Friday, January 01, 2010

George Will Bloviates; RSI Responds

George Will has a pointless little op-ed out on the cosmic significance of the event that wiped out the dinosaurs and most other species 65 million years ago. It turns out that there is an underwater mountain in the Indian Ocean that could have been the result of the massive meteors that created the Mexico's 110-mile-wide Chicxulub and brought about the "worldwide collapse of the climate and ecosystems" leading to the mass extinctions of the dinosaurs and two-thirds of marine animals, and the destruction of much of the planet's flora."


But have no fear, the American Constitution "still constitutes, and the fact that flora and fauna have survived Earth's episodes of extreme violence testifies to the extraordinary imperative of life."

What's amazing about Will is that he still gets it wrong. It's unconstitutional to think that the Constitution "constitutes." It's the people who "constitute" the government and the Constitution says so. According to the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It's the people of the United States who are constituting the Constitution as the governmental arrangement through which they will seek to attain the ends of forming "a more perfect Union," establishing "Justice" and the like. Framers of the Constitution like James Madison were very suspicious that the vast majority of the people would act to dispossess the wealthy of their property and therefore created a system in which it was difficult for majorities to either form or engage in major legislative enterprises. But it's always the people, their elected office-holders, and the judges and subordinate office-holders appointed by the elected officers who act to achieve the ends of government--not the Constitution itself.

Ironies abound with the American Constitution. The Constitution was designed to ensure that Presidents and Senators were subject to elite choice rather than popular choice. And failed spectacularly in doing so. Presidential elections were popular affairs from the beginning and U. S. Senators were chosen by the ultimate political hacks--state legislators.

The American Constitution was also designed to ensure the continuance of the slave system and failed even more spectacularly in accomplishing that. In fact, the Constitutional system was so inadequate to the task of dealing with slavery that it took four years of bloody civil war to create a "more perfect Union" without the slave system.

The Constitution is being tested again. What the right-wing essentially wants is a Constitutional system under which people like Sarah Palin can pretty much do whatever they want and never get challenged. I don't think they'll succeed, but it won't be the Constitution that determines the outcome, it will be the processes which determine the will of the American people as a whole.

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