The Constitution has seen better days.So begins a provocative article in The New York Times (6-Feb-12). Until the 1980s, democratic constitutions around the world were more similar to that of the United States than not. That has changed. Newer constitutions tend to protect more rights, are easier to change, and are replaced periodically. That makes the U.S version as poor a model for a new constitution as using Windows 3.1 to inspire the development of a modern operating system.
The U.S. Constitution Is Yesterday’s News
I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. This, with its echo of the Declaration (
self-evident) was Jefferson at his most terse. Except for the phrase
in usufruct — a legalism meaning the right to use property for a certain time — Jefferson’s words could be chiseled in stone, or shouted on the hustings.