“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra
We’ve reached a pivotal moment in American history. No, it’s not: “Should we return to strict adherence to the Constitution.” It’s: “What comes next?”
The United States of America was that great experiment in constitutionally-limited government. Its main prospect was to maximize freedom by beating the authoritarians to the punch, establishing a government inherently hampered in its ability to grow and dominate the lives of its subjects. The result of this experiment has been centuries of unprecedented freedom and prosperity that has reverberated far beyond American shores. The bottom line: freedom works.
However, somewhere along the way, something happened to the concept of constitutionally-limited government. Authoritarian forces slowly chipped away at restrictions placed upon them, using every loophole possible to avoid established limits on their ability to dominate their fellow man. Now, we have reached a point beyond pretense where government brazenly acts how it wishes without restriction, spying on its citizens without enumerated authority to do so, engaging in wars without any declaration thereof, and laughing in the face of due process when robbing citizens of their rights. The question of authorization isn’t even disputed, it’s laughed at and dismissed out of hand. Big government won, and self-government lost. The Constitution is now just a piece of paper.
Now what? Where do we go from here? Now that government has won its centuries-long struggle against its constitutional chains, where do freedom’s advocates turn their focus? Do we attempt to throw the broken shackles of limited government back on authority? Or do we search for a new path to free humanity? Will we stay committed to the nostalgia of an achievement that, in its prime, ushered in an unprecedented era of human achievement, but whose prime is long past? Or will we innovate and find something new, something fresh, some even better way to give our species true liberty on a level never before seen in human history? Does freedom move backwards, or forwards?
The Constitution is dead. Long live what comes next.