Populist Constitutionalism – Is That What We’re About?

Larrey Anderson (author of “The Order of the Beloved“, and the memoir “Underground: Life and Survival in the Russian Black Market“), has a thoughtful article this week in the American Thinker. In it he postulates that the common bond that holds “tea party” groups together and will ultimately make the movement successful is our shared belief in the truth and validity of the Constitution.

“Populist Constitutionalism” – that’s what the Tea Party is all about. Love and respect for the Constitution is driving the movement. Sharing the document, and then discussing the meaning, purpose, and the ideas of the Constitution, that is the process that is taking place as a result of this love and respect.

This discussion is what America needs right now. The Constitution (and a real federal government) is the set of principles that can unite all Americans (with the possible exception of the most radical of those on the left who want to see some kind of socialist central state.)

Social conservatives, fiscal conservatives (that might be liberal on some social issues), libertarians, and moderates can agree to disagree about issues like abortion, legalized drugs, gay marriage, etc. The Constitution teaches all of them that the resolution to these problems should be conducted on the state or community level, as opposed to the national, level.

These divergent groups agree that the federal government has, over the last several decades, stepped further and further outside of the bounds of the Constitution. Issues, including health care, cap and trade, and excessive regulation of businesses are outside of the specific powers granted to the federal government. More and more Americans are aware of this fact. And more and more Americans are sharing the promises and the premises of the Constitution with their friends and neighbors through Tea Parties being held across America. This is what I mean when I say that the Tea Party is “populist constitutionalism.”

Read the full article HERE.


4 Responses to “Populist Constitutionalism – Is That What We’re About?”
  1. EdFulop EdFulop says:

    I just had a talk with my neighbor this morning, after church. While he is a sympathiser of ours, he’s been mostly on the fringes cheering me on via e-mail or other forms of slaps on the back. He was anxious to get my report on the Tea Party Convention — he had assumed that I had gone. I told him I had not, but I had watched some of it on T.V. just as he did, I was sure. He was pretty down in the mouth, worried that if a leader doesn’t rise throught the ranks, and soon, that our work towards flipping the House (and Senate) in November will not be rewarded. My words didn’t soothe him, so I dug around this afternoon on-line to find another’s words whose sentiment mirrored mine, but put it in another perspective so he might not lose heart. I found this, below, on Redstate.com, and just forwarded it to him. See if it lifts your spirits, too.

    Conservatives and The Butterfly Effect, or, Why Chaos Is Better Than Control!

    Sunday, February 7th at 12:00AM EST

    History has shown us that one person with an idea can change the planet. Whether the planet changes for good (Jesus, Galileo, Bach, Jane Austen, Einstein) or ill (Napoleon, Marx, Houston Chamberlain, B.F. Skinner) depends on the idea. In the 1959 epic Ben-Hur a Roman commander wonders aloud how one fights an idea, “especially a new idea.” (In that scene he is referring to the preaching of Jesus.) The character Messala replies that the only way to fight an idea “is with another idea!”

    Today Conservatism must remind America of an idea that is being drowned in the socialist cesspool of conformity, passivity, and ceding power to government. As socialist group-thinking tries to convert ever more people to letting a central power address ever more things, which can and should be handled without government interference, this idea tragically fades from us daily.

    The idea is that you –the single individual – have the freedom and power to change the Universe for good…or for ill.

    Leftists give lip service to the idea with slogans (“Think globally, act locally!”). But their larger actions reveal that they do not want the individual to have much freedom: everyone must become the same unionized, pensionized, politically correct propagandized gear in the blustering, blundering Socialist Wheel of Status Quo Maintenance. The independent-thinking individual by definition is a threat to the socialist agenda, which wants uniformity for ease of control. Note how the American myth of the cowboy was turned into a negative adjective in the last decade (i.e. “cowboy diplomacy”). The cowboy who rides into town and handles evil on his own – without waiting for authorization or debates – is sneered at by leftist socialists.

    The true progressive is the conservative. That the term “progressive” has been warped by the leftists is part of their language-twisting tradition, which George Orwell exposed in his writings long ago.

