Sunday, September 18, 2011

What (Some) Ron Paul Supporters Don't Get About the Constitution

By now it's been seen and enjoyed by thousands of people on YouTube: a clip from National Geographic's Frontier Force in which a drunk driver hautily lectures Montana state troopers about the constitution.

After being put in the back of the police cruiser to be taken away, the man pronounces "Ron Paul 2012."

Whatever the constitution has to do with this individual driving while his blood alohol content is four times over the legal limit is something that the driver himself probably doesn't know. He's just that drunk.

But in the midst of his ramblings, the drunk slurs something that might give one pause to consider just how well this individual understands the US constitution at all. He declares, "constitution! Read it and... live by it."

Reading too deeply into it given the level of inebriation of this man may be a mistake. But it could be interpreted as a sign that this individual, for all his devotion to the constitution, doesn't understand it.

Simply put, the constitution is not actually a code for its citizens to live by. It's a code for a country's government to govern by. While there are numerous bodies of law by which the power of the state is used to bind citizens, the constitution is the body of law by which the power of citizens is used to bind the state. It simultaneously grants the government powers and limits them. It simultaneously assigns the state responsibilities and limits them as well.

The US constitution, specifically, is preoccupied with the freedom of its citizens. The US constitution actually offers no comment on how citizens should live their lives; rather, it grants them the freedom to do it as they will.

There's no reason to definitively believe that this individual really believes one should live by the constitution. There's also no reason to definitively believe that there are no Ron Paul followers who do not hold this belief.

It's likely a belief that Ron Paul himself would reject. Even so, there's some cause -- however slim -- for Americans to be concerned about such notions among his followers.

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