With the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights coming up as a major celebration for 1991, it's time to look again at that subversive document, the U.S. Constitution, the bicentennial of which we celebrated just four years ago. Much political mischief can be attributed to it.
The Constitution has been indirectly responsible for upsetting a tested and stable form of government that had served mankind well since the dawn of history - the monarchy.Once there were kings, men of good family who had spent their lives training for the job of head of state. If they came from a long lineage, they were genetically predisposed to leadership positions.
The kings were advised by a privy council, a group of distinguished citizens who had earned their positions by years of public service.
Occasionally, as will happen in the affairs of men, the transition between kings was rocky, and a few homicides ensued. But if a few pointless killings were justification for abandoning an enterprise, we would have to give up on Detroit.
Instead, the Constitution substituted elections where, by the standards of the day which didn't recognize women or slaves, almost anybody could vote. Anybody could be elected president and usually is.
As if the Constitution wasn't extreme enough, Congress and the states proceeded to guarantee the rabble the right to print what they wanted, hang around with whomever they liked, and, for all the founding fathers cared, worship giant turtles.
It was not bad enough that the document was incendiary; it also contained several bars to effective and efficient government.
The bill of attainder had been a time-honored judicial tool until the Constitution came along. Suppose somebody was doing something bad, really bad, but through an innocent oversight there was no law against it. The king and the privy council would simply pass a bill of attainder declaring the guilty party guilty and imposing punishment.
This country squanders billions on barracks and food for its armed forces because the Constitution prohibits the Pentagon from such cost-effective measures as ordering everyone with a spare bedroom to house and feed a couple of soldiers.
Wisely, the bicentennial commission has concealed the truly revolutionary nature of the Constitution under a fogbank of standard, off-the-shelf patriotic rhetoric. Through Pavlovian conditioning, the American public immediately becomes comatose at the phrases "founding fathers" and "proud heritage."
Certainly we should not let the Constitution fall into the hands of some of our allies, lest the common people begin decorating the lampposts with dictators and saying whatever they want to whomever they want.