November 23, 2014

The U.S. Constitution: The 18th Century Patriot Act

At some point in the past, the American ethos was centered on suspicion of government –whether liberal, conservative, or otherwise. For most of America’s first two centuries, Americans were taxed less, regulated less, and left more alone by their government than any other people in the world. These conditions resulted in an explosion of innovation, wealth, and culture unsurpassed at any time in human history.

As that trend seems to have reversed, Americans look to their past to try to establish where we have gone wrong and what we can do to solve our problems. Increasingly, some Americans point to the U.S. Constitution and our abandonment of its “limits on government” as the reason for our downfall. It is generally argued by “strict constitutionalists” that the purpose of the U.S. Constitution was to limit the power of the government. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Don’t get me wrong. If our government were limited to the powers granted it in that document, the United States of America would be far freer, far more prosperous, and likely not facing any of the monumental problems that it is facing now. However, that does not change the facts about why the Constitutional Convention was called or why the Constitution itself was created. If you are astounded that any Republican can still claim that George Bush was “pro-freedom” or that any Democrat can claim that Barack Obama is “anti-war,” you should be equally surprised that anyone can claim that the U.S. Constitution limited the powers of the central government.

Remember that there was already a federal government of the United States prior to the U.S. Constitution. It was defined in a document called the Articles of Confederation and had been in existence since 1778. Under the Articles, the young nation had defeated the mightiest military empire in human history to win its independence. Acknowledging the true meaning of the words “federation” and “federal,” the document defined the relationship between the states as “a firm league of friendship with each other.” There was no implication that the United States was one nation and the several states merely subdivisions within it. There was no president to usurp power. There was no Supreme Court to legally sanction tyranny. There was no IRS. While the federal government would pay for any war fought by the federation out of a common treasury, the Articles left the actual act of taxation to the States.

“The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.”[1]

Compared to the overtaxed, overregulated society that is America today, the America of the 19th century was one of astounding liberty and prosperity. However, even America after 1787 had much more government than America in its first decade. We are taught that this was a grave problem and that the Constitution was necessary to avoid imminent destruction from any number of horrors, including invasion by a foreign power, civil war, or economic upheaval as a result of protectionism by the states. We accept these assertions as facts because of the reverence we hold for the founders of our country. However, how different was the atmosphere surrounding the Constitutional Convention from that surrounding the Patriot Act, the TARP bailout, or the current efforts to expand government power in the name of environmentalism? Despite the pure heresy of the idea, there was really no difference at all.

By 1787, there were two dominant parties in America. Unlike the two dominant parties today, the Federalists and what would later become the Democratic-Republicans of that time really were diametrically opposed on fundamental issues. Led by Alexander Hamilton, the Federalists sought a much more powerful central government with a central bank, a standing army, and an alliance with big business that would control the economy. In opposition to them were Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and their followers that believed that the central government’s powers should be limited, and that power should be concentrated locally (and mistrusted generally). They opposed a central bank and a standing army and supported a truly free market.

It was not Thomas Jefferson or Patrick Henry that led the effort to call the Constitutional Convention, which neither even attended. It was Hamilton and his Federalists that wanted it. As superbly documented in his book, Hamilton’s Curse, Thomas Dilorenzo reminds us that Hamilton actually wanted even more power for the central government than he eventually got into the Constitution.

“At the convention, Hamilton proposed a permanent president and senate, with all political power in the national government, as far away as possible from the people, and centered in the executive. He also wanted “all laws of the particular states, contrary to the constitution or the laws of the United States [government], to be utterly void,” and he proposed that “the governor…of each state shall be appointed by the general government, and shall have a negative [i.e., a veto] upon the laws about to be passed in the state of which he is governor.”[2]

Hamilton did not succeed in getting all of the power he wanted for the central government, but he succeeded in increasing that power quite a bit. This too should seem familiar. At every point in American history that interested parties have tried to expand the power of government, they have attempted at expansive powers and settled for something less than they sought but more than they previously had. With each “compromise,” Americans have lost a little more of their liberty.

When viewed objectively, the very words of the Constitution reveal its true purpose. Constitutionalists often cite Article I Section 8 as proof of the limits on the powers granted to the federal government, but let’s not forget what that section actually says. It begins,

“The Congress shall have the power to…”

What follows is a long list of powers that the central government did not previously have. Each subsequent section of the Constitution invests power in the one of the three branches of government. Nowhere in the document are these powers limited, except for the short (but nevertheless important) list of exceptions contained in Section 9.

Of course, supporters of the Constitution would point out that the first ten amendments to the Constitution are actually a list of specific limits on government. Indeed they are. However, most people miss the point of those precious amendments. They represent the compromise, the attempt to limit the damage that was already done by the original document. Although several states tried to hold out for a bill of rights before ratifying the Constitution, those ten amendments weren’t actually ratified until 1791 – two years after the Constitution was ratified. They do not change the intent or nature of the Constitution itself – the massive expansion of the power of the central government.

Like the Patriot Act, the TARP bill, and the coming Climate Treaty, The U.S Constitution was conceived and drafted in an atmosphere of panic that was created by proponents of big government for the express purpose of using fear to win support for a massive expansion of government power. Also like TARP or the Patriot Act, it was debated in secret by a convention of delegates that were told that unspeakable horrors awaited America if they did not pass it immediately. Like most expansions of government power, its proponents did not get everything that they hoped for, but they got a lot more power than they had. Most importantly, the next debate over the size and scope of government started from there. The seeds of America’s multi-trillion dollar welfare-warfare state really lie in this seminal expansion of government power.

The U.S. Constitution does not embody the American spirit. It is a document that grants power to government. The document that truly embodies the American spirit is the Declaration of Independence, which was written expressly to remove all power from the existing government. If Americans are truly interested in reclaiming their liberty, they should look to this revolutionary document as the source of their inspiration. After such a long train of abuses, it is past time that we instituted new guards for our future security.

[1]  Article VIII, Articles of Confederation

[2] Dilorenzo, Thomas Hamilton’s Curse Crown Publishing Group (Random House) New York, NY 2008 Pg. 16

Comments

  1. Crusty says:

    >It's high time we re-declare independence. We probably would not have to rack our brains to come up with a document as profound as the original Declaration, since the original document still applies, and we could just re-issue it.

    Who wants to re-declare independence with me?

    Then again, what good would it do? We would all argue about the new government, and the majority of remaining dumbasses would just want to oppress and be oppressed again.

  2. Kurt says:

    >Tom – Thanks for your display of real knowledge and bringing it forward into our short term conscious.

    Our nation of ostrichs's will surely hear a popping sound as they read your works.

    Natural Law! Here Here!

    Kurt Wallace

    http://www.libertypulse.com

  3. Anonymous says:

    >This is a fresh perspective.

  4. NFT says:

    >Superb piece, well researched and ballsy and perfect, but will over 3 million read it in less than a week, as that's how many have watched a beatuiful young boy sing "I'm Yours" while playing his ukulele this past 2nd week of December, 2009 … and, yet, I wonder, does it take over 3 million to declare liberty and freedom and peace? Could one person read this and their entire life direction change? Could it inspire them to read, think and investigate their own ideas about liberty, freedom and peace? I think the answer is yes.

