Since I published the post below, back in September 2016, on so-called “Reflexive Law,” aka the effort to sell the idea that our Constitution is a “living document,” that is, can be changed via the social and political norms du jour, one hears of this effort–and its sales pitch–more and more, particularly now that we have new self-touted “Socialist Democrats” in power in Washington D.C. who unabashedly claim the Socialist title and who arguably lead the effort to trash the United States Constitution as is.
Further, and I think what many Americans do not realize, is that the number of adherents to what is sometimes called the “rebirth of social democracy” in this country has exploded in the last three years from “around 5,000 to around 32,000.”
Perhaps the following quote from the same article linked above from The New Socialist (April 4, 2018) will enlighten and warn:
“A Political Transformation
“The influx of young radicals has also led to a dramatic political transformation of the group. At their 2017 convention, DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) passed a series of resolutions in support of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli apartheid, Black Lives Matter, prison abolition, and also voted to leave the right-wing Socialist International (SI). A complete list of DSA conventions resolutions that passed or failed is available here. These are some of the key issues that have shaped the new radicalization.
“This is what makes the emergence of DSA so important. It is an explicitly socialist, anti-capitalist organization at the beginning phase of a period of radicalization, not at the end, like in the 1960s and 1970s. As the authors of the DSA document, Resistance Rising: Socialist Strategy in the Age of Political Revolution, put it in 2016, before their explosive growth:
Despite these challenges, once in a generation opportunities currently exist for taking the offensive and launching an assertive anti-capitalist politics in the United States.”
Thus I reprint my commentary today, as the Constitution, specifically the freedoms and rights specified therein, is the biggest impediment to totalitarian rule.
A free populace, after all, can be very troublesome in such a repressive–and, history proves, murderous–political environment.
“Reflexive Law”: On How to Trash the U. S. Constitution and Get Away With It—for Now
Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Ever wonder how come certain members of the government seem to be getting away with overstepping their powers as defined in the United States Constitution, aka, the Supreme Law of the Land? 
Come to think of it, how about other legal side-stepping that seems rampant in the Beltway? 
I mean, aren’t there LAWS against that sort of, well, lawlessness?
And what about this notion that slips into conversations on radio and television talk shows, “news” programs, and in university classrooms, about the Constitution being some kind of “living document,” adaptable and changeable?
I mean without due process?
I mean, wasn’t it signed, sealed, and delivered to the citizens of the United States a couple of centuries ago?
WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS (or Alabama, or Texas, or Michigan, or…) ANYMORE…
While those who have been observing the jurisprudent mayhem referenced in the introduction are still shaking our heads and, with dropped jaws, watching Constitutional mandates trashed over and over again by those who should know better, ivy-league educations and all, I ask you to consider one possible reason for this outrage: the very definition of “law” has been changing—and “new” precedents based on it, piling up.
And precedence is everything when it comes to formulating a new system of governance.
What the law means today may no longer be what most people think it means, in other words, it depends on what the definition of “law” is.
We all assume it is, well, law: a norm/value/standard/code of conduct that has been decided upon and settled, once and for all (with strict guidelines for amending, as needed).
In our Western culture, the legal milieu is based on a Judeo-Christian world view with the belief that our rights and freedoms are given us by our Creator, as in God, not “the created,” as in men/women/random governments–other cultures run on the whims and notions of whomever can seize power and change the law at will.
At least until the next coup.
But it’s not safe to assume that even in America we are, well, safe, anymore, our Constitution, writ in blood, sweat, and tears, notwithstanding, because there are those who don’t agree so much with all those freedoms—for us, that is.
And some of them would like to change it to serve a different world view.
So, how? Hmmmmm…
Consider a possible approach, below, and see if it sounds at all familiar, an approach that starts with a few changes–perhaps most significantly, the law, i.e., how it is now to be (re)defined.
But first, some prep.
HOW TO TRASH THE CONSTITUTION, STEP # 1: BE PATIENT
I wrote previously about the “10/80/10 Theory” which indicates that when something traumatic happens humans tend to a) freak out (10% of us), b) “freeze,” as it were, for a brief period of time, terror-stricken and/or trying to make sense of what just happened (80%), or c) recognize the event for what it is an act accordingly (10%).
