It’s the law

The offensive part of any constitution is that it amounts to little more than the rules developed by a group of children playing a game in the back yard on a sunny day. Certainly we have dignified those rules with so-called spiritual ornaments but even those are pure fabrications by whomever is making the law. To pretend that these concoctions deserve perpetual existence is nothing short of devious. Again, just another creation of someone’s mind, not exactly written on Moses’ stone (itself yet another deceit) though I acknowledge that everybody loves a good fairy tale.

The best that can be said of a constitution is that it satisfies the yearning for both barriers and unheeded passage. Rules are not necessarily a bad thing if they promote the greater objective of understanding and facility.  As for the rubbish about entitlement – the fiction that some as opposed to others have the right – to make these enormous prescriptions, that is so manifestly underhanded it hardly bares notice. The colonial system generated by the British, after they had run the Scots and the Irish into the ground, represents little short of a global massacre, again not a very soothing or intellectual basis for the esteemed perfection of a constitution.

The salient feature of so-called constitutional law is nothing more glamorous than the assertion of an example from a general rule. For example in Canada the division of power between federal and provincial legislatures follows such general foundations as “that which is for the peace, order and good government of the country” (this being a matter of federal jurisdiction presumably because it is one touching the beneficence of the entire country). As you might imagine there has been a great deal of argument about that clause including laughable such an unanticipated issue as the control of the production of oleomargarine (a battle I suspect was prompted by the dairy industry). What matters however is not the digestion of the meaning of words and the specification of rules (that stuff of children’s games), rather the mere fact that the starting point is some baseless rule developed by unknown interests and people who themselves had no right to overwhelm others from the beginning.

Clearly nothing I say will have any influence whatsoever upon the evolution of constitutional law. What may however qualify for moderate consideration is that when proposing to develop an argument by starting at the beginning, we may do well to ask “What indeed is the beginning?” If the entire authenticity and plausibility of an argument depends, as it does in any issue of constitutional law, upon the foundation from which it evolves, it makes sense to afford at least some regard to the underlying circumstances which incited the legal fabric from the start. If nothing else, this attendance removes the specious argument that the basic ingredients of our constitution are hardened and immutable. If we were able to cast ourselves back to the ancient venues where these laws were first created, we would quickly perceive that our intellectual achievements were far more visceral than we might otherwise credit. To speak plainly, those precious constitutional statements were asserted by rich, white men with specific financial interests. The frippery about equality of mankind was nothing more than an alcoholic drawing room toot!  These legal trinkets were cheap tools of little significance to those self-interested sorts. And why should it have been otherwise?  They had come from an environment of hostility and often poverty. They knew only the success of winning and defeat. They had witnessed – and purported to revolt against – the abuse of minorities (many of them had abandoned the British model for that very reason).

So as a result we submit our reconditioned and purified souls to the manufacture of new rules which are simply blocks built upon the shoulders of those who were defeated. This analysis makes for an uncomfortable view of the world. It is no more palatable than Vladimir Putin’s argument for resolving his own constitutional prevarication. The perception of the masses hasn’t normally amounted to much in this battle.  The French Revolution left some harsh warnings for those estranged from the ground, as did the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The Ukrainians (and many of the Russians) are mounting an offensive against these putative constitutional rights of little substantial foundation. It is becoming a global conversation which can only be perceived by Putin as a serious obstacle to his backyard game.