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Ed Driscoll

‘The Constitution — Who the Hell Needs It?’

January 2nd, 2013 - 12:25 pm

Victor Davis Hanson isn’t known as “fisking” kind of guy, but in his latest article at PJM, he really takes a chainsaw to the op-ed the New York Times recently published on tossing out the Constitution. At one point, VDH writes:

Note the fox-in-the-henhouse notion that a constitutional law professor essentially hates the Constitution he is supposed to teach, sort of like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warning the Egyptians not to follow our own constitutional example, when South Africa has offered so much more to humanity than did Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, and others: “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012. I might look at the constitution of South Africa.”  Ginsburg obviously vacations in Johannesburg, goes to Cape Town for her medical treatment, and has a vacation home and bank account in the scenic South African countryside.

Seidman looks fondly on Roosevelt’s war against the Constitution (especially the notion that law is essentially what an elected president who has proper “aspirations” says it is):

In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations. This reading no doubt contributed to his willingness to extend federal power beyond anything the framers imagined, and to threaten the Supreme Court when it stood in the way of his New Deal legislation.

No doubt.

Not to mention offhandedly calling the other party Nazis, and believing, as he expressed in his 1944 State of the Union speech to Congress, that a return to the pre-New Deal America would mean “that even though we shall have conquered our enemies on the battlefields abroad, we shall have yielded to the spirit of Fascism here at home.” (Paging Mr. Orwell to the White Courtesy Phone please.)

But to get back to the fox in the 21st century hen house aspect that VDH wrote above, don’t many self-professed “liberals” or “progressives” who teach in academia loathe the subjects they’re teaching? History has largely become what an Australian professor once dubbed “Black Armband History” — from Columbus landing in the New World to the founding of the Constitution to winning World War II, it’s nothing but the story of oppression of “the other guy’s country” by evil white men. (Even those who built MSNBC.) Science and technology? Shouldn’t we have stayed noble savages? Besides, civilization leads to global warming. Sociology? Who are those strange bitter clingers in the heartland?

It must be fascinating to observe a world whose last 150 years, for good and bad, has been shaped by various offshoots of “Progressivism” and socialism, your own ideologies,  wonder why it all seems so terrible — and then wonder, OK, parents are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to send the poor little buggers here. I guess I better teach them something. But how, when I loathe the very subject I’m paid to teach?

(Once again, I’m sure the Frisbee Ion plays a role in all of this, somehow.)

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