02 March 2011

Paragraphs to Ponder

This time from ThinkMarkets:
Ironically, this type of sneer is itself old—allegations that the Constitution is quaint go back to the progressive movement and the early 20th century. Damon Root in Reason has a great quote. In 1935, when the Supreme Court cited the commerce clause in declaring unconstitutional the National Industrial Recovery Act, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt argued it was absurd to reject the New Deal program on the basis of an ancient law.
“The country was in the horse-and-buggy age when that clause was written,” the President reportedly said.
This horse-and-buggy objection is a trick, a diversion—something one would expect from so cunning a politician as FDR. The Constitution is not about technology, it is about government. It specifies a structure that limits power by dividing it between the states and the federal government and between Congress, the President and the courts.
It was written by men who knew well from history that unchecked power becomes corrupting and repressive. That they did not email or tweet has no bearing whatsoever on the current relevance of the Constitution. Their recognition of the need to impose checks is timeless, because political power remains just as corrupting and repressive as it ever was.


  1. And, incidentally, TWO of the Founders (Franklin and Jefferson) were technology geniuses who understood full well that advances in tech would change society.

  2. @Zhai Nan Rick- One of the biggest mistakes people make in this realm is using society as a synonym for governance. Yes, technology has the ability to change society, but that doesn't affect the principles of good government.