A Living Document? Well, that Depends
Our glorious President, and his almost equally glorious Attorney-General, miscellaneous members of his exalted cabinet as well as numerous members of the amazing Democrat politicians in the House and Senate are constantly reminding us that the Constitution of the United States is a "living document." To be fair, there are a number of RINOs that try to help with their agenda as well.
By "living document" they, one presumes, mean that they are able to discern the true intent of those who drafted the original Constitution and put their intentions down on paper in clear, reasonably simple English, which are opaque to the rest of us.
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, the three gentlemen who collectively wrote The Federalist Papers, explained to the American people during the debate over this new idea of a Constitution, exactly what the intent of the drafters was when they were coming up with this basic law that was to govern the government.
The present day "living document" crowd has evidently determined that Madison, Hamilton, and Jay were really only kidding, and the things that they also set down on paper should be ignored. Meanwhile the presumptive séances that must be going on in the White House and the DOJ, which allows them to channel the thoughts of these Founders, should hold sway.
A great deal of the discussion about just how "living" our Constitution really is swirls around the 2nd Amendment. That famous Constitutional scholar, and semi-famous actor, Jeff Daniels recently opined on Piers Morgan's nightly tribute to his own colossal ego on CNN that:
"I'm one of the guys that goes back to the Second Amendment and just goes, you know what, it was a different time..."
One can infer from Mr. Daniels that he is able to channel the Founders' thoughts on what they would have done if they knew then what they might know today.
What about that whole pesky "freedom of speech and the press" thing? Perhaps the problem is that James Rosen and the folks at FOX News can't channel the Founders the way the president and the grandees that surround him can. They just don't get that the Constitution is a living thing, and it can be aborted.
Or that really annoying "free exercise of religion" nonsense. Even though there are devout people who view abortion as anathema to their religious beliefs and their exercise of those religious beliefs, well, they just haven't gotten the message that they don't really understand that "free exercise" means what Obama says it means.
In looking at this view that our foundational document is "living" and can be interpreted to mean just about anything that the current administration (as well as earlier administrations going back to Woodrow Wilson) wants it to mean.
But the brouhaha surrounding the arguments of those who see the Constitution as a living document, which they hold can be aborted when it becomes inconvenient, is certainly not limited to the 2nd Amendment. Abortion itself, while not even mentioned in the Constitution, is subjected to their same logic.
In the 17th Century abortions were undoubtedly performed. But no government -- not local, not state, not Federal nor any foreign government -- would officially condone abortion. It might be discussed in very hushed tones, but it was, at that time, officially anathema. Yes, it was a different time, but human nature hasn't changed all that much in the 200-plus years since the Constitution was written.
So, because a fetus was not specifically protected in writing by the Founders, in the late 20th Century a new "right" was discovered. It was the right to terminate a life that was found to be inconvenient. A life that would have made life somehow less fulfilling for the mother. So destroying the fetus is just good mental hygiene, right?
Hold on though, as many late night commercials on TV would phrase it: They're not done yet!
Since much of this free interpretation of the Constitution is based on the view that that the Constitution is really, really old and "it was a different time" when it was written, our political leaders have expanded their interpretive skills to include an even older, much older, document.
The Bible itself.
Keeping it simple, just look at the current, Progressive view of just a few of the Ten Commandments:
Thou shalt not kill. Seems a simple enough concept, doesn't it? Unless of course you are wearing a suit and tie, aren't playing golf or basketball, and are using a drone and firing Hellfire missiles on our enemies and their children. Or if you live in Chicago -- or Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, or ... well you get the idea.
Thou shalt not commit adultery. Unless you are a President of the United States, a senior Senator from Massachusetts, or a Governor of New York State, just to name a few exceptions. Then it appears to be acceptable behavior, but only if you happen to espouse Progressive ideas.
Honor thy Father and thy Mother. This is no longer true, since the state will take over raising our children, "thy Father and thy Mother" will end up meaning Barack and Michelle. Think about that and try to sleep well.
Thou shalt not steal. This doesn't count if you are a former Governor of New Jersey, or if you have a future Attorney-General lobbying for your pardon from one of those presidents who also don't buy into the adultery thing.
I do find one exception to the Progressive mantra that if the document is very old, it can be viewed as "living" and can be reinterpreted at will. For one thing, they invariably decline to define "old". If they mean that the document in question was written before they, themselves were born, I can deal with that. The fact that it implies that all the history of the planet really only started when they arrived on the scene is a little egocentric can be ignored for the moment.
But if they truly think that if it was written more than say, fifty or sixty years ago it's "old", I have to ask just one question. If the age of a document, and the fact that "it was a different time", is the criteria to discredit that document and allow it to be interpreted it mean just about anything the reader wants it to mean, then why haven't take the same tack when dealing with two works that they seem to find extremely important for support of their agenda and tactics?
Das Kapital, by Karl Marx, for example, was first published in 1867. That's 146 years ago. Don't they think that Das Kapital is "old" and was written in a different time? And how about Rules for Radicals, written by Saul Alinsky? That was published in 1971, the year before Alinsky died. But that's only 42 years ago, so I suppose that's still current in their view.
Apparently Progressives view these two books to be carved in stone, unchangeable and immutable.
Jim Yardley is a retired financial controller, a two-tour Vietnam veteran and writes frequently about political idiocy, business and economic idiocy and American cultural idiocy. Jim also blogs at http://jimyardley.wordpress.com/, and can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org