In reflecting on Friday’s Wilkow Majority program, I can’t help but return to a caller named Robert, who claimed to be a professor of law at UCLA. His call followed a similar call that came in the previous day from a man named Scott, who clamed to be a member of the same faculty. A small amount of research indicates that the two men in question are professors Scott Cummings and Robert Goldstein.
These progressives have a very odd idea of a government that is a reflection of the people. On the one hand it’s meant to be an instrument of populism, on the other hand, its laws are only understandable and interpretable by a handful of elites. Picking up and reading your pocket copy of the US Constitution, therefore, tells you little about your rights as a citizen or the limits of the power of the government.
Logically speaking, those who cannot understand (or are told that they cannot understand) the government and it’s laws cannot be expected to properly hold it to it’s limitations. The governed must rely on a learned class to hold back the tide of government expansion of power. We are instructed to believe that an elite class of intellectuals, among whom are lawyers, professors of law and of jurisprudence, and judges, are the buffer between moral governance and one that oversteps its legally mandated boundaries.
Isn’t this, philosophically speaking, antithetical to the concept of limited governance? It appears that somewhere along the line the people got hoodwinked.
This learned class, made up of largely liberal-progressive individuals, abandoned the very idea of a limited governance in many respects. The only way to return power to the governed is to in fact return to a more imminent reading of the language of the constitution.
I believe this attitude to be akin to the beliefs of the clergy of Roman Catholic Church at the height of it’s pre-reformation power. God’s law, it was said, could not be interpreted by the layman, who was therefore reliant upon the scholarly class for any and all efforts at understanding the law. God’s law was no longer simply a reflection of the words of Christ and the letter of the bible. Instead, God’s law had taken on a life that went far beyond what had been laid out in the good book.
When Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, he sparked what was, in essence, a legal battle between two schools of thought. On one side was Martin Luther, who challenged the Church to justify it’s actions, including most famously the sale of indulgences, by citing scripture. On the other side was the powerful Church establishment and scholars who, through manipulation of language and tight control and censorship of opposition, could justify nearly any activity the church engaged in.
When brought before The Diet of Worms, Luther famously closed his case against the charge of heresy by stating “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I am bound by the scriptures I have quoted…” The line in the sand that Luther laid out was clear, if the church could not justify its acts in the scripture as it was written, he felt no obligation to recant.
The simplicity with which the American Constitution was written (it is in fact the shortest constitution of any western nation), and the renewed interest in civics by the American people, has led to the rise of a new American reformation, and a similar battle between America’s judicial intellectuals and the lay masses.
History instructs us as to who will win.