Frequently, when I challenge the propriety of requiring mandatory sexual assaults or pornographic pictorial consent to fly the “friendly skies,” I am answered by the non-answer that the TSA is a Republican creation. Similarly, when I try to oppose bailouts I am confronted by the claim that many bailouts happened under Bush. These are just two, of literally countless incidences, of people defending the indefensible with the non-defense of “This is a ‘bi-partisan’ policy.” That is to say, “Our predecessor did this – so it should be ok for us to.”
This defense lies along the most vapid of logic! It is as if to say that ‘since my predecessor took it upon himself to steal, murder, cheat and violate the Constitution (and even though I ran my campaign under the premise that this was wrong) I am now in the right to carry on in this way as well!’ Carried to it’s logical conclusion… under THIS logic, there can be no objective behavioral standards placed upon our elected officials! Because the standards would always be only as compared to the last set of elected officials, they would constantly be degraded… as the next official pushes the envelope beyond where it was for his predecessor.
The “party-comparison/he-did-it/she-did-it” defense cannot possibly be a real defense!? If you are just comparing yourself to the other party (and not the Constitution), then you are only justifying your own misbehavior by the misbehavior of your opponent. The fact is, you can find members of both parties that believe in any given policy position, at any given time. You can find both Democrats and Republicans who are pro-gun control, pro-life and/or pro-war…. because both parties obviously have members who may support any given violation of the Constitution. No one party has a monopoly on the Constitution – and you cannot justify unconstitutional actions by the Federal Government on the basis of precedent. In other words, it can not justify your violation(s) of the Constitution to say that a member of the other party also thinks a particular policy to be “Constitutional” or not!
For this thinking to be an effective method of limiting the government, one party would have to be incentivized to be constitutional (in it’s policies) for its own benefit, because the only thing you can expect of “man” in the long run is that we act in our own self-interest. Thus, you would need to have a party who could not get elected without rigorously applying the Constitution to every policy while in office. Since we obviously do not have such a situation (as is made clear by the fact that members of both parties routinely ignore the Constitution and still get re-elected), we cannot claim ‘Constitutionality’ by comparing ourselves favorably to other politicians who are (like us) governing illegitimately and tyrannically!
The argument is made that the Founders had no idea what needs we would have for security in this Era. (As if this argument justifies violations of the Constitution). If there was a real need to forgo these rights, then make it official! Do it the legal way! I would rather they amend the Constitution to remove the 4th Amendment, than to allow the feds to continuously disregard any limits to their authority by acting as if the……. Constitution doesn’t exist and doesn’t limit them in any way, shape or form.
As it stands, one party will scream about violations of the Constitution when they are in the minority, and then conveniently forget it exists when they get into power. At least by amending it, they acknowledge that the Constitution ‘still’ exists!
If the Feds tried to float an amendment that eliminated the 4th amendment in the same way that they have done by allowing the TSA such free reign to violate the flying public in the way that they have… it would fail miserably. So, why is it OK to do it by Executive fiat?…
If the Constitution is not enforced in every Article, then it is unenforceable for any Letter of any Article!
If the Constitution is inconvenient, then amend it. But never, ever, under any circumstances, allow the Feds to govern as they have – with no rules to bind them.
Lest we forget Jefferson’s words:
“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
Tim Reeves (State Chair)
Libertarian Party of Oregon,
If you enjoyed this post:
Click Here to Get the Free Tenth Amendment Center Newsletter,