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Constitutionality as a Basis for Public Policy and Morality

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

But should the Constitution serve as a basis for public policy and morality? Is it really a living document that safeguards our liberties? Why is it needed to safeguard our liberties? These are difficult questions to answer. While the constitution is an important historical document that shows great courage and prudence of the American leaders who drafted it, it should not dictate morality nor serve as a means of justification for political action.

First, the Constitution does not dictate morality. The Constitution may be right about many things but this does not mean that it should serve as guide for what is right. It is just for a governing body to give its constituents the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but it is not right because it is in the Constitution. America should be able to figure out what is right and what is not. If America wonders whether something should be done, or if it is right, and looks at the Constitution and sees that it's protected under the Constitution, it should not then consider it right.

Even if what the Constitution says is right, it's not right because the Constitution says it. Society needs to figure out what is right by using its values and by actually thinking about it from a moral standpoint and by weighing the benefits and harms. If America just uses Constitutionality as a means of justification there is no reason behind its actions. The Constitution was nothing more than the manifestation of what America's values were in the late 18th century; America should be able to do the same and manifest its values through action today. It does not need to look back at the values of America in the 18th century to see if something is right. If it does, our political leaders would be showing a complete lack of competence.

This leads into the next point that needs to be made. The fact that America relies on Constitutionality to justify its actions shows a lack of competence to figure out what is right and what is not. In the 18th century, our founding fathers knew what needed to be done and what was right by actually rationalizing and justifying using their moral values.

Today, our politicians and supreme court don't do that when they use Constitutionality as a means to justify. The fact that they must look to a piece of paper to tell them what is right and what needs to be done shows a completely lack of competence to be leading.The Constitution does not really safeguard liberties. Society, once again, should know which actions would violate liberties and which would not. Ideally, competent politicians should know how to protect liberties.

Many say that the Constitution is a living document. This may be true, but still, why do we need to amend the Constitution? Why do we need to express how our ideals and values are changing on a piece of paper? Can't we know what's moral and what's not in our society by actually rationalizing it  and using our values rather than writing it down on a piece of paper and blindly following it in the future?

The Constitution may have been right on many things and may have pointed to moral correctness, but moral correctness should be found using values and rational thought.


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