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Progressives Don't Grasp the Constitution
Jewish World Review ^ | April 12th, 2014 | George Will

Posted on 04/18/2014 2:13:56 AM PDT by Jacquerie

In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

The fundamental division in U.S. politics is between those who take their bearings from the individual’s right to a capacious, indeed indefinite, realm of freedom, and those whose fundamental value is the right of the majority to have its way in making rules about which specified liberties shall be respected.

Now the nation no longer lacks what it has long needed, a slender book that lucidly explains the intensity of conservatism’s disagreements with progressivism.

The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the source of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.

With the Declaration, Americans ceased claiming the rights of aggrieved Englishmen and began asserting rights that are universal because they are natural, meaning necessary for the flourishing of human nature. “In Europe,” wrote James Madison, “charters of liberty have been granted by power,” but America has “charters of power granted by liberty.”

Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy.

(Excerpt) Read more at jewishworldreview.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: constitution; georgewill
George Will reviews Timothy Sandefur’s “The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty”

"Government, the framers said, is instituted to improve upon the state of nature, in which the individual is at the mercy of the strong. But when democracy, meaning the process of majority rule, is the supreme value — when it is elevated to the status of what the Constitution is “basically about” — the individual is again at the mercy of the strong, the strength of mere numbers."

Democrats have successfully sold the snake oil of democracy. Majoritarianism is death to a republic.

In the Framers’ plan, the democratic element was safely limited to the House of Representatives.

Who, or what body would serve as electors to the Senate, and Presidency was left up to the states. This placed an enormous burden on We The People, for the constitution left the ultimate decision up to us, via our state legislatures.

Well, we managed to screw it up. For a hundred and one years, the Senate has been an evil cousin of the House, populated with demagogues whose first and last loyalty is to their power and wealth. A similar movement for the Presidency, the Net Popular Vote, intends to finish the trend, and turn our once republic into a true majoritarian hell.

1 posted on 04/18/2014 2:13:57 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie

Democracy, the word leftists think trumps freedom.


2 posted on 04/18/2014 2:21:14 AM PDT by exnavy (Fish or cut bait ...Got ammo, Godspeed!)
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To: Jacquerie; All
Pardon my early morning oops.

Prior to the 17th, the states could, and many did hold elections for the people to determine who would be their senators.

3 posted on 04/18/2014 2:21:22 AM PDT by Jacquerie (Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better - Richard Hooker. Article V.)
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To: Jacquerie

ping


4 posted on 04/18/2014 2:32:12 AM PDT by gattaca (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Ecclesiastes10:2)
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To: Jacquerie

Even for those states which didn’t, legislative elections were often largely about who would be elected senator, turning them into something of a senatorial electoral college.

That was, after all, really what the Lincoln-Douglass debates were about, the state legislature elections.


5 posted on 04/18/2014 2:46:48 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Jacquerie

FWIW, of the half dozen or so states I’ve lived in, the legislatures were obviously and openly a good deal more corrupt than the Senate.

The true corruption is the power of government over the economic life of the country, forcing unions, businesses and all other special interest groups to take all possible steps to influence the government, if only in self-defense.

Once this road has been started down, it becomes startlingly obvious that $1M or $10M invested in governmental influence will often pay off with a much higher ROI than the same amount invested in plant, R&D or improving customer service. Smart businessmen draw the obvious and entirely logical market decision.


6 posted on 04/18/2014 2:53:06 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: exnavy

Oh, I think DEMOCRATS (not Progressives as they call themselves) know full well what the meaning and intent of the US Constitution. From all manner and walks of life, these rabid ideologues actively seek to deliberately misinterpret and confuse the intent in an effort to bend it around their twisted ideological fingers.

They know full well what it is and what it means; and they do not like it one doggone bit!


7 posted on 04/18/2014 2:56:24 AM PDT by Gaffer (Comprehensive Immigration Reform is just another name for Comprehensive Capitulation)
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To: Jacquerie

Progressives think the Constitution should be about government’s rights, not the people’s rights.


8 posted on 04/18/2014 3:17:59 AM PDT by Telepathic Intruder (The only thing the Left has learned from the failures of socialism is not to call it that)
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To: exnavy

Slime like Saul Alinsky and zer0, thoroughly GET the constitution which is why they push the democracy lie. As if the constitution can be changed without an amendment of convention.

As a constitutional republic we are bound by this liberty guaranteeing document.


