By William R. Toler
First off, the Constitution doesn’t give people any rights, but is supposed to guarantee them.
I used to consider myself a constitutionalist, being especially fond of the First, Second and Fourth amendments.
But over time, through lots of reading, I’ve begun to see how it’s been used to stifle liberty rather than secure it.
Nineteenth-century lawyer and abolitionist Lysander Spooner once wrote: “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
Those were the closing words of his 1869 essay “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.”
Although the American people are ultimately to blame for not standing up to the creeping incrementalism of tyranny, Spooner is correct in observing that words on paper have been powerless to prevent it.