Friday, October 12, 2007

The Constipation Party, Part I

I'm going to be honest: I really hate the Constitution Party. I hate what they stand for, I hate their logic and ironically, I hate their bigotry. However, rather than just make those blanket statements and go on to raise ire against them without actually making any arguments (cough cough, Sean Hannity), I am going to take the key points of their platform and refute them using actual logic, reason and evidence! Let's get to it.
The Mission Statement of the Constitution Party reads as follows:
The mission of the Constitution Party is to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity through the election, at all levels of government, of Constitution Party candidates who will uphold the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. It is our goal to limit the federal government to its delegated, enumerated, Constitutional functions and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.
My first quarrel with this statement is that they believe that creating a one-party system is advantageous. I categorically disagree with this idea. The Founding Fathers created a system of checks and balances so that power could not be consolidated to the detriment of the people. That worked for about 10 minutes. Not long after the Constitution was ratified, the Founders (no, not shapeshifters bent on dominion of the galaxy) formed political parties to gain support for their respective views of government. While that is a natural progression of politics, it unfortunately allows for circumvention of checks and balances (if you don't believe me, please look at how well the system worked from 2001-2004) . No matter what, I like to see some give and take in politics which doesn't seem to happen in a one-party system. (I do acknowledge that this criticism would probably extend to the "mission statements" of almost every political party.)

My second quarrel with this statement comes from this line:
and to restore American jurisprudence to its original Biblical common-law foundations.
First, "American" jurisprudence came (and still comes) largely from British jurisprudence, not the Bible. If you doubt me, just Google, "Blackacre." (The "Bible" has really only existed since King James and British jurisprudence goes back much further than that.)

Second, I'm not sure if they understand what "common law" is. Common law is the concept of looking back at similar cases when deciding current ones. For example, if historically courts have treated the house as property of both spouses independent of who pays for it, then modern courts will use that rule in deciding cases.

This is completely different from statutory law. Statutory law is based on laws, or "statutes" passed by a legislative body. Statutes supersede common law. The Constitution is a statute. So, if they are using the traditional definition of common law, they are saying that the Bible should supersede the Constitution. While that may not sound like such a bad idea to some people, I believe that it is. It is very difficult to turn the principles of the Bible into viable jurisprudence. How do you codify, "turn the other cheek" or "love thy neighbor as thyself"?

Additionally, the United States is not a theocracy. In fact, the First Amendment to the Constitution forbids the creation of a theocracy ("Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion..."). Maybe the Constitution Party thinks that the Amendments weren't supposed to be part of the Constitution. Or maybe they're just stupid.

We live in a religiously diverse society in a country founded on the rule of both statutory and common law. I believe that this is what the Framers sought to create and I'm proud of the many great Americans who have helped keep it that way. The Constitution Party seems to have made it their mission to undo all of that. Fortunately, they are too small and insignificant to be effective in their mission. Thank heaven for the FEC.

(I admit that this post is a little more juvenile than my usual fare. However, it is still a step up from what I was thinking of doing, starting with the title, "The Constant-pooption Party." Now that would be quite a party!)

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

I think I would dislike the Constitution Party as much as you if they didn't put up entertaining signs in Logan.