I loved playing with Silly Putty when I was a kid. My favorite Silly Putty activity involved pressing it onto newsprint. The putty would pick up whatever was underneath – creating a mirror image. I thought it was a hoot to press it on the Sunday comics and get a copy of Snoopy or Beetle Baily. Then I would pull the edges of the Silly Putty and distort the picture into all kinds of weird contortions.
A lot of people think the Constitution is like Silly Putty. They think they can stick it onto whatever political opinion they like and the Constitution will “pick it up.” They also think they can shape it and pull it into whatever form they like.
I’m seeing this mentality a lot in the gun current gun debate. Supporters of federal gun control are proposing all kinds of interpretations of the Second Amendment that have no basis in fact. Failing that argument, they’ll just claim the Constitution is malleable and was meant to change with the times.
A viral article by some chick named Anastasia Bernoulli is a perfect example. I’m not going to link to it because I really don’t want to give her any more traffic. But here’s the relevant paragraph.
“Yes, yes, I hear you now. We have a second amendment to the constitution, which must be held sacrosanct over all other amendments. Dude. No. The constitution was made to be a malleable document. It’s intentionally vague.”
Actually, dudette, the Constitution is the exact opposite. It is a legal document with a fixed meaning that was not intended to change with shifting sands. And it’s not vague at all. Like any legal document, it is very specific. You wouldn’t sign a “vague” mortgage and we don’t have a “vague” Constitution. Anastasia’s problem is she’s a victim of government schooling. She never learned the Constitution, and she’s too busy trying to ban guns to learn about it right now.
Of course, in one sense, these people are right. The founding generation knew things would change. That’s why there is a way to update the Constitution as needed. It’s called the amendment process. But you can’t just decide the Constitution means something else when the actual meaning gets in the way of your political agenda. In fact, that was the point – to get in the way of your political agenda when it infringes on individual liberties and oversteps the delegated powers of the government.
I talk about this more in-depth in my most recent podcast. Check it out HERE.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.