As you can deduce from this theory, unless we are prepared prior by education and/or training, this means that 80 % of us are caught off guard and freeze up for a few very valuable minutes. I say valuable because this gives our “enemies,” whomever they may be, at least a little time to perpetrate the next “trauma,” or reinforce their own version of what just happened, thereby tightening the physical, emotional, mental, and/or psychological noose around us for whatever purpose they have in mind.
Surprise attacks by some kind of physical trauma (acts of war, personal violence, etc.) or attacks on intellectual and psychological stasis by, for example, telling some kind of Big Lie over and over until everyone tends to believe it, are just two tactics that keep us spinning for a bit—a key bit—of time wondering what just happened.
Meanwhile, in the back room, the schemers keep scheming, the control mongers, mongering…
Just now, I offer this look at one of the most dangerous intellectual and psychological attacks, in my opinion, that for some thirty years, now (a long time to some, a short time, considering history) has been chipping away insidiously at our understanding of the legal system, aka the “rule of law,” that we all assume protects us because of our understanding of the rights enshrined in our Constitution.
Only this attack has had to have been slow and insidious to keep people unaware and battling cognitive dissonance for enough time…
After all, American are very used to thinking and believing certain ways, e.g., we have certain freedoms and rights.
Reflexive law 
We all assume that legal thinking is what it has always been, i.e., based on the United States Constitution, particularly the rights to freedom of religion, peaceable assembly, free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” For natural-born Americans, these have been etched in stone in our minds and in our hearts. For naturalized Americans, knowledge of their new rights comes from Citizenship studies.
These freedoms are why people have risked much to come to this country and the rest of us want to maintain all the best parts and carefully amend other parts for the better, if/as needed.
When it comes to those who would like to strip us of those very rights (the better to control us by) they know they have to also strip us of our bedrock beliefs in the rule of law, the basis of those rights.
Not so easy to do, however.
I mean, we’ve been indoctrinated in them in a good way since childhood, as noted, so it takes some Big Guns, so to speak, to overpower not only those rights, but our belief—confidence and hope—in them.
Sometimes, the Big Guns the enemy uses to strip us of our rights are literal, of course. Think of what happened on September 11, 2001, which was a national trauma some think might have included elements of a “false flag” event judging by the subsequent speedy passage of the “Patriot Act” by which many who have read the fine print believe we did, in fact, lose certain rights. Other Big Guns include Martial Law.
But potentially rights-impeding if not out-and-out rights-canceling mechanisms are usually and successfully sold as “for our own good;” indeed, the Big Flags come out quickly.
However, you can’t cry wolf too often or it becomes too obvious and the people will wield those rights and beat you back–at least, vote you out.
So ya gotta be smart about it. And patient.
After all, Rome was neither built–nor destroyed–in one day.
Okay, back to the change at the root of the matter level, the genesis, the underpinnings, the foundation: the law of the land.
Smart thinkers will begin there. And, in my opinion, that’s just what they did—starting about thirty years ago with the introduction of so-called “reflexive law.”
Reflexive law is law based on the process of norming new standards/ethics/morals via consensus of all stakeholders rather than what New (legal) Thinkers deem old-fashioned “command and control” type laws (i.e., here’s the rule and here’s the consequence if you break it).
Whatever the new “standards” and beliefs seem to be (for example, yesterday, marriage was only between a man and a woman; today, it includes men and men/women and women; tomorrow…?) trump absolute rights and wrongs in this brave new legal world. Indeed, some hail the very process as the end all, going so far as to suggest that stakeholders, aka consensus builders deciding what’s to become the new norms, push as far as they can to change old to whatever they deem more suitable—and evolutionary.
You might say that reflexive law is situational ethics on steroids, based upon the foundational Theory of Evolution, versus the rule of law on which our Constitution was built.
Meanwhile, back in the back room…
STEP # 2: TRASH THE OPPOSITION
But why dub the development of reflexive law “insidious”? Mainly because of something someone once said: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time” .
So you have to proceed with caution.
