In the Constitution Party of Louisiana, we have been blessed with some folks that interact with us very civilly from the so called left side of the political spectrum. On occasion I have wondered at this phenomenon and have in fact gently suggested that they might be happier with another third party if they insist upon their collectivist agenda.
Upon reflection and consultation, I realize that I was absolutely wrong. I realize that the core self-styled conservative constitutionists of the Constitution Party that read this will probably let out a collective gasp of horror but in my opinion the Constitution Party is a natural home for honest so called progressives or liberals or collectivists. Before you call for my excommunication or public caning (kidding) let me explain.
TRUE BELIEVER LIBERALS OR COLLECTIVISTS OR PROGRESSIVES HAVE COMMON CAUSE WITH CONSERVATIVES AND HERE IS WHY.
I believe that if you are an honest true believer ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ or ‘collectivist’ that sincerely holds forth that folks are happier, healthier, more long lived and more productive when they are organized into a collective or largely collective societal unit then you desperately need to join the Constitution Party, and not any other party. Here’s why:
1 – I contend that if you believe that collective action is better for the majority of known human goals including species survival then you believe that given a geographical area over which it might reign and longevity well beyond the current eight or twelve-year federal election cycle such a collective effort will prove out over other economic or social models that stress the individual’s total or near total economic freedom. You believe that given an area of basic willingness of inhabitants to pitch their tents together and pull together and absent any hostile outside power trying to derail your efforts your ideas will prevail. I don’t personally think they will but I could well be wrong and respect your attempts to try your beliefs.
2 – Every election cycle the federal government grows in ascendant power and particularly the power of the Executive branch. It doesn’t matter which of the two major political parties are in power. Each of the two major parties tries to accomplish as much of its agenda, to service as many of its factions through executive action and also through by-passing constitutional thresholds and procedures in Congress as is possible. When it isn’t possible within constitutional limitations they do it anyway and hope to go unchallenged. In stretching the limits of power, especially executive power, they also set precedent which will be further expanded upon by the next party to assume power.
3 – Every year the two major parties become more hostile to one another, more like rival gangs, more willing to compromise principles to win power. They rest more confident that their ‘base’ will stand with them even if they compromise principle in the extreme to gain a new voting bloc. At some point only the most vocal and extreme factions are serviced.
4 – Every four or eight or twelve years the balance of partisan power shifts and one party works feverishly to dismantle the previous party’s efforts and programs while the previous party works feverishly to obstruct the efforts of the current party in power in any manner possible.
5 – No social or political or economic system or set of idea or principles are allowed an honest chance to succeed including the ideas of collectivists or progressives as they are hobbled or hacked down when the mood of the populist following public shifts. Alas, it always shifts.
6 – One day a party will reach a point that they can gerrymander the voting public or suppress the vote or outright eliminate the entire mechanism of two party politics. It may be a leftist, progressive, collectivist government or it may be a nationalist, jingoistic wild west free market leaning government. Either way the lessons of human nature tell us that they will have effectively achieved frightening power over a national military and law enforcement body and will likely wield it in a way that eliminates the opposition as a political rival.
7 – When one faction or another achieves staying power in D.C. the old adage of ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’ will likely prove to be true. When there is no competing model, no point-counter point then corruption and score settling and desire to protect status will be the overriding tendencies.
This means that there will be no competition of ideas. That may seem ok if your political party or faction is in power but your chances are probably no better than 50-50 that it will be your faction that is in power when the federal government transcends elections. Additionally, human nature tends to corrupt and debase any force that is powerful enough to force compliance throughout a land.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
So how do we conservatives and we progressives of good intent and who believe in our respective visions and ideals prevent what seems inevitable? The answer is to restore the constitutional limits on the federal government and to return both individual rights and collective granted rights to the individual and/or the most local government possible. The answer is to prevent the federal government from undoing a people’s vision or efforts at every party change by defanging the federal government and returning it to its original limited power functions. If you, as a collectivist, a progressive can achieve a sufficient majority in your localized area and can create a collectivist local model then you can preserve it from that flip flop of power that inevitably will happen and the inevitable federal monstrosity that will one day likely develop.
Sure your individualistic, right winger neighbors or folks in the neighboring town may set up a different, a near regulation free system of governance and a heavy public morality but people can choose where to live without having to emigrate across national borders. The Libertarian folks may create an even more anarchist system and no community moral standards. All of these systems can run and compete and offer different visions and versions of human life.
Eventually one or more models may prove to be impractical or may be forced by changes in environment or evolution of human nature to alter or disappear but it can be peacefully and absent the heavy hand of a monolithic federal government it can reappear if mankind reimagines it or if conditions change.
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION WAS A PRACTICAL & JUST COMPROMISE WITH ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTS AND HARDWIRED LIMITS.
The US Constitution was the grand, practical compromise that the so called founding fathers created. It allowed for real diversity of thought and purpose protected by a common desire to retain the freedom to try different religions, political systems, community mores etc. That is the vision of the Constitution Party.
