Why We Study the Constitution

Why We Study the Constitution

Larry P. Arnn:
The government is the necessary solution to a problem and that is us. Lord knows what we might do without laws,
but there’s a problem with government, that’s us too. First of all the name means something cool. It means to set a thing up firmly in place. It’s actually like the word [inaudible 00:29]. Just think of this particular problem. If you’re going to have more than one person
make the law, you’re going to have to have a constitution to describe how that’s done
or else, you’re going to have wars all the time about who gets to make the law. The constitution is an attempt to organize
a form of government that is as close as possible to what human beings are like and what they
need. What they’re like is that they need and they
naturally make laws and what they need is those laws to be consistently fair and protect
them and also restrain them from harming one another. Since it’s true that both the things that
needs protecting and the danger to it is the same thing, then you have to have some method
of both assembling and granting power and of restraining power. Our constitution is the best at that in all
of history and the explanations of it by the people who wrote it are the most profound
explanations of that kind in all of human history. Is self government possible? All of human history, all the kings, and monarchs,
and aristocracy of history had thought, “No. It can’t be done.” Aristotle himself is very skeptical. He’s not opposed, but he’s skeptical about
democracy, the rule of the many. The founders are aware this is a very hard
thing to do. Indeed, never done in history for a long time
before. The constitution has to be respected. It’s the law that gives the process by which
we make all the other laws. It is the only law really ever passed directly
by the people of the United States. The people picked the constitution and if
you think as I think that no human being has the right by nature to govern any other human
being without a consent of the governed, then of course you have to think that the majority
has to approve the government all the time. You don’t want the majority tampering with
the constitution all the time and so they invented a process for the people to pass
the constitution more less directly and then that process passed away and doesn’t exist
anymore. All you have to do is go and look at any place
where the law cannot be trusted. You don’t want to live anywhere like that. You want to live instead in a place where
your efforts are much less is a percentage dominated by the job of just protecting yourself. Young people long for this, right, to use
their growing powers to make for themselves a significant life. That’s what you want and you need good laws
for that. This idea that maybe in your mind that if
you don’t like the place where you can go you can move somewhere else. That’s a fact by the way among the countries
that’s still enjoy the rule of law, in the other countries, not at all. The problem with government, the government
is the solution to a problem, right? The necessary solution to a problem and that
is us. Lord knows what we might do without laws. We would be not unlikely to take each others
stuff, for example, but there’s a problem with government. That’s us too. Madison wrote, “What is government but to
profound us to all commentaries on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be
needed. If angels were to govern men, neither internal
nor external controls on the government would be necessary.” Why should we listen to this old thing, right? Written for the time of the horse and buggy. It’s actually true, George Washington had
wooden teeth. At least I think it’s true. Serious people try to figure out what’s right,
what fits. If there’s a thing that is not susceptible
of change, we still are born in a certain way, and then we age, and eventually we die
and that happens at a pace that’s similar for all of us. If we’re going to remain human beings, then
my argument is we should strive to govern ourselves in the way indicated by the constitution
of the United States. It is fit for things like us.


  1. Lord knows our congressman and senators need to.  In her book, "From Luby's to the Legislature", guns rights advocate and former Texas legislator Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who lost her parents in the 1991 Luby's shooting in Kileen, mentioned about the greatest failure of our public educational system being that we really don't study our nation's founding documents in sufficient detail. Most public-school texts will refer to them in one or two lines, but considering that they're not very long, most of our elected officials have never actually seen the text of the Declaration, the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights, never mind read them in their entirety.  On the other hand, a number of veterans tend to, especially retired veterans, because we find it important to know what it is we're potentially risking our lives for.  Unfortunately, I've come across some of my brothers and sisters in uniform who don't realize that once we done the uniform at take the oath to protect the Constitution, we don't sacrifice our rights as citizens of the nation we defend.  That's actually a paraphrase of a quote that goes back to a general in the Colonial Army who became our first President:  George Washington:  "When we assumed the soldier, we did not lay aside the citizen."  The body of the citizenry is America, while the government only rules by the consent of the governed.  That is the law of the land in a representative democracy, or republic, such as ours.

  2. This is the most lucid explanation of why we need a/our Constitution that I have ever heard. Thanks you Hillsdale College and Mr. Arnn.

  3. “Understand that it is easy to part with or give away privileges but hard to be regained it lost “ William Penn 1687

  4. Why We Need The Constitution. They don't teach this in schools or colleges anymore. The only college that does teach it is Hillsdale College.

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