If you want to destroy one (Western, freedom-based) culture and replace it with another, you face some problems, some problem people, that is: those old-timers who remember their lessons in government and civics classes, for one. For another, Bible scholars who are well versed in the foundation of Western jurisprudence, and, for a third, those scoffingly-deemed, “alt-right Conservatives,” you know, the men and women who “do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this (country)” , who haven’t gotten it out of their heads and hearts, yet, that people CAN live in freedom without the fear of tyranny, those citizens now dubbed “deplorables” by schemers without hearts.
A formidable and massive group of folks who, unless carefully duped (aka psy-opped and lied to), would rise up against the new way of thinking about law.
So, how to deal with them?
Patience, again, as noted.
It might take a generation or two, though, some tweaking of the educational system, some careful social engineering by slick talkers and crafty thinkers and some politically-correct word-smithing (laced with implied threats and blatant mockery for those who prefer not to follow like sheep).
So to fundamentally transform a nation of freedom thinkers and lovers into a nation of mind-controlled sheep takes a long time. Usually, about a generation, with some careful planning—and by methodically trashing the opposition. It helps to start in the entertainment industry (“Father Know Best” becomes “Anybody Knows Best;” “Leave it to Beaver” morphs to “Leave it to Dear Leader”–of whatever group wrests control).
Meanwhile, back in the back room…
STEP # 3: BUT BE SURE TO USE GOOD SALESMANSHIP!
Speaking of word-smithing, how you “sell” lawlessness is as important as patience. Taking a lesson from George Orwell’s satire on totalitarianism, Nineteen Eighty-Four, state departments of such a dystopia as he describes in the book that are really the Departments of Strife (the better to “divide and conquer”), Chaos (never let a crisis go to waste), Plenty (plenty for those at the top, that is), and Lies (lies) go by the Orwellian terms, “Ministries of Love, Peace, Plenty, and Truth.”
In the U.S., we might note similar irony in titles such as the “Department of Homeland Security,” the “Patriot Act,” the “National Security Agency,” and “Net Neutrality.”
(Reminding me of something my mother used to say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”)
Of course, the “frozen 80%” of the population, noted above, will eventually catch on to the ruse and join up with the 10% ready to fight back, because it takes a lot more than semantics and values-morphing, so…
Back in the back room, the coffee pot is kept hot…
STEP # 4: CONJURE THE SMOKE AND MIRRORS—AND ROUND UP THE PRAETORIAN GUARDS
When selling something that, at the core, is rotten (and bound to start smelling bad pretty soon), it’s also important to round-up minions and set up smoke and mirrors. This is done by hook or by crook, by threats or by bribes (or, in extreme cases, by “suiciding”).
The press is bought off, newbies in the admin are shown the ropes (figuratively and no doubt literally as well), and people in lock-think with the leadership are appointed to rule.
And as for the changing of the laws as well as the changing of the (Praetorian) guard in the new regime, all players are (tele)prompted to assure the masses that “our lawyers have studied the issue and have found it to be legal,” sometimes even citing “legal precedence”.
“Oh, well, they’re really smart, those lawyers, and they know the Constitution, so it must be okay…” think many, and cognitive dissonance starts in, buying the back room boys and girls a little more time…
Next, and quickly, throw some smoke of obfuscation on the meanings of “studied,” “issue,” “found,” “legal,” and “precedence,” while mirroring via twittering and facebooking as much Americana as is possible, for example: “And in the tradition of the great people of our nation who value (here, fill in trending memes such as “patriotism,” “security,” “economic recovery,” etc.) we offer you this plan to make the nation even more secure and prosperous for all…” and, voila, The People still think it’s a nation “of, by and for” them. And that the government can still be trusted…
However, because by this time, more and more people are coming out of believing all of the monkey shines, many will now go along because there has been enough time for the word-smithers and law-changers/breakers to also have successfully intimidated them into fearful corners of compliance. Regulation and selective taxation are useful tools at this point, and of course, black and psy ops if needed…
Meanwhile, in the back room, where it’s show time soon…
STEP # 5: MAXIMIZE THE GOLDEN RULE
Not the Golden Rule most people think, but the rules as in, “He who has the gold, rules.”
