Thursday, January 6, 2011

Public reading of the US Constitution: Oh the outrage!

“Laws constrain people; Constitutions constrain government.”     -Source unknown.

“The Constitution is a document of negative rights.”    -Barack Obama

I’m sure we’ve discussed this before, but the state of high dudgeon among the chattering class in the last day or so, in both print and electronic domains, over the public reading of the US Constitution in the House of Representatives today, is sufficient cause to revisit the subject.  In fact, it’s more than sufficient; it compels us to do so, because of the complete and utter lack of knowledge many of the comments reveal.

The basic, inarguable facts pursuant to this subject are as follows:

  • The very institution in which the Constitution is being read at this moment, and the other branches of the federal government, exist ONLY because “we the people,” through the Constitution, create and ordain them.
  • The elected officials involved occupy offices that exist ONLY because “we the people,” through the Constitution, create and ordain them.
  • The responsibilities, obligations, and authorities of those elected officials are specifically and ONLY as enumerated by “we the people” in that same Constitution.
  • On those occasions where “we the people” determine that the Constitution should be revised or otherwise modified to address modern circumstances, there is an amendment process defined therein by which “we the people” may do so.

In other words, the clear consequence is that if any of the officials who hold power to govern because of the Constitution consider it irrelevant, malleable, or otherwise not germane to government of the people, by the people, and for the people, then they render themselves irrelevant, unauthorized, and without power at the same time.

I don’t know how much more simply you can say this: without primacy of the Constitution, we simply have no federal government, no President, no Congress, no Courts, and we have no ordered liberty.

What would you say if the local “Community Bible Church” dismissed the Bible as an impediment to its purpose and principles?  (OK, don’t answer that; in this age, this is probably a counterproductive analogy!)

If you don’t accept the assertions above, please let me know, and I’ll invite you to Other Side’s first annual organizing convention, in which your correspondent will install himself as Grand High Poobah, Exalted Potentate, Ruler, King, Lord Master, President, Speaker of the People, and Supreme Justice of the People in the Land of Poppycock.

You’ll need to wear your work clothes and bring all your tools, because the first edict will be that you find sufficient marble to erect a majestic statue of yours truly that stands above all the lands and subjects of Poppycock.

And if you’re wondering how we can do this, there’s no really good explanation.  But none is needed; in the absence of a Constitution, we can do it just because we can do pretty much whatever we want to.  (Gee…where have I heard that before??)


  1. It would have been a significant event if the people who read it and those who preceded them had followed it and the courts had not emasculated it. What might have we become had we had only obeyed the rules laid down and severely punished those who defied their oath?

  2. It is hypocritical to be reading a document that they and their predecessors failed to follow and whose courts have emasculated.The rules were there and we would have been far better off if they had been followed and those who broke their oath to uphold them had been severely punished.