Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Ken Klukowski
Liberal pundits are panicking over constitutional conservatism. They shouldn’t, because every child—whether the parents are liberal or conservative—will benefit from constitutional conservatism’s ascendency. If America elects a constitutional conservative president and Congress in 2012, we’ll move forward as a freedom-loving nation.
Several outlets on the Left—such as The New Republic—are raising an alarm about this disturbing new term, saying that it’s secret code for “absolutists” and “zealots” on economic issues, overturning Roe v. Wade, and implying that constitutional conservatives are segregationists bent on creating a theocracy.
As two constitutional conservatives who wrote a new book on the issue, we’ll correct the record on defining constitutional conservatism, how it now dominates Republican politics, and why America needs it so desperately.
Constitutional conservatism is the system of government the Founders gave to this country. They set out a series of principles on the rights of man and the role of government in the Declaration of Independence, including that God creates us equal and gives us rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness, that government exists to secure these rights, and that the people either consent to this government or have the right to change it.
After years of trial and error, the country then adopted the Framers’ proposed Constitution to be the Supreme Law of the Land to fulfill the Declaration’s purpose. This Constitution strictly defines the federal government as one of enumerated powers, giving it authority over specific areas of our national life, splitting its powers between three branches that check each other, and leaves the states sovereign on all other matters. They also declared certain individual rights. Knowing that they were fallible human beings, the Framers also included an amendment process so that when the Constitution was found lacking, a complex supermajority could change it (and have, twenty-seven times).
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