    Revolution… party of one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >With all due respect to everyone, we all know that the decleration is a great document, but the constitution is as well, and if it was left in its original form, and laws made only to preserve liberty (not military ones, but ones that define a liberty ex: the bill of rights) then we wouldnt be in this mess. Kurt you sound bright and all but saying what you said, bassically levying war against the u.s.is treason as defined in the constitution and t6here is more than 2 people that have witnessed it. not only have you guys thought or under thought certain stuff, but you could possibl mess up a cause or the cause if there is one or is one coming…
    D51208-unitedstatesmilitia.com

  6. Tom Mullen says:

    >Hello friends,

    Thank you all for your comments. I didn't want to make the article too long by extensive quoting of the Anti-Federalist Papers, but here are just a few. FOr those who are not familiar, there were 85 Federalist Papers written by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison to defend the Constitution and to try to convince the people of New York to vote for it. The Anti-Federalist papers were the arguments against the Constitution made by those who opposed it. YOu can see from these quotes that the general thesis of my article is supported by the words of the founders – remember that Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and those we associate with maximum liberty opposed or were generally suspicious of the Constitution (although Jefferson approved it after the fact – it was passed in his absence). Here are a few quotes from the Anti-Federalists:

    "Those furious zealots who are for cramming it down the throats of the people, without allowing them either time or opportunity to scan or weigh it in the balance of their understandings, bear the same marks in their features as those who have been long wishing to erect an aristocracy in THIS COMMONWEALTH [of Massachusetts]. Their menacing cry is for a RIGID government, it matters little to them of what kind, provided it answers THAT description. As the plan now offered comes something near their wishes, and is the most consonant to their views of any they can hope for, they come boldly forward and DEMAND its adoption. "

    "The evils of anarchy have been portrayed with all the imagery of language in the growing colors of eloquence; the affrighted mind is thence led to clasp the new Constitution as the instrument of deliverance, as the only avenue to safety and happiness. To avoid the possible and transitory evils of one extreme, it is seduced into the certain and permanent misery necessarily attendant on the other."

    "The liberties of a people are in danger from a large standing army, not only because the rulers may employ them for the purposes of supporting themselves in any usurpations of power, which they may see proper to exercise; but there is great hazard, that an army will subvert the forms of the government, under whose authority they are raised, and establish one [rule] according to the pleasure of their leaders. "

    "On this head, all the powers of rhetoric, and arts of description, ar employed to paint the condition of this country, in the most hideous an frightful colors. We are told, that agriculture is without encouragement trade is languishing; private faith and credit are disregarded, and public credit is prostrate; that the laws and magistrates are condemned and set at naught; that a spirit of licentiousness is rampant, and ready to break over every bound set to it by the government; that private embarrassments and distresses invade the house of every man of middling property, and insecurity threatens every man in affluent circumstances: in short, that we are in a state of the most grievous calamity at home, and that we are contemptible abroad, the scorn of foreign nations, and the ridicule of the world. From this high wrought picture, one would suppose that we were in a condition the most deplorable of any people upon earth. But suffer me, my countrymen, to call your attention to a serious and sober estimate of the situation in which you are placed, while I trace the embarrassments under which you labor, to their true sources, What is your condition?"

    If you read all 85 essays, you will see that the Constitution was passed using all of the tactics that I have described above, using fear of exaggerated or invented dangers to induce people to give away their liberty to a vastly more powerful government.

  7. bluelib says:

    >As usual Tom, not a shred of common ground between us on this and I disagree as vehemently as I can about your premise that we are overtaxed and over regulated. Saint Ronnie and his deregulation allies have put us in the position we are in now particularly as it relates to the banking system. Prior to Reagan banks were not major conglomerates and did what they were supposed to do, banking. Banks were owned by families that made wise decisions because it was their money that was being loaned out. The deregulation of the Reagan era allowed banks to be bought and sold like commodities and it expanded the products they could sell because a few greedy bastards saw a way to make money and convinced the government it was the “fair” thing to do. Therein lies the problem, trusting business to do the right thing. Now we have a financial system deemed “too big” to fail and fail it has due to the pursuit of the almighty dollar. Banking and its massive profits add nothing to our economy except for the small circle of crooks that pocket the money. The recklessness of the banking industry is a travesty but it’s easy to be reckless when you are using other people’s money and you will be rewarded regardless of the outcome of your decisions.

  8. Old_Curmudgeon says:

    >Tom:

    You are exactly correct! The old acronym TANSTAAFL [There Ain't No Such Thing Aa A Free Lunch] should be followed by my own old acronym TANSTAALG [There Ain't No Such Thing As A Limited Government] AMD THERE AIN'T ! !

    Each of us must refuse to knuckle-under.

    “Assert and exercise your Individual Sovereignty to the fullest extent possible without incurring fines, jail-time, or an appearance before a firing squad of statist thugs.” — David Michael Myers,

  9. libertyrep says:

    >These quotes sound too much like the current health care debate. "Its not what they want but good enough to DEMAND its passage" The song remains the same.

  10. Patrick says:

    >Hey Tom: why do you say that Jefferson, Henry, etc, supported a "truly free market"?

    A truly free-market is a stateless society.

    Unfortunately, they did not support a truly free market. But they did support something fairly close to that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    >Great article & NOW short response to : bluelib's comment:

    "bluelib said…
    I disagree as vehemently as I can about your premise that we are overtaxed and over regulated."

    Your ignorance "bluelib" with all due respect, is annoying. Americans pay taxes in so many ways. The other day I read an article of at least 15+ ways we are taxed and I am being conservative about that. Get on Google and research it yourself.
    And to say we are not regulated is again ignorance, surely we are more so today than 100 years ago.
    Wake up and see Big Brother at your door. Read http://www.blacklistednews.com to see how your freedoms,what little is left, are being destroyed.
    Sincerely, O Jia Li

  12. P.M.Lawrence says:

    >"Under the Articles, the young nation had defeated the mightiest military empire in human history to win its independence".

    That's wrong. One, Britain wasn't "the mightiest military empire in human history", just the foremost naval power of the day (and even if if you count naval as military, its navy and army together didn't add up as stronger than France's); militarily, it was weaker than many others, including France. Two, the rebels did not defeat Britain anyway, they needed the help of allies – including France, which as I just pointed out was militarily stronger than Britain (whenever it wasn't stalemated navally, at any rate).

  13. Anonymous says:

    >I would suggest that constitutionalists and statists read "No Treason" by Lysander Spooner and "Hologram of Liberty" by Kenneth Royce, aka Boston T.Party.

  14. Dale says:

    >Tom,
    What an excellent piece!!!

  15. MamaLiberty says:

    >Excellent article, Tom. This will be featured in the "External Articles" for the next issue of The Price of Liberty.

    I have now bookmarked your blog and will be watching. :)

  16. Phyllie says:

    >For years I have been screaming "We need to get back to the constitution!" to anyone who would listen. (and not just a few who wouldn't)
    This article and several others I have recently read (mostly at Lew Rockwell) have caused me to change my views.
    There IS no such thing as limited government! It will always progress toward tyranny.

  17. Dale says:

    >Phyllie – you raise a great point –
    It has been said that a democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
    As one looks back through history, I found great substantiation of the notion that, like life, nation/states tend to be cyclical.
    Also, truth in the notion put forward by many great historians, that The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 230 years (give or take).
    For example:
    Assyria (859-612 B.C.): a 247-year reign.
    Persia (538-330 B.C.): a 208-year reign.
    Greece (331-100 B.C.): a 231-year reign.
    The Roman Republic (260-27 B.C.): a 233-year reign.
    The Roman Empire (27 B.C.-180 A.D.): a 207-year reign.
    The Arab Empire (634-880 A.D.): a 246-year reign.
    The Mameluke Empire (1250-1517 A.D.): a 267-year reign.
    The Ottoman Empire (1320-1570 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
    Spain (1500-1750 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
    Romanov Russia (1682-1916 A.D.): a 234-year reign.
    Great Britain (1700-1950 A.D.): a 250-year reign.
    The USA (1790-2009 A.D.): 219 years and counting.
    It has been said (no one really knows who said this – and to me, what does it matter other than to satisfy with our concern more for who the messenger is, rather than the value of the message)
    "The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage."

  18. David Michael Myers says:

    >Old Alex Hamilton did get into the Constitution one of his favorite themes, complete centralized power. Read Para. 2 of Article VL
    "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United ?States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, ANYTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OR ANY STATE TO THE CONTRARY NOTWITHSTANDING. [My emphasis]

    If this ain't total centralized control, I don't know what it is!

