Green Room

Remedial Constitutional education for Markos Moulitsas

posted at 9:30 am on March 7, 2012 by

As many of you still shun Twitter, I must share with you the wit and insight of nutroots commissar Markos “Kos” Moultisas on Rick Santorum’s Super Tuesday speech:

Following widespread mockery from the right, Kos did what he always does… dig himself a deeper hole:

Apparently, Kos was never taught that the Founders of our nation believed in natural rights, although this is obvious from the opening of the Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

(Emphases added for easier nutroots comprehension.) Of course, the Declaration is not the Constitution, even though many of the same people were involved in both projects. However, as Kos cites the Preamble to the Constitution, it is worth noting as the Supreme Court has, that “[a]lthough that preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution, it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the government of the United States, or on any of its departments.” That “We the People” formed a government simply does not mean the people or the government are necessarily the source of rights mentioned in the Constitution.

Kos obviously is unaware of the debate over whether the Constitution should be amended to include what is now known as the Bill of Rights, let alone the role of natural rights in that debate:

The Federalists contended that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary because in their view the federal government possessed only limited powers that were expressly delegated to it by the Constitution. They believed that all powers not constitutionally delegated to the federal government were inherently reserved to the people and the states. Nowhere in the Constitution, the Federalists pointed out, is the federal government given the power to trample on individual liberties. The Federalists feared that if the Constitution were to include a Bill of Rights that protected certain liberties from government encroachment, an inference would be drawn that the federal government could exercise an implied power to regulate such liberties.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the leading Federalists, articulated this concern in The Federalist No. 84. Why should a Bill of Rights, Hamilton asked, “declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” For instance, Hamilton said it was unnecessary for a Bill of Rights to protect the Freedom of the Press when the federal government is not granted the power to regulate the press. A provision “against restraining the liberty of the press,” Hamilton said, “afford[s] the clear implication that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government.”

The Federalists were also concerned that any constitutional enumeration of liberties might imply that other rights, not enumerated by the Constitution, would be surrendered to the government. A Bill of Rights, they feared, would quickly become the exclusive means by which the American people could secure their freedom and stave off tyranny. Federalist James Madison argued that any attempt to enumerate fundamental liberties would be incomplete and might imperil other freedoms not listed. A “positive declaration of some essential rights could not be obtained in the requisite latitude,” Madison said. “If an enumeration be made of all our rights,” he queried, “will it not be implied that everything omitted is given to the general government?”

Madison ultimately became an advocate for a Bill of Rights. Kos should read Madison’s arguments, as Madison noted that not all of the rights mentioned in the Constitution are natural rights. For example:

Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from a social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature.

Madison won the day in part by proposing what became the Ninth Amendment, which provides: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” This amendment in particular was to remind future generations of statists like Kos that our rights predate government. The Bill of Rights was largely intended to secure pre-existing rights against the new government. For example, this is why the First Amendment does not state that it creates a right to freedom of speech, but declares Congress shall make no law abridging our freedom of speech. That Kos seems so ignorant of these concepts is ironic in light of the role they played in the Supreme Court’s decision of… Griswold v. Connecticut, a case which Kos no doubt supports as much as Rick Santorum does not.

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It’s not so much that Kos is to blame, though he hasn’t educated himself. I more blame our terrible education system that does not teach the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the theory of Natural Rights.

But they do make sure how to put a condom on a banana.

rbj on March 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Markos has just outted himself as a blithering moron. No further proof is needed and from thsi point on, I shall consider it a settled question.

gryphon202 on March 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Kos is such a little tw@t.

HumpBot Salvation on March 7, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Welcome to Liberalville. Where the men are pretty, the women are butch, and the sheep are fearful.

gryphon202 on March 7, 2012 at 10:43 AM

No, governments do not create rights. Governments GOVERN, often restricting the rights of free individuals. It is when those rights have been shackled to the ideas of the liberal utopia (Socialism) that the second amendment of the Constitution becomes extemely important.

God knows liberals think the 1st amendment applies only to OWS marches, and not to little things like feds regulating the church.

Turtle317 on March 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Karl, see also Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison, Dec 20, 1787, in which TJ says he is disappointed by the lack of a Bill of Rights in the original Constitution:

“(A) bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

Empahsis mine. Jefferson knew what Moulitsas doesn’t, that rights don’t COME from government; they are guarantees AGAINST government.

radjah shelduck on March 7, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Kos is just repeating what he’s been told and that’s the Left ‘s “War on Religion.”

