Mencius Moldbug has argued that Sovereignty is conserved – meaning that constitutions are ultimately worthless, there will always be a sovereign, and nothing can stop the sovereign from doing what he likes, government cannot bind itself
This presupposes that government always exists, that it is easy to create and maintain government, easy for a large number of enforcers, of men with guns, to act as one.
I don’t think so. I think anarchy is the natural and normal state of mankind, disorderly anarchy is easy, orderly anarchy difficult, government is a fragile illusion, that exists only because every everyone pretends to believe it exists, fearing what might happen should the illusion fail. Fiat government is only real in the sense that fiat money is real.
Observe that in any place where you rely on the police to maintain order, that place is unsafe.
In practice, what respectable people do tends to trump what the law supposedly says they should do, as the book Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes shows.
The divine right of kings, and the British empire, were similar illusions. If Kings did not rule by divine right, then any man might hope to make himself king, and the wealth of the kingdom, and frequently its blood, would be spent in struggle for political power, hence everyone piously endorsed the lie that the King ruled under God by the will of God.
Similarly, before world War II, it was widely believed among non white races, or pretended to be believed that the mere sight of a white face provided order and rule, perhaps because local rule tended to be disorderly and oppressive so purporting to believe in a white right to rule considerably improved the security of one’s property, much as pretending to believe in the divine right of Kings considerably improved the security of one’s property.
A constitution can rule if enough people believe it can, or pretend to so believe.
Suppose, however, the education system, the mass media, and all that lot, the Cathedral, tell us that the constitution is whatever the Supremes deem it to be.
Then they will, of course, deem it to give the government unlimited power, except for special privileges for judges and lawyers.
In most of the rest of the world, constitutions derive their power, and their interpretation, from the US government. If the US dislikes some regime, it will bring soft power to bear. If soft power is resisted, hard power is apt to follow, except, of course, for China and Russia, who can therefore resist soft power with impunity, though they do not always do so.
What happened in the US is that during and shortly after the civil war, the Cathedral did an end run around the constitution using the fact that president’s interpretation is difficult to resist. Since this was indiscreet, and contained the seeds of future violence, they proceeded to reinterpret what they had done, a reinterpretation that gave birth to the new deal and the supreme court as ultimate constitutional arbiter.
What happened in most of the rest of the world is that constitutions derived from the US army, and continue to do so. Thus, for example, the EU from time to time grants itself ever more power, and no one makes a fuss, though it does not seem to have any legal or ideological basis. I keep expecting the EU to softly and silently vanish away, but so far this has not happened. The EU exists by the power of the US State Department.