  19. Phyllie says:

    >Dale, very interesting list. I read a book some time back that compares America today with the symptoms of nations in their fall, and it was chilling, though not suprising. You might be interested in it, "When Nations Die" by Jim Nelson Black.

  20. Dale says:

    >I am familiar with the book – though have not read it … but plan too.
    I think one of the prime reasons that history tends to repeat and we seem to constantly relive past mistaken paths, is that we fail to recognize the PATTERNS of history. Instead we fixate on the characters on the stage at that moment in time. I lectured a class a while back on fascism and why it was that the Germans supported Hitler. I never referenced anything current, yet many students drew an apology between Obama and Hitler during the discussion that followed. Of course, this was disparaged by some other students who obviously were supporters of the President. One stated – "How can you possibly compare Obama with Hitler?" I reminded him and really ALL the others that to compare is NOT to equate." I think that until we really understand that, we are prone to repeat the mistakes of the past.
    To me, all things are cyclical NOT linear.

  21. Anonymous says:

    >"I would suggest that constitutionalists and statists read "No Treason" by Lysander Spooner and "Hologram of Liberty" by Kenneth Royce, aka Boston T.Party."
    Yep!
    http://www.javelinpress.com/hologram_of_liberty.html

    Boston T. Party wrote the book on this subject a full ten years before Hamilton’s Curse, by Thomas Dilorenzo.

    And Lysander has few peers in political thought.
    http://www.lysanderspooner.org/node/44

    While I enjoyed your article, so much has been well covered before.

  22. Truth Excavator says:

    >The whole world needs a declaration of independence from the unlawful corporations and corrupt banks. And Americans must lead the way in this fight because they are in the belly of the beast.

  23. Bob says:

    >Frankly, I would like to see these united States break up into dozens, or hundreds, or even thousands of smaller, independent countries, myself.

  24. Crusty says:

    >That's a really good idea, Bob. I like the idea of breaking the government into a bunch of smaller governments. But, why stop at hundreds or thousands of little governments? How about we break the U.S. into millions of governments…one for each individual piece of private property? We'll call it "private property ownership." We could also name it "freedom," if you want.

  25. Anonymous says:

    >The Declaration expresses the spirit of our right to Freedom, but we do need a structure in which to co-operate as States. Hence the Constitution (yes Hamilton got plenty of his Statist intention written into it).

    Seems to me the most fruitful path to restore power and resources to the States is Nullifcation and Seccession (or at least the threat of Seccession).

    The format is there for us to use if we will only recognize it…

  26. Tom Mullen says:

    >Crusty,

    Question: If each piece of private property were sovereign, making the owners sovereign, how would conflicts between them be settled? This is the problem I have with anarchy. Under a perfect constitutional system (which we never had but were a lot closer to 200 years ago than we are today), the government's only role is to enforce the non-aggression principle. Therefore, it must write laws that apply to everyone that define what overt acts constitute aggression and are therefore subject to the use of defensive force by the state. Obviously, there is some room for interpretation of what is and is not aggression, and the only solution that we have come up with is democratically-elected representatives, limited by enumerated powers, to pass laws which are supposed to strictly limit themselves to prohibiting aggression. Admittedly, they have not done this, but that is at least what our representatives are supposed to be trying to do.

    With no state whatsoever, I am free to interpret what acts I deem to be aggression and you are as well. What keeps us, or the hundreds of millions of other sovereign individuals, from being in a constant state of war in trying to each enforce our own interpretation of what is aggression and what is not?

  27. David J says:

    >Now when I tell my friends why I'm anti-federalist, I can just point them to your article. Great stuff!

  28. Dale says:

    >It has been interesting reading this last string of comments and the emergence of the concept of secession.
    There is NOTHING in the Constitution that forbids it. Even if there were, this Constitution, really a contract between SOVEREIGN States and a central government, has been ignored and violated by one party (the central government) over and over again … to me, that would make said contract null and void!
    Actually we are collapsing, and perhaps the most orderly way to ease or manage that collapse without or at least lessen the possibly of chaos and anarchy would be for the states to secede. It just doesn't make sense for 300,000,000 people – 50 states to be dragged into this abyss by an oligarchical central government because we supposed have no choice being bound by this contract (Constitution) that THEY only abide by when it is convenient for THEM to do so.

  29. Mark Are says:

    >“Assert and exercise your Individual Sovereignty to the fullest extent possible without incurring fines, jail-time, or an appearance before a firing squad of statist thugs.” — David Michael Myers,

    In another words, do whatever they say because anything less is a joke and anything that would cause the above is the only thing that would work.

  30. Dale says:

    >Mark, well put – it was back in 1553 in his Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, that Etienne de la Boétie put forth a similar insight -
    that every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the
    people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection.

  31. Phyllie says:

    >Mr. Mullen, not to try to answer for Crusty, but just as a question: In Biblical times, before the Israelites got Kings, they had Judges, which if I understand right, were just people appointed to judge in private matters between individuals. Could something like this work? Or could there be private courts that one could hire? Could we privatize some courts?
    In most cases it seems to me like private entities can handle just about anything better and more efficiently than good 'ol uncle sam.

  32. Crusty says:

    >I don't know what would and wouldn't work, but to ask how it would work is a Utilitarian/Collectivism question. To me, we should not be deciding which form of government we will use by asking the question 'which one will serve the collective the best?' The only questions should be 'is it liberty?'

    A very limited government is still government, and all government is oppression (unless it is private, consensual government). The worst aspect of limited government is that it lays the groundwork for future abuse and oppression. It sets the cycle in motion and invites history to repeat itself.

    The problem with the founding of the U.S. was that they started with the Articles of Confederation, which laid the groundwork for the more oppressive and inevitable Constitution.

    That being said, there are many ways people in a free society can solve their problems without government. The system Ebay uses is a good example. HOA's are a good example of individuals consensually entering agreements with eachother and forming private governments.

    Freedom (or as many people like to call it, "Anarchy") does not mean chaos. People will naturally, privately establish order in the absence of government.

    Every private company establishes its own laws, and it uses its own security to enforce those laws on its private property. That's not chaos; that's private, orderly government. If an individual does not agree with those laws, then he should not enter the property.

    I think you wrote an article, awhile back, about the fact that we've lost our ability to imagine alternate possibilities, due to our conditioning by our current government/society.

    Tom, take your own advice. Don't allow yourself to lose your ability to imagine something other than oppressive government. Start with what is right (Liberty) and start imagining how it will work from there. Don't start with a Utilitarian/Collectivist vision; and don't allow yourself to start with the only solution you can currently imagine, due to your conditioning.

    I know I haven't said anything you haven't already heard from many other, better spoken advocates of Liberty. The point is, we should start trying to figure how to make liberty work, rather than trying to figure out how to make government work.

  33. Dale says:

    >Crusty – great insight – "we should start trying to figure how to make liberty work, rather than trying to figure out how to make government work." – We need to start with the foundation once again … Perhaps the most difficult part of that (and not to lessen any other component) is first letting go — the notion of "government" is so ingrained in our lives, we fear existence without it.
    I am not suggesting we can or should do without government – however, we need to understand to understand that it is an instrument of our liberty and not the provider of our liberty.

  34. David Michael Myers says:

    >Lots of excellent comments.

    However, true freedom requires that each individual human take full ownership of himself, body and soul as soon as possible.

    Truly sovereign individuals would find each other and form alliances and associations.

    They would form their own "economy" by trading with each other where possible.

    They would form defense companies, establish courts, establish boycotting and shunning techniques, and also establish procedures for dealing with "rogue" sovereigns.

    Above all, they would be discreet. They would not openly tempt the rogue sovereigns and invite all-out war.

