David S. Cohen says “I teach the Constitution for a living.” Can’t help but think of John 3:10 Yeshua answered him, “You hold the office of teacher in Israel, and you don’t know this?
Mr. Cohen has no business teaching the Constitution, neither by virtue of knowledge nor possession of a mind capable of rational chains of thought, i.e. logic.
His opening argument is aimed at dethroning the Constitution as secular writ. By establishing that a series of amendments were “required” to improve it, he means to prove that there is no papal-like infallibility attached to it. I am offended at his presumption that I am an idiot. Few proponents of the 2nd Amendment are vigilant because of their belief in an infallible Constitution (and Bill of Rights). Is it possible that he expects some of us to think: “Hmm, there were changes made over the years. Therefore it is not written in stone. And so yeah, OK lets just do away with the 2nd Amendment.”
IOW we do not cherish the 2nd Amendment because it is included in the secular writ of the Constitution! We cherish the Constitution because it guarantees that our government is ours! Unlike all the rest of the governments in the world at that time, ours is conceived by the People, for the purposes of the People, and belongs to the people. This Nation has created its own government.
Looking back across the Atlantic the framers saw Kingdoms, and Tyrannies that presumed to own the nations they ruled. Not so here! Our Nation, America owns the government. In fact there was a Nation before there was a Constitution! The nation established a government. In the philosophy of John Locke we Americans made an explicit social contract. Locke wrote of implicit social contracts, as theoretical outgrowths of his concept of human nature: as being capable of spontaneous self-organization based upon rational individuals surrendering some small portion of the absolute liberty that would be present in a “state of nature”. For it is rational to give up some small part of liberty in order to establish a society that would recognize the right of private property, freedom from coercion, and support a common defense against criminals, would-be tyrants and invading nations.
David Cohen is wrong when he presumes that we who stand by our God given rights do so because we believe the Constitution is revealed wisdom, from on high. His examples like the Articles and Amendments dealing with the Vice-President selection, or how the Senate is to be chosen are intramural affairs. They do not effect the scope of the Constitution, but merely alter how it functions in those areas to which it is limited. Those are issues contained within the fabric of the Constitution. They do not establish or protect the Constitution itself. It is the Second Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights that protects the Constitution, or better: protects the nation from a government that exceeds the scope to which the Constitution allowed it.
I had planned to demonstrate Cohen’s faulty grip on American history as well as his poor reasoning. Lets see how it goes. If it becomes too tangential I will let it go.
It is impossible that someone who teaches the Constitution could with a straight face write: “Much more profoundly, the Framers and the Constitution were wildly wrong on race. They enshrined slavery into the Constitution ….. They also blatantly wrote racism into the Constitution by counting slaves as only 3/5s of a person for purposes of Congressional representation.”
Every high school graduate once knew that the 3/5th’s rule was a compromise between the Free States and the Slave States. Since slaves obviously wouldn’t be voting, including them into the Slave states’ population served to increase the numbers of Representatives and Electoral College members it would have in the Federal Government. The slaves should not have been counted as any part of a person. Since the slavocracy treated slaves as chattel property it was no different than a demand to count horses towards a state’s population in terms of electoral power! If David S. Cohen is unaware of this concept it is impossible for him to be a teacher of the Constitution. But far worse than a fool is a deliberate liar who knows the truth but seeks to hide it or twist it to fit his agenda. No. No way is Cohen unaware of the history of the 3/5th’s rule and its meaning.
Seems as if I cannot let it go. Paragraph upon paragraph of flawed arguments based upon faulty factoids roll down the page of Rolling Stone.
“There are others flaws that have been fixed … and still other flaws that have not yet been fixed (such as about equal rights for women and land-based representation in the Senate), but the point is the same — there is absolutely nothing permanently sacrosanct about the Founders and the Constitution. They were deeply flawed people, it was and is a flawed document,…”
We get it. The founders were deeply flawed. And would the David S. Cohen of 1789 be a snide indoctucated rhetorician or a hunchbacked bookworm at the local Talmudic study hall? Surely this 1789 version of the brilliant teacher of the Constitution would have a rather constricted and provincial worldview. But at least one of ancestors got sick enough of the musty book smells and occasional pogroms to sell everything and take boat to the New World. I think that the great Abrahamic grandparent who boldly went forth from Ur would smack young David upside his head!