Product of many decades now of Progressives in education: their Leftwing, proCommunist ideology and the rest ignored or damned.

Lourdes on March 7, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Oh, but, very well done there, Karl.

Lourdes on March 7, 2012 at 11:13 AM

The bigger issue going forward is how restore the rule of law and fealty to the Constitution despite half of the populace being morons.

DocinPA on March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

How does one build a significant following for political media when one is so ignorant and unsophisticated?

Crispian on March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

The Bill of Rights was largely intended to secure pre-existing rights against the new government. For example, this is why the First Amendment does not state that it creates a right to freedom of speech, but declares Congress shall make no law abridging our freedom of speech.

Absolutely right. Neither the First Amendment nor the Second grants anything to anyone. They enumerate rights which predate the Constitution and exist external to the Constitution.

Owen Glendower on March 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Oh, who pays attention to the finer points of the document anyway. It’s over a hundred years old, fer cryin’ out loud.

AnonymousDrivel on March 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

>Santorum scoffs at notion that gov’t creates rights

>In fact, it states “We the people” as the source of the rights

Notice how he makes no distinction between the concepts of government and “We the people.”

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.

- Frederic Bastiat, 1850

mintycrys on March 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Alexander Hamilton, one of the leading Federalists, articulated this concern in The Federalist No. 84. Why should a Bill of Rights, Hamilton asked, “declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?” For instance, Hamilton said it was unnecessary for a Bill of Rights to protect the Freedom of the Press when the federal government is not granted the power to regulate the press.

Boy, was this man naive or what?

agmartin on March 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I happen to like the way Ted Nugent frames the argument,in this case, around the Second Amendment. It needs not be stated in a document, they natural rights.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCHtw6WbbnM&feature=player_embedded#!

mgman on March 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

In my reading of the Bill of Rights, I see the government being told time and again what it CAN NOT do. This leads me to believe the Rights protected in those Ammendments are natural rights held by the citizens individually and collectively. Kos is a credentialed idiot.

(Oops, just read your final paragraphs and see that you, too, noticed this. Always a bridesmaid…. *sigh*)

joated on March 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Nobody would accuse Kos of being smart or well informed. But he’s really good at hiding the fact he’s neither.

jeanie on March 7, 2012 at 1:45 PM

From the rest of Kos’ twitter feed it’s clear that he thinks he won the argument because God and Jesus aren’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution.

Also, it appears this guy tweets all day long. Granted it was Super Tuesday but he apparently has nothing else to do.

Missy on March 7, 2012 at 1:56 PM

What would this little girly gay boy know about the constitution? Shoot, if he had a weenie he would probably not know what to do with it.

rjulio on March 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM

It really is amazing that someone so ignorant has so many followers….that clearly are MORE ignorant.

search4truth on March 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Markos has just yet once again, blithley, vehemently and with great aplomb, outted himself as an absolute blithering moron. Yet again, no further proof is needed and from this point on, I shall consider it a settled question, as the rest of our society has decided quite some time ago.

gryphon202 on March 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

FIFY…no charge.

MooCow…out.

MooCowBang on March 7, 2012 at 3:50 PM

“…the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven…” -Constitution of the united States.

This is the same Lord God who endowed all men with certain unalienable rights.

Koss and his ilk are tyrants in waiting, despots out of power. Obooba is a frustrated tyrant chafing more and more at his restraints.

Akzed on March 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Markos Moulitsas ZUniga is an ignorant moron, about a lot of other things too.

rayra on March 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Dear Kos,

See the very last lines:

“…done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the YEAR OF THE LORD (emphasis added) one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names…”

Does that work for ya, KOS? I’m pretty sure the “Lord” they are referring to isn’t Barry Soretoro. You wouldn’t understand, but people of faith signed important documents like that back in the day to reaffirm that faith.

rotorhead on March 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

The bigger issue going forward is how restore the rule of law and fealty to the Constitution despite half of the populace being morons.

DocinPA on March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I suspect the Second Amendment will figure prominently in that endeavor.

trigon on March 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Mr. Obama, are you paying attention?

LizardLips on March 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

The real danger is that Moulitsas spews his ignorance with such conviction, thus convincing the gullible to believe his imaginings.