    This is a very long process of education. Each person must first understand that he is NOT presently the owner of his own body and soul.

    Remember, today, the penalty for attempted suicide is DEATH !

    There is no reason to submit to some sovereign who is controlling you other than the capability he has of administering the "ultimate punishment" — death.

    As for secession, don't you remember why Abraham Lincoln provoked the WAR OF NORTHERN AGGRESSION? He did it to preserve the union !

    Besides, the Pre-emption Clause nullifies any state's secession resolution.

    You can wave the Nullification and Secession Resolution at the USArmy tanks and USAF fighter-bombers like the students at Tianamen Square.

    You must remember, in today's world "MIGHT MAKES RIGHT!"

    If you refuse to submit today, you will be arrested.

    If you refuse to be arrested, you will be physically subdued and thrown into jail.

    If you resist and try to run away (which is what the cops would love to have you attempt) you will give them an excuse to shoot you down.

    If you still resist, you will end up in a six-foot-deep hole in the ground, if they're "respectful."

    End of revolt !

  35. Tom Mullen says:

    >I have said before, that my heart is with the anarchists but my head has still not been convinced. The examples you cite, Crusty (ebay, HOA's, etc), and allude to, David, are all made within a framework of a unitary law enforced by government. Yes, there are bad laws right now, but at least everyone knows generally what they are and they are the same for everyone. I haven't heard a satsifying answer for how a stateless society avoids being a society in a perpetual state of war. I have tried to imagine it. One thought that occurs to me is that there is one law but all are left to enforce it voluntarily. However, there would still be nothing to stop me from making my own laws. I agree that like-minded people will seek each other out, and there may be some that agree, but they are going to bump into each other and there must be something to keep them from killing and looting each other. The fact that people have still regressed to stealing from each other under a written Constitution is a statement of human nature – it will not go away without government. Human beings are capable of great good and great evil. As Paine said, government at best is a necessary evil. I am still open to arguments for a stateless society, but so far am unconvinced.

  36. Anonymous says:

    >Jefferson and Madison made sure Nullificaton and Seccession where spelled out in the Constitution as the 10th Amendment.
    They wanted to make EXPLCIT the implied right the States have to cancel onerous federal laws (Nullificaton) and to outright
    Succession, if neccessary.

    The States have all the power they need to restore their sovereignty. They have the 10th Amendment.
    The States, at the insistence of their citizens, merely need to start excercising the power they already have.

    Look how quick the president jumps just because a democratic senate seat lost. Imagine if States starting Nullifying bad federal laws on a large scale. Once started in earnest, other States would join in and there would be no stopping it.

  37. Tom Mullen says:

    >Phyllie,

    I meant to add: the society depicted in the book of Judges had one common law – the law of Moses – that they all lived under. If someone transgressed it, they were stoned to death. It was hardly a free society, although the leaders were elected, to the extent that the judges were leaders (some more than others). In any case, they did live under a common law.

  38. Dale says:

    >David – I am aware of "the Pre-emption Clause" and that it nullifies any state's secession resolution.
    While, it defines the federal government's rule over the States. How is this any different than the rule of the crown over the colonies in the 1700's? I would submit that the "American Revolution" – was more in actuality the "American Succession" from English rule.
    To assume that because of this clause it means that the Union – by virtue of words in FOREVER under a Federal Government – no mater the despotism or destructive path that it takes us – is perhaps more similar to the notion that once you join a gang, you are a member for life.
    As for "You can wave the Nullification and Secession Resolution at the USArmy tanks and USAF fighter-bombers like the students at Tianamen Square." Do you honestly think that would be the case – Unlike China, the composition of the American Military is largely National Guard components – and even the composition of this country's standing military – like ALL members of take an oath to uphold the CONSTITUTION – not a particular government or administration.
    Another caveat as well would be precisely what would you be paying this "professionals" with – the central government is BROKE – in order to pay – they would need to borrow – how well would any military in this country feel about drawing their salary from a foreign power? How long would it take them to realize that they have become not defends of our freedom, rather they would be nothing more than paid mercenaries in the employ of, say, China?
    On the issue of Nullification – if this is a non-valid option – then it assumes that the states AND the people they represent have now become but slaves to the whims of an abusive party to the contract that waves it around and hides behind it ONLY when it suits their particular needs and ambitions.
    I think this speaks to Tom's main point in his piece – it is time – perhaps even past time that we re-declare our independence.
    I am beginning to think much of our conversation here may well bare a striking resemblance to conversations that might well have been taking place some 234 years ago – (sans the powered wigs) – spooky when you think of it that way.

  39. David Michael Myers says:

    >Dream On about Secession and Nullification !

    As Nancy Pelosi said: Constitution, Schmonstitution

    Those rogues in Congress and the Administration don't even know how to spell constitution much less 10th Amendment.

    As long as they have "their" Air Force, Marines, Army, and Navy, you can blather all you want. Dream On.

    There is no peaceful way to get rid of them except by a covert movement that grows too big for them to handle before they discover it.

    Tea Parties will be laughed at so long as the LSM (Lane-Stream Media) are in place.

    You forget, 90+% of the LSM support BHObama and his cryptoMarxist ilk.

    Almost 100% of the general public will think it a horrible idea to drastically reduce the FEDS.

    Why are you worried about the feds anyway? The local and state governments are farmore collectivist/socialist than the feds.

    Have you ever wondered what the government ("public") schools that educate your kids are? They are government "brainwashing" depots.

    You think you own your house? Ha, just try not paying your taxes. It will be put up for auction on the courthouse steps.

    Just try resisting arrest sometime.

    Might makes right !

  40. David Michael Myers says:

    >DALE

    All very logical.

    Are you also aware of polls taken of US troops asking if they would bear arms against Americans if ordered to? The very disturbing responses suggested that about 75% would do as ordered!

    As for supporting and defending the Constitution, how many congersmen, presidents, and vice-presidents take the same oath?

    I have been a so-called Republican "activist" for many, many years. I am not doing it anymore because I am completely fed up with RINOs [Republicans In Name Only ---actually Jackasses in Loose-Fitting Elephant Suits.]

    I assure you, there aren't too many people who have the same ideas that we do.

    I think that the Tea Partiers are finally beginning to get the idea, but that ain't enough. There are still a lot of them who are collectivist/socialist at heart. They just don't like the idea of higher taxes.

    We have to spread the word a while longer before there will be enough to make a difference.

  41. David Michael Myers says:

    >Tom:

    Do you not recognize that this country is actually in a perpetual state of war? It may be subdued from time to time, but right now it has broken out almost to the surface.

    What do you call the attempts to force "Health Care Reform," cap and trade, global warming, student-loan subsidies, etc. down the throats of the people? Nancy Pelosi's favorite expression is "we will pass it."

    What do you think these "Progressives" have been doing ever since Teddy Roosevelt's day?
    Even Ronald Reagan vastly-increased the size of government by spending more and more. (He used to be a left-wing Democrat, you know.)

    They used to call such covertm "undercoverm surreptitious activities "the fifth column".

    I've been around a long time. I fought in the Korean "War" as a US Marine.

    I worked for the federal government a short time but spent most of my life working in the "private sector." I have "made payrolls" and paid my share intaxes many times over.

    I think the collectivism/socialism permeates our society so densely now that we are about 50/50.

    I sense that something is going to happen. We are actually at "war" for our basic freedoms.

    If BHObama gets his cryptoMarxist take-over in place, we will see the Dark Ages overcome our once-fair land.

    It is time. Somehow we MUST OVERCOME.

  42. Nico says:

    >@ Tom Mullen

    "One thought that occurs to me is that there is one law but all are left to enforce it voluntarily."

    How familiar are you with natural law?

    "However, there would still be nothing to stop me from making my own laws."

    On your own property correct. you can have whatever rules you like on your property. If some insane people wanted to have rules that endangered the lives of others unknowingly they would have to suffer whatever repercussions come with their actions just as in any other case.

