The Constitution Failed. It Secured Neither Peace nor Freedom.
If one cares to look, it’s not difficult to find numerous columns written for mainstream news outlets announcing that the US Constitution has failed. This ought to raise the question of “failed to do what?” The answer depends largely on the one claiming the constitution has failed. On the Left, claims of constitutional failure generally revolve around the idea that the constitution doesn’t empower the federal government enough. For example, Chris Edelson of the American Constitutional Society believes the constitution has failed because the US government hasn’t done enough about global warming and racial injustice. Ryan Cooper at The Week says the constitution is a failure because of gerrymandering and not enough “democracy.” On the other hand, many classical liberals (i.e., libertarians) have declared the constitution a failure because it has failed to restrain the US government from violating human rights such as life and property.
We see there are many standards we might employ to show that the constitution has failed, depending on what metric we wish to use. But let’s ask what the politicians pushing the new constitution of 1787—i.e., the “Federalists”—promised as the benefits of the new constitution. They promised three things: that the constitution would ensure the government would respect the freedoms of the citizenry, that it would provide a means of keeping the peace among the member states, and that it would provide a strong military defense.
Sadly, the constitution long ago failed on two counts out of three. A mere 73 years after its ratification, the constitution failed to prevent a bloody civil war. The Federalists had promised that wouldn’t happen. When it comes to the matter of freedom, of course, the record is even worse, and the constitution has been used to justify countless assaults on liberty from Japanese internment to unleashing armies of spies against the American people.
The only area in which the constitution has “succeeded” has been in growing the size of the central government in Washington. The enormous state that has grown out of the constitution of 1787 has indeed rendered invasion by foreign powers virtually impossible. But this has been done at the cost of numerous elective wars, trillions in waste, and an out-of-control national security state.
Yet, nostalgic appeals to the alleged greatness of the constitution—and the brilliance of the so-called “Founding Fathers”—continue to be a fixture in defending the status quo while granting legitimacy to the regime. Any real challenge to federal power, however, will require we stop clinging emotionally to this failed legal document that has secured neither peace nor freedom.
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Article from LewRockwell