I didn’t get a single question, not one since the last post. I guess this just means you all decided to see what I would come up with on my own, or there is no “you all” in the first place. Nevertheless, I cannot let this stop me, so I have used my horribly limited creativity to decide that this…
I’m not going to make a full argument here, but I did want to address one point. You seem to be under the impression that the Founders intended for the Constitution to stay more or less intact and be interpreted in the future to account for changes in society. That’s clearly in opposition to obvious observations and logic.
For one thing, if the Founders didn’t expect the Constitution to be changed significantly in the future, why would they have wrote in the mechanisms for amending it? Hell, why would they amend it ten times immediately after writing it?That clearly shows a willingness to change the document when necessary. If we’re talking Founding Fathers, Jefferson and Madison were proponents of many amendments other than the final ten. They were very obviously not dragging their feet here.
Logically, a document from 300 years ago that lays out how a government should run cannot be expected to work just as well as it did when it was first written. Today’s world is entirely different from America’s early days, and thus we must be open to changing with the times. I’m not saying the time period requires changes, simply that we must be willing to make changes if necessary. Along similar lines, this kind of government had never been tried before, and the Founders were aware of its imperfections. They were not fools, they knew that there would be some trial and error while things were sorted out. It’s called the “American Experiment” for a reason.
You seem worried that the core concepts of the United States written into the Constitution and Declaration would be in danger if revisions were made to the former. I see that as highly unlikely, whether or not actual opinions and policies support it, most Americans are very supportive of the beliefs that “all men are created equal” and have “unalienable rights”. I’d like to mention that we do agree that these should never be sundered from our nation in any way, however, I cannot realistically imagine a point where they would, in the predictable future, at least. Remember that many amendments have dealt with making these ideas a reality, so the revisionists, not the reactionaries, have a better score when it comes to protecting these core values. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that these ideas were somehow taken out of the Constitution or stripped of their meaning. If this was done by the people, it would be a failure of democracy. If it was done by the government? Jefferson very clearly laid out what should happen when government “becomes destructive of these ends.” Note that he includes the word “alter” in the proceeding sentence.
My interpretation of your argument is that you’re fearful of a bogeyman when there’s no real danger of it rearing its dastardly, unamerican head. You feel threatened by Postmodernism, and are hiding behind arguments that are essentially either glorified scare tactics or a pointless debate about objective or relative morals and values because your thesis itself is too weak to stand on its own in reality. I don’t mind the objecitivism/realtivism argument itself, I liked reading Eric’s and your take on it, but that being said there’s no reason to “combat” postmodernism if all you’re saving the world from is bad poetry. If you can’t refute my argument, could you at least give me some more examples of actual dangers of Postmodernism?
I am not assuming the Founders intended for all of it to remain intact, I’m assuming that the best course of action is to ensure that certain things do remain intact because they should and they must. Those are the ideas you identified, statements that supersede time. I do agree with you, on the other side of things, that those clauses which deal with specific situations fit to the times can be altered or abolished as necessary, no problem there. The problem comes when the two are no longer kept separate. It would be dangerous for us to start saying all of the Constitution must stay and can never be changed, we could never progress. However, I believe it is even more dangerous to go the other way and say that all of the Constitution is up for change. So I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t change it, I’m just saying we need to make sure certain parts don’t change.
Saying today’s world is entirely different isn’t necessarily true. Yes, it is different, but especially if there are absolutes, there are definitely important similarities so be careful there. So in the end, yes, the “experiment” isn’t perfect, has, and will, need changes, and I have nothing wrong with amending it normally. Like I said, the problem I have is when you begin stripping or weakening the timeless guarantees that I believe should never change.
You say that you cannot imagine us ever losing those guarantees, and that I’m even scared of a “bogeyman.” The problem is, we have already begun to lose some of those guarantees, and that is why I sought to address this topic.
I believe the First Amendment guarantee that people should have the freedom to establish their own religions free of persecution should be absolute and never change. Unfortunately, this has changed, and it has been limited already. So your idea that you cannot see anything like this ever happening is wrong, it already started. In 1947 the Supreme Court divorced the First Amendment from its original purpose and reinterpreted it without regard to either historical context or previous judicial decisions (remember, this causes “injurious mistakes”). The result was that the Court abandoned the traditional Constitutional meaning of “religions” as a single denomination or system of worship and instead substituted a new “modern” concept which even now remains vague and nebulous, having changed several times in recent years. By this substitution, the Court created a new and foreign purpose for the First Amendment and completely rewrote its scope of protections and prohibitions. What does this look like in practice? I’ll give you examples that are most meaningful to me. The following are all court decisions:
1. It is unconstitutional for a historic memorial, even to the fallen or slain, to contain a cross as part of its display, no matter how many previous decades the memorial had been standing.
2. It is unconstitutional for the Ten Commandments to continue being displayed in a solitary setting at public courthouses and government buildings - despite the fact that the Ten Commandments are a basis of civil law in the Western World and are depicted in multiple locations throughout the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal buildings.
3. It is even unconstitutional for a courtroom to display the Ten Commandments among a collection of other historic documents related to American law, such as the Magna Carta, the Declaration, the Bill of Rights, etc.
4. It is unconstitutional for a nativity scene to be displayed on public property unless surrounded by sufficient secular displays to prevent it from appearing religious.
5. It is unconstitutional for Christians to pray public prayers that reflect their own personal faith and beliefs.
The list goes on. I could name so many more. The fact of the matter is that this is restricting freedom of religion as the Founders had intended it, thereby exemplifying the danger of misinterpretation or disregard for original intent. Therefore, it’s not some unlikely danger, it is a very apparent danger and one that is increasing. My point is that the source of this reinterpretation without regard for original intent stems from Postmodernism. From the evidence I’ve provided that is a logical assumption, so wanting to combat Postmodernism for the sake of ensuring the continuation of liberties and guarantees I value is entirely justified. It has nothing to do with “saving the world from bad poetry.” Sure the poetry that goes along with postmodernism is weird, but I don’t really care about that. What I care about is the Relativist philosophy inherent to Postmodernism that could adversely affect the Constitution and society as a whole.
Now, you also said that I am “hiding behind arguments that are essentially either glorified scare tactics or a pointless debate about objective or relative morals and values because [my] thesis itself is too weak to stand on its own in reality.” First of all, let me say that personally attacking me and trying to belittle me isn’t going to help anyone, so stick to addressing the arguments themselves. You never once demonstrated how my arguments with either weak, pointless, or even scare tactics. If you read the continuation of my conversation with Eric, you will find it grounded in logic and rational, and clearly a legitimate argument, so I find your statement about the weakness of my argument entirely false. Perhaps you should consider that it only appears that way to you because you wish my argument were not true. So you asked about either refuting or giving real dangers and I believe I have done both. First I refuted the idea that there was no danger with examples, and in the process of those examples, I believe I gave you more proof of Postmodernism’s threats, though my original post alone gave enough evidence.