    "I agree that like-minded people will seek each other out, and there may be some that agree, but they are going to bump into each other and there must be something to keep them from killing and looting each other. The fact that people have still regressed to stealing from each other under a written Constitution is a statement of human nature"

    I dont see what a written constitution has to do with whether or not people steal. Like you said in a free society people will tend to work together more often than not. If you are looking for a utopia that just isnt going to happen under any ideology in the real world. There will just always be people not going along with the program. That isnt a knock on anarchy any more than every other ideology.

    If you are interested you should check out Walter Block. He is the best I have heard when it comes to discussing anarchy.

  43. Crusty says:

    >Yeah…I don't think the U.S. military, or the National Guard, would have any trouble subduing those who they are ordered to violently attack, even if they are U.S. citizens, fighting for their constitutional rights, and they took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

    You would think their oath would make them our allies, but in fact, they would be brain-washed into thinking that we are domestic enemies of the U.S. (with no regard to whether or not we are enemies or allies to their cause of defending the Constitution), and therefore, it is their duty to subdue us. They are trained to not think for themselves. They are trained to allow their superiors to tell them how to think.

    I like the idea of covert, secret revolutionary societies. Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November.

    Tom, look what you've caused. You're quite a rebel-rousing revolutionary. You should be on a No-Fly list somewhere, you terrorist.

    Maybe it was not you who wrote an article about the gradual loss of our ability to imagine solutions to problems without involving the government.

    However, I'll answer your questions about how a society would work without government by saying this…

    "So, it is not surprising that an absence of reason has accompanied our loss of liberty, for in fact it is only the former that can make possible the latter. No one would logically conclude that they would benefit by placing their life, liberty, or property under the arbitrary power of anyone else, for to do so is profoundly illogical. Yet, every generation, Americans have surrendered more of their rights to a government that has grown into the most pervasive institution of power that has ever existed in human history. They have done so for the most part because they have allowed their passions to replace their reason. Until we recognize this, every “change” we make is going to be for the worse." (Tom Mullen, Sep. 2009, "Next, They'll Have Us Salivating")

    Take this reason to the absolute, and remember that "Liberty is an Absolute" (Tom Mullen, July 2009).

  44. Tom Mullen says:

    >@ David Michael Myers: Oh yes, I do agree that what we have now is a state of war of every citizen against every other. I did not mean to imply that condition didn't exist now, under government. What we have now is terrible, if we followed the U.S. Constitution it would be much better, and if we improved upon the U.S. Constitution it would be better still. I am arguing that while we have arrived where we are today under government, I am not convinced that all of the evils that we suffer from today would not attend our lives without government.

    @Nico – yes, your first statement seems to be one way, although I don't know how you establish one law without one government to support it. This speaks to jurisdiction – I believe that most government could be accomplished very locally, with the scope lessening as you went away from the community (regional, state, federal).

    Regarding voluntary communities, I do believe that the deterrent effect of government from its negative powers is somewhat underestimated by those looking for stateless society. I don't subscribe to Josef Conrad's vision that man has a "heart of darkness" that is only restrained by society, but government does fulfill a necessary role in its negative powers. It is its assumption of positive powers that causes all of our problems.

    Regarding the natural law, I agree with Locke, who said that "nature has a law to govern it, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who would but consult it, that all being equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, and possessions."

    For Locke, reason is the law of nature and the non-aggression principle is the product of reason. However, reason depends upon observation to supply it with information, and everyone does not see the world the same way, even if their powers of reason are equal. Hobbes was a brilliant thinker, but his vision of the world led him to the exact opposite conclusion. He saw reason as self-preservation only, and so his reason led him to conclude that the state of nature was much darker than Locke (and many of us) see it. That is why Hobbes ultimately concluded that a "leviathan" govenrment was needed whereby individuals gave up all of their rights in return for the security an absolute monarch would give them.

    In a stateless society, the Hobbes' of the world are free to see it this way and act upon it, and even if they do not assume positive powers, they still may define aggression differently and defend themselves against it.

    I certainly think many of the commenters are doing some impressive thinking, and perhaps at some time I will change my mind. However, I believe that mankind and liberty is still best served by a government limited in its power to the justifiable force that individuals have to defend themselves against aggression. This is, of course, only a negative power for govenrment and for government one that can only be exercised after the fact – government cannot prevent crime or preempt military aggression. That is why the Constitution allows Congress to "declare war," i.e., conclude that a state of war already exists, at which time military force is justified. One of the shortcomings, in my opinion, is that the Constitutions does not make this a requirement before military action, although I am sure that the founders envisioned French or English troops marching on Philadephia while a legislative body either wasn't yet convened or was arguing while the enemy lit its torches.

    I hope to hear more from everyone on this subject. I don't think anyone, including me, has completely nailed their position, so the dialogue probably helps us all. Maybe you'll make an anarchist out of me yet. :)

  45. Dale says:

    >David – "I am not convinced that all of the evils that we suffer from today would not attend our lives without government." I would agree … what we lack is any type of moral compass. We are a society that has lost, or at best continues to loose our ability to fend for ourselves. I have heard the government described as a "pusher" and we are the "junkies" needing that "fix" … to what level is our addiction would be difficult to say, as it would vary from individual to individual. However, the ecstasy of entitlement has become stronger and stronger.
    Back in the late 20's and early 30's when the government began their plethora of alphabet agencies to assist the citizens hit hard by both the dust bowl and the depression, there was great reluctance and great suspicion on the part of the citizenry to accept aid. This of course has changed over time to where it is EXPECTED.
    So, in a very real sense we are as complicit as the government.
    But even beyond this – we are confronted with other massive problems of our own making that even make us becoming a totalitarian nation unlikely and if so, very short lived at best … a MASSIVE debt – approaching 120 TRILLION dollars (debt plus unfunded liabilities) We "make" virtually nothing (thanks to a massive array of regulations, disincentives, not to mention litigation for even the most trivial of things (someone once said that we are a nation of lawyers, not laws) – we are a consumer nation and I often maintain are no more than a nearly 29 hundred mile long shopping mall.
    I wonder if we have over the decades, become an empire that is too big. When I refer to us as an empire I refer to that within our borders – this was territory acquired and then incorporated into what is this nation, I am not insinuating any "bad" connotation to the term. I often think that perhaps the most effective method of staving off a total chaotic collapse would be to break up into smaller more manageable "nation/states"
    I think another thing we need to realize (and history shows) is that the life cycle of civilizations – of nation/states is – as I mentioned in an earlier post – cyclical, not linear. So perhaps we need consider how best we can modify the back end of the cycle to set the stage for a strong and vital "rebirth".
    I think that we need to try to emulate at least one great strength that the founders seem to have processed – an ability to learn from history by their ability to recognize the patterns of the past.

  46. BornFree says:

    >Tom, I respectfully disagree with your opening statement that the US Constitution does not establish “limited government.” Who would attempt to read and interpret a document without first reading its “preface?” The preface to the US Constitution is called “The Preamble” and it states (1) Who wrote it, (2) the purposes for its writing, and (3) To Whom it was written. Let’s reflect on those items, in order:
    1. Who wrote it? “We the People of the United States, …”. The Delegates were chosen by the people of the several states of the Union to the task. One must understand the term “United States” in accordance with the legal definition at Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th Edition, page1533, stating that there are several meanings to the term “United States.” In this case, it means “the states in Union” (under the Articles of Confederation); the chosen Delegates wrote under authority granted to them by their several states of the Union.
    2. The purposes? “… in Order to (a) form a more perfect Union, (b) establish Justice, (c) insure domestic Tranquility, (d) provide for the common defence, (e) promote the general Welfare, and (f) secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution…”
    3. To Whom was it written? “… for the United States of America.” First, it is not a Constitution OF but a Constitution FOR the United States of America. Here we find Black’s second meaning of “United States” as clearly indicated by inclusion “of America.” “The United States of America” is the corporate title (trade style, d/b/a, if you please) assigned to the General Government at Article I, The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.
    The state Delegates proposed this “new” constitution for the United States of America, limiting its purposes to those enumerated in the Preamble, and subjecting it to Ratification by the people of the several states in accordance with the provisions of Article VII.