Please note that we do not want to return to the exact societal conditions of 1789. The US Constitution does have room to evolve and one of the areas in which it evolved was the bloody fight to rid the country of the vileness of slavery. The issue was very much debated in 1788 and is one of only two issues that were initially made off limits as to change (for twenty years) as a morally questionable compromise in order to forge unity.
The Constitutionist viewpoint does not accept that all amendments and changes to the US Constitution should be allowed for to do so negates the idea of a codified constitution that is above the institutions it defines. However it does allow for much evolution and changing in an unpredictable future.
Load bearing – can not be altered.
Non load bearing can be altered.
I liken the Constitution to a structure. Some of the walls in the structure are not load bearing and can be torn out or moved. Some, however, are load bearing and vital to the integrity of the structure and can not be torn out without some alternate way of supporting the structure.
The 16th amendment altered a load bearing wall, a core precept/
The US income tax, which came to be by the ratification of the sixteenth amendment, is perhaps the single constitutional amendment most reviled by constituionists and seen as a negation of federalism.
It negates the rights of the state and local governments to raise their share of the federal tax requirements that are calculated by their individual population by whatever means suits them.
It creates a bypass of the state governments and a direct reach into the individuals’ pockets. It altered the roles of the federal and state governments and made the states client beggars for funds to the ever mercurial and powerful federal government.
Amendments such as;
- the 13th Amendment which banned involuntary servitude except by due process as a punishment for a crime.
- the 15th amendment which prohibits denial of voting based on race.
- the sixteenth amendment which prohibited denial of the right to vote based on gender
… are considered extensions of the original intent of the Constitution, evidence of which is seen in the writings of the drafters of the Constitution.
The principle of federalism which limits government at the top and defers powers downward is a vital concept that:
* Guards against a federal government assuming more power by its own initiative rather than by grant of the citizens of the various states.
*Guards against the danger of a single, all powerful government tyranny that cannot be defended against by any practical alliance of state governments.
If you truly believe that folks should provide for the needs of those that cannot or will not provide for themselves and that they should subjugate individual liberties and prosperity in a larger part to a collective need then your ideas are better served by the Constitution Party than any other party despite the Constitution Party’s avowed belief in the ascendency of individual rights. If you believe that the pursuit of individual fulfillment is the greatest and purest motivator of men and the greatest decider of ultimate merit the Constitution Party and the U.S. Constitution is still the best formula for your exercise of those beliefs.
The Constitution Party styles itself as a Christian conservative party in many stances or in barely obscured credo. There is pressure for a Christian avowal although there is a lot of opposition to any specific reference to a specific deity. There are a few moral stances rather than procedural stances that are made however they are also qualified as not the business of the federal government but instead, as per the U.S. Constitution, reserved for the states and the people therein. Christians in the Constitution Party, myself among them, do tend to seek a push back against the perceived vilification and attempts to marginalize traditional Christian morality. However there is much push back to keep the Constitution Party focused on maximizing self determination and limiting government to its constitutionally prescribed roles rather than making it an instrument of moral micro-management.
The concept of God given rights or if you prefer, ‘natural rights’ or ‘rights endowed by the fact of being’ is, however, vital to constitutionism. The concept that humans have certain inalienable rights that are not properly subject to a minority or a majority opinion is a core principle of the U.S. Constitution however your speculation on how we came to be or the involvement of a deity or force or entity is entirely your business.
Honest, true believer Leftists, progressives etc should have a commonality with conservative constitutionists. We are all served better by dismantling the federal monstrosity before it reaches absolute power than by betting on it reaching such power while our supposed ideological champions are at the helm. We are also better served by eliminating a top down cyclical dismantling every few years of projects and progress made towards our ideological goals. When we return the power of local groups of people to form the society that they most want, we increase the likelihood that such a society will have a chance to exist and grow or wither on its own merits rather than by partisan cycles that have come to more resemble gang turf wars than a government of reasonable citizens.
PROGRESSIVES AND CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERTARIANS ET AL BUT NO MARXISTS
I do need to qualify these remarks by stating that if you are of a Marxist, ‘communist’ bend that advocates a brutal or even benevolent dictatorship of the proletariat, until human nature is altered to never need government, then the Constitution Party is decidedly not a place for you. Forcing citizens to live and die for generations under tyranny to create a world without opposition to a specific ideology is a circular and authoritarian lunacy that is illogical and unacceptable. However if you believe in the power of collective utopias chosen by a majority of citizens in a specific locale then the Constitution Party is your best hope of ever seeing your vision put to test and succeeding.
So my collectivist friends, even though we do not agree on human nature malleability or motivation come over and join us constitutional conservatives in the Constitution Party of Louisiana anyway. We have a great common cause in fearing an ever growing federal behemoth. Together we can restore the sane, fair governance envisioned by our founders and get down to the serious business locally of forging the lives we want for ourselves and our posterity. ‘Tis better that we tussle in Baton Rouge and in Parish Seats or City/Townhalls than in D.C.