If students in American academia were asked what they believe the purpose of the U.S. Constitution is, how would you imagine most would answer? Would they say it is the law of the land? Would they say it is intended to set limits on the authority of the federal government? Would they lean towards the progressive tilt as embraced by President Obama and consider it a “charter of negative liberties ” that doesn’t address what federal and state governments must do on your behalf? I’ve no intention of answering the question with statistics. How you answer will generally define your political leanings to the left or right.
History doesn’t leave the question of the purpose of our Constitution unanswered. The Articles of Confederation were drafted to win the Revolutionary War. They failed because they didn’t provide the authority required to match the mandate. When the Constitutional Convention took place, the Virginia Plan was the basis for replacing, not modifying, the Articles of Confederation. It’s quite clear that America had serious reservations about empowering its own over bearing central government as it had just broken free from an over bearing King. The result was the compromise intended to empower a central government strong enough to lead but not so strong as to control its citizens.
There is no doubt that the progressives of today led by the President are attempting to rewrite the intentions of the Constitution. The vagueness of the text is purposeful so as to not invalidate itself as time passes as different eras come and go. The ability to interpret it and alter it through the amendment process are tools for longevity, not obsolescence. The lack of specific and focused text pertaining to the agenda items the President longs for are a prime example of limits on power. That wasn’t short-sightedness on behalf of the Founders, rather it was the intentional limits on centralized power that the progressives detest.
Unfortunately, the American experiment with a Constitutionally limited republic has failed. America is not a free country. There still remains a vast number of delusional people who believe the ‘system’ can still work and self-correct. Simply elect the right people and nothing that has been done cannot be undone. Those views are what should be truly considered extremist today as they deny reality. Since no one can define a tipping point in which we can all agree takes us past the point of no return, society will find itself past it before it knows it. The Founders put in place a system requiring the integrity of man to be superior to his faults. Checks and balances only work when there are true differences among elected officials.
Defining what it means to have failed as a country is an exercise in futility. Even if we get to the point of concentration camps and gulags feeding us our daily supply of gruel, you would have those who still deem it necessary to protect us from ourselves, say in the face of the aftermath of a nuclear war. So don’t expect the N.Y. Times to ever declare on its front page that America is officially dead. Whatever comes to pass will simply be. Interpretation and mis-interpretation will still rule the day.
I suspect that over time we will see a continued metamorphosis of our major political parties. I think you’ll see what is considered a standard conservative today will evolve to adopt the environmentalist movement as part of its platform. The basic reasoning behind sustainability and protecting the environment is really far more suited to a conservative ideology than it is to a radical, progressive thought process. This will likely take many years, decades to be sure. We’re already seeing the roots of discontent as the tent of progressivism is a bit too large to encompass all aspects of everything environmental.
Conservatives are adamantly opposed to public financing of the crony-corporatism version of capitalism we see so much of today. Public perception is that the right favors the rich, corporate America and is anti-social safety net. True conservatives won’t adhere to a capitalism, free market first mantra at any expense. With government the enabler of Wall Street and corporate America, public investment of green initiatives will blur the lines even further. Healthcare is already well on its way as Obamacare is the initial step to eliminate the private healthcare industry and incorporate healthcare into the government monopoly. We’ll see the separation occur when true issues designed to protect the environment are distinct from the profiteers simply wishing to co-opt a movement for profit. Conservatives will align with those that are outside the lines.
As I said, it won’t happen quickly. But it will be a natural progression. Just as the liberal agenda has dramatically shifted from the 1960’s, we’ll see the conservatives further part ways from today’s GOP and incorporate what the left discards as not worthy. The lines between the GOP and the Democrat Party are blurring more everyday as the military-industrial-corporate-government partnership keeps growing. When you take the political rhetoric out of it, ignore the soundbites and talking points generated for public consumption, you see a clear bottom line in which both parties pursue parallel agendas which lead to all things big. The class separation continues as the middle class is squeezed.
Will America crumble when the world economic crash hits? Will the financial system and our currency implode? Will there be civil unrest and chaos in the streets? Will the country fracture into regions with differing currencies and governments? Frankly, it’s hard not to see how but experience has taught me nothing is for sure except the end as the Good Book tells us. So don’t be surprised if the elites find a way to pick up the pieces and keep some version of the gravy train going in the aftermath without the American story relegated to the history books just yet.