A number of well-known spokesmen on the left have voiced reservations, not only about the Republican decision to have members of Congress — both Republicans and Democrats — read the Constitution aloud at the opening of the latest session of Congress, but also about Americans’ veneration of the Constitution.
In a recent appearance on MSNBC, Washington Post staff writer Ezra Klein said: “The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person.”
Joy Behar asked her guests on CNN’s Headline News, “Do you think this Constitution-loving is getting out of hand?”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) complained that “they are reading it [the Constitution] like a sacred text.”
What troubles Mr. Klein, Ms. Behar, and Congressman Nadler?
The answer is that for leftism — though not necessarily for every individual who considers himself a leftist — there are no sacred texts. The two major examples are the Constitution and the Bible.
One cannot understand the Left without understanding this. The demotion of the sacred in general and of sacred texts specifically is at the center of leftist thinking.
The reason is that elevating any standard, any religion, any text to the level of the sacred means that it is above any individual. Therefore, what any one individual or even society believes is of secondary importance to that which is deemed sacred. If, to cite the most obvious example, the Bible is sacred, then I have to revere it more than I revere my own feelings in assessing what is right and wrong.
But for the Left, what is right and wrong is determined by every individual’s feelings, not by anything above the individual.
This is a major reason why the Left, since Karl Marx, has been so opposed to Judeo-Christian religion. For Judaism and Christianity, God and the Bible are above the self. Indeed, Western civilization was built on the idea that the individual and society are morally accountable to God and to the moral demands of that book. That was the view, incidentally, of every one of the Founders, including deists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.
This is entirely unacceptable to the Left. As Marx and Engels said, “Man is God and God is man.” Therefore, society must rid itself of the sacred, i.e., God and the Bible. Then each of us (or the society or the party or the judiciary) takes the place of God and the Bible.
Morality is then no longer a God-given objective fact; it becomes a human-created subjective opinion. And one no longer needs to consult an external source to know right and wrong, only one’s heart. We are then no longer accountable to God for transgressions, only to ourselves.
That is why, when there is God-talk on the Left, it is usually about “the God that is within each of us,” not a God external to, let alone above, us, as Judaism and Christianity have always taught.
#PAGE#This explains the belief that is universally held on the Left that the Constitution is an “evolving text,” meaning that it says what anyone (on the Left) wants it to say. Conservatives, on the other hand, do not share this view. They do not believe the Constitution has something to say about everything they believe in. While the Left sees the right to abortion in the Constitution (because the Left believes in the right to abortion), those who oppose abortion do not believe that the Constitution prohibits abortion. They believe that the Constitution is silent on the issue. Precisely because the Right does believe the Constitution is to be treated as sacred, it does not claim that whatever it supports is in the Constitution or that whatever it opposes is unconstitutional.
There are humble individuals and arrogant individuals on the right and on the left. But there is no arrogance like leftist arrogance. If you hold a leftist position, you know that you are smarter, wiser, and more moral not only than conservatives, but more so than the Bible, more so than the Constitution, indeed often more so than everyone who lived before you.
Same-sex marriage is a perfect example. The fact that neither Moses nor the Hebrew Prophets, nor Jesus nor the Buddha nor any great secular humanist thinker, ever advocated defining marriage as between members of the same sex does not cause the Left to rethink its advocacy of same-sex marriage; it only proves to them how morally superior they are to Moses, Jesus, the Prophets, and everyone else who lived before them.
That is why we must to treat the Constitution as a sacred text. Because the bottom line is this: If it is not regarded as sacred, it is nothing more than what anyone believes about any social issue. Which is precisely what the Left wants it to be — providing, of course, that the “anyone” is a liberal.
For the Left, there are no sacred texts. There are only sacred (liberal) feelings.
— Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. He may be contacted through his website, dennisprager.com.