Providing us with the latest in a lengthy string of arrogantly clueless utterances, progressive Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has just informed the unwashed American masses that the Constitution is a rather murky piece of work. “My friends on the right don’t like to hear this,” prattles Klein, “but the Constitution is not a clear document. Written more than 200 years ago, when America had 13 states and very different problems, it rarely speaks directly to the questions we ask it.”
Every once in a while, progressives let the shield of duplicity slip and unguardedly display the mental confusion that passes for a thought process. Rahm Emanuel did this when he declared in advance of the Obama inauguration that a good crisis should never be wasted. Paul Krugman momentarily forgot a few weeks ago that proper liberals are supposed to publicly pooh-pooh the idea that “death panels” could ever exist. And now, Ezra Klein quite unabashedly showcases the requisite contempt for our nation’s founding document that is inherent in progressivism.
Ezra Klein and his ilk, after all, are philosophically invested in the notion that the Constitution is hopelessly opaque to all but the most “enlightened” among us. By definition, that elite group cannot include conservatives, since such pitiful Neanderthals actually dare propagate the notion that the Constitution may still mean what it did in the late 1700’s. No, no, no. Only the “best and brightest” among us (progressives, naturally) can mine the hieroglyphics of history and inform us what the Founding Fathers would tell us if they were alive today. Because it’s all so mysterious and unclear, you see.
At the outset of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, once the animals overthrow Farmer Jones, Napoleon the Pig establishes a set of ironclad commandments which cannot be changed and are painted on the communal wall, easily visible by all. However, as Napoleon’s control tightens over the rest of the farm animals, the rigid commandments are repeatedly rubbed out and reinterpreted to fit changing circumstances. In fact, within a depressingly brief time span, several of the original edicts, once allegedly fixed for the ages, end up being turned on their heads. What choice, though, did the poor farm animals have? They, after all, weren’t as wise and compassionate as Napoleon the Pig was, so how could they possibly discern what was optimal for them?
Thomas Sowell also amply highlights the contrast between the Napoleon the Pig/Ezra Klein outlook and the conservative’s respect for traditions such as those embodied in the Constitution in his magnificent tome The Vision of the Anointed. The “anointed” (progressives) view the vast bulk of humanity as hopelessly benighted slaves to the past who are fundamentally incapable of comprehension of the complexities of modern societal transactions. The corollary, then, is that if only the “anointed” few can implement their vision, utopia will ensue for the populace at large. The opposite point of view is that held by conservatives, who realize that there is wisdom in disparate bits of knowledge. Thus, a vast swath of people free to pilot their own destinies results in a more prosperous society than one that is managed by a few at the nation’s helm with a rashly inflated appreciation of their own capabilities.
The truth is that the bulk of the Constitution is abundantly simple to any moderately well-read citizen of the United States. The problem, of course, is not that the Constitution provides no reply to the “questions” of Klein and his fellow progressives; they just don’t particularly care for the answers they’ve found and prefer to manufacture new ones.
There is nothing that complex about the basics of the First, Second, Fifth and succeeding Amendments. For those who find it challenging to deduce the meaning of any section or article of the Constitution, numerous references exist for interpretation of portions that have become archaic over time. (The essays located in The Federalist Papers come to mind, as well as more modern commentary, such as Ed Meese’s Heritage Guide to the Constitution.) Even in areas where our Founders disagreed (and we freely concede that this did occur), a plethora of documentation exists that clarifies where the battle lines were drawn.
The sad fact is that the current occupants of the White House not only espouse, but cherish the same view of the Constitution as the baby-faced, but misguided Ezra Klein. One need only gaze momentarily at the economic, fiscal and national security track record of the last two years and the wreckage in its wake to appreciate the consequences of such profound and willful sophistry. A renewal of appreciation for the timeless principles evoked by our Founders, is absolutely essential if our country is to survive the two years that remain of unfettered progressive bully-pulpiteering at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.