We put a lot of faith in a document which was written over 200 years ago; and yes, it is an amazing document. But could it alone save America from a person or group that really wanted control of a world power and economic titan?
If you are a believer that the Constitution of the United States will completely prevent the United States from becoming a country of limited freedoms with a totalitarian government, then you need to know that even the constitutions of the Soviet Union declared certain political rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and a series of economic and social rights (and duties) for all its citizens. The single party that governed the Soviet Union didn't let the words on paper limit its powers - with enough rules, regulations, and legislation, you can slowly and completely disregard the written law of the land. You'd never actually know the Power behind the dismantling of freedoms until it has finally silenced every dissenting voice and doesn't need to hide any longer.
Belief in the power of the document is essential, but we must also be vigilant on the creation and implementation of minor laws and regulations which limit and remove freedoms for everyone. Bureaucratic government and social programs don't necessarily herald a diminishing of freedoms, freedoms are curtailed when power becomes consolidated within a single entity or group and they seek to keep that power through any means necessary. The Soviet Union was ruled by a single party, a single party that strove to keep its power in all branches of government - executive, legislative, and judicial. And not even the constitution in place could not prevent freedoms from disappearing.
From the 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union:
"FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF CITIZENS
ARTICLE 118. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance With its quantity and quality.
ARTICLE 119. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to rest and leisure. The right to rest and leisure is ensured by the reduction of the working day to seven hours for the overwhelming majority of the workers, the institution of annual vacations with full pay for workers and employees and the provision of a wide network of sanatoria, rest homes and clubs for the accommodation of the working people.
ARTICLE 120. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. This right is ensured by the extensive development of social insurance of workers and employees at state expense, free medical service for the working people and the provision of a wide network of health resorts for the use of the working people.
ARTICLE 121. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. have the right to education. This right is ensured by universal, compulsory elementary education; by education, including higher education, being free of charge; by the system of state stipends for the overwhelming majority of students in the universities and colleges; by instruction in schools being conducted in the native Ianguage, and by the organization in the factories, state farms, machine and tractor stations and collective farms of free vocational, technical and agronomic training for the working people.
ARTICLE 122. Women in the U.S.S.R. are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life. The possibility of exercising these rights is ensured to women by granting them an equal right with men to work, payment for work, rest and leisure, social insurance and education, and by state protection of the interests of mother and child, prematernity and maternity leave with full pay, and the provision of a wide network of maternity homes, nurseries and kindergartens.
ARTICLE 123. Equality of rights of citizens of the U.S.S.R., irrespective of their nationality or race, in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life, is an indefeasible law. Any direct or indirect restriction of the rights of, or, conversely, any establishment of direct or indirect privileges for, citizens on account of their race or nationality, as well as any advocacy of racial or national exclusiveness or hatred and contempt, is punishable by law.
ARTICLE 124. In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the U.S.S.R. is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.
ARTICLE 125. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:
- freedom of speech;
- freedom of the press;
- freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
- freedom of street processions and demonstrations.
ARTICLE 126. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to develop the organizational initiative and political activity of the masses of the people, citizens of the U.S.S.R. are ensured the right to unite in public organizations--trade unions, cooperative associations, youth organizations,' sport and defense organizations, cultural, technical and scientific societies; and the most active and politically most conscious citizens in the ranks of the working class and other sections of the working people unite in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), which is the vanguard of the working people in their struggle to strengthen and develop the socialist system and is the leading core of all organizations of the working people, both public and state.
ARTICLE 127. Citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No person may be placed under arrest except by decision of a court or with the sanction of a procurator.
ARTICLE 128. The inviolability of the homes of citizens and privacy of correspondence are protected by law.
ARTICLE 129. The U.S.S.R. affords the right of asylum to foreign citizens persecuted for defending the interests of the working people, or for their scientific activities, or for their struggle for national liberation.
ARTICLE 130. It is the duty of every citizen of the U.S.S.R. to abide by the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, to observe the laws, to maintain labor discipline, honestly to perform public duties, and to respect the rules of socialist intercourse.
ARTICLE 131. It is the duty of every citizen of the U.S.S.R. to safeguard and strengthen public, socialist property as the sacred and inviolable foundation of the Soviet system, as the source of the wealth and might of the country, as the source of the prosperous and cultured life of all the working people.
ARTICLE 132. Universal military service is law. Military service in the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army is an honorable duty of the citizens of the U.S.S.R.
ARTICLE 133. To defend the fatherland is the sacred duty of every citizen of the U.S.S.R. Treason to the country--violation of the oath of allegiance, desertion to the enemy, impairing the military power of the state, espionage is punishable with all the severity of the law as the most heinous of crimes..."
To read the entire 1936 Constitution of the USSR, click here.