    The conservative esteems the power of the individual, and knows that one person with an idea, and with resolve and energy, is more important than the group fretting about what they should do, when they should do it, or if they should do anything at all. Group-thinkers will talk, push paper around, neither affecting nor effecting anything, except perhaps to worsen the situation. If a problem arises, the conservative, the classic American, does not wait and complain and wonder if somebody is coming to help.

    Americans are always the help that is coming!

    Perhaps you have heard about Edward Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorologist (recently deceased in 2008), and his contribution to Chaos Theory with the idea of the Butterfly Effect. Simply, he showed how a slight change in the beginning of a phenomenon could perhaps produce wildly different results in the long term. The effect of a butterfly flapping its wings in the South Pacific might result in rain in Ohio 4 months later. Such a chaotic effect can be traced, but not necessarily predicted. (That is why it is called Chaos Theory!)

    Socialists, with their mania for control, fear the chaos of the individual. They fear the result which the lone butterfly – or lone cowboy – might effect without their permission. (Why they suffer this fear is a theme for another essay, but I do believe their potty-training was involved!) Conservatives, the fearless butterflies, flap their wings – or not – because they freely choose to do so, not because the herd says it is time to fly or time to rest.

    “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto Me.” Jesus here is recognizing the power of Chaos Theory in human relations. The tiniest kindness touches Divinity! One never knows how even the tiniest kindness will be magnified over time to make the Universe better, or how the tiniest stupidity will cause a disaster (“For want of a nail, the war was lost!”). To be sure, there are no guarantees: it is possible your effort will echo away into nothingness. But God at least has noticed.

    At times I wonder how writing such an essay here, for a conservative website, “affects or effects” anything. How many will read it? How many will think it worthwhile? Does it help to preach to the choir? But I think at times even the choir must be recharged with, reminded of, and reinforced in their beliefs, so that their song becomes louder and heard by those whose ears are closed or indifferent. And the possibility that an indifferent wanderer will stop by, and read this, and start thinking about his indifference, always exists.

    So I ask my fellow conservative butterflies:

    How have you changed the Universe today? For good or for ill?

  2. Andrew33 Andrew33 says:

    The beauty of what this movement is about is that there is no leader to demonize. We the people are the leadership. We have ways of communicating now that make the necessity for a “made for TV figurehead” far less necessary. I believe that big money candidates will face a backlash like none in history. I believe than many incumbents that perceive themselves to be safe will be knocked out in primaries by people largely unfunded. Now people I know are actually looking at the websites of folks they are considering voting for, rather than listening to or watching commercials. The biggest nail in peoples’ political coffins will be if Obama or McCain campaign for them. Also, some of the older candidates like Murtha today could die between now and election time if they haven’t been turned into Ceylons or assimilated by the Borg. Either way, many will jump ship between now and election time as they figure out they have no chance of winning, and others (like Spectre D, R, PA) will get deservedly humiliated in primaries by political unknowns. This election will be like none in our history. it will redefine our political parties and possibly our political system, and if one party or the other does not listen, and make the radical changes we demand (not the changes they hope we will accept) we will be forced into forming a 3rd party. That is a choice of last resort, and I prefer the subhostile takeover of the Republicans as the “tea party”/912 movement is doing now.
    How have I changed the world, I dug up info on all the republican party candidates (and who is supported by the various grassroots groups like resist.net and S.FL 9/12ers) running in a friends’ district so that when their homeowners’ association meets, they can help push candidates that we want to win to people that do not normally hear from us or talk to us. Is that enough?

  3. Beverly says:

    Ed, thank you for that article. You made my day. I could become a fan of “chaos theory.” At the very least, I will share it.

  4. EdFulop EdFulop says:

    My love for the movie “V for Vendetta” has been no secret in this crowd. To echo the article’s sentiment towards ideas, I remember this quote from the film;

    Creedy: “Why won’t you DIE?!”

    V: “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof. ”

    This is why Beck always says not to put your faith in a man. Another quote, from the films opening monologue:

    “We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world.”

    Remember, Remember . . . . .

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