Recently, the wise liberal Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein explained that the “issue with the Constitution is not that people don’t read the text and think they’re following it. The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago.”
Or, who knows, perhaps technocrats who believe societal progress is achieved through state control are not yet free to openly assert their aversion to a document conceived — unmistakably — to protect the individual from state intrusion.
The Constitution, curiously enough, always seems to get most convoluted when the wording is most precise. As you know, the First Amendment is fine if the result is “fair” and not too hateful. The Second is dangerous and misunderstood. To support the Tenth is to pine for slavery. The Fifth is vitally important — unless the environmental good is threatened.
So, because the Constitution has become too complex for many of us to decipher, and thus irrelevant, it’s time to boil the whole thing down to its troglodytic and/or graceful basics and engage P.J. O’Rourke’s rules of governance in a free society:.
1. “Mind your own business.”
2. “Keep your hands to yourself.”
Works for me. But liberals will never go for it. As Harsanyi says, their real problem isn’t with any difficulty in understanding it; their problem is that it isn’t politically possible for them to openly denounce it, as they’d really like to do — thereby declaring once and for all exactly what they are, and the tyrannical style of government they prefer.