As we get closer to the breakup of the USA and EU, and their replacement with many smaller nations instead of nation-states, people are looking toward the foundation of our societies. They can choose either rules, or an organic measurement like who we are as people and what cultural values we aspire to. Most on the Right are still befuddled and enamored of rules.
Take for example the American Constitution. Widely-praised, it was designed to avoid the type of government that has occupied the United States for the last seventy years at least. But as some analysis shows, it is not even the same document, when we consider how much its interpretation has changed:
But good government has not been forthcoming lately. This isn’t the Constitution’s fault. Its commands have been disregarded, or reinterpreted, and its operations distorted for so long and to such an extent that it functions as our frame of government much less reliably than you might think. Though still to be reckoned with, the capital-C Constitution yields far too often to the small-c (“living”) constitution, another word for government as usual in Washington, D.C.—that is, government as we have come to know, fear, and resent it since the 1960s.
…Now is the time to think not only about draining the swamp but about keeping it drained, through a wise system of dikes, dams, and pumping stations. To prepare such reforms, perhaps we need a presidential commission to examine all the leading elements of our constitutional dysfunction.
Nietzsche famously said, “There are no truths, only interpretations,” a statement that seems ridiculous until deeply considered. Then it becomes clear that there are no interpretations without interpreters, and so even writing down a complex system of dikes, dams and pumping stations means that newer generations will simply interpret it as is convenient for them.
Since the original days of the Constitution, we changed America from a white-only nation to a mixed-ethnic European nation and finally to a diverse third world nation. We have allowed the courts to chip away at its definitions, giving us new meanings to terms that clearly meant the opposite originally. And we have used it as a battering ram to remove social standards and empower the individual to do just about anything, even the destructive and insane, with society footing the bill.
This would be disturbing, except that it is what happens to every society. Humans have not yet found a society that can resist it, because they all keep doing the same thing, which is trying to design a society to motivate people toward external objectives instead of internal ones. With external objectives, “smart” humans think, you can take mostly-bad people and compel them to be good.
Darwin, Jesus, Buddha and Krishna are here to tell us otherwise: people are born as they are, and they act as they are programmed to do, and they will not deviate, with very few exceptions, because that requires an extraordinary act of will that in turn needs strong force of intellect and force of character. Only a handful can do that, and the rest just act out their program.
The Constitution is dead, and it died of its own assumption that we could shape people into being more than they are. A more sensible view says that we pick the best, let them lead, and others emulate their example and improve themselves as they can, but mostly are kept powerless because their character makes them power abusers.
Shed no tears over the Constitution. It failed long ago. Holding on to it now is to lose the battle by refusing to strategically cede ground. We cannot make every all get along, all be good, and shape them in our image with words alone. Instead, we need to go back to what works, which is looking at the quality of people, implementing hierarchy, and tossing out these silly old pieces of paper.