The Debate Over Constitutional Originalism
I first saw a reference to "constitutional originalism" when it appeared on my Facebook home-page last year. Facebook Friends sent me posts from left-wing bloggers who complain that constitutional originalism limits the government's ability to assist the poor; it ensures that people with wealth will control people who are poor; and also it hinders social equality. One blogger sent me a review of a book published in 2011, titled Constitutional Originalism, a Debate, written by two American law professors with opposing views on it.
Since then, other bloggers have sent me posts on the subject. Most have a Left-wing, government-centered orientation—quite different from the intentions of the Founding Fathers who authored the U.S. Constitution. For the Left, the possession of money makes people resentful and unequal; so, do away with money and substitute government services, where everyone gets the same. How did they get hold to that idea? Why would they expect it to work? Most of Bernie Sanders's supporters are well-to-do White kids. They would only select Socialism from envy and resentment, not from any practical considerations.
The Founders knew that, if they created a society where power emanated from the government, it would hinder human freedom, minimize man's creative powers, and cast society in a bureaucratic mold. Why on Earth has the Left not comprehended this fact? Government bureaucracies dictating how we live? No way! Only losers want that kind of government. People with self-confidence and initiative want to start businesses and create wealth. Wealth-creation grows out of the initiative and talents of individuals, who think outside the bureaucratic-box.
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, should understand as well as anyone the creativity of a freedom-loving society—from his own experience—and yet he writes as negatively as any left-wing figure about the U.S. Constitution. Obviously, something else, like envy and resentment, controls the thinking of left-wing intellectuals.
Reich and others promote national health insurance, national health care—something for nothing—where everything depends on non-creative bureaucratic types —"Let the government take care of you!"—and lead you into a dependency worse than fentanyl and cocaine.
Rather than describe the constitutional-originalism issue as a debate, I posit it as poet Robert Frost did: "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. . . . Sorry I could not take both." America, too, has to decide about the diverging paths in its corporate life. We are also sorry we can't take both; but must we all take the same road? Can't some of us choose one road in the fork, and let the rest choose the other? In other words, can't both sides of the fork lead to independent nations? No need for anyone to subordinate himself to the other.
All of the left-wing intellectuals would shake their heads and say "No, we have to stick together."
Although Reich, Chemerinsky, and the others I have mentioned, trained in law school, this debate is all about turf and conquest, not social equality and a caring government. The Left needs a nation of its own like it need a hole in the head. It has no philosophy that creates a stand-alone society. All of its talking-points bounce indignantly off right-wing greed, racism, and militarism. The Left defines itself by contrasting itself to the Originalists. It cannot create a theoretical nation with a philosophy and a value system, because it has no philosophy.
The Left has nothing that stands apart from the Establishment. If the Left had to govern itself, it would have to wing it from the get-go. All of the rebels are in the Left camp. If the government lost its hold on the rebels, they would turn against each other; so the Left has to stick with the Establishment, even while it treats the Establishment as the enemy. The Left has the frustration of a hanger-on culture, unable to break free.
If the Left had to create its own country, it would find out quickly, and first-hand, how difficult it is to create wealth. The Left doesn't want to just redistribute wealth. It sort of hates wealth, too, as the big unequalizer and divider in a society. The left-wing mind-set is the main reason that most nations of the world are poor. Equality just produces UN client nations, dependent on assistance.
In this political cartoon from the eighteenth-century, British Prime-Minister William Pitt steers the good ship Constitution through dangerous waters—a whirlpool on one side, a rocky outcrop on the other. The whirlpool represents monarchy. Note the upside-down crown that causes the whirlpool. The rocky outcrop represents mob-rule. The cap on top of the outcrop represents the 1789 French Revolution—the cap worn by the revolutionaries while they slaughtered the leadership-class of France.
William Pitt, who influenced the Founding Fathers of this country, knew he had to steer his nation past the extremes of governmental power and democracy in order to create a nation with wealth, stability, and personal freedoms—something that Reich and Chemerinsky have simply failed to grasp.