    It is noteworthy that the Powers granted to Congress at Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1-18, conform to the above stated purposes. It is further noteworthy that Article I, Section 8 is one long sentence with its no stronger pause between its Clauses than a semi-colon.

    You also wrote …
    Although several states tried to hold out for a bill of rights before ratifying the Constitution, those ten amendments weren’t actually ratified until 1791 – four years after the Constitution was ratified.
    Please note: The US Constitution was not declared in effect until March 4, 1789; the Bill of Rights was declared December 15, 1791; however, 3 states ratified the BOR in 1789, 6 in 1790; 2 in 1791; “Four years after the Constitution was ratified” is misleading. Interestingly, Mass., Ga., & Conn. did not ratify until 1939!

  47. Burke says:

    >People who attack the Constitution as a document for oppression without saying anything about the oppression of the states make me suspicious.

    Conservatives use "states' rights" claims as a way of getting away from the Bill of Rights and its limitations on their religious agenda.

    James Madison as president once vetoed a roads and bridges bill, saying that there was no authority in the Constitution for such acts. Were the Constitution construed in the light of the philosophy that underlay it–the Enlightenment tradition of reason and the rights of man–no one would be complaining about an overweening federal govt today.

  48. Ihavesayso says:

    >Government, at all levels, has no rights or entitlements…only duties and responsibilities! – Ihavesayso, 1928 – ?

  49. Dale says:

    >Ihavesayso – short and to the point .. and right on target. Like it

  50. Anonymous says:

    >from Sete:

    Tom, Tom, pleeeeeze . . . haven't you ever heard of Murray N. Rothbard? He answered all your questions re. anarchy, private security, private justice systems, etc. etc years ago . . .

  51. Tom Mullen says:

    >Rothbard, Spooner, Mises, Hayek, Locke, Jefferson, Adams, Aristotle, Cicero,Harry Browne – yes, I've read them all, and I appreciate their arguments. Many of the arguments made here are well-articulated paraphrases of many of them (and I don't mean that as a slam, because these ideas are all as old as civilization itself). I would like to point out that the arguments here about the demonstrated superiority of voluntary exchange and private property over government are well-taken (I make them myself all of the time), however they ignore the fact that those accomplishments by private enterprise take place in a context of private property being protected by government, albeit "selective protection" as it will intervene if we steal from each other but ignores the fact that it steals from us. I have also read Hoppe's "On the impossibility of Limited Government and the Prospects for a Second American Revolution" (http://mises.org/story/2874)and found it fascinating, but am left with the same questions.

    As Burke said above (and I agree with his comment about state governments – one example: they all have the choice to opt out of Medicaid and none of them do, not even the "Live Free or Die" state of NH or Montana – if all we did was scale the federal government back to its intended limits under the Constitution, we wouldn't be complaining about the federal government right now. I made a similar point in the article we are all discussing.

  52. Anonymous says:

    >If you start with the basic concept of right and wrong, it is a small step to realize what's wrong with any country that has problems.

    The saying "times change" is misleading. Times don't change. People change.

    Countries don't have problems. The people in those countries have problems.

    As someone said earlier, the people of America have lost their moral compass. What are morals, other than knowing, and adhering to, the implications of right and wrong?

    No matter how you frame it, without morals, people will take advantage of other people. Whether it be one citizen to another, one citizen to a "free" entitlement, a government to its citizens, an employer to his employees, and so forth, it's always the same. Without morals, and inherent sense of what's right and what isn't, abuse of one another will continue.

    Unions were supposedly created to protect employees from unscrupulous employers. Now the unions exploit the employer.

    Governments are supposed to exist to protect the interests of the people. Why? Because "bad" people abuse other people, and an entity "has" to exist to protect the people. Then the government ends becoming self serving and abusing the very people it is supposed to protect.

    It all boils down to immorality.

    Where does morality come from?

    Why is morality missing?

    How does one learn and adhere to moralistic principles, the basics of right and wrong?

    Until each person realizes the incorporates the answer to this simple question, nothing will change.

    We may get a new regime, a new party, a new law, a new president, etc, but the end result is the same: one group of people, however small or large, exploiting another group because of immorality.

  53. Russell D. Longcore says:

    >Mr. Mullen-

    Absolutely stellar article today at LRC. I'll be posting it at http://www.DumpDC.com this week.

    I've been writing about Spooner's "No Treason" to direct people to the truth about the Constitution, and writing about the superiority of the Articles of Confederation.

    Thanks for writing the article.

    Russell D. Longcore, Editor
    http://www.DumpDC.com

  54. http://canng.com/ says:

    >If you love the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson you need to read this free ebook! It is by far the best book on Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolution.

    http://canng.com/articles/cscent.pdf

    A Common Scent
    (A Historical Novel about Thomas Jefferson
    showing who fought for liberty and who fought
    for selfish reasons in the American Revolution)
    by
    Steffan Stanford

  55. Dale says:

    >Yesterday I attended an on-line seminar "Reviving the Constitution" sponsored by Hillsdale College (while there was an audience in attendance, for what I understand well over 30,000 attended worldwide via the internet – as a sidebar, the wonderful thing I discovered about attending on-line is that I did so in my pajamas)
    During the lunch break (enjoyed by those in attendance) internet viewers were treated to this lecture given lat year by Mark Steyn
    Do give it a view .. I think it was quite to the point.
    http://www.tvworldwide.com/events/hillsdale/100130/default.cfm?id=12000&type=flv&test=0&live=0

  56. Anonymous says:

    >BornFree writes,

    Re: David Michael Myers, 1/30/10 11:48 am & 5:10 pm

    “Pre-emption clause”

    I am a little more than a casual reader of the US Constitution and I have never heard that phrase before. Thus, I take it that you are referring to Article VI, Clause 2, which is commonly called the “Supremacy Clause” – at least that’s what you quoted. I add the following observations regarding that Clause.

    1. There are 3 elements to the Supreme Law of the Land:

    (a) “This Constitution,” which was Ratified by the people of the several states, thereby making it ORGANIC law (See Black’s 6th Edition, page 1099). Ratification constitutes “consent of the governed”;

    (b) “and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;” which refers to STATUTORY laws (see Black’s, 6th Edition, page 1412) PROVIDED such laws meet muster with “made in Pursuance thereof”. That distinction was settled 207 years ago by Chief Justice John Marshall’s majority opinion in Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137, when he closed with: “It is also not entirely unworthy of observation, that in declaring what shall be the supreme law of the land, the constitution itself is first mentioned; and not the laws of the United States generally, but THOSE ONLY WHICH SHALL BE MADE IN PURSUANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION, have that rank. Thus, the particular phraseology of the constitution of the United States confirms and strengthens the principle, supposed to be essential to all written constitutions, that A LAW REPUGNANT TO THE CONSTITUTION IS VOID, and that courts, as well as other departments, ARE BOUND BY THAT INSTRUMENT.” Marbury stands unchallenged today as a Landmark Case.

    (c) “and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land;” – Not ALL Treaties, but only those “made under the Authority of the United States." Where does the United States get its Authority? Nowhere but from the Constitution itself.

    2. Following the last semi-colon we find:
    “; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing to the Contrary notwithstanding.” –Period, end of the Clause.
    Apparently, you interpret “notwithstanding” as granting “total centralized control” over the states of the Union. That, indeed, would be “pre-emption” but I call your attention to Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” (1828) for definition of the word NOTWITHSTANDING:

    “NOTWITHSTANDING, the participle of ‘withstand’ with ‘not’ prefixed, and signifying not opposing; nevertheless.”

