"Nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society." ~ John Adams
A Note to Our Constitutionalist Friends
A Note to Our Constitutionalist Friends
by Mike Waite
Exclusive to STR June 26, 2007 "The Constitution poses no serious threat to our form of government." ~ Joseph SobranTo those of us who recognize the truth of Lysander Spooner's devastating critique of constitutionalism, all the alarmism about who will occupy the White House, or sit on the Supreme Court, or pretend to represent us in Congress is laughable. But for those who still have faith in constitutionalism, certain obvious realities need to be addressed before their concerns can be taken seriously. So let's adjust the mirror a little so as to cover a few of their blind spots.If we were to take seriously the visible goings on in government, we'd be led to believe, as they wish us to, that it matters. But one cannot assume that what is presented for public consumption has anything to do with the goals of the state. Those have been decided privately, with undiluted concern for criteria to which we are not privy. All else is purely for appearance. The state pays no attention to the Constitution's most basic provisions, and though government officials have sworn a bloody oath to preserve, defend, and protect it, they violate it daily. Most alarmingly, the entire military ignores it completely.But folks still get all excited, for instance, about who will sit on the Supreme Court and interpret its sublime and occult meanings, as though any high school student couldn't understand its plain English. Accustomed to having their betters tell them what it means, they've abandoned the notion that it means anything at all. The Constitution is no longer the supreme law of the land. The convoluted decisions of a series of third-rate lawyers is. That's why folks care who sits there, as he and his owners will be making the law. The Constitution has no relevance other than as a scrim.Now really, just how difficult is it to determine whether or not some vote-buying scheme passed by Congress falls within the parameters of the Constitution? Any intelligent man could do that. And hasn't it occurred to folks that when most decisions of that panel of learned jurists are split five-to-four then roughly half must be idiots? Clearly there's more at work here than nobly disinterested referees scrupulously doing their jobs.We expect high school students to understand the Constitution, but we tolerate the Supreme Court being, well, confused. If those so-called justices were effective guardians of the Constitution as it is written, then wouldn't one expect their decisions to be nearly always unanimous? If "the finest legal minds in the nation" can't agree on the meanings of the plain language of the Constitution then those fine intellects must be either dull or sinister. Point out the section that applies to the case at hand and one will be told that it doesn't really mean what it says. It has been nuanced into oblivion. What's the point of interpreting a document that is nothing more than a dead letter? It's like changing a tire on a car you've already wrecked.The government simply does what it wants. And if any of the more naive of us should have the insolence to point to the provisions of the highest law of the land as proof that leviathan has exceeded its authority we'd simply be laughed at. And we certainly can't expect our fellow citizens to back us up. The government knows it can count on the utter docility of its subject population, whose alleged love of justice and liberty, shall we say, lacks enthusiasm.Our rulers know damn well they can do almost anything, no matter how atrocious, without risk to their hides, political or anatomical. The sad fact is that the laws only apply to the subject population, not the government. The Constitution is, or is supposed to be, a set of laws that apply specifically to the government. But since the Constitution has no more power than a basket of kittens, the government has run amok. Every one of its enumerated powers has been exceeded in gross and spectacular ways. Does the average American care? Of course not, he has more important things to worry about than his liberty.The concept of a strictly limited government with no authority to disregard our unalienable rights is a fantastic and alien notion to most folks. They see government as a means to get stuff. Handouts, preferential treatment, petty and not so petty laws to harass their cultural and ideological adversaries, even death and destruction for those who provoke their ire. They're certainly not inclined to let some abstract concept frustrate their passions.They have no shortage of rationalizations for any of the above. "We need it. There's no other way." It's all poppycock, of course. There's always ways to do things that don't involve criminal techniques. And if there isn't then the thing itself is a crime and oughtn't be done by decent people. Language, as a tool of thought, has become a liability since words no longer have commonly accepted meanings. For instance, when someone takes something that does not belong to him he is a thief. But if he gets the government to steal it for him, well, that's different. Exempt from the Golden Rule, government has assumed a quasi divine status and placed itself outside the moral universe of mortal men. Self professed Christians especially ought to take note of that fact and give it a good chewing before swallowing.The people, of course, have the power to effect change whenever they are inclined to get up on their hind legs. The state, as powerful as it is, is no match for a motivated people. But they have no such inclination and couldn't be bothered. Thus, people get the kind of government they tolerate and, as such, deserve. It's outrageous the rest of us have to be dragged down with them. If Americans want a government with unlimited power to take whatever it wants, to do whatever it wants, to be whatever it wants, then [Insert heavy sigh here], so shall they have it.So when folks get all hot and bothered about who gets into any government office, maybe they should give more thought to the function itself rather than the functionary who mans it. Whoever fills the vacancy will serve the interests of the state and its owners, not those of the citizens. And until Americans show as much interest in promoting and defending their rights as they do in the performance of their favorite sports team, concerns about the sanctity of the Constitution make as much sense as worrying whether their great great great grandmother, who was buried in 1806, is safe.