Wherein a most intriguing case is made in support of a somewhat unusual proposition: the origins of our national woes, pretty much all of them, are directly traceable to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
For over fifty years, it has been a recurring promise of conservative candidates running for election that they will stand up for our constitutional rights and support the appointment of judges and Supreme Court justices who will uphold the Constitution.
Yet time after time, the left seems to win both ideological and legal battles on monumental issues such as abortion, marriage, gun control, immigration, racial preferences for minorities, and the ever-expanding size and scope of government — no matter what the text of the Constitution actually says.
In The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties, (2020; ISBN 978-1-5011-0689-7) author Christopher Caldwell advances the thesis that the Constitution of 1788 has been effectively nullified by our elites and supplanted with a “new constitution” that originated in, and reflects the values of, the “Civil Rights Era” of the 1960s. Though the civil rights movement began as a reformist movement within the old order, it evolved into a “revolution” that has nearly triumphed over the polity created in the 18th century:
The changes of the 1960s, with civil rights at their core, were not just a major new element in the Constitution. They were a rival constitution, with which the original one was frequently incompatible[.]…Much of what we have called “polarization” or “incivility” in recent years is something more grave — it is the disagreement over which of the two constitutions shall prevail: the de jure constitution of 1788…with centuries of American culture behind it…or the de facto constitution of 1964, which lacks this traditional kind of legitimacy but commands the near-unanimous endorsement of judicial elites and civic educators and the passionate allegiance of those who received it as liberation.
Caldwell argues that the new “de facto constitution” has been used to supersede the Bill of Rights and the black-letter law of the traditional Constitution. Forced busing and forced integration violated the First Amendment right to freedom of association, as did affirmative action for blacks and women. Racial and sex-based preferences offend the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. These policies were enacted despite opposition from most Americans. Speech codes and political correctness designed to cater to the sensitivities of minorities infringe on the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The “right” to an abortion, which existed nowhere in the traditional Constitution and was opposed by a majority of the people (with limited exceptions), was essentially created by the Supreme Court.
Lest anybody be inclined to assume that Demonrat-appointed Justices and Presidents are entirely to blame, or nearly so, that erroneous notion is handily dispensed with. After the infuriating way in which Trump’s eagerly-anticipated USSC picks have performed so far, that comes as no big shock. Caldwell even goes so far as to rip Saint Ronald of Reagan a new ‘un for his own not-insignificant contribution to the national trainwreck. Then, from there:
If Caldwell’s thesis can be criticized, it is for understating his case — things have proven to be worse than he described.
In hindsight, the Trump presidency exposed the fact that the elites and the Deep State are now completely untethered by the original Constitution of limited and enumerated powers and by the Bill of Rights. They have demonstrated that they are willing to use the FBI to surveil presidential candidate and to fabricate a false narrative for the purposes of impeaching him. They have demonstrated that they will side with illegal aliens over American citizens, and that they will freely let black BLM and communist Antifa agitators run riot in the streets while ruthlessly prosecuting and suppressing as “domestic terrorists” patriotic and nationalist groups who caused a ruckus at the Capitol. They have demonstrated that they are willing to turn a blind eye to vicious and violent attacks by blacks against whites, but drop the hammer of “hate crimes” on any “deplorable” white who has the slightest dispute with a black, or on any cop making a traffic stop of a black criminal. They have demonstrated that they will continue to expand so-called “civil rights” to include all manner of insanity and freakishness, such as “transgenderism.”
Caldwell does not propose a solution to this situation. But recognizing the problem is a necessary first step in finding one. “Civil rights” has been used as an effective battering ram against conservatism and against the Constitution of the 1780s; conservatives can no longer allow themselves to be browbeaten by “civil rights” activists. The rigged election of 2020 and the double-impeachment of Trump should have awakened conservatives to the fact that merely voting Republican and asserting your “constitutional rights” is no longer enough. But it may be too late.
In 2014, Gov. Cuomo sneered that conservatives have no place in the state of New York. Increasingly, our elites have adopted the attitude that conservatives have no place anywhere in the country, and they are willing to act on it.
They’ll do precisely that, unless/until enough Real Americans nut up and demonstrate a willingness to act on a few things their own selves…in a way that won’t soon be forgotten, is impossible to ignore or minimize, and will leave a smarting, stinging welt.