- Text smaller
- Text bigger
Despite a wholesale assault from just about every element of America’s political and media elite, and an equally pervasive cowardly dereliction in other quarters, the issue of whether Obama satisfies the U.S. Constitution’s eligibility requirements for the office of president of the United States refused the fate MacArthur famously embraced. It won’t just fade away. In fact, it gains greater traction every day.
Despite acts of judicial intimidation like the imprisonment of Terry Lakin; despite the deguello of defamation and ridicule kept up against Joseph Farah and other steadfast defenders of the Constitution’s integrity; the plain common sense of the American people is prevailing. As they became familiar with the real nature of the issue, and the facts that bear upon it, it appears that a majority reached the conclusion that it involves a question Obama should answer. At the very least, a majority of the people plausibly think that he should order his high priced lawyers to cease the legal maneuvers being used to prevent access to any the evidence that might clarify things.
This prevalence of grass-roots common sense has demonstrated the limits of the self-serving elite’s power to control and manipulate public opinion. Concerned at the ornery restiveness of what they regard as a contemptible herd, they may now have taken their cue from the tactics used on the old American trail drives. When a herd of cattle began to run, the cowpokes would saddle up and race to the front of the herd to stop the stampede. Where public opinion is concerned, this translates into allowing someone to become the focus of public attention, an “opinion leader” who can assume the position of bellwether on a given issue.
Here’s the strategic thinking. When truth is being suppressed, people who refuse to accept the deception have every reason to be grateful to a well-known public figure who loudly trumpets his similar skepticism. But once the grateful public gathers behind him in sufficient numbers, his response to events can be portrayed as authoritative. Then it’s just a matter of trotting out some contrivance intended to placate public opinion, one that superficially appears to resolve the matter, but without addressing what’s really at stake. By the time the bellwether conveniently announces that he’s satisfied, the grateful grass-roots support he has received will have made him enough of a public opinion authority to discourage and stigmatize those tempted to challenge him. This will assure that, unlike Don Quixote’s pasteboard helmet, the placatory contrivance is never made to undergo anything like real scrutiny.
In their first response to the eligibility issue, some elements of the self-serving elite sought to evade it by pretending that the outcome of the 2008 election decided the matter. This was one of the things that convinced me that the issue involved a serious threat to the survival of constitutional government in the United States. Constitutional provisions intended to constrain and limit the activities and conduct of government must quickly evaporate once they can be ignored or discarded at the whim of every transient electoral majority. That’s why the Framers established procedures for amending the Constitution that require a majority large enough to represent the more permanent will of the American people as a whole. But these provisions now pose an obstacle in the way of those who mean to impose a form of government on the United States more compatible with their vision of a New World Order, (a vision in which the supposedly enlightened will of dominant elites directly or indirectly dictates the fate of the people.)
From the outset, I and others like me have understood that the whole point of the elitists’ deliberate dereliction in carrying out the Constitution’s provisions is to accustom Americans to accept de facto alterations in the Constitution. We realized that the issue of Obama’s eligibility is another instance of the strategy of de facto amendment that, until recently, had effectively nullified the Constitution’s 10th Amendment; and that (as Obama’s move on Libya recently demonstrated) has brought to near extinction Congress’ exclusive authority over the decision to commit the United States to offensive war. But with the issue of Obama’s eligibility this strategy is being deployed to reach for a broader result, one that challenges the whole idea of an obligation to the Constitution that supersedes transient political results.
This challenge derives force from questioning whether the preferences of a contemporary majority should ever be constrained by the decisions of majorities long dead and gone. In everything it does, the Obama faction exemplifies this arrogant contempt for the understanding, character and achievements of previous generations of Americans, including the founding generation. But this factional contempt is just a subset of the general arrogance of contemporary elites, who pretend that the advances of contemporary science justify a pose of superiority. Yet every day brings new experiences which make clear that scientific knowledge is not the same as wisdom. The latter includes the precepts of character and moral judgment needed to apply such knowledge with just prudence.
Unlike today’s elites, the pre-eminent leaders of America’s founding generation acted “with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government” (James Madison, Federalist No. 39). In the provisions of the Constitution, they sought to establish government institutions that encouraged the American people to restrain their political will out of respect for the standard of right on which their just claim to self-government depends. They knew that only by practicing such political restraint can the people develop and maintain the character required to hold on to their political freedom.
Unlike the founders, America’s currently prevailing elites are not votaries of freedom. Rather they are dedicated above all to the satisfaction of their own ambition for wealth, power and self-esteem, so much so that even their charitable endeavors smack of selfish interest and self-congratulation. In service to this ambition, they deliberately encourage the American people toward self-destructive licentiousness. Can people sincerely dedicated to restoring and preserving America’s decent liberty safely trust anyone who exemplifies this elite’s idol of self-regarding ambition?