The Irony of Constitution-Loving Government-Hating Types

Let's say we take your average American conservative, or libertarian, or conservative-libertarian. If you talk to them long enough, (and it probably won't take long), you'll find that they are utterly in awe, utterly worshipful of the ideas forever enshrined in the U.S. Constitution - the democracy created by our founders (you know, democracy for white landholders).

If you take your average American and asked them what they'd do to change and improve our system of government - say, by writing a new constitution - I don't know if they'd be able to think of anything concrete. If you went back to that conservative-libertarian though, they'd think your question was blasphemy. Considering how conservatives (and politicians in general) talk about the Constitution, they would never for a moment consider that something better might be created. It's rather like the Bible, actually - conveniently infallible, for easy reference and selective quoting. (For further comparison of libertarianism and religion, see my post here.)

And yet, at the same time as these folks kow-tow to our antique documents, they will in the same breath spew out hatred for government - often referred to as the government. That is, they fear governmental interference and governmental power almost above all else, seeing its creeping hands reaching into business and personal life, reaching for our freedoms, reaching for rights. While it might make sense if their opposition was all based on believing that the actions were unconstitutional, that often doesn't capture the whole picture. Conservative libertarians these days often run on a frightful blend of anarcho-capitalist thinking, which includes ideas the founders would never have dreamed of - even in their nightmares - especially considering our modern level of corporate business life (by which I mean corporate dominance).

According to our constitutional framework and apparently ideal democracy, the government is supposed to represent us. How then could the government be the enemy? If our lives and liberties are in such peril, then obviously the system has failed. The great and obvious irony of those who love the Constitution but also hate the government is that the latter is precisely the product of the former. Isn't it about time they realized that their goal should be something new?


  1. The power of myth is strong. The constitution contains material that would make any just person's stomach turn. See US Constitution. The Bill of Rights which has actually saved this country on many occasions is now being decimated. More to the point many constitutions have been written in the last 250 years. The Alaska Constitution for example. Those who wrote it thought they greatly improved on the US Constitution- left out the bad parts put in new parts...and guess what...right now, just over 50 years later there are clauses in the Alaska Constitution that are in doubt. Time has a way of rusting out the strongest steel and showing that the smartest most egotistical people in the world are not as smart as the future.


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