future debt), hundreds of billions have mysteriously disappeared and are now unaccounted for.

      Let us assume that “We the People” have since learned that our Constitution has been violated and the application thereof circumvented.

      Let us assume that “We the People” now have reason to believe that these funds have been embezzled.

      Let us assume that this politician now wants to obligate the American Citizen to hundreds of billions of additional unfunded debt, only this time he and his administration will no longer request the funds, as they will no longer be likely to obtain a majority consent, and so they will simply take the funds without full disclosure (steal them).

      Question:

      In the event of an administratively caused National Emergency, which could undermine the economic viability and/or National security of the United States of America, where and how can “We the People” obtain the required emergency injunction barring an administration from causing irreparable harm to our Nation, as would be the case were it to legislate certain transactions which are believed to be in direct violation of constitutional law?

      I hope this explains my concerns.

      I am interested to know why such action has not yet been taken, and whether “We the People” have no such protection under our Constitution? This inability to receive equal consideration under the law, when it comes to matters of politics, has troubled me ever since we were told that Obama’s qualifications to hold office had been cleared, when in fact no satisfactory disclosure has ever been made to the voters.

      We still do not know whether this man is a U.S. born citizen, or an imposter. But we have been told that the Obama files are sealed and that is an unsatisfactory answer. No American citizen should ever have to litigate in order to receive satisfaction concerning such matters.

      Surely there must be certain safeguards incorporated already, in our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to keep this Nation safe from such political abuse, but unless these safeguards are made available to “We the People” of what use are they then?

      From the “Declaration of Independence”, and I quote:

      “That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends,

      it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government”

      This is a National Emergency, what is holding up this process and why are we wasting time?

      Sincerely,

      Urs Buehler

    6. Pingback: Why Preserve the Constitution? - Whitley County Patriots

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