Editorial: Never before have we had to defend the Constitution like we have to today

The Heritage Foundation

It’s not just that students aren’t taught much about the Constitution anymore. It’s that they’re often taught to despise it and to despise America’s entire founding through propaganda like the 1619 Project.

Sept. 17 is Constitution Day, a perfect time to share with young people why the Constitution is so critical to their existence as free people.

Leftist professors, media organizations and politicians have tried to change the image of America from the most successful experiment in self-government in the history of the world to an evil, self-serving nation that’s caused most of the world’s major problems, from poverty to wars. They preach that socialism is good and that freedoms must be subordinated to the collective.

The real-world result of this indoctrination? Some polls show as many as 70% of young people say they prefer socialism to free markets. This kind of thinking bodes disaster for the future of our country.

Here are some of the basics they need to know:

• The Constitution is a contract between the people and their government. It reflects that the government only derives its power from the people.

• It lays out the framework for the federal government and limits it to certain powers, so that it never becomes so powerful it threatens the freedoms it was instituted to protect.

• It divides power among the three branches of government to ensure that no branch becomes too powerful.

• It divides power between the federal government and the states so that power isn’t solely vested in a national government and so most decisions can be made by state governments that are closer and more responsive to the people.

• It includes in the Bill of Rights specific rights of the people that the government must respect.

We must counter the popular notion that the Constitution is acceptable as long as it’s a “living, breathing” document where, rather than keeping their original meaning, words can be reinterpreted to “fit” changing conditions.

To put it simply, a living, breathing Constitution is a threat to our liberty.

Imagine if 15 years into your mortgage, your lender decided it needed more money and could reinterpret the terms at will, tripling your interest rate or doubling your monthly payment.

Interpreting the Constitution from an “originalist” perspective protects our rights by requiring the government to abide by the original terms of the agreement.

The Heritage Foundation

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