Morality and the Constitution as a Suicide Pact

Originally published at Victory Girls Blog
by Kit Lange on January 24, 2014

Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, in a dissenting opinion in Terminiello v. City of Chicago in 1949, coined the phrase “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”   The saying is a paraphrase of what he actually said, but fourteen years later in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez, Goldberg wrote pretty much the same thing.

What does that even mean?  It’s a catchphrase bandied about by the Left; David Corn wrote for Slate in 2011 that “Extremism in the name of civil liberties could lead to the destruction of the nation.”  It sounds so noble, this assertion that sometimes, the government must—unwillingly, of course—step in and regulate or even take away civil liberties in order to mitigate a threat.  What constitutes a threat is determined by the same Government that stands to benefit from the control exerted.  It’s to keep you safe, we’re told.   The Constitution, according to this school of thought, is a great document to be followed, until the government decides that it should not be followed.  You have rights…until you don’t.

We are no stranger to this erosion.  It started long ago, and just like water can carve out rock, the relentless and inherent conflict between the government and the governed has managed to corral our society into a morally bankrupt caricature of the beautiful framework that the Founders provided us with.  “Morality can’t be legislated,” claim the relativists, yet the Constitution’s entire raison d’être is exactly that: legislated morality, through due process.   Peter Brandon Bayer writes that “America’s validation stems from the morality of the Constitution and how steadfastly we maintain it.”  It is why we talk about taking the high road in our dealings with both our friends and our enemies.  It is why we have men and women who lay down their lives for people they have never met.

Keep reading…

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