I am ceaselessly amazed at the reverence people in this country have for the Constitution. Most haven’t read it. Most who have read it don’t really understand it. Yet everyone reveres it. It is revered because it immutably protects our rights and liberties – even while our government expands without limit and now represents an unimaginably greater threat to liberty than George III ever could have posed.
I suspect that the reverence is really for the name. The document is obviously not the same as the one penned in 1787. I refer not merely to the fact that it has been amended, but more importantly to the large sections that have been virtually redacted by judicial interpretation, as Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett discusses in his book “Restoring The Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty.” Yet after all these changes – while the supposedly identical document that created a small and limited government in the late 18th century now justifies the workings of the leviathan that towers above us today – the name “The Constitution” has not been altered.
I wonder what would happen if founding political documents were like computer programs – if every time an explicit amendment or a substantive judicial modification was made, the name had to be changed. How much reverence would Americans have for The Constitution, OS 27, version 2384.7, last updated 3/7/08?