I am at a loss to read that the issue of equal rights for women has not been fixed.
It is also presumptuous to glibly describe the Senate as a flawed institution in that it is “land based”. I had to click that link to even know to what he referred. Turns out that this “teacher of the Constitution” is either ignorant of the Connecticut Compromise or chooses to not teach it. Anyone with a fleeting acquaintance with the debates and issues of the Constitutional Convention would know that in the Framers’ mind was the fear of democracy untrammeled. The term “democrat” at that time was pejorative. The Framers, unlike our “teacher” were extremely well read on the history of republics; from Greece to Rome to the city-states of Florence and the Cantons of Switzerland. Their bête noir was a popularly elected tyrant. The masses, being uneducated, and thus defenseless against clever rhetoric are vulnerable to being manipulated by power-seeking individuals. Whether the motive is “altruistic utopianism” or naked corruption majoritarianism is a gateway to tyranny.
The House of Representatives was where popularly elected men met to initiate any spending bill. This branch was closest to the direct will of their constituents. The fear of mobocracy prompted a more sedate Senate. Originally the Senators were similar to ambassadors from their state to the Federal Congress. They were to be creatures of their State Legislatures: selected by their State Government and Governors and sent to Washington DC. The Senate thus functioned as a brake on the popular enthusiasms that could sweep through the masses. Since each state had two Senators, the smaller states such as Delaware, and Rhode Island were protected from having their voices drowned out in the proportional numbers of the larger states in the House of Representatives.
Put simply the two functions of the Senate were to represent the States as the semi-sovereign entities that existed prior to the Constitution and to oppose untrammeled majoritarianism. In 1914 the Progressive Wilson shepherded through the 17th Amendment that removed from the State governments any role in the selection of Senators and made them also popularly elected. And apparently this further erosion of the levy designed to channel the majoritarian tide is not enough! No, now the complaint is that the less populated states (mainly rural, mainly NOT the magnet for immigrants, mainly Christian, mainly conservative) have the same representation in the Senate as the more populated liberal states such as California, New York, etc. DOH! That was why the Framers, deeply flawed as they were, created a bicameral legislature in the first place!
As one can see Cohen’s flawed arguments are built upon piles of stinking misinformation.
Can I muster the strength to read and comment on another of his paragraphs? See below. If nothing is below I have had enough.
Maybe one more:
“Gun-rights advocates like to make this all about liberty, insisting that their freedom to bear arms is of utmost importance and that restricting their freedom would be a violation of basic rights.”
Not so fast. Most defenders of the 2nd Amendment believe that it is not merely the right to bear arms that is threatened, but it is the right specifically given in the Declaration of Independence of the citizens to rebel and overthrow a tyrannical government.
It seems that the more the government acts tyrannical in some ways the more the urge to disarm the citizenry. Yes, one citizen with a semi-automatic can conceivably in conjunction with like-minded local citizens in a militia stand up against a Federal Government that has thoroughly militarized itself against the people. When Federal paramilitary units of the Department of Agriculture (of Agriculture??) roll up in armored Humvees wearing Kevlar and carrying fully automatic weapons to bust a dairy farmer selling unpasteurized milk, the ability to stand up to that must not be dismissed.
Notice whenever a mass shooting occurs the Gun-Grabbing machine is ready to roll. Within hours, pre-written speeches, resolutions, and all manner of hyped outrage are unleashed by the lackey-media. None lackier than RS!
“We need a mass movement of those who are fed up with the long-dead Founders’ view of the world ruling current day politics.”
By God that sounds like treason! Any University teaching radical overthrow of Constitutional limited government should be banned from being eligible for student loans.