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On Constitutional Idolatry and Errors Concerning Rights

By stephenvk

It isn’t difficult to see that there’s a lot wrong with the world today. The simple answer to why is that man has rejected God, but of course that’s not sufficient for the sort of autists who go about dreaming up abstract political theories so far removed from reality that if they are not actively harmful they are at least completely useless in actual practice. One such theory that is quite popular among so-called conservatives (whose function it is to conserve absolutely nothing save for what the Left was pushing just ten years ago if that) is that the reason everything’s gone wrong is that we just didn’t follow this country’s constitution well enough, making an idol of it and treating it as though it were some magical talisman with the power to ensure peace and prosperity throughout the land if those darned commie libtards would just bow down to its infinite wisdom. To be clear I am not opposed to a constitutional government, but to put the trust one should place in God into a legal framework and expect it to bring about everything one thinks is good in society is absurd.

Even many intelligent and respectable people whom I look up to still fall for this meme and will make such claims as “I don’t have to worry about the government spying on me because I have the Constitution to protect me” when clearly it does not and illegality has never completely prevented any crime in the first place. It’s as the old Roman saying goes, “who watches the watchers?” At least with other crimes the government is a third party, yet in regulating itself the government has only the consciences and willingness of its members to enforce any laws binding it, and our leaders lack both. While the Constitution has utility in that it can serve as a reminder of these men’s offices, and as with any law it is useful to have at least some threat of punishment for wrongdoing and a written standard for how things ought to be done, ultimately it is not the law that holds power, but the men who enforce it. It’s reminiscent of Bagehot’s observations on British government, that there are the “dignified” parts of government, i.e. those which “excite and preserve the reverence of the population” (and they have their place), and the “efficient parts”, i.e. those which get things done.

This is how the powers that be can bend the law to their whims making up such things as a “constitutional right to abortion” or whatever else they want, even though the Constitution does not grant any rights to begin with. If one looks through the Bill of Rights he will see not an enumeration of rights but a list of legal protections for rights which are already presumed to exist as an innate part of man’s nature. (Perhaps it would be better to exclusively use the phrase, “Constitutionally protected rights”, but since I’m not Richard Stallmann I won’t beat anyone over the head with this.) To be clear, human rights are a moral or legal authority to possess, use, and claim a thing as one’s own, and the objects of these rights are those things which are necessary for man’s well-being in this life and salvation in the next (e.g. his own life, bodily autonomy, and the Sacraments, etc). Violation of these rights, i.e. interference with his ability to freely enjoy and defend these things, constitutes an injustice.

Error has no rights however, and free speech absolutism is wrong and was not practiced by the Founders as it is entirely possible to render harm to one’s fellow man or to offend God by his words, and it is the right and duty of the state to punish those who blaspheme, foment uprisings, corrupt the youth, etc as should be clear to all but the most deluded libertarians. “tWaNs WiGhTs” and the “right” to an abortion do not exist, and Internet access is not a human right except insofar as it is necessary for one’s livelihood because it is otherwise not needed to live, notwithstanding the ramblings of delusional NeoCities furries. And no, animals and AI’s can’t have rights as they lack immortal souls (though sadism towards animals is still wrong). Rights are also not simply entitlements, so my need to eat or have a place to live does not nullify your right to property except under the gravest and most extreme circumstances, though all are obliged to provide for the common good. Even the right to life itself may be forfeit, should one commit sufficiently grave criminal offenses that undermine the fabric of society and harm his fellow man.

Going back to the Constitution, while it should not be treated as a moral bedrock for society or a magic solution to the problem of government infringing on your rights, it still occupies an important place in our government for a reason, and it is the duty of legislators and Supreme Court justices to interpret it in a manner consistent with the common good [1] that these rights may be freely enjoyed by the citizenry. This might seem like common sense, but for half a century “conservative” thought has been dominated by the ideas of textualism, an autistic reading of the text alone with no regard for any outside context or even the intentions of its authors (though in fairness it is not to be conflated with the even more autistic system of strict constructionism), and originalism, which strives to respect the Founders’ original intentions and is good in itself but can become a form of autism in itself. This can perhaps be most clearly seen when conservatives get caught up in trying to answer the question of whether abortion happens to be constitutional when the real question is “Who cares?” as it is the duty of every living person to prevent or at least curtail such evils to the extent that their position allows. (As an aside, those who make it an issue of “states’ rights” miss the point entirely and should not be taken seriously unless they actually intend to explain why it is that a state has the right to legalize abortion but the federal government does not have the right and duty to ban it.) In conclusion, constitutions are a useful tool of just government, but their limitations should be acknowledged and elevating them to the level of Gospel is simply counter-productive.

[1] Apologies for the author's faggotry on corona-chan and climate change but his main points stand and he gets the underlying philosophy of government right, so I still highly recommend this article as it's a return to common sense after decades of the above-described autism and the anarchy of a "living constitution".

Tags: Conservatism, Sacred Cows