September 15, 2023
How to Save Our Constitutional Rights
We must actively fight back against the totalitarian tide
By: Brian Almon
Earlier this week I wrote about how the Constitution is, in the end, only words on a page. It has no self-defense mechanism to prevent governments and bureaucrats from twisting it our even outright ignoring it as they impose their will on our country.
I think that a lot of the pushback I got on this position stems from confusion between the states of de jure and de facto. No matter what the letter of the law says, it will always be subject to interpretation from the powers that be. “Do not quote laws to men with swords,” said the Roman general Pompey Magnus.
Many people get stuck thinking about the way things ought to be. In an ideal world, our government would consider the boundaries of the Constitution to be sacred, and would not dare overstep, but we do not live in an ideal world. We have to take the world as it is, rather than closing our eyes to reality and pretending it is not so.
However, there are some concrete things we can do to make the words of the Constitution real. First, though, I invite you to watch three videos — two by Auron MacIntyre, and one by the lads of the Lotus Eaters Podcast. They do a good job of explaining what is at work here.
As you can see, having watched the videos, there will always be a leader who decides on the exceptions to the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, imprisoned journalists, and even raised armies outside of his constitutional purview, yet history remembers him as a great leader. Every expansion of state power has come with an excuse, with the Covid lockdowns being only the latest example.
The Constitution has no self-defense mechanism. It cannot grow arms and legs and arrest people who violate it. We need good people for that. Thankfully, we still have some of those in America.
If you watched the videos you will have noticed that several New Mexico officials, including the attorney general and the Bernalillo County Sheriff, said they would not enforce their governor’s clearly unconstitutional order. A federal judge blocked it as well.
This is not proof that the system works, rather it shows that the system only works when we have leaders in power who are willing to make it work. The Covid lockdowns proved that many of our leaders — elected or not — are not good people who respect the rights of the people, and so the Constitution itself is no fetter to their totalitarian impulses.
That is why some of the most important positions within government are often the most overlooked. Who you elect as county sheriff, county prosecutor or district attorney, and especially attorney general has the enormous responsibility of deciding how to enforce the laws coming out of our legislature and the rules promulgated by our bureaucracies. These officials also have a responsibility to stand in the gap between governments and the people they serve when those governments overstep their constitutional bounds. It’s a heavy thing to consider, and something to keep in mind when you’re deciding for whom to vote.
As Americans we were raised to cherish the Constitution and the idea of lex rex — that all men, even kings, are equal under the law. Yet there will always be someone who stands above the law, someone who decides that it does not apply in this case for these reasons. It falls to us, the voters, the citizens of the American Republic, to make sure those arbiters of the law are good and honest people.
Keep this in mind as you evaluate candidates for these crucial positions. If you want to save our constitutional rights, elect men and women who are willing to fight for constitutional principles.
Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history. His work can be found on Substack, here.