The Colonel #36 The Constitution and Human Nature
“THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman… we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value.” The American Crisis by Thomas Paine.
The complaint of Progressives and their prodigy, the New Left, since the late 19th century is that our Constitution is too slow and too restrictive to be effective in our fast-paced times. They are right about that to a limited extent. The Constitution does make it difficult to pass laws and the process is slow. That was the intent of those who wrote and approved it.
The argument advanced by the enemies of the Constitution is that the time and conditions under which it was written have changed. They say our modern times require speed and expertise to manage the country in a way that is beneficial to all. The point that they willfully neglect to entertain is that the restrictions written into the Constitution are safeguards against human nature.
A government of the people, for the people, and by the people has a repetitive thread—people. Our government, like any and all governments, is in the hands of people, real human beings with all their faults and merits. The socialist longings of today, given carte blanche to do its every whim, will still be a government by people. The desire for power and promotion of self-interest are sewn into the fabric of human nature.
The dreams of behaviorists aside, we cannot rid ourselves of human nature—not by legislation, not by decree, and not by social distancing. The best we can do is try to control the worst of it. Government is a necessary evil placed by election or conquest in the hands of mere mortals. Our Constitution is an attempt to rein in the evils of government by making the process of government slow—so we can deliberate, and plays of the interests of one group against another—to keep power from being dangerously concentrated.
The concentration of power in unelected hands was the goal of Progressives and Leftists and they have achieved most of their agenda. In defiance of the Constitution, rule by executive order, agency regulations, and a horde of unthinking box-checkers is reality. Congress no longer makes laws—they hand out money. Money to buy favor and money to bend agency czars to their personal interests.
The cheap salve of government money doled out to the submissive has eroded the value of our way of life embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. These are more than documents; they are a reflection of the spirit of freedom that gave birth to this nation.
Adoption of the Constitution was the real beginning of our nation. Rejection of it is to welcome the tyranny it guards against. That the coming tyranny wears the mantle of “the good of all” will not make it less oppressive. Nor will it ease the sting that the death of the Constitution will be carried out by those who have sworn allegiance to it.