"We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen, as long as we remain honest -- which will be as long as we can keep the attention of our people alive. If they once become inattentive to public affairs, you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves." ~ Thomas Jefferson
An Anarchist's Proposal for Limited Constitutional Government -- Minarchy vs. Anarchy
Minarchists believe in a minimal state, with the state limited to a small, well-defined, core set of functions. Most minarchists believe in limited constitutional government, though this is not an absolute requirement for minarchy. Many minarchists extol the virtues of the US Constitution, and view the early years of the US government under the Constitution as the golden age of minarchy.
Anarchists believe that the state is unnecessary, and people can meet all their needs through voluntary association, cooperation, and trade. This includes all functions normally associated with the state, to include law enforcement, judicial rulings, and common defense. Anarchists view limited constitutional government as a flawed system, which will always grow from limited to unlimited power, and without authority.
The differences between minarchists and anarchists are usually portrayed as insurmountable by both sides, with anarchists denouncing minarchists as outright statists, and minarchists disparaging anarchists as utopian daydreamers. This is unfortunate, in that both have the same stated goal of dismantling the leviathan state and restoring individual freedom. While they do disagree about the best method to destroy leviathan and bring back liberty, and the best form of the final solution for doing so, both are striving for individual rights and freedom. I have jokingly noted that the difference between a minarchist and an anarchist is that a minarchist is an anarchist who believes the state is a necessary evil, and should be kept to a minimum, but doesn't know what that minimum is, while an anarchist is a minarchist who knows the state is an unnecessary evil, and the perfect minimum size of the state is zero. While most minarchists fail to see the humor in this, there is at least a grain of truth in this statement that minarchists and anarchists are not that far separated in many of their core beliefs. Both advocate dismantling the current state leviathan and returning government to the people. Both are against victimless crimes; acknowledge that the state illegally interferes in the personal affairs of individuals; that most laws need to be repealed. Both want the illicit taxing power of the state repealed; are against dishonest confiscation of money and property by the state; that individual rights trump imaginary state's rights. It is reasonable to conclude that minarchists and anarchists as groups share almost identical ideals, and only differ in the best method of implementation of these principles.
It is instructive for everyone to look at the failure of the US Constitution, and how supposedly limited constitutional government has grown to the unlimited, unconstitutional state leviathan of today. Many believe the Constitution was destroyed by the tyrant Lincoln, who assumed the powers of an absolute dictator, while waging a genocidal war to falsely preserve the union. Others point to the traitor Wilson who saw the federal income tax, Federal Reserve, and direct elections of senators all occur during his watch, while needlessly involving the US in a world war that would precipitate a greater calamity, and started the disastrous trend toward world government with the ill-fated League of Nations . Some say it was as late as the socialist turncoat FDR and his unconstitutional New Deal, who also pointlessly involved the US in another world war by deceit that ended up delivering most of Eastern Europe to communism and igniting the Cold War, and was a prime sponsor of the boondoggle known as the UN. The truth is that these three great traitors just more fully took advantage of the inherent flaws that were intrinsic to the Constitution at its birth.
The myth of the golden age of US minarchy is dispelled by looking at events that transpired before the megalomaniac Lincoln trampled over the Constitution. The US Constitution was stillborn at its inception, as it institutionalized slavery as the law of the land ' so much for all men being created equal. Shortly after the Constitution was adopted, Alexander Hamilton and his cronies established the tradition of looting the US treasury for the politically connected, which has only grown in its abuse with passing years. Also, shortly after the Constitution was passed, there was an armed insurrection, the Whiskey Rebellion, as many were already disgusted with the tyranny the US government was turning into. Then there was the theft of personal property of Native American Indians that led to genocide in the infamous Trail of Tears. This was followed by a war of conquest and aggression, the Mexican-American War. The only redeeming characteristic of this early period was that the state hadn't metastasized into the all-encompassing leviathan of today, and if a person was not in one of the many state-proscribed groups, then a person could lead his life with very little government interference. But the seeds of tyranny were always present right from the start, and to think that the state was ever bound by the chains of the Constitution is na've at best.
