Regular readers of Time magazine this week found in their mailbox yet another pile of leftist tripe in the vein of "the Constitution is a living document." This week's cover article by managing editor Richard Stengel is a freak show of anti-Constitutional babble including an assertion that the Constitution was not intended to limit government: "If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so...The truth is, the Constitution massively strengthened the central government of the U.S. for the simple reason that it established one where none had existed before."
One would have to go through the trouble of taking the Constitution seriously in order to demonstrate that, yes, the Constitution is supposed to limit government. Stengel writes "Article I, Section 8, the longest section of the longest article of the Constitution, is a drumroll of congressional power. And it ends with the "necessary and proper" clause." Stengel, who as former President and CEO of the National Constitution Center ought to know better, conveniently ignores that the enumeration of powers is itself a limitation on government. The need to list powers in the first place acknowledges that there are certain powers government does not have. Stengel demonstrates that he is well aware that the Framers were opposed to unlimited government, but his belief that limits on government were not a major concern is unfounded.
Stengel also gives scarce recognition to the 10th Amendment, which reserves powers all other powers the states and the people. If the Constitution were really designed to empower the federal government to do everything that liberals want to do, neither the enumerated powers nor the 10th Amendment would have been necessary, and the Framers need only have written the necessary and proper clause, and left it with that. NRO's John Pitney demolishes Stengel on this point rather concisely here.
Stengel at times also descends into sheer idiocy. "[The Framers] also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being." Nowhere does the Constitution say that black people are three-fifths of a person. The provision Stengel references was included to appease slave-holders, who actually wanted slaves counted the same as free whites so as to advantage their numbers in the House of Representatives. Contemporary opponents of slavery actually wanted this number to be zero rather than three-fifths.
Stengel even reaches to defend ObamaCare using the now strained car insurance defense, but he goes even further. "Supporters of ObamaCare note that it's not a mandate but, in effect, a tax, imposed on people who do not buy health insurance." Hilariously, this is an argument even liberal judges have thrown to the curb when the federal government defends ObamaCare under Congressional tax authority.
If there were any doubt that today's political and media class do not know enough about the Constitution, let that doubt now be absolved. Before the mainstream media next report on the American people's ignorance of American civics and history, they should do a bit of soul searching of their own.
# # #