The Constitution Is on Life-Support
by Gary North
“This is a republic, not a democracy. Let’s keep it that way!”
When I was a teenager, that was a popular saying in conservative circles. Conservative circles in 1958 were very few and very far between. The movement lacked slogans. Every fringe movement needs a few slogans. Slogans are like secret handshakes in a club. They identify one’s true colors to those in the know.
That slogan was misleading then, and it is misleading today.
America is an oligarchy of lawyers and the businessmen who hire them.
In no other nation do five lawyers determine what is lawful and what is not. This supreme authority of five people is both a symbol and the legal foundation of the political system that rules 310 million Americans. Yet we are so used to it that we give it no thought. We assume that this is normative: “the way things are ‘sposed to be.” Yet it is neither normative nor Constitutional. It is merely traditional.
On July 9, 1986, CBS television ran a show titled The Burger Years. It was an interview with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Warren Burger. It was the most important interview ever granted by a sitting Chief Justice. It was conducted by the former public relations spokesman for Lyndon Johnson, Bill Moyers, who by 1986 had become a respected media figure, a Voice of Disinterested Authority – the only Establishment survivor of the sinking of the U.S.S. Lyndon. In that interview, this exchange occurred.