Adler: Thoughts on the Constitution
I'm watching a series on Netflix that Bill Moyers hosted 25 years ago called In Search of the Constitution. The third show features liberal Mortimer Adler teaching the founding documents at St. John's College in Maryland. He explains that in a constitutional government, the people are the government.
As Lincoln said, the office holders are the servants of the people... The citizens are the permanent and principle rulers... The office holders are the transient and incidental rulers, they rule as our representatives...
My question of Adler is this - how do the people govern in a society controlled by big Washington bureaucracies, where power is vested not in our representatives but in the hands of unknown career workers making invisible policy decisions?
I'm sorry to have to tell you, that most Americans... do not understand their role as citizens... unless we somehow prepare them for citizenship... the future of this country, politically and econmically, is seriously in question.
Had Adler been born in 1927 rather than 1902, would he have seen enough big government by the end of his life to understand that making economic equality part of the Constitution (the idea that guarantees of liberty are useless without guarantees of minimum economic standing) is not its natural evolution but, rather, its destruction.
I wish Adler were still around so I could call and ask him to reflect.