Monday, May 05, 2008

Building Bridges

My friend suggested that I build a bridge. Since he knows that I have no knowledge of engineering, I presume that he meant this metaphorically, that I should be what the Romans called a pontifex--a "bridge builder" who connects people.

The problem is that it's not really that simple. If my position is one of maximum liberty for all, then of what material do I build the "bridge" between my position and those in favor of less liberty? If my position is to restrict the federal government to its constitutional limits, then of what material do I build the "bridge" between my position and those in favor of a government with fewer or no constitutional limits?

Who builds bridges between themselves and hostiles?--and yes, I define anything that represents an erosion of liberty as hostile. Liberty is an unalienable right. As Jefferson correctly observed, this is "self-evident." So why must we debate it?

"Congress shall pass no law" means exactly that. If you want Congress to pass any laws abridging religion, speech, the press, assembly, or petition, then you must first amend the constitution. Ignoring the constitution simply makes it a scrap of paper to be discarded upon any whim.

I'm not ranting here just about the government's presumption to define marriage and use violence against those who do not conform. I'm ranting here about how willing people are to cut and paste the constitution and the very essence of liberty. "Oh, I like this application of liberty, so I'm going to paste it here; eek! I loathe this application liberty, so I'm going to delete it."

That's not how it works.

Napoleon said "A constitution should be short and obscure."

Napoleon wanted to conquer the world and proclaim himself the emperor of all humanity.

Either wish for a constitution that is firm in its application, or pay homage to your emperor.

2 comments:

  1. Golf Guy9:16 PM

    The comment was meant metaphorically but with humor. As in - build a bridge and get over it. Something my kids use to say to me when I obsessed over something.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So then what do I go and do with such sage advice? I do the opposite.

    I never was one for subtle cues.

    ReplyDelete

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