Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Few Observations

At this point, I think it would be appropriate to make a few observations to draw together the materials that I have been posting at this site.  Some of them have had a direct and obvious relation to the Constitution, such as, for example, the posts concerning the right to keep and bear arms.  Others have been more tenuously related to it -- such as those posts which concern natural law and certain rights that were recognized and established (and which began, of course) before the United States Constitution was made and ratified.  For the first of these two, there probably is no need to add anything.  The second type, however, may need clarification: why have I posted this on a site for the intelligent study and conservation of the United States Constitution?

The content of these posts tends to establish, first, not only that there is such a thing as natural law, but that it was well-established in our legal and philosophical traditions when the Constitution was made; that while its rules were not agreed upon in great detail, its general principles and effects were much less controversial; that the establishment of the Constitution was founded in natural law (in the manner by which it superseded the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union); that, in many points, an understanding of natural law is as indispensable to properly understanding the Constitution as is an understanding of the English language; and that, in many points, the provisions of the Constitution either reinforce and complement the rules of natural law or else establish a certain view of aspects of natural law.

Secondly, the posts demonstrate what I think is more widely admitted, that a highly developed English/American legal system and tradition existed at the time of the making of the Constitution; that a knowledge of this system is needed in order to correctly understand much of the Constitution; that to some extent, the rules and principles of this system were considered immutable, and the Constitution was written with the expectation that they would remain in use and effect (which is not to say that the Constitution necessarily requires them to remain in use and effect, but when reason and justice clearly demand something that the Constitution, or a state constitution, does not -- that the right to self-defense be recognized, for example -- which, additionally, was established in that legal system and legal tradition, the fact that the Constitution does not expressly call for it may be an argument in favor of it, not against it, if it was left out because it was so obvious and well-established, rather than because it was unimportant); that more primary and secondary sources on this law than we could possibly use are available to us, and it is possible with scientific precision to ascertain to what the Ninth Amendment refers, at least in part; that natural law was an element of this system; and that the enumerated rights of the Constitution are better seen as the tips of icebergs than as lights from which any sort of penumbra might be thought to emanate.

These are not well-known, well-established ideas, but the evidence (and reason) suggests that they are true.  This is why I consider much of the information that I have been posting to be relevant to the topic of this blog, and to anyone who is interested in understanding and conserving the magnificent Constitution that Americans are so fortunate to have.

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