A closer look at the Founding Fathers also reveals why the Constitution failed. While many view the Founding Fathers as some type of saints of liberty, a closer inspection reveals that they were not the paragons of freedom that they are typically portrayed as. A case can be made that the reason they favored a decentralized national government was because they distrusted one another, and were afraid of having their powers and rights usurped by one of their own. Even Jefferson, arguably the most libertarian of the lot, like politicians and bureaucrats of all times, was long on rhetoric, short on action. They did manage to publish the very impressive and libertarian Declaration of Independence, a manifesto of freedom that still rings true today, but like politicians everywhere, their actions and words didn't match up. The fact is they founded a state where their rights were protected at the expense of others, that violated the inalienable rights of others that they proclaimed was their reason for seeking independence. Most people seem to overlook the faults of the Founding Fathers by claiming they were forced to accept what they term 'practical compromises' due to political expediency. These people forget that political expediency is just a euphemism for denying liberty and is a poor excuse to justify the state's tyranny and mayhem.
In view of the abysmal failure of the current US Constitution, I would like to make a proposal that will attempt to blend elements of limited constitutional government, minarchy, and anarchy. This would allow competing elements of these philosophies to concurrently exist. Hopefully this would accomplish two objectives, one being a better system of checks and balances to prevent growth of government, and the other being a living experiment where people could see the benefits and flaws of different systems of government. People would then be in a much better position to determine which type of government suits them and meets their individual needs.
First the current US Constitution would need to be abolished. A new constitutional convention would be required where the libertarian ideals of the Declaration of Independence are actually enshrined as the law of the land. Any ambiguous reference to the common good that could be incorrectly interpreted must be avoided. It should be clearly stated that the constitution is not a living document subject to the interpretation and whims of judges, legislators, and executives, but only serves to limit what powers they may exercise in their duties. Most importantly, it must emphasize individual sovereignty, where the rights and property of individuals are not subject to group whims and demands, and that it is illegal to use force or coercion to gain individual compliance to any program. Forced collectivism of any type must be fully renounced as inimical to the foundation of individual liberty.
The right of individual succession should be the cornerstone of the new constitution. Herbert Spencer, in his seminal work The Right to Ignore the State, fully develops the idea that an individual should be able to elect voluntary outlawry, and live outside the confines of the state. This right to individual secession is inherent in individual sovereignty, and it is the basic right of the individual to not consent to any government imposed by third parties. This would provide a tremendous check on government tyranny, much better than the idea of state secession, and keep the power in the hands of the common citizen, and out of the reach of politicians.
There should be a ban on standing armies in the constitution. Standing armies are an invitation to mischief and always result in the loss of liberty. US presidents have created as much havoc and mayhem, both in America and internationally, because they have had armed goons to carry out their illegal orders. The US Coast Guard along with a greatly reduced air force would probably be more than adequate for defending American soil. America should adopt a policy of strict armed neutrality, and quit meddling in the foreign affairs of other nations. Every American should be encouraged to join a local militia, and cherish the right to keep and bear arms as his or her natural birthright. A ban on standing armies would be a powerful check against presidential tyranny, and would help to dismantle the freedom-robbing military-industrial complex.
The state's ability to tax must be abolished in the constitution. Taxation is just a form of theft; it allows a person to illegal confiscate the wealth of another without their consent. For financial support, the government would need to rely on voluntary contributions, similar to what churches, charities, and other civic organizations depend on, and/or sell its services to voluntary customers. If government could not fund its activities voluntarily, this would be a clear sign that people did not value what government was offering them. This would be a potent check on government growth and force government to prudently allocate resources to meet the demands of its constituents.
The ability to pass legislation must be severely limited in the constitution. The current problems in America are not due from too few laws, but due from far too many. Legislation has been the chief destroyer of freedom and the free market. Legislation has been used to authorize the looting of the public treasury and limiting competition for the politically well-connected. It has been used to criminalize personal activities and lifestyles and deny people their right to live peaceably as they see fit. The illegal practices of presidential executive decree and judicial fiat must be abolished, and the legislature must fall under the direct supervision of the people by direct democracy. It should be a requirement that at least 67% of all constituents (not just 67% of those who vote) approve any legislation before it can become the law of the land. This would be an effective check on legislative tyranny, and return power to the people where it rightly belongs.
Many might notice that this would effectively cripple government, and that is the plan. The current US Constitution failed because it took power from the hands of the people and entrusted it to politicians, bureaucrats, and judges, a sure recipe for disaster and enslavement. The only way to correct this is to remove power from the parasitical ruling class, and restore it to individuals, where it rightfully belongs. Whether a new constitution is ever created, the evils of involuntary individual participation in the state, standing armies, taxation, and rampant, dishonest legislation must be addressed if liberty is to ever flourish.