IPFS Dave Hodges

More About: Political Theory

The Loss of the American Constitution: Constitutional Law vs. Communitarian Law (Part One)

Our Constitution is under a series of incremental attacks much like the proverbial frog in the boiling pot. As the temperature of the pot incrementally increases, the frog does not realize that it is in mortal danger, until it is too late.

My growing fear is that the American people will not realize that wholesale factions of the United States Constitution are gone, along with the majority of their freedoms, until it is too late to reverse our course on this very slippery slope.

The erosion of these liberties is not the result of a series of random, unconstitutional acts by power-hungry Neocons. Instead, the new and emerging system of American justice is bringing forth a sweeping set of reforms which is quickly ending our 217 year experiment with inalienable, individual liberties. This new system of justice is called Communitarian law and is the antithesis of Constitutional law as it champions community interests at the expense of individual liberties. If recent actions on the part of the United States government (e.g., the Military Commission Act of 2006) have left you bewildered, you are not alone. However, these actions are completely understandable if they are viewed under the lenses of Communitarian law vs. Constitutional law.

As Americans, we have come to expect that our individual liberties are granted by God, not by man or by government. We also believe, as Thomas Jefferson wrote, that these rights are inalienable and may not be taken away by government. The United States Constitution prevents not only the implementation of tyrannical practices against it citizens, it also prohibits the will of the majority from abusing the civil liberties of the minority.

Sadly, the United States Constitution is on life support and the patient is nearing the end.

The recent passage of both Patriot Acts, the United States Supreme Court case of Kelo v. The City of New London, CT. (2005) and The Military Commissions Act of 2006 have effectively neutralized every one of our Bill of Rights, except for the 3rd Amendment related to the quartering of troops. Some Americans are decrying these acts as unconstitutional. These Americans are correct. However, all of these acts are legal under the Communitarian system of justice because the intent is based on what is in the common good and not on what is constitutionally legal.

Briefly, the Kelo case allows for city governments to seize private properties and give it to private interests if in doing so, the seizure results in more revenue for the municipality. Both Patriot Acts destroyed the 4th Amendment and its protections against unreasonable searches and seizures as every form of communication and banking transaction, in this country, is subject to search without a warrant or notification that the search has taken place. The justification for these acts lies in the rationale that it is in the community interest to protect the public by uncovering terrorist plans before they can be implemented. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 allows for Americans to be declared illegal enemy combatants, and in doing so, American citizens could be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime. The same act permits the use of torture of American citizens and denies the ability to American citizens from confronting their accusers. Every justification for each of these acts was cast in the form of what was good for the safety and well-being (i.e., common good) of the American public.

Community, or Communitarian (i.e., communist) interests must be served and constitutionally protected liberties be damned! In the short-term, these acts may provide some measure of protection against terrorism. In the long-term, these acts lay the framework for the establishment of a police state so long as it is in the best interest of the community as determined by a set of unelected and, heretofore, unknown persons who reside within the shadowy confines of the various trade agreements that the United States has quietly joined.

Like the frog in the boiling pot, Americans are unaware of the fate that has befallen the only document which protects its citizens from tyrannical government. In considering the totality of the abovementioned legal actions, all three branches are participants in this abrogation of the Constitution. I believe that most individuals who have had a legal hand in these precedent-setting decisions are well-meaning public servants who are reacting to a series of situational threats (e.g., the threat of terrorism, the growing need to increase local tax bases). However, as the Bible tells us, "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". Also, Ben Franklin admonished Americans who would trade liberty for security as deserving neither. As later parts of this series will clearly demonstrate, there is a not-so-innocent intelligence behind this dramatic and incremental shift in legal practice which is deliberately and purposely undermining individual liberties within the United States.

Part two examines the legal precedent for Communitarian law and by the fact that the United States is a signatory of the communitarian-based Central American Free Trade Agreement, America has agreed to this new set of Communitarian principles.