Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why We Have A Constitution

I don't think I've ever provided a link to a Fox News program before. Here's the first.

It's the interview on Fox of Ted Olsen by Chris Wallace. That they are on opposite sides in anything is newsworthy in and of itself.

But in this case the reason I want to spread this news around is that Ted Olsen enlightened me on some of the reasons why we have our Constitution. It protects the right of all minorities against the possibility of a majority vote against certain individual rights.

That's huge.

It raises two questions in my mind. One, what is the correct view about whether the Constitution is a living document or not. In this case about human rights I side with it not being a living document. On the question of gun laws I side with those who think it should be construed as a living document.

So what's the difference, and why is that important?

The argument for the Constitution being a living document in the case of the right to bear arms is that its framers likely did not envision the parabolic, exponential explosion of technology which has happened since it was written. In the case of arms that's about the unforeseen invention of automatic weapons. In the case of human rights it should not be a living document since human rights are inherent, "inalienable" and not subject to change over time, except for progress in including more humans under its protection.

I've been fascinated with the arguments for and against different views about how the Constitution should be viewed; a living document, amendable within the context of changing reality, versus a document as immutable, even sacred, like the Ten Commandments.

I could argue either side and would be fairly judged as both right and wrong on both counts.

Humans long for immutable truths, which are, unfortunately, like beauty, beheld only in the mind of the beholder.

The author of the Book of John in the Christian Bible has it that Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Whether that scene is a fact of history or a scene which the author of the Gospel of John wanted his readers to accept as historical fact, for reasons of his own, the question posed, in and of itself, confirms to us that human beings, at least for the last several thousand years, share, even in our differences, the quest for answers to unanswerable questions.

I've somehow known for a long time that I am at least two people, if being of two minds makes one into two; one enjoying the quest for how everything works, and one fascinated with the quest for what everything means. The quest for answers to how everything works is likely to yield better results over time than what everything means. A brief history of science confirms that.

But still-----------------


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