Check out this disturbing essay by Daniel Lazare comparing people’s reverence for the U.S. Constitution to our reverence for holy texts. He also identifies a fundamental contradiction in our Constitution to boot:
Sealed in moisture-controlled, bullet-proof glass containers that are on display in a special rotunda at the National Archives Museum in Washington DC by day and lowered into a multi-ton bomb-proof vault by night, the Constitution is to the US what the Bible was to medieval Europe or the Qur’an to today’s Islamic State, albeit with certain differences … On one hand, the Preamble seems to establish ‘we the people’ as the all-powerful makers and breakers of constitutions. On the other, the rest of the document outlines a system that gives them almost no power at all. So which is it?
So, what is the optimal level of constitutional change? Isn’t there a trade-off between stability and flexibility, between the risk of political fossilization and the risk of revolutionary turmoil?