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Statist American Law Professor: “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution”

December 31, 2012

Yes, that’s actually what the liberal, progressive New York Times contributor said. “Let’s give up on the Constitution.”

Louis Michael Seidman

Louis Michael Seidman

Louis Michael Seidman, the guy who wrote that ugly little piece, is currently a professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University. His asinine, strawman-filled, utterly illogical NYT op-ed is painful to read. It’s full of strawman arguments, red herring and logical fallacies. Well, perhaps it’s because he’s pushing his own plan or radical ideological agenda. Try to read his opinion piece to know where he’s coming from.

Seidman, obviously a radical liberal and democrat, opens his column with the following barb:

“AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”

I made the following comment here:

If “insistence on obedience to the Constitution” is the real culprit, then there would have been no crisis of BIG GOVERNMENT in the first place. Any rational, educated person – or even law professor like the NYT contributor- would be able to easily understand that the U.S. Constitution is all about individual rights and limited government. This is what the law professors fails to see.

The main crisis that America is in today is the crisis of BIG GOVERNMENT or WELFARE STATE. And this crisis traces its roots back to the progressive era wherein the powers of the Federal government started to grow.

I’d also like to know what are the Constitution’s archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Seidman said: “But before abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give
real freedom a chance.”

What real freedom is this clueless statist is blabbing about? Well, even Karl Marx and the non-thinkers of socialism talked about the freedom of the proletarians. That is, the freedom to enslave each other, to redistribute wealth and to make the government or the state the provider of stupid creatures’ (like Seidman) needs.

With law professors like Seidman who poison their students with “archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil” ideas, America is indeed fucked up!

A Facebook friend posted his critique of Seidman’s anti-constitutional lunacy:

He does not identify:

  1. Whom he holds guilty of “obedience to the Constitution” (surely he does not refer to any recent Congress);
  2. Which parts of the constitution are ‘archaic’, ‘idiosyncratic’ and ‘downright evil’.

However, he does propose the following ‘critique’:

“As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?”

This is as blatant a straw man as it is possible to imagine. He presents the argument for following the constitution as though it were an argument from authority, “Do this because Maddison et al. said so!” Put like that, no it would not be rational to refrain from a course of action just because of the say so of some other guys a couple of hundred years ago. However, the real case for following the constitution is that without it there are no checks on government power. The constitution is the law that the government has to follow; do away with it and there is no limit to what the government can do and instead of government by legal process you get government by whim, doing whatever it thinks it can get away with according to the expediency of the moment.

“This is not to say that we should disobey all constitutional commands. Freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”

When the government has been able to violate these rights on numerous occasions – even with a Constitution that is meant to protect them – what chance do you have of continuing to enjoy those rights when the government is no longer constitutionally obliged to recognize them? Professor Seidman provides no answer.

“Nor should we have a debate about, for instance, how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses. Some matters are better left settled, even if not in exactly the way we favor. Nor, finally, should we have an all-powerful president free to do whatever he wants. Even without constitutional fealty, the president would still be checked by Congress and by the states. There is even something to be said for an elite body like the Supreme Court with the power to impose its views of political morality on the country.”

What does this even mean? Without a constitution stating rules like term limits, the respective powers of the different branches of government, etc. what is there to prevent the emergence of an unchecked executive branch? Again, Professor Seidman provides no answer.

He goes on to lament that,

“[P]erhaps the dream of a country ruled by “We the people” is impossibly utopian.”

And here one can see his true goal – dictatorship, the abandonment of the concept of individual liberty. How does he hope to reach it? The time honoured way – via the false promise of unlimited democracy:

“[B]efore abandoning our heritage of self-government, we ought to try extricating ourselves from constitutional bondage so that we can give real freedom a chance.”

As expected, strong defenders of the constitution dissected the law professor’s contradictions and rhetorical lunacy.

