We Must Not Destroy the Constitution to Save It
April 1, 2016
I really worry that the Trump movement is a misguided reaction to the abuses of power by the ruling class in Washington, D.C. In our dire predicament, we need to be very thoughtful about our remedy.
Some presumably well-intentioned people are convinced that because federal politicians have caused the problems threatening America, only an “outsider” can fix them. I understand the sentiment, but a mere cursory comparison of the two leading candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination exposes the fallacy.
It’s silly to define outsider so literally. Donald Trump cannot be considered an outsider in any true sense, since he has been involved all his adult life in buying influence from, cavorting with, and enabling a whole host of D.C. politicians. Sen. Ted Cruz, by contrast, has fought the establishment more than anyone.
Let’s not forget that the primary movers in destroying America’s liberty, prosperity and solvency hail from the political left. The right hasn’t done nearly enough to stop them, but progressives have actively tried to supplant America’s founding ideas for half a century.
Why is that relevant? Because Donald Trump has happily supported these agents of destruction throughout his career, probably even more than he’s helped the Republican politicians who have been ineffective in stopping them. If you excuse Trump on the specious grounds that all is fair in business, then you are deluding yourself about the importance of adhering to America’s founding principles.
It deeply troubles me that Trump supporters, most of whom are Republican voters, seem unconcerned about Trump’s seeming indifference to many political issues and the scheme of limited government enshrined in the Constitution.. “That’s not important to us. What matters is that he has a lifelong record of getting things done.”
They argue that things have so deteriorated that they cannot be fixed through ordinary means. “Don’t give us your pseudo-sophisticated lawyer talk. You lawyers are the ones who have messed things up. Only a seasoned businessman can make them right.”
While I think that business acumen can be a great attribute for a chief executive, and even a commander in chief, a savvy, no-nonsense alpha businessman can’t run things with the same degree of autonomy he might run his businesses.
Haven’t we conservatives been horrified at President Obama’s flagrant usurpations of power — his continuous end runs around the Constitution? Why in the world would we condone similar actions on the right? If I am unfairly characterizing the Trump supporters’ position here, then what do they think Trump could do that other presidents could not?
I’ve conversed with a number of Trump supporters who have simply said that we need someone to go in there and shake things up — not a little bit, mind you, but at the level of a Richter scale magnitude 8 earthquake. “We’ll root out the establishment toxins, and then we’ll go about rebuilding our system.”
Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. If we ignore the Constitution, ostensibly to save it, we’ll never get it back. And that means we’ll never get America back, no matter how often we repeat the slogan, “make America great again.”
It is not just lawyers who appreciate the Constitution. We make ideal scapegoats, but constitutional patriots span the full range of vocations. It would be a grave mistake to chuck aside the Constitution just because it has been under relentless assault by progressives. I’m all for reinforcing it’s integrity through an Article V process, but let us never join the left in torching the document William Gladstone referred to as “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
Do we really want to grant Obama his lifelong wish of exacting revenge on America, as founded, by reacting irrationally and thereby abetting him in the destruction of the our constitutional order? Can you imagine the joy he’s feeling as he witnesses the havoc he’s caused? What a cruel irony if Obama crosses the finish line with the help of people who should be uniting to push him back to the other end zone.
Don’t surrender to the seductive lie that our national salvation depends on cashiering the Constitution, or that we must choose between presidential character and effectiveness, especially when we can have both. We are poised in this election cycle to elect a man who is uniquely qualified to restore our constitutional order.
It’s as if Ted Cruz has been preparing all of his life for this pivotal moment in our history to roll back the regulatory state, substantially reduce federal taxing and spending, structurally reform entitlements, stem the infernal explosion of federal power and restore power to the states, institute market reforms to health care, rebuild America’s military, seal our borders, end the environmental madness, and unleash market forces and robust economic growth.
We must not replace authoritarianism on the left with authoritarianism on the right. We must not dishonor the Constitution and the rule of law to preserve them. But we can turn things around if we’ll finally stand up to progressives with the same vigor that they stand up to America’s founding principles.
Let us keep our heads, behave like adults, and truly make America unique again.