The Constitution Takes a Beating.

by Pitt Griffin on November 9, 2013 · 0 comments

in Constitution, Politics

“Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as by the abuses of power.” – James Madison.

Ask yourself this – what is the purpose of the Constitution? The answer is, of course, to provide a government that respects the rights of the citizens. And that is key.

It may well be too late.

Sensible – but maybe unattainable.

The Constitution talks of individual liberties and states’ rights. And it enumerates the responsibilities of the three branches of the federal government. Nowhere is there anything about the right of corporations to control the political process.

Libertarians have enabled this control by conflating the interests of the local farmer who wants to sell raw milk, with the interests of industrial dairies. And by arguing that the law court, not regulation, is the proper redress against bad actors. That is naive.

Consider the difference between the small dairy and industrial milk. The local farmer is part of the community. If he sells a contaminated product, he risks the real possibility of losing his business. A lawsuit is an existential threat.

What about the milk cartel? Selling a tainted product is a possibility dealt with in a business plan. Losing a lawsuit is a cost of doing business. The companies’ bean counters may well decide that it is cheaper to do the wrong thing and make restitution, than go to the expense of doing the right thing.

JP Morgan Chase is on the verge of agreeing to a $13 billion settlement to settle criminal charges. But in 2012 they made a profit of over $21 billion. The Board was so disappointed in CEO Jamie Dimon that they slashed his pay to “a-hard-to-live-on” $11 million. And nobody is going to jail.

What protects the individual from big business? The answer is regulation and oversight. So why is that such a hard sell in Congress? Do not elected representatives have their constituents’ interests at heart? Hardly. They are beholden to their paymasters – corporations and the rich – who are enabled in their purchase of lawmakers’ fealty by a Supreme Court that has stripped away almost all restrictions on political money.

James Madison - Father of the Constitution - would think today's Supreme Court is crazy.

James Madison – Father of the Constitution – would think today’s Supreme Court is crazy.

James Madison would be astonished by this legally sanctioned plutocratic power grab; at how his Constitution came to be used as cover for corporate control of the political process. He would have looked at Justice Scalia – and the other sanctimonious, “textualist” prigs – as servile opportunists, wilfully ignoring the original intent of the founders.

Ultimately, voters decide elections. And corporate cash can buy all kinds of advertising; found a smorgasbord of “think” tanks; and start a slew of “populist” movements – all to convince the voter to vote the “right” way.

Facts are rarely used. Better are simplistic appeals to patriotism, fear, God, values, freedom, gun rights and an amorphous dread that the “other” is taking over. The electorate needs only to convinced that thinkg will be all right if they can just “get their country back”.

Most effective is the demonization of the one institution that should have the people’s back – the government. The very government that was created by the Constitution that all these patriots supposedly revere.

 

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