The Bill of Rights is on borrowed time

  • 5 May 2015
  • NormanL

We've written a great deal about goverment's intrusions upon, and violations of, the protections and guarantees in the Bill of Rights. As battered as some of these Amendments are today, they still stand as a bulwark against unbridled government power. But could the Bill of Rights be enacted today? Charles C.W. Cooke says "no":

If it sometimes feels as if the Bill of Rights is the only thing standing between the little guy and majoritarian tyranny, that’s possibly because it is. Americans may be freer than most, but it is often thanks to Supreme Court decisions and not to public opinion that America remains an outlier. It is because judges have stepped in that it is legal to burn the American flag in protest; that the Westboro Baptist Church may stage its execrable funeral demonstrations without fear of tort liability; that seditious speech may not be punished by the government; that disgusting videos may not be banned; that conservative Christians have been spared the indignities of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate; that collections of citizens may engage in political criticism; that parents caring for their children may not be forced by the state to join a union; that the residents of Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other “blue” cities may buy and own handguns for their protection; that the government is prohibited from searching cell phones without a warrant; and so on and so forth. Looking around the country — and examining the attitudes that prevail in Washington, D.C., on our college campuses, and in our hopelessly excitable media — can we honestly conclude that three-fourths of We the People would vote today to so restrain ourselves? We are living on borrowed wisdom.

"Borrowd wisdom"? Yes. We've looked high and low, and can find no James Madisons or George Masons out there today, nevermind a new Patrick Henry.

And to put it all in perspective, consider the nearby video. Random people asked whether the Bill of Rights should be done away with to make us safer in this time of uncertainty. Hey, if the idea has bipartisan support, why not?

We aren't just living on borrowed wisdom.  We're living on borrowed time.