Just Enforce the Constitution We Have (?)

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As our once republic swirls down the drain of despotism, a common call from conservatives is to “just enforce the constitution we have.” In a perfect world of cuddly puppies and chocolate rivers, we could live in unspoiled freedom and happiness if we only enforced the written constitution.

The problem is that no nation ever was, nor will ever be, composed of saints. If men were saints, government wouldn’t be necessary. If that sounds familiar, it should. After years of study on the nature of government in general, and republics in particular, James Madison and other framers rediscovered a maxim that was largely forgotten by 1913, and is sadly forgotten today by most Americans.

That is, the structure of government is all important. Insofar as supporting or hindering freedom and happiness, governmental structure trumps the significance of virtue or licentiousness of the people.

Does the constitution of 1787 reflect unbridled confidence in virtue? Of course not. If the framers supposed only moral men would go into government, then a simple republican structure consisting of a popularly elected, single house legislature would be all that was needed. This fantasy legislature composed of upright men would issue laws that a moral populace would readily agree to and support.

Rather than assume a nation of angels, the constitution assumed a nation of public rogues.

This isn’t to be confused with private behavior, for even the worst monsters in history often had stable and loving families. Don’t doubt that Nancy Pelosi or even the loathsome Van Jones are not devoted parents and spouses. Domestically, among their families, they may be models of upright character. As holders of any public trust, they are demons.

Far from embracing simplicity or counting on public virtue, the constitution set up a complex system designed to prevent the accumulation of legislative, executive, judicial powers in one, few, or many men. That should sound familiar as well, and if a little time in rational thought is spent on it, it should be clear that is not the system we live under today.

Our government is in rapid transition for the worse. Power increasingly concentrates in the executive and judicial branches. Obama’s practical authority is limited only by what he thinks he can politically get away with, and there is never any telling what opinions will emerge from the social justice warriors of the supreme court.

For the past few years we’ve sent dozens of Tea Party conservatives to congress. How many went wobbly or full rino? This isn’t to say we shouldn’t seek out the best among us. It means the careful selection of reps is insufficient to save our sinking republic.

Fortunately, the framers provided an out, a constitutional and almost extra-congressional route to restore the all-important structure of government necessary to restore free government.

Repeal the 17th. Restore federalism. Article V. NOW!