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What is the U.S. Constitution, Really? Libertarians and The Great Deconstruction.

When you spend any time with Libertarians, they say that as arch-conservatives, they’re pro-Constitution. But they add a qualifier. They like the Constitution, but only if it amplifies their interests and screws everyone else.


You are forgiven for wondering if that’s what the Founding Fathers had in mind.


 Libertarians love liberty. Liberty, Liberty, Liberty. They sound like a commercial. They love Liberty, alright. Their own. “Their” Constitution, though imaginary, is all about Liberty. But they forget, or probably never learned, that a country with all liberty and no democracy is no country at all.


We’ve got a good country, with liberty and democracy. Why have self-described conservatives and Libertarians forgotten this? They act like they’re living in a totalitarian state that tells them how to think, vote, talk, and worship. They love drama. They whine and complain and draw automatic weapons when they don’t like something. Makes me want to scream. Do they even know what tyranny is?


Turns out that Libertarians, ultra-conservatives, and “strict” Constitutionalists like their constitutions tight, trimmed, narrow---and fake. They want the phantom version of the U.S. Constitution. They lust for it.


But they don’t want the one we’ve already got.


I like magic and I love epiphany and serendipity. I like a good story. Here’s the magical part of the story. When you spend any time with the actual U.S. Constitution—not the one you think it should be or should have been-- you eventually begin to realize something simple and quite profound. You love her for what she is, what she’s been, and who she can become in sustaining a living democracy for everyone, not just a few.


As a whole, The Constitution of the United States is the textual manifestation of the government of the United States, which is to say the United States itself. Contrary to what anti-government extremists believe, U.S. government and the United States are inseparable concepts, by definition, as outlined in the articles, clauses, and amendments of a document that quite literally gave birth to a new nation.


The far right calls themselves patriots. But, to be a patriotic is not to desire what the Constitution is not. Patriotism is to fight for what it actually is.

***

The nation is not a Libertarian nation. It’s not a socialist one. Nor does the Constitution establish a government headed by a singular leader with all functions answerable to that totalitarian head of state.


So, what kind of government does the Constitution establish?


After spending time with her, reading her, beginning to understand her, it’s clear that our Constitution represents a fully conscious construction of a liberal democracy. All the ingredients of such are there for any curious person to see in black and white, and to appreciate her comprehensiveness and her ability to adapt.


The Constitution is liberal. She adopts the notion of liberalism established by the Enlightenment, particularly its emphasis on individual freedoms that were historically denied under the ill-liberal epochs of Feudalism and Monarchism.


That liberal form government is a representative democracy. All rights are distributed by, for, and of the people, who gave themselves the right to vote and establish free and fair elections. The Constitution made a government split into three equal parts, with no one part having dominion over one or any of the others. The Constitution gave government the ability to protect its people, to guide immigration, to let the Navy sail, and to pay the people’s debts by providing us with the ability to tax ourselves. What’s more, we, the people, can borrow money to pay our bills and to invest in our general welfare.


And paying our bills isn’t a choice. The Constitution, commands it. She’s stern. Government isn’t permitted to shut down just because a loud group of Congressional Libertarians can drive home a pointless political point.


When you spend time with the Constitution, you realize government isn’t an external force established to take power away from itself, as anti-government Libertarians suggest. The government exists to protect the powers that the people grant to ourselves, balancing rights of individuals against the rights of the public to ensure the welfare of the whole country.


Read that again. That’s the whole country. Not just owners of automatic weapons. Not just Christians. The real Constitution protects the welfare of the whole. Not just white guys who “want their country back.” Not just corporate polluters who think they own the rivers and streams as inalienable inputs of a propriety production process.


The founders didn’t establish Liberal democracy because they valued individual greed at the expense of the welfare of the whole. And yet, to watch the Libertarian and anti-government landscape that is spreading across American at the moment, you’d think that we already live in a totalitarian state that tells people who to think, how to vote, and how to worship. Again, I want to scream. You want to control that nasty press? Want real tyranny? Give Russia a go. Or South Korea. Recommit in daily prayer to your dear leader. Or else.

***

The far right is suffering a strange sort of psychosis. In claiming that their “American way of life” is threatened by kindergarten teachers, pregnant mothers, cross dressers, poll workers, electric car owners, news reporters, judges, librarians, cops, the FBI, and you name it, Libertarians are really expressing their deeply seated totalitarian urges to control everybody and everything under the sun.


When you cut out all the bullshit, the many libertarian organizations and thousands of people now creeping into the halls of Congress are nothing less than a reactionary force that seeks to deconstruct the basic tenets of the Constitution that hold our democracy together.


Again, they like the idea of a constitution. I guess. Or is that just lip service? In any case, their actual behavior suggests they don’t like the one they’ve already got. The Constitution provides for the administration of government via the various departments of the Executive branch to execute the laws of the land. The Constitution does not call for a stateless society. And yet, Libertarians complain endlessly about the administrative function of government, calling it a “deep state.”


Unless it’s their own deep state. Turns out that the far right is quietly working to establish a very real and dangerous deep state that, beginning with the next Republican administration, will work feverishly to embed themselves into the walls of all three branches, to disavow the real Constitution and tear down the government as we know it. That plan is outlined in Project 2025, overseen by the Heritage Foundation, a far-right libertarian organization, that, get this, is subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.


By tearing down that government, our government, they attack us, we the people. That’s called a counterrevolution, and it will be bloodless.


Until it isn’t.

***

But don’t take my word for these modest observations. I asked Chat GTP-4 for its assessment. It’s a machine, without political biases or personal beliefs. I wanted an objective analysis based on facts.


Me: “Would it be fair to say that the United States, as envisioned in the U.S. Constitution, is not nor or has never been a libertarian society, and can never be a libertarian society unless the Constitution and the bill of rights were radically amended to maximize the welfare of private parties over the public good?”


Chat GPT: “Yes, it would be fair to say that the United States, as defined by the US Constitution, is not a purely libertarian society, nor was it explicitly designed to be one. The Constitution outlines a framework for a liberal democracy that protects individual rights while also providing for the general welfare and the common good. The principles embedded in the Constitution reflect a balance between individual freedoms and the need for a functioning government to serve public interests, ensure justice, provide for defense, and promote the general welfare.


“While it upholds fundamental rights and limitations on government power, it doesn't strictly adhere to extreme libertarian ideals that prioritize private interests over public welfare in all circumstances. For the United States to become a more purely libertarian society, it would likely require substantial changes to the Constitution and its fundamental principles. This could entail a radical restructuring of the government's role and powers, emphasizing maximum private control over various aspects currently overseen by the government, including public services, regulations, and social welfare programs. Achieving a purely libertarian society, focused solely on maximizing private interests over the public good as perceived by libertarian ideology, would likely necessitate extensive amendments to the Constitution that fundamentally alter the government's role and responsibilities in society.”


Are you ready for the radical restructuring, the Great Deconstruction, as we might call it? This isn’t science fiction. It’s tragic realism. The far right is trying to normalize the view that center democrats are radical leftists and vermin, as Trump put it recently. That’s not just dangerous talk but it’s absurd. Who are the real extremists? If the radical right were to impose the values of the few upon the values that are inherent in the existing U.S. Constitution, you’d get a country that you wouldn’t recognize as the United States of America.


 Even Chat GTP can see that.

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