Quote of the day—ebola05

Anyone who utters the words “the Constitution is a living document” or “the Constitution must be interpreted in the context of the times we live in” believes in a society with no governing rules.

These folks are not “Americans”, but true believers in the Marxist cause.
Ignore them or ridicule them.

February 9, 2014
Comment to Second Amendment applies to carrying guns in cars
[I’m not so certain you can safely conclude “the Marxist cause” but I’m confident the rest is correct.—Joe]


17 thoughts on “Quote of the day—ebola05

  1. Funny how the US Constitution is a “living document” but nothing else seems to be.

    Can my mortgage be a “living document “? How about my carry permit? I bet I can buy suppressors and machine guns with this thing!

    Is the US Tax code as “living” as the Constitution? Because I’d rather stop paying these people who think my rights should be infringed.

    • Of course the tax code is a living document. That what makes the politically driven executive alterations to deadlines and implementations that Obama keeps making to ObamaCare legal. It’s also why targeting conservative groups by the IRS isn’t really corruption, it is just keeping tax dodgers honest. Really. Surly you see ho obvious it is?

  2. The consistent thread, the pattern, is authoritarianism, i.e. a disregard or even contempt for human freedom.

    You can call it “Marxist” or “Progressive” or “State Capitalist” any other stupid name and it’s still the same thing. There are those who will jump at the chance to argue the various interpretations of words and doctrines in an attempt to show us how smart or educated they are, but the truth is utterly simple and basic; you either stand for liberty or you don’t.

  3. Prof. Randy Barnett, in his excellent book “Restoring the Lost Constitution” talks at length about this point. Briefly, he argues that you have to think of this (as Weer’d mentions) like the rule for reading a contract. A contract means what the words meant to reasonable people at the time it was signed. If the words change meaning later, that has no effect. Never mind if the words still mean what they did but it’s merely the wishes of one of the parties that have changed.
    So it is here. After all, the Constitution is the document that most deserves to be called “Contract with America”. So you have to read each article using the interpretation that normal persons reading it at the time of that article’s adoption would have used.
    By the way, that means “original intent” is the wrong term. What matters is not the intent of those who wrote the text — often that’s only a guess and some of the people involved did not have honorable intent anyway. What matters is the common understanding of those who APPROVED the text — the voters who ratified it. And that is easy enough to find out, just read the newspaper discussions and meeting minutes of the time.
    If you do this, it’s easy to see that those who oppose the individual rights interpretation of the 2nd Amendment are dishonest and use fraudulent argument to justify their anti-American goals.

    • This is the best explanation of the purpose, use and power of the Constitution I have read, and that includes the Con law textbook, hornbook and outlines in Law School. Even my professor didn’t say it this well or concisely. My leftist brothers and my Frothing-mouthed Sister in Law have a lot of vituperation against the Tea Party, much as Germans before WW2 had vituperation against the Jews, none of whom knew a Jew personally. Someday I’ll ask if they think the Mortgage contract they signed should be a living document if it should be interpreted against their interest the way the COTUS has been.

      • Yeah, very nice there, Paul.

        You’ve also revealed the Republicans and their “Contract With America” as being clueless at best.

    • Add me in for an attaboy for stating it so well! Another problem the Statists (I like Levin’s term, it covers from Godless Commies to theocracies) apparently haven’t thought of is that when one party to a contract breaks the terms, all other parties are released from the obligations of the contract. We the People agree to a degree of government interference in our lives to get certain protections or services in return. If the .gov is no longer abiding by the terms of the social contract, then we no longer need to. Much ugliness occurs when the rule of law is chucked out the window.

  4. How about marriage vows as being “living”, subject to endless interpretation based on the proclivities of the moment?

    How about a company’s published warranty, return and service policies be “living” documents? How about you click “Buy” on Amazon.com at one price, and they later tell you that their listed price, confirmation and receipt were “living”? That’s Congress. Anyone else would go to jail for doing that kind of crap. It’s called fraud.

    Now when we’re speaking out against government fraud, we’re accused of being “anti-government”, which means that those making the accusation actually believe fraud and government to be the same thing, “anti-fraud” and “anti-government” being treated as synonyms.

  5. The funny thing, of course, being that the Constitution contains within it the rules by which it can be changed to suit the needs and purposes of the generation currently reading it.

    The problem being that if those who view the Constitution as a “living document” attempted to alter its meaning in the official manner, they would realize that no one else wants it altered in the way they want it altered. So, instead, they “reinterpret it”, since it is a “living document”.

    • That was my initial thought: it’s a “living document” because the mechanism to change (amend) it is built in.

      However, that doesn’t mean it can be re-interpreted at a whim. The words, phrases, clauses – the whole language – means what it means, which is what it meant when it was ratified. Each amendment’s language means what it meant when it was ratified.

      I think when statists say “living document,” what they really mean is “flexible interpretation.”

      Here’s food for thought: we’re all familiar with what the Founders’ meaning of the phrase “well-regulated” was, when applied to the Second Amendment, right? I believe it’s reasonable to assume that – being intelligent, visionary men – they would only use one definition for the whole document, so what happens if we apply that exact definition to Article I, Section 8, Clause 3?

      • I think when statists say “living document,” what they really mean is “flexible interpretation.”


        If an idea is so good the Constitution should include it, then amend it to so include it. Fabricating it out of whole cloth is dishonorable to all parties involved.

  6. On the other hand, you have the over-amended state constitutions. California’s Supreme Court just ruled an amendment to their state constitution unconstitutional, because it violated an earlier amendment to the state constitution (which was the express intent of the voters).

  7. These “context of the times” people should be careful for what they’re asking.

    Let’s put a little context to the times in which the Constitution was written.

    The men who drafted and crafted it had just fought a war in which tens of thousands of men died attempting to overthrow and send packing their current rulers, who controlled the most powerful army on Earth at the time.

    If you want “context” then I’ll give it to you – they wrote every single jot and title off the Constitution to be as limiting to government, and as non-limiting to the people, as possible. Whenever any question comes up about whether a jot or title gives some power to the government or not, the answer, based on context, should always be “no.” If they’d intended it to be there, it would have been included explicitly. If it is not included explicitly, it was never intended to be there.

    Consider the 2nd amendment in that context, and you’ll KNOW that hell yes they’re talking about military hardware, machine guns, and explosives. They had just gone to war with the most powerful military on Earth – you think they were talking about hunting and sporting purposes when they wrote it? Do you not want people to be able to own nuclear ordinance because of the 2nd amendment? Great. Propose a Constitutional Amendment, and let’s get the States to ratify it, and we’ll go from there. Until then? SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED means something in this context. When these men felt like their government was infringing on their rights, they started killing them. Think about that for a second, and then tell me how much you like context now, hippy.

    If you want it there, propose an amendment and get it ratified by the States, and then let’s talk. Otherwise, everything not specifically listed in the Constitution is by definition “unconstitutional” and should be eliminated.

    • That’s a pretty good way of looking at it.
      It’s not 100% accurate, because the authors of the Constitution were, by the standards of the time, big government advocates. If you want to see serious small-government people, read what was written in opposition to the Constitution.
      A particularly clear example is Hamilton, whose proposal in the Convention was right up there with the sort of things today’s big government fanciers are doing. Read it sometime, it will blow your mind. It’s in Madison’s “The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Which Framed the Constitution of the United States of America”.

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