A recent New York Times editorial by Georgetown University professor Louis Michael Seidman suggests that it is time for Americans to “give up on the Constitution.”
“As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken,” Seidman writes in “Let’s Give Up on the Constitution.” “But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all of its archaic idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.”
Seidman is able to speak with the utmost authority on the issue because of his 40-year experience as a constitutional law professor. Seidman writes that he is “ashamed” it took him so long to see how “bizarre” America’s reliance on the Constitution really is. After all, our obsession with the document has “saddled us with a dysfunctional political system that has kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse.”
Despite his insistence that America’s “devotion to the document” is counterproductive, Seidman does not believe we should disobey all of its commands. For example, the freedom of speech and religion and equal protection should continue to be observed “out of respect but not obligation.”
On radio this morning, Glenn took issue with Seidman’s utopian notion that somehow a government that has proven incapable of fulfilling its own constitutionally defined responsibilities would continue uphold our freedoms simply out of respect.
“So you’re going to respect my freedom of speech,” Glenn asked. “You have no legal obligation to do it, but you’re going to respect my freedom of speech? You’re going to respect my freedom of religion to practice my religion or lack thereof? You’re just going to do that because you’re good guys?”
Seidman insists that it is not “a poetic piece of parchment” that has preserved our political stability for some 200 years, but rather “the sense that we are one nation and must work out our differences.” Furthermore, he takes issue with the fact that much of the “constitutional language is broad enough to encompass an almost infinitely wide range of positions.”
“What do we stand for anymore? He says we don’t need a document that says it. Damn right we do. I want everything in writing. I want absolutely everything in writing,” Glenn said. “That’s the point of the Constitution. This guy… that’s the point of having a broad constitution, if it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, what difference is it to me? This is the ultimate libertarian document.”