9 posted on 04/18/2014 3:18:10 AM PDT by Vaquero (Don't pick a fight with an old guy. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.)
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To: Jacquerie
What disturbs progressives is that the Constitution puts much more emphasis on government Don'ts than government Do's.
10 posted on 04/18/2014 3:24:51 AM PDT by windsorknot
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To: Jacquerie
Progressives Don't Grasp hate the Constitution

Evil, racist, white man's law...

11 posted on 04/18/2014 3:28:55 AM PDT by Altura Ct. (i)
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To: windsorknot
Well it's a good thing we don't try to get them to understand that The United States of America is a Democratic Republic.

They are confused and delusional enough.

12 posted on 04/18/2014 4:11:28 AM PDT by mabarker1 (Please, Somebody Impeach the kenyan!!!!)
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To: Jacquerie

They grasp the constitution and used it very effectively to promote their agenda. Once their agenda was accomplished they ignore and deny the constitution rights of others to protect their gains.


13 posted on 04/18/2014 5:09:33 AM PDT by Brooklyn Attitude (Things are only going to get worse.)
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To: Jacquerie

Good article. I quibble with Will’s headline though. The LEFT “grasps” the Constitution all too well. They profoundly understand it and reject it. The LEFT rejects the Constitution because it restrains their power.

Obama has called the Constitution a “flawed document”, a “charter of negative rights”, which lists things the government “can’t do to you”—but it does not list things the government “should do FOR you.”

The LEFT understands that they have to use the tyranny of the majority to implement those “positive rights”—things like Obamacare, equal pay for women, affirmative action, gay marriage, saving the world from global warming and the Foodstamp Nation.


14 posted on 04/18/2014 5:27:56 AM PDT by SC_Pete
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To: Jacquerie

It’s not so much that the Left doesn’t understand the Constitution, the fact is that they reject it.


15 posted on 04/18/2014 5:30:02 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Jacquerie

George Will is finally allowed to be the conservative he is. Good move leaving ABC.


16 posted on 04/18/2014 5:31:52 AM PDT by jersey117
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To: Jacquerie
They do understand the evils [/s] of the Electoral College. That is why they are trying to do away with it. That way, the more populated cities will basically control elections.

Where do most Libs live?

New York joins campaign to end Electoral College role in presidential elections
17 posted on 04/18/2014 5:38:21 AM PDT by TomGuy
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To: Jacquerie

Of course they don’t, because their worldview is based on the wrong assumptions about the nature of mankind.

The Constitution was written with the (right) assumption of the fallen nature of Man, that he can’t be trusted with power over others, but at the same time, that fallen nature must have some sort of external governance as well. It was a good, but not perfect, balance.

“Progressives”, ie, humanists, believe in the “basically good” nature of Man, and believe that the elites will naturally gravitate towards leadership, and should be trusted with the power necessary to create the environment in which everyone else will behave according to their “basically good” nature.


18 posted on 04/18/2014 5:38:22 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: Jacquerie; All

Thanks for posting, Jacquerie.

What’s Will smoking? Didn’t he get the memo from the Marxist that…

“Generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties.” - King Hussein

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jr9mLB3yKs

A glimpse inside the criminal mind. Debates with them have always worked so well throughout history. Witness current events.


19 posted on 04/18/2014 5:46:13 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: Jacquerie

Prog’s want control. Period. They’re smarter than everyone. They know what’s best for everyone. They ignore or defile our COTUS because it does not support their desire - control over all things.


20 posted on 04/18/2014 7:16:52 AM PDT by polymuser
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To: PGalt

Mark Levin is discussing this article. Nice analysis.


21 posted on 04/18/2014 3:13:45 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Obama has established executive branch precedents that no election can reverse.)
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To: Jacquerie
It may be that the totalitarian streak was always in progressive political aspirations, that used to give such strident lip service to freedom and human rights. Once in power, it's all about power and nothing else. And that isn't just in the United States.

Things start to get a little scary when one wakes up to find oneself in a class that is accused of every sin imaginable and whose members have forfeited equal protection under the law merely for being in the class. "Social justice" that is nominally about redistribution of political rights between groups inevitably acts as a cover for the relentless oppression of one or more of them. That is why political rights should not reside in groups, or classes, but in individual citizens. Social activists have discarded that basic principle. Perhaps that's where the totalitarian streak comes from.

22 posted on 04/18/2014 3:22:53 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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