29th June 2011
The Other McCain stretches his fisking muscles.
Advocates of unlimited centralized power habitually seek to portray the Constitution as an obsolete remnant of the “horse and buggy” era, a pejorative phrase popularized by liberal proponents of the New Deal, key elements of which were struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. By the 1950s, however — after two decades of Democrat presidents — the court’s former conservative majority had been replaced by liberals, and for more than three decades the Supreme Court itself became an instrument for the expansion of federal authority.
And, if Justice Kennedy gets replaced by a Ginsburg or a Breyer, it will be so again.
Yet again note how Stengel stigmatizes the past — where Washington, Madison and Jefferson were ignorant of all things modern — so as to flatter contemporary readers as superior in knowledge to the Founders. “You know so much more than those old dead guys,” Stengel is telling them. “Why should we let ourselves be hemmed in by what a bunch of slave-owners with wooden teeth wrote on a silly piece of parchment?”
A bunch of people who, in Chesterton’s apt phrase, people who prefer Thursday to Wednesday just because it is Thursday. Progress is inevitable, therefore the future is necessarily better than the past, without respect to whatever ‘the future’ or ‘the past’ might include.