Today’s open thread about the death of the Constitution. Tell us your story.
Summary: A quick look at our government’s latest blows on the Constitution, kicking the corpse. Please post your reactions to this news, and how the people you know see the Republic’s death.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
— Attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
Since 4 July 2006 I have warned that the Republic was dying, although I said we could still save it. Until this year the most common responses in comments were a combination of ridicule and disagreement. But the stream of grim news has eroded away people’s faith in the Republic’s strong foundations, and the comments have grown darker.
This year the evidence about the Constitution’s death has flowed in like the tide. Look at this week’s news, and despair for the Republic:
- “Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists“, Washington Post, 23 October 2012
- “Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent“, Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, 24 October 2012 — “Complete with a newly coined, creepy Orwellian euphemism – ‘disposition matrix’ – the administration institutionalizes the most extremist powers a government can claim”
Our reaction to this news, like the many similar stories before these, provides the strongest evidence not just that the Republic lies near death — but that it dies of neglect. Our neglect. We’ve abandoned it, as the love of liberty and self-government no longer resides in our hearts, minds, and souls.
Today let’s hear your testimony. If you have not yet done so, please read those two articles. Tell us your reaction. How did you feel after doing so? What will you do now? How do those around you react to this news — friends, relatives, coworkers, fellow parishioners?
The future of America
“There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile.”
— Marcus Aurelius, in the movie “Gladiator” (2000)
An optimistic vision appears as conclusion to Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006. “The predominate reaction of the Romans to the death of the Republic was resignation, as seen in the popular philosophies of the Empire: Stoicism, Epicureanism, Hedonism, and Christianity. How will Americans react when they realize that the Constitution has died? Reform, rebellion, or resignation?”
As I watch America die the death of a thousand cuts, I wonder if we are capable of anything but resignation. Passivity. Perhaps we are sheep, and that America will die with us. Its rebirth may occur only with another generation. And the history books will paint an unpleasant but accurate picture of us.
A last note: even if the Second Republic is beyond saving (I’m not convinced), the Third Republic lies in our future.
For More Information
- Conservatives tells us not to worry about the Constitution’s death, 23 March 2011
- RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died)., 5 December 2011
- “Lawfare” – using the law to undermine the Constitution (a powerful tool in the quiet coup now in progress), 22 December 2011
- The Republic has died. Let’s decide how to commemorate those responsible. Post your ideas!, 31 May 2012
- More death throes of the Constitution. Nothing remains in the ruins but politics., 20 June 2012