Interpretation, “Living Document” – Progressive fallacies.

March 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Recently in a discussion on someone else’s facebook Wall, I was confronted by a person who posted the following:

“I do belong to the school of thought that interprets the constitution to mean that our government exists to serve the American people. That is it’s only reason for existence. The constitution fleshes out how it serves the people.”
In the discussion this person also implied that the phrase “to promote the general welfare” in the preamble allowed for exceeding the constraints of the Constitution if it was deemed (by who I wonder?) in the interest of the people. This person was also adamantly anti-tea party and had a pretty deep-seated disdain for Sarah Palin and was pro-Obama. Just to give you some context.

Government exists to serve the people.
I agree. The issue arises not from debate over that statement, but over the question of “how does government serve the people?”
The United States Constitution in clear English language and with both specific and some broader law sets out the rules regarding “how?”.

The term “Living Document” with the context of interpretation comes from the title of a book written in 1937 by Professor Howard McBain. The idea was one that has been supported by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis Brandeis, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Al Gore but never mentioned or alluded to by any of the founders. Generally most supporters of this concept were and are progressives. Some might even be categorized as socialists.

While some might think there is nothing wrong with socialism, I contend that socialism on a national scale is contrary to individual liberty and freedom, the founding principles of our nation.

If you’ll notice Holmes and Brandeis were Justices on the Supreme Court. Supporting the idea of interpretation allows the Supreme Court to Legislate from the bench rather than simply apply the Constitution, which was the original intent of the Court. So this concept is one that provides The Court with broader power than granted within the document.

The concept of being able to stretch, bend the language of the Constitution through interpretation is most desirable to those who wish to act outside of its constraints.
No one can legitimately argue that one of the primary purposes of the Constitution and intent of the founders was to prevent tyranny. That is why the document restrains the powers of Government over the individual and empowers the people to stand against the Government if it exceeds its mandated restraint.
Now the Document does allow for “life” in that it may be amended, but outside of that process I believe that it was meant to be strictly construed.

The idea that we needed to search for the meaning or interpret intent of the U.S. Constitution was not something that the founders factored into the document and the concept of interpretation did not rise until the dawn of progressivism.

The erroneous concept of interpretation and flexibility outside of the amendment process is the only way progressives can circumvent the Constitution, and effect change it outside the amendment process while still claiming to be defending and abiding by its laws.This “school of thought” is actually subverting and disregarding the primary function of the Constitution to preserve individual liberty and prevent tyranny.


Entry filed under: Politics.

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