WordsMatter on March 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM

rights are protections against the gob’t’s infringements upon us.

entitlements are the way leftists buy votes and enslave victims with mental disorders.

kos, my dear liberal momma taught me it is better to keep my mouth shut and be considered a fool, then to open my mouth and remove all doubt.

Dr. Demento on March 7, 2012 at 3:54 PM

This is why there is a divide that cannot be reconciled. If a person is working from the flawed perspective that Moulitsas has, then of course the government can control our lives. Failing to understand our rights existed before any government did only invites said government into our lives.

NotCoach on March 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Karl, excellent analysis

tank_killer69 on March 7, 2012 at 3:58 PM

The Declaration of Independence had no standing once the Constitution was signed and put enforce. Am I wrong in that understanding?

aniptofar on March 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I guess the Blessings of Liberty come from government.

/

mankai on March 7, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Boy, was this man naive or what?

agmartin on March 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Perhaps. But what he wrote was not illogical, it was well thought out because the Founders were relying on the structure they created to be the bar against a tyrannical government. That structure has been abused and perverted thus making enumerated rights necessary (As long as we continue to at least partially follow the Constitution. No enumerated right will stand if we abandon the governing principals of this sacred document entirely.) as a check to an ever expanding and tyrannical government.

Power was supposed to check power thus preventing impingement upon our rights.

NotCoach on March 7, 2012 at 4:03 PM

The Bill of Rights, where our rights are enshrined, are phrased in such a way that presupposes their pre-existence:

“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,”

“In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved,”

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively”

Greek Fire on March 7, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Why would anyone think that Kos had ever read any of the founding documents. Liberals only tell you about what everybody knows about those documents, not what they actually say.

Axion on March 7, 2012 at 4:10 PM

God is mentioned indirectly through the “Sundays excepted” in the Presidents time frame for signing legislations. And the forgotten piece is the date of the signature “In The Year of Our Lord”.

You should ask the Cocksacks where in the Constitution is healthcare or Wall Street or the ElectroMagnetic Spectrum. I will accept the God is not implicit, if he accepts the Government cannot do things that are not listed.

negative liberty and LONOANG….FTW

John Kettlewell on March 7, 2012 at 4:17 PM

The left is reliably ignorant about this stuff. It reminds me of the time Christine O’Donnell was in a debate in front a law school audience. When the subject of seperation of church and state came up, she questioned whether it was in the Constitution at all (It isn’t). The smug laughter coming from the audience was painful to watch. Keep in mind this was all law students and professors.

Tomolena1 on March 7, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Wow – amazing how ignorant Libtards are. While they think they are so farking smart, they are dumber than a bag of rocks.

mouell on March 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM

You may as well be talking to a rock.

tdpwells on March 7, 2012 at 4:24 PM

To Kos, I quote a redneck, “And you were the fastest swimmer?”

OkieDoc on March 7, 2012 at 4:28 PM

I was at a funeral recently and there was a contingent from the local VFW as the deceased was a veteran. The widow was presented a flag and the spokesman said that “the government” thanks you for his service.

I didn’t like the phraseology. I’d prefer “your nation” rather than “the government” since the government is a construct that we the people have put in place for governance and the government can be changed by the people of the nation. In fact, Jefferson thought it may be necessary to do so. To conflate the government with the nation is problematic.

Angineer on March 7, 2012 at 4:58 PM

And to the topic at hand, let me quote Patrick Henry, first governor of Virginia:

The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”

How prescient!

Angineer on March 7, 2012 at 5:00 PM

How does one build a significant following for political media when one is so ignorant and unsophisticated?

Crispian on March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

That’s simple…it’s the dumb leading the stupid.

Kingfisher on March 7, 2012 at 5:03 PM

How does one build a significant following for political media when one is so ignorant and unsophisticated?

Crispian on March 7, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Look for followers that are equally ignorant and unsophisticated?

slickwillie2001 on March 7, 2012 at 5:23 PM

Is he thinking of the Constitution of another country? Remember, like the one Ginsberg likes, or the ones that say you have the right to a job, and healthcare and a right to government mandated education. Maybe he got them confused with the United States Constitution.

talkingpoints on March 7, 2012 at 5:25 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on March 7, 2012 at 10:58 PM

So, if rights come from the government, doesn’t that mean that minorities (of any type, not just race) are only entitled to those rights which the majority grants them?

malclave on March 7, 2012 at 6:03 PM