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When Will the Constitution Be “Outdated?”


Okay, let’s get into audience questions for
the week and they are good and they are very needy this week. Hey David, when will the constitution be officially
outdated? This is so loaded and it just, uh, to, to
begin with. There are lots of people who just say never
there called constitutional fetishists. Sometimes they call into the show, but if
we want to have a sensible adult conversation, the first question is, what do you mean by
outdated? If you mean, does the constitution still effectively
establish the federal government and give us, uh, the original set of powers for the
federal government? It still does that. And in that sense, it’s not outdated in that
it’s still outlines the government that we have today. If the question, which I think is a more practical
question becomes, does the constitution still serve as a relevant document to answer questions
about how things should work today? The answer is that with every passing year,
the constitution increasingly fails to be a document that gives us those answers. Uh, so, so in many ways the constitution is
already outdated. Look at the chaos around gun laws. Is it the guns that were around at the time
of the constitutions writing or do we need to interpret which guns and types of arms
fall under the jurisdiction of what the founders meant when the Second Amendment was established? Well, what exists, it’s immediate and total
chaos. The problem is either it’s outdated or it
isn’t, and the chaos starts when we start arguing about which pieces are outdated and
in which way, and we start trying to suss out the intentions of the founders versus
whether a totally literal interpretation should be applied. But if it is a little literal interpretation,
it should be applied based on the world that existed at the time that the constitution
or its amendments were written, not necessarily a literal interpretation based on 2019 that
makes it very, very little sense and you end up just getting a kind of partisan strategy
around the constitution to argue one way when it favors your side politically and argue
a different way when it doesn’t favor your side politically. How does the First Amendment apply to the
Internet? The answer is it actually depends on whether
a president has put conservative or liberal justices on the supreme court doesn’t really
seem like that is a particularly uptodate document, if that’s what it depends on. How does the fourth amendment apply to motor
vehicles? The answer is, it depends on whether presidents
have recently been able to get conservative or liberal justices on the supreme court. Thomas Jefferson, who believed that Americans
should revisit the constitution every 20 years probably was onto something. Although 20 years is probably too frequently,
uh, maybe it was based on life expectancy at the time, I don’t know. But the idea there is a good one and there’s
an argument to be made, uh, which we often hear from those who believe that the constitution
is sort of more perfect than it is, who will say, we don’t need to change the constitution,
uh, in any kind of significant way because the constitution can be amended. Uh, it doesn’t have to be replaced. It’s working as intended. The problem is that it’s gotta be easier to
pass amendments if that’s going to be your argument. Right? The constitution does provide for amending
it and it’s been amended a couple dozen times. But in order to get an amendment through,
it needs to be proposed either by Congress with a two thirds majority vote in both the
house and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention called four by two thirds of the
state legislatures in modern politics. This is almost impossible and you see it in
the results. The 27th amendment was passed in 1992 but
it related to the compensation of the members of US Congress. Okay? It’s about their own pay. If you go before the 27th amendment to the
26th it was in 1971 that’s 48 years ago. That is a very long time for a system which
supposedly is ripe to be amended to make it more relevant to modern day. The last 48 years have seen completely drastic
change culturally, technologically in terms of legal precedent on so many different issues. So if your argument is going to be the constitution
is fine, as long as we keep up with amending it, it’s gotta be easier to amend it because
it’s almost impossible, uh, in modern American politics on anything other than how much do
senators and members of the House of Representatives get paid? Let me know what you think. But I do believe that the constitution is
an outdated document already

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