Ben Shapiro

According to The New York Times, the American Constitution is losing popularity with people around the world. "The Constitution," writes Adam Liptak, "has seen better days ... its influence is waning." Liptak points out that in 1987, over 160 of the 170 countries on Earth had cribbed from the Constitution -- but today, few countries do. Why? Liptak suggests, quoting Professor David Law of Washington University in St. Louis, that our Constitution is "Windows 3.1." It's difficult to amend, and it doesn't guarantee so-called "positive rights," such as healthcare, housing and education. Justice Michael Kirby of the High Court of Australia said that he relies more on the legal framework of India, South Africa and New Zealand than on that of the United States.

Intuitively, this sounds wrong. Why would you rely on the legal frameworks of nations that still allow disparate treatment of "untouchables" or countries that until 20 years ago still had different legal standards for blacks and whites? Why not rely on the legal framework that provided for equal rights as early as 1868 and that guaranteed freedom from government overreach almost a century earlier than that?

The answer is simple: More countries today want governments that provide for them rather than governments that keep them free. That is why tyranny is on the move across the globe. The choice to reject the principles underlying the U.S. Constitution isn't a mere choice of one legal form over another -- it's a choice in favor of a philosophy of slavery over a philosophy of freedom. The same countries that provide their citizens with "free healthcare" force their citizens into relative poverty and undercut their citizens' access to high-level healthcare; the same countries that provide "free housing" breed slums and crime.

There's another problem, too: More countries today want governments that are "efficient" rather than governments that leave them alone. In order to provide those positive rights, governments must have the ability to act quickly, to tax easily and to invade property rights regularly. Sure, those governments can be corrupted and frequently are, but they "get things done." And in a world where the government is both father and mother, getting things done is the priority. As defenders of Mussolini put it, at least the trains run on time (the trains didn't, by the way).


Ben Shapiro

Ben Shapiro is an attorney, a writer and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center. He is editor-at-large of Breitbart and author of the best-selling book "Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV."
 
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