As soon as enough time, definition-bending, truth-twisting, word-smithing, and minion-minding has taken its toll on the critical thinking of the masses—those millions who still have the power to change things back around and re-instate the original definitions and laws–you will have to make as many of them as dependent, thus vulnerable, thus more easily controlled, as possible, after, and this is important, you have amassed as much of a “slush fund,” “foundation account,” and/or “under the table stash” as you can.
Trashing the economy starts the means to this end, via regulations, trade “treaties,” corporate collusion, etc., leaving as many out of work and dependent upon the government (that now has most of the “gold” and the machines to make more at will) for income, amping up entitlement money for an ever-growing list of entitlements—and not just for legal citizens but for illegal citizens (permitted to flood over the border virtually at will) as well.
With mouths to feed, bills to pay, steadily-increasing health care costs, etc., and having run out of personal resources, most citizens will comply.
Thus “you” rule…you control the people, you steal their resources or tax them dry (with “reflexive law” to convince yourselves—and as many of them as possible–it’s all okay) and you sure do seem to get away with it.
AT LEAST UNTIL THE PEOPLE REACH THE TIPPING POINT OF AWARENESS, REFUSE TO BE INTIMIDATED, MOCKED, AND SHUT UP ANY LONGER, AND THE “SLEEPING GIANT” AWAKENS AND SAYS “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.
By voting en masse.
And reacquainting themselves/ourselves with the REAL Law of the Land, original definition, and its companion document, the Declaration that began the original fight against another form of tyranny that also attempted to trash the rights of freedom-loving people. There is a lot of very good information in there…
As somebody said,”It ain’t over til it’s over.”
 For just a partial list of such shenanigans see:
 For a peak at how the other branches of the government have mishandled the law:
 References on the definition of, various applications of, and pros and cons of “Reflexive Law”:
There are, of course, many more
 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/quotes (George Bailey, It’s A Wonderful Life)
Too true Phyllis. When governments liberalise laws they begin a process that has no end. ‘Give the people what they want and they will vote for us’, say the politicians. This is irresponsible politics, perpetrated in the interests of self advancement. The beneficiaries of liberalisation become politicians or lobbyists in the next generation, and so the downward spiral continues. The tactic is to shout as loud as you can, get yourself well organised and ensure that you have your placemen/women in the corridors of power. Once you have established your footprint in the political and cultural mainstream you are able to lord it over other groups who object to your cause. Then there is nothing to stop the runaway train. Legislation is put into place to forbid any criticism on the grounds that it infringes equal opportunities, diversity and intrinsic freedoms. The objectors are then safely marginalised by the threat of punishment. In this way an aggressive group of campaigners gain power and privilege that far outweighs their importance in society or the legitimacy of their cause. This imbalance is confounded by legislation to ensure that liberal values are enforced, so liberalism resorts to illiberalism to maintain its hold on the narrative. The next step is totalitarianism along the lines of Orwell’s ‘1984’, a dystopian state in which all opposition is crushed and democratic institutions have been swept away. Then you have fascism, a poice state, rule by jackboot, a denial of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.
Your observations are a succinct summary of the all too familiar slippery slope leading to fascism while all the while fascists are desperate to convince the world it’s their opposition that is fascistic.
Meanwhile, to paraphrase a recent American politician, those jackboots press down harder on necks, knives are replaced with guns in the struggle, and people wonder how it all happened–except for people who read real history and comprehend the true nature of evil that is never satisfied and knows no shame in its quest for power and gain.
From the corner of a career of teaching literature (and other subjects), the last 14 years at college level, I saw a steady decline over time of college students who had any intellectual repertoire of what used to be part of most high schools’ cannon of literature, books such as 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, certain works by 18th century satirist Jonathan Swift, and the like. I wrote recently on another book I would now have on my required reading list: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. It is a brilliant little satire about the dangers of restricting freedom of speech and from just that one restricted freedom, how all the other freedoms are gradually and tragically eroded and imperiled. I believe the advent of Political Correctness is what such a movement is called today, in the real world.
We must all Keep Thinking (sharing, praying, voting) and Carry On. And from each our own corners of occupation, speaking up in what ways we can.