The U.S. Constitution embodies the Enlightenment idea that there’s a higher authority to which even kings and parliaments must answer. The U.S. Constitution is unique among national constitutions in positing that certain rights are inherent, not granted by governments. This is the belief that must be crushed by statists, who demand obedience.
This op-ed piece from The Economist executes an adroit act of misdirection. Fidelity to the U.S. Constitution is not fidelity to a document, as this writer asserts. It’s fidelity to an idea—the idea that government must serve the people, not the reverse.
The Declaration of Independence and the constitution have been venerated for two centuries. But thanks to the tea-party movement they are enjoying a dramatic revival. The day after this September’s constitution-day anniversary, people all over the country congregated to read every word together aloud, a “profoundly moving exercise that will take less than one hour”, according to the gatherings’ organisers. At almost any tea-party meeting you can expect to see some patriot brandishing a copy of the hallowed texts and calling, with trembling voice, for a prodigal America to redeem itself by returning to its “founding principles”. The Washington Post reports that Colonial Williamsburg has been crowded with tea-partiers, asking the actors who play George Washington and his fellow founders for advice on how to cast off a tyrannical government.
Read more at The Economist.