Why Few Lawyers Know Much About the Constitution

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Published in: on March 1, 2012 at 8:32 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. The Meaning of “All Men are Created Equal”

    Alphonsus Jr.

    Your thoughtful comment was very welcome. And I agree with much of your assessment of this truly “dead age”, as you put it. Our dead age had its roots in the Reformation which was, as Belloc said, a “shipwreck”.

    I do, however, think you misread the Founders and perhaps even Locke when you equate “All men are created equal” with “egalitarianism”. For my observations @ http://douglassbartley.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/the-meaning-of-all-men-are-created-equal/

  2. Yes! I don’t recall ever being told to actually read the whole Constitution in law school. I had to do it on my own, and then again later in grad school.

    At any rate, as a traditional Catholic – that is, as one who rejects the novelties of the Hippie Council of the 1960s – I’m of course less than enamored with the political philosophy of the American founders and their teachers (Locke et. al). The lust for liberty reigned supreme among them, which has now become today’s reigning libertinism. Rather than enshrine liberty and reason as their gods, they would have done far better to worship Truth (see Jn 14:6) by establishing the Social Reign of Christ the King (see, e.g., the encyclical Quas Primas by Pope Pius XI, along with Leo XIII’s encyclical against Americanism, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae).

    I’m now reminded of another fatal flaw of American political philosophy: the idea that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. This is false. Governments derive their just powers not from the bottom up, but from the top down. Justice has nothing to do with the clamor of the mob. It has everything to do with following the commandments of God.

    Another fatal flaw of the American founding occurs to me: the idea that all men are created equal. By this the founders meant that no man has any natural title to rule over another. Thus the founders swept away the perennnial teaching regarding the natural hierarchy of reality. The fruit of this sweeping away we now see all around us today: the founders ‘ conception of equality has become today’s egalitarianism, under which there’s no concern with nobility – indeed nobility is scorned. Instead, “You’re no better than me I gotta be me I gotta be free” and “let it all hang out!”

    Thus the epitaph of this dead age:

    Age, thou art shamed.*
    O shame, where is thy blush?**

    -Shakespeare, Julius Caesar,* Hamlet**


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