Written by THOMAS SOWELL
The Constitution has been a continuing challenge to those who think ordinary people should be ruled by their betters. ‘We the people” are the familiar opening words of the Constitution of the United States — the framework for a self-governing people, free from the arbitrary edicts of rulers. It was the blueprint for America, and the success of America made that blueprint something that other nations sought to follow.
At the time when it was written, however, the Constitution was a radical departure from the autocratic governments of the 18th century. Since it was something so new and different, the reasons for the Constitution’s provisions were spelled out in the Federalist, a collection of essays written by three of the writers of the Constitution, as a sort of instruction guide to a new product.
The Constitution was not only a challenge to the despotic governments of its time, but has been a continuing challenge — to this day — to all those who think that ordinary people should be ruled by their betters, whether an elite of blood, or of books, or of whatever else gives people a puffed-up sense of importance.
While the kings of old have faded into the mists of history, the principle of the divine rights of kings to impose whatever they wish on the masses lives on today in the rampaging presumptions of those who consider themselves anointed to impose their notions on others.
The Constitution of the United States is the biggest single obstacle to the carrying out of such rampaging presumptions, so it is not surprising that those with such presumptions have led the way in denigrating, undermining, and evading the Constitution.
While various political leaders have, over the centuries, done things that violated either the spirit or the letter of the Constitution, few dared to openly say that the Constitution was wrong and that what they wanted was right.