Evan Fleischer of the Daily Banter observes:

The parts of the constitution he’d keep include “freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important … how long the president’s term should last or whether Congress should consist of two houses,” but — by implication — that means that legislative authority would be up in the air, as well as the age by which someone can be elected to the House of Representatives (six! fourteen!), whether or not taxes should be levied, how many Representatives each state should have, how many Senators each state should have, who calls an election and when, whether or not we should have post offices, roads, a currency, a navy, or an army, whether or not a state in the union can enter into a treaty and coin money of its own, or whether it’s legal or not for someone to set up a new state within an existing state. (“No one can predict in detail what our system of government would look like if we freed ourselves from the shackles of constitutional obligation,” he writes, but an inference this easy to make is telling enough.)

Steven Hayward of Powerline Blog didn’t mince words:

The article is really not worth bothering with further.  There’s active commentary about it going on all over the blogosphere today.  (Start with Jonathan Adler and Wesley Smith if you are a glutton.)  As I sometimes like to say, “Our Constitution may not be perfect, but it’s better than the government we’ve got.”  Those “evil” and “archaic” provisions are why, despite 100 years of largely successful “Progressive” assault against our constitutional principles, the United States is still the freest nation in the world.

Let’s hope the higher education bubble breaks first and hardest at our intellectually corrupt law schools.

From Rick Moran of American Thinker:

I don’t believe the Constitution is holy writ nor do I think that the Founders had all the answers for today’s America. But all public officials and members of the military swear fealty to our founding document for a reason; it is the most visible, the most tangible representation of our sovereignty as a nation. We don’t have kings, or castles, or ancient ruins to which we can point and say our sovereignty lies within. It is the Constitution that unites us as a people.

From The Right Sphere:

The article was written, apparently, by a professor who was annoyed that the Constitution was preventing the Senate from just creating a bill to avert the fiscal cliff because tax bills are constitutionally mandated to originate in the House. This irked the professor so he decided that we should basically scrap the Constitution in response. It’s too cumbersome.

He then goes on to advocate we simply ignore the stuff we don’t like. Ironically, this is what Progressives have been doing for decades when they’re in power. They get very protective of the Constitution when they’re not in power and someone else stretches the confines of our founding document, but it is almost always a narrow issue that they make noise about in order to peel off some votes and get back into power. When Progressives ignore constitutional boundaries, they always go big. Real big. Destroying-the-Commerce-Clause big. Completely-perverting-the-Welfare-Clause big. Stuff-that-renders-the-concept-of-limited-government-irrelevant big.

A response from Independence Institute:

Did the Constitution cause our present “fiscal chaos?” Quite the contrary. The crisis has arisen not because we followed the Constitution, but because we have allowed federal officials to ignore it. In the 1930s, the Supreme Court announced that it would stop enforcing the Constitution’s limits on federal spending programs. Without meaningful spending restraint, Congress became an auction house where lobbyists could acquire new money streams for almost anything—a redundant health care program; a subsidy for an uneconomic product; or a modern art museum in Indiana.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2013 3:38

    The guy has taught the constitution for 40 years, and until has learned nothing. The purpose of a constitution is to limit government, and to spell out its duties. The people subject themselves to the government, giving it all the powers it has, with the proviso that it heeds to the constitution. The U.S. constitution limits government power severely, and it can be argued quite well that this has been the reason for the U.S. being number one. Througout history, man has seen nothing but the subjugation of nations by strongmen. Even Great Britain was under a King. The U.S. has been the lone exception. Remove its constitution, and it will be ruled by a strongman.

    The Democrats are flailing along with empty ideas. They have lost the war on ideas, and so I believe Obama will be the last Democrat leader for decades to come. This piece is sort of saying “It’s OK for Obama to break the constitutional limits on government”. It is a very dangerous suggestion.

    • January 1, 2013 3:38

      I strongly agree with what you said, Mr. Tapang. Americans need to give Mr. Seidman points for honesty – he is saying what the vast majority of the Political, Media, Legal and Academic Establishment refuses to say and indeed do mental gymnastics to avoid saying – that they no longer feel constrained by the Constitution, and see such constraints (or the desire therefor) as archaic superstition. Fortunately for the country, they have not yet quite won the hearts and minds of the majority. But they are very, very close.

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