Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Monday, January 10, 2011

The Reader

One of the most hilarious things last week was the near-hysterical reaction of many on the Left to Congress reading the Constitution aloud to start their session.  Personally, I appreciated the gesture a little but didn’t regard it as a big deal.  I’d appreciate Congress following the Constitution more than I appreciate them reading it. At worst, I could see someone regarding it as a waste of time.  But the reaction of numerous leftist intelligentsia was near hysteria, as if the reading of the document that defines our government offended them.  From those saying reading it out somehow invalidated “living Constitution arguments” (those arguments invalidate themselves) to those, as I blogged below, saying the Constitution was “confusing” and “unclear”—their problem all along has been that the Constitution is all too clear—they were constantly scrounging for reasons to object.

The weirdest reaction, by far, had to be the anger over the exclusion of since-amended parts:

Members of the House might have thought they were bringing the Constitution alive by reading it aloud on Thursday. But they made a crucial error by excising its history. When they chose to deliberately drop the sections that became obsolete or offensive, and which were later amended, they missed a chance to demonstrate that this document is not nailed to the door of the past. It remains vital precisely because it can be reimagined.

Having decided to spend their first moments in power proclaiming their devotion to the Constitution, Republican leaders might at least have read the whole thing. The part, for instance, where slaves “bound to service” are counted as three-fifths of a person. The part where fugitive slaves cannot gain their freedom by escaping to a free state. Or the part where ordinary citizens do not actually get a direct vote for their senator.

Thanks, NYT, for missing the fucking point—again.  The point was not to have a history lesson; the point was to remind Congress of the limitations of their power.  Of course, since liberals like the NYT editorial board don’t see any legitimate restraint on government power (except the right to sexual and reproductive freedom—right, which, um, are only in there as possible subsidiaries of the 9th and 10th amendments), this seemed weird to them.  Surely no one would want to restrain government power; so it must have been a history lesson!

The inclusion of the three-fifths compromise is the tell-tale.  Liberals love to bring up the three-fifths compromise when responding to conservative talk of the Constitution.  The compromise no longer applies because it was specifically repealed and, as I’ve said a million times, originalist arguments include the amendments.  But it’s a great way to call originalist arguments racist through the back door.

And that’s the real source of this faux outrage.  The NYT and others were hoping they could get footage of Republicans reciting the three-fifths compromise or the fugitive slave provisions.  They didn’t get it, so now they’re whining.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 01/10/11 at 07:09 AM in Left Wing Idiocy  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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