Listening to the Glenn Beck show last week, I was struck by an exchange between Glenn and one of his co-hosts. They were discussing the Monica Lewinsky debacle of the late nineties and paraphrased the national dialog at the time as something like this:
Republicans: President Clinton had an affair in the Oval Office.
Democrats: No, he didn’t.
Republicans: Yes, he did.
Democrats: No, he didn’t.
Republicans: Yes, he did. He just admitted it on national television.
Democrats: It doesn’t matter.
I’ve noticed the same thing happening today in the health care debate with regard to the Constitution.
Now that politicians like Nancy Pelosi have shown how utterly contemptuous they are of the ONE law they swore to uphold, we should expect to see more and more conversations going something like this:
Tenther: The federal government has no constitutional authority to take over 1/6 of our nation’s economy.
Statist: Yes, it does. The General Welfare Clause said so.
Tenther: No, it doesn’t. The preamble did not grant Congress hidden, unenumerated powers.
Statist: Yes, it did. The Supreme Court said so.
Tenther: No, James Madison himself said that it didn’t. And besides, the Supreme Court cannot impose its interpretation of federal power on the states.
Statist: It doesn’t matter. The Constitution is over 200 years old. Nobody really expects us to follow that stuff anymore. The Civil War showed the states who’s boss, and you’re a dangerous bigot.
Such has been, to a disturbing extent, the intellectual substance of a number of debates I myself have had lately. The unavoidable conclusion being that, as Americans, we can no longer take the moral authority of our Constitution for granted.
The fact is we are not debating in good faith with people who respect the document the way it was written — as a means to limit government while increasing freedom — but rather we are locked in a life or death ideological struggle with people whose real motive is the consolidation of power and the control of economic and political resources.
We must stop allowing statists on the Left (and Right) to couch their totalitarian aims in feigned respect for the letter of the Constitution. They are clearly subverting its spirit, and their “logic” has grown increasingly tortured.
Rest assured that as soon as it is politically feasible, they will abandon the pretense all together.
Josh Eboch [send him email] has previously served as a research analyst for the Tenth Amendment Center. His articles have appeared in various publications, and he wrote regularly for the Center on issues related to state sovereignty and nullification.
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