    Noah Webster’s reading of this cite would be “any Thing to the Contrary NOT OPPOSING.” Hence, the objects of this phrase (the Judges in every State) are not bound to violate their Oaths of Office when US STATUTORY Laws conflict with the state laws they are sworn to uphold.

    I believe the noted lexicographer Noah Webster (1758-1853) was more capable of understanding the meaning and intent of words used by the Founders than any 20th Century word-merchant/spin-doctor. To believe otherwise is but to subscribe to the doctrine that the Constitution is a “living document” that must change with the times! I submit that one must understand words in the definition of the day in which they were written rather than the opinion of a modern-day Progressive.

    In closing, I concur with your remark about Lincoln and his War of Northern Aggression "for the Union" but remember – one can tie two cats tails together and have "union" but it's a far cry from achieving "unity!"

  57. The Old Guard says:

    >I always find to my amazement the complete disregard and perpetual dishonor given to the greatest convening of revolutionist political philosophers that have every graced this earth.

    Further, under their blood and given to you by them, to which, you Sir, express under THEIR blood, Freedom of Speech & press protections, the ultimate dishonor.

    You see, Sir, if you really go back and peel away the layers of hundred of years of revisionist opinion, the essence of the Constitution begins to manifest from original intent, your, we the people, under the great Constitutional design are responsible for precisely every attack and degradation to the Liberty and Freedoms contained therewith.

    perhaps its time to grow up……

  58. David Michael Myers says:

    >OLD_GUARD

    There is a great difference between those who conceived of, wrote, and proclaimed the Declaration, and those who, in 1787 executed a peaceful coup and proclaimed a new constitution.

    Most Federalists were attorneys (lawyers, if you prefer), a group essentially devoted to a strong, coercive, central government. The Federalist Papers are nothing more than a lengthy plea for a strong, coercive, central government. Read 'em and weep.

    The "Pre-emption Clause" of the Constitution (Paragraph 2 of Article VI) nullifies any pretensions to a federation of "sovereign states."

    IMHO, the Articles of Confederation could have been slightly modified to take care of the few obvious weaknesses in national defense (Financing wars, etc.)

    Practical people, and Americans are generally a very practical people, can find ways to get along with each other so that everyone prospers.

    The Articles provided for a TRUE federation of sovereign states. The Constitution provides for an overwhelming, coercive, central government — by design!

    The result? An IMPOSSIBLE-TO-LIMIT GOVERNMENT that grows by the second like a cancer gone wild.

    TANSTAALG [There Ain't No Such Thing As A Limited Government]

    That's what this discussion is all about. It is not meant as any disrespect toward those of good will who thought they were doing the right thing!

  59. The Old Guard says:

    >hi david michael myers

    I appreciate your points.

    As I mentioned heretofore, when one peels back enough of the layers of the records, we find only the withered ink blot bones left remaining from the skeptical attacks of the revolutionist framers.

    These said assertions do make for great distracting entertainment fodder but in now way are these novel upon the historical record.

    It is most interesting to note, we find these very said assertions upon observation, always arise within the cyclical dynamic of times of political chaos and economic monopoly.

    Oh wait, is that not precisely the germinating element that the great framers experienced pre and post revolution?

  60. David Michael Myers says:

    >TO ANONYMOUS? OR BORN FREE?

    Thanks for the scholarly analysis of my comment on Preemption. I shall enjoy digesting it in great detail.

    As it happens, there is an entire volume on preemption entitled:

    "Federal Preemption: States' Powers, National Interests"

    Editors: Richard A Epstein and Michael S Greve, The AEI Press, Published for The American Enterprise Institute, Washington DC, 2007.

    That's what started my thinking on the subject.

    I am but a poor man and I don't own a copy of the Unabridged Oxford Dictionary or Noah Webster's.

    My best lexicon is an unabridged Random House Dictionary of the English Language, circa 1966.

    I didn't imagine that there would be a reversal or a gulf of contradiction between the meaning of "notwithstanding(1787)" and "notwithstanding(2010)".

    I quote the entry from my Random House:

    "notwithstanding

    — prep.1. Without being opposed or prevented by; in spite of: Notwithstanding a brilliant defense, he was found guilty. He went to the game anyway, doctor's orders notwithstanding.

    —conj. 2. in spite of the fact that; although: It was the same material, notwithstanding the texture seemed different.

    —-adv. 3. nevertheless; anyway; yet: We were invited notwithstanding.

    —Syn. 1. Notwithstanding, despite, in spite of — imply that something is true, even though there are obstacles or opposing conditions. The three expressions may be used practically interchangeably.

    Notwithstanding suggests, however, a hindrance of some kind: Notwithstanding the long delay, I shall still go.

    Despite, now literary and somewhat archaic, indicates that there is an active opposition: Despite procrastination and disorganization, they finished the project.

    In spite of, the modern equivalent on an informal level, implies meeting strong opposing forces or circumstances that must be taken into account: He succeeded in spite of many discouragements.

    —Ant. 1. Because of, on account of."

    I think that I interpreted the word correctly as it is used in the context of the Constitution.

    In my crude way, I think it means that the judges in every state shall be bound by the "Supreme Law of the Land"

    NO MATTER WHAT THE CONSTITUTION OR LAWS OF ANY STATE SAY.

    Lastly, I pose the questions:

    "Do you think that there might possibly be a few STATUTES on the books that do not meet the test of having been made IN PURSUANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION?

    "If so, what might you be thinking of doing about it?"

  61. Tom Mullen says:

    >I agree wholeheartedly with David's comments. If you doubt my reverence for men like Jefferson, just look at the cover of my book. He in particular is the whom I consider the greatest thinker and writer on the subject of liberty in our history. That being said, he went on to violate the higher limits on government set by the Constitution when he was president, even though he was highly suspicious of the Constitution while it was being written and only reluctantly endorsed it after it was drafted (conveniently while he was out of the country). It goes to show how troublesome the office of president is, as Washington, Adams, and Jefferson all had trouble obeying the Constitution while serving – and they were arguably the greatest men to ever hold the office. It is no wonder that pipsqueaks of intellect and honor, such as Bush and Obama, hold the document and its supposed limits on government in contempt.

  62. Tom Mullen says:

    >Hello Friends,

    I just saw this article come through on a feed on my main page (www.tommullen.net). It seems researchers have discovered an early draft of the Constitution by James Wilson. There were missing pages that they found in another place under the title, "Continuation of the Scheme." I believe that is an appropriate title, given our subject here! :D

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20100202_Early_draft_of_the_Constitution_found_in_Phila_.html

  63. Anonymous says:

    >[BornFree responding as ‘Anonymous’ – Google lost my password ]

    Re: David M Myers 2/2/10 11:23am

    Thanks for your time and thoughts on “notwithstanding.” Please do not take my response as harsh criticism – I mean nothing personal. After all, it is only by amicable dialogue that we may come to Truth.

    It is often said that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, but I contend that the world’s oldest profession is that of a WORD MERCHANT or, the more modern term SPIN DOCTOR. How so? Because the FIRST Word Merchant on record is the Serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Eve with his ‘play on words.’ We have been plagued with Word Merchants ever since!

    In examining a 1787 document – the US Constitution – I choose the dictionary of a noted man who lived concurrently with the Founders and published his “1828” after many years of research (over 26 languages) and earlier of his publications. Thus, I submitted Noah Webster’s definition of “notwithstanding” for your contemplation.

    Also, in considering a legal document I use “Black’s Law Dictionary” 6th Edition. At age 75, with no paycheck, I can’t afford the 7th Edition. By the way, why does a LAW dictionary have to be ‘revised’ every 10 years? N.B. The definition of “United States” was omitted in the 7th Edition and new definitions were added for “United States Person” and “United States of America.”

