Constitutionalists vs. 'Interpretationists'
The new House Republican leadership is smart to inaugurate their return to power by reading aloud the U.S. Constitution on the House floor. Recalling America's founding principles is never a bad idea. To some on the left, though, the Constitution doesn't mean what it says, but is to be interpreted by judges and politicians. To liberals, this means the document is useful only when it advances a "progressive" economic, political and social agenda. Otherwise, it must be considered a relic of a bygone era.
The Constitution, according to liberal thinking, was written at a time when people -- including some of its signers -- owned slaves and so we moderns must interpret and regularly update it, like computer software. These "interpretationists" are like people who appeal to biblical authority when it appears to support their earthly agenda ("turn the other cheek" means unilateral disarmament; numerous verses about helping the poor mandates government welfare), but ignore it when it offends secular pursuits (abortion, homosexuality, income redistribution, capital punishment).
The Emancipation Proclamation and constitutional amendments redressed grievances, such a slavery and voting rights for women. These came not because the Constitution was flawed, but because succeeding generations realized we had failed to live up to its noble precepts, which included the Preamble and its philosophical foundation, the Declaration of Independence. Our rights do not originate with government, but they are to be "secured" by government.
In a recent appearance on MSNBC,
It is a given that the courts interpret the Constitution for a modern age. The Founders could not have anticipated what the America of 2011 would look like. They set down certain principles that could guide us into the future. These principles -- like limited government -- transcend eras. As with Scripture, the Constitution contains eternal truths. If followed, one leads to a more ordered life in America and the other to a better afterlife.
House Republicans may not get far with their promise to require any new legislation to be justified by constitutional language, but the public will get a history lesson about the intentions of the Founders. This lesson will remind a new generation how wise the Founders were and what we have forgotten that they tried to teach us.
That portion of the public which has clamored for change from what they regard as the Obama administration's brand of socialism must not be content with congressional hearings broadcast on the Internet, or legislation posted on a website several days before members cast votes. Those who want smaller and less costly government must do more to take charge of their own lives, serving as examples for others. This means investing wisely for one's own retirement and maintaining a healthy lifestyle to lessen the need for hospitals and medicines.
Failure to engage
Read the latest political news.
- Obama Faces the Same Problems in 2011
- GOP's John Boehner Gets House Speaker's Gavel
- Good Teen Pals = Good Politics?
- Boehner, Pelosi, Haley, Ryan and Others to Watch in 2011
- New Era of Bipartisanship in 2011? No Chance
- Congress to Tackle Healthcare and Filibuster Rules
- Democrats Push for Filibuster Rule Change
- Republicans Charge Harry Reid Power Grab on Filibuster
- Lame Duck Session Was Successful For The President's Party
- Constitutionalists vs. 'Interpretationists'
- 2010 Midterm Elections Set Campaign Spending Records
- Biden Hints at Obama Reelection Themes
- Obama's Toughest Year Ahead?
- How Obama Is Failing at the Dramatic Side of the Presidency
- The Founding Fathers: Religion and God
- Ham-and-Egg Justice
- Obama's Hawaii Vacation Is Revealing
- Like Sarah Palin Early Feminists Were Pro-Life
- They're Back! The Return of the Death Panels
- Don't Reignite 'Death Panel' Insanity
- Sarah Palin: She Told Us So
- Why the Rich Are Getting Richer
- A Far From Happy New Year
- The American 21st Century
- Defense Is On The Table
- A Leaner and Meaner Defense
- The Political Power of Social Media
- The Good News About Gas
- Post-Census Party-Pooping
- The Would-be GOP Kings
- Generation Next
- Every Man a King
- Believe in Violence and Be Saved
- Inside the Tea Party Revolution
- John Boehner, Sarah Palin and When Crying Is OK in Politics
- Obama and Clinton Share Personality Traits
- Grand Compromise Brings More Spending
- Barack Obama: The New Comeback Kid
- Swimming in Blessings; Drowning in Complaints
- Time for the 2010 Freeby Awards
- A Reliable Prediction
- The Year Washington Became 'Business-Friendly'
- South American Diary
- Obama's Pending Assignment: Reconnecting With Hispanics and Latin America
- Our Government has Become Greedy
- When Will Obama Go 'Gangster'
- Transcending Progressive Discord
- John Boehner's Curious Tears
- A Tractable and Pragmatic President
- The President's Tax Deal Is Just More Trickle-Down Economics
- President Obama: A Decent Deal, a Weak Sales Job
- Questions for Democrats
- The American Jobs Emergency Requires Action
- Why Not Soak the Rich?
- President Obama Takes on the Liberal Democrats
- President Obama's Surrender
- Reigniting the Spirit of 2008
- Learning the Constitution Is Essential for Americans
- Obama-Clinton's Tag Team Show
- Behind Bill Clinton's Smile
- Obama Tax Deal Debate Is a Classic Beltway Christmas Story
- Voters Say Obama Has No Clear Narrative
- When Words Fail
- 10 Senate Democrats Targeted for Defeat in 2012
- Senators Amass Campaign War Chests Ahead of 2012
- Redefining the Global Warming Debate
- The Need to Protect Our Aging Workforce
- First They Came for My Twinkie ...
- More Nixon Wisdom
- Politics Without Labels? What a Silly Concept
- No Backslide for House Ethics
- Obamacare in Critical Condition
- The Death of Health Care Reform
- Sarah Palin's Economy
- In a Giving Mood But Only Toward Rich
- Congress Must Help Struggling Families Not Millionaires
Available at Amazon.com:
Constitutionalists vs. 'Interpretationists' | Politics
(c) 2011 CAL THOMAS DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.