Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Problem is Always People, Not Systems

Louis Michael Seidman recently wrote a New York Times Opinion piece about we should give up on the Constitution.  I find it particular interesting to read, but fairly predictable.  I’m not really interested in dissecting his work piece by piece, but it occurs to me that there is a fundamental premise that Mr. Seidman (or Professor Seidman?) seems to miss.

Throughout the op-ed piece, he talks about how the system established by the Constitution is not working, yet he fails to recognize that human beings, especially those who aspire to be politicians, are prone to dominate.  While correctly pointing out that the history of our nation under the Constitution is one of people flaunting it for their own preferences or gain, he doesn’t seem to understand that it is because of man’s own desire for power is what drives men in power to override the will of the people they are supposed to represent.

The fact is, we must always be aware of the Libido Dominandi or “Lust to Dominate” that is inherent in all of us.  For many, it just happens to be a larger desire than most others.  In some cases, this manifests itself in a customer tormenting a barista at a Starbucks for not getting the temperature exactly at 140 degrees, even though the barista has science on her side due to having the thermometer.  But for a small percentage of us, there is a huge desire to either “fix” the rest of the dumb masses or to simply cash in the easy way by getting the dumb masses to vote for them.

This is the primary driving force behind many of the politicians you’ll meet today, even at the local levels.  They desire to fix us to meet their own tastes and desires or they simply are looking for an easy job.

While the Constitution does have some arguable flaws, if all the men who were elected to high office took their oath seriously, we wouldn’t see much of the large messes we are seeing today.  But men are not angels and so we always look for our own angles and advantages, especially when it comes to those in power.

There isn’t much that can be done to remedy this.  Changing human behavior is like changing the location of the moon.  It can be done, but it takes an enormous about time, energy, and resources.

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