    You choose to rely upon a 1966 dictionary for definition of words used in a 200-year-old document. That leaves a span of 179 years for the Word Merchants to ply their skills in public education of the American people.

    If we do not bother to test the veracity of “living interpretations” of classic documents AS WRITTEN, we are doomed to follow the soothesayers.

    You ask if I think there may be a few statutes NOT made in pursuance of the Constitution. YES! Let’s start with the Patriot Act that violates the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments in the Bill of Rights. I have previously cited Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137, which states that ANY law that is repugnant to the Constitution is VOID. What to do about it? A wise man many years ago impressed upon me that “rights not demanded and rights not defended equals rights surrendered.”

    David, I invite your attention to the 1787 US Constitution, as amended 1791. Nothing in the original seven Articles relates to a Citizen of any state except for the crimes of (a) treason, (b) piracy on the high seas, or (c) counterfeiting. Those seven Articles are primarily the “job descriptions” for elected and appointed Federal officers. On the other hand, everything in the Bill of Rights relates directly to individual persons and/or states insofar as the duty of the Federal government to guarantee and protect those persons and their unalienable rights (with Amendment IX being a ‘catch-all’ for all rights not enumerated).

    I have a question for you. Are you a 14th Amendment citizen? (Teaser: Why is “Citizen” capitalized in the Constitution prior to 1861 and NOT capitalized after 1865?)

  64. Anonymous says:

    >[BornFree responding as ‘Anonymous’ – Google lost my password ]

    Re: Tom Mullen, 2/2/10 11:25am

    I concur with your opinion of Jefferson. A great man but not without human frailties. In fact, HIS new administration was the target of “Marbury” (cited earlier).

    I see the greater problem as being one of John Q. Public buying into the glorification of the office of President. That’s tantamount to adoration of a King. More accurately his job is that of Chief Executive Officer, charged with executing the laws of the Legislative Branch (veto power notwithstanding). He has a secondary duty to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Navy, and state militias when they are called into the actual service of the United States.

    Why did Obama, McCain, Bush, et al constantly campaign for “Commander-in-Chief?” I think there’s a not-too-well-hidden agenda there.

  65. David Michael Myers says:

    >TO: BORN FREE (February 3, 2010 4:15 AM)

    Alas, my Black's is only the Revised Fourth Edition. And my only other unabridged is a New World Webster Twentieth Century Unabridged circa 1950. Perhaps I am even poorer than you.

    I will highly appreciate your transmitting the ENTIRE definition of "notwithstanding" from Webster. I just can't fathom a total reversal in meaning of such a phrase.

    My Unabridged Webster's has almost identical definitions as has my Random House. Neither cites a reversal in meaning from Webster's 1828.

    Is it possible that I and all those who don't possess a Webster's 1828 have been misinterpreting the Preemption Clause of the Constitution all these years?

    I suggest that your term, WORD MERCHANT, brings to mind mainly the attorney-class (lawyers). They make their livings with words. They are perhaps the most voluble branch of homo sapiens. Some of your responses suggest that perhaps you share their profession.

    But back on subject:

    I think that I could fully accept the Constitution had it required SUPER-MAJORITY VOTES just for simple passage of every bill and every committee vote.

    I would like to see a super-majority of four-fifths (80%) for simple passage.

    For overriding a president's veto, I recommend a super-majority of fourteen-fifteenths (93-1/3%.)

    Such super-majorities would ensure that the majority would have to be "deadly serious." Their actions would then impose the "tyranny of the majority" on a relatively-small number of unfortunate souls.

    Super-majorities approach somewhat the Quaker concept of requiring a "consensus" for adoption of a binding policy. I abhor the usual "half-plus one" majority rule. That, to me, is truly an abominable "tyranny of the majority."

    I also propose that we limit government authority to the following:

    Seeking out and punishing only by restitution and/or retribution: (1) fraud, (2) misrepresentation, (3) theft, and (4) unprovoked, violent, physical aggression against others.

    There is only one problem: HOW IN THE WORLD DOES ONE (OR 300 MILLION) LIMIT THE GOVERNMENT?

    The last time I checked, Right Makes Might!

  66. Anonymous says:

    >[ Written by BornFree ]

    Re: David, 2/3/10 6:48 am

    No, David, I am not an Attorney-at-Law. Matter of fact, I don’t even have a college degree. However, I hold no ill will toward any Attorney or other “men of letters” but, instead, I try to learn from those who honestly ply their trade and I attempt to expose the quacks among them. And that includes so-called “men of the cloth!”

    When I read a document such as “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America” (capitalization as in the original title) of 4 July 1776, I am impressed by the words and phrases penned by Thomas Jefferson. How was he (they) so wise in word selection? Then, I find John Locke’s “Second Treatise on Civil Government” – published ca. 1690 by Cambridge University (Oxford) and later published in Boston, ca. 1745. There I find Jefferson’s words and phrases such as “guards and fences” / “consent of the governed” / “Life, Liberty and Estates” (Estates changed to “pursuit of happiness”) / and other phrases first penned by John Locke. Those Founders being educated men of the day, it is no leap to believe they were familiar with Locke’s “Second Treatise.”

    I sent you the entire definition by Webster’s 1828 – all the way to the period at the end. He continues with cites to biblical passages and usage that only confirms his definition.

    So, you can’t fathom a total reversal in meaning of such words and phrases? Consider this: In 1853 Stephen Foster wrote “My Old Kentucky Home” which became that state’s official song in 1928. One line of that song goes, “’tis summer the darkies are gay.” Gay? Was Stephen Foster saying the slaves were homosexual? Certainly not, because “gay” meant merry; airy; jovial; sportive; frolicksome according to Webster’s 1828, adding that it denotes more life and animation than “cheerful.” But, ask any high-schooler to define “gay” for you today! Is a homosexual with AIDS “more than cheerful?” Yes, David, Word Merchants even take common words and subvert their meanings 180 degrees via education, repetitive usage and dictionary revisions. Are politicians and political writers/educators above this corruption of words?

    With all the hype these days for “Reality Shows” on TV, we must not lose sight of true Reality. And, part of true Reality is recognition of the fact that NOT ALL MEN ARE HONORABLE. Our task is to expose the charlatans within the sphere of our individual area of influence. I like to say, “Each one teach one” and that begins with teaching one’s self and sharing Truth with your children and close friends who will in turn “teach one.” Thanks to “the power of 2” Truth will soon get around and INFORMED Voters can eliminate those who design to rule over them by Trick and Device.

    Food for thought. The Founders referred to the government they created (later domiciled in the District of Columbia) as the “general government.” There was no mention of “federal” vs. “national” because the word “national” was anathema in this land after 1783 – they had just defeated the greatest “national” government on the face of this earth! Yet there were, among the Delegates, some who preferred a “federal” government and others a “national” government. “General” was a neutral adjective used in reference to that government at the time. Has that old debate been settled? If so, when?

    Your question as to how we limit the government is moot. The fact that it IS limited is confirmed by Amendments IX & X. Those Amendments have NEVER been modified since adoption in 1791. The ORGANIC Law (the Constitution – law by “consent of the governed”) CANNOT be amended by STATUTORY Law (a Legislative Act). The criteria for Amendment of the Organic Law is set forth in Article V – example, Amendment XVIII. How to amend an Amendment? The same process as set forth in Article V – example, Amendment XXI.

  67. Anonymous says:

    >What were those great spiritual truths of Assyria, Persia or even the USA? Didn't the greatest spiritual truths we recognize arise, not from a country, but from a man who claimed to be the incarnation of God? This God/man lived in a conquered country, conquered by a great empire on that list.

    And, anyone who thinks that Spain dwindled into apathy doesn't know much about the wars of revolution in South America, all of which took place well after 1750.

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