"If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds ... its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos." ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe
No Valid Constitutional Oaths But One
Exclusive to STR
July 1, 2008
I am not a legal scholar. As you can see from my previous articles, I am, in fact, a doofus. Nothing I say will hold water against an 'expert' opinion, nor should my words be construed to mean that I am encouraging you to stop paying income tax, or to refuse your 'God-given right' to vote, due to what I am about to say regarding the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments to The Constitution of the United States. After all, I think we all know what will happen to you if you refuse to obey the Sixteenth Amendment.
What I propose is simply that The Constitution is a contradictory document, giving conflicting directions to the government designed to uphold it, in regards to taxation and elections. For anyone who takes an oath, it is impossible to uphold and defend it, with one exception. Bear in mind that I do not make the previous statement lightly. To any other logically thinking individual, the paradox should be clear. Even though I am not a legal scholar, remember that you can get a legal scholar to tell you anything, just like you can get any 'expert' out there to say anything at all that you may or may not wish to hear, on any subject. Just look at the debate over global warming, and how many experts on both sides of the debate are willing to give you completely opposite conclusions. As a non-expert and an ordinary citizen, let me put forth my proposition that because of its incongruous nature, this document cannot be obeyed, except in one extreme.
Let's leave aside the mountain of evidence that proves the government, at all levels, has never had any objective other than to clutch at The Ring; and has certainly never displayed any true intentions toward limited, 'Constitutional' governance. Let us also leave aside the question as to whether or not anyone should ever even take an oath, much less swear on the very book that tells you not to do so (Matthew 5: 33-37), and that the vast majority of those to take such oaths break them. Let us look solely at two parts of this document that no longer make any sense to me. If they make sense to you, I would appreciate hearing from you, although I doubt you will convince me.
The U.S. Constitution Online provides the full document with notes, many of which I disagree with, though they are at the very least enlightening. It includes additional history, but fails to convince me of the validity of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, because there is nothing in these amendments to specify that any earlier sections have been repealed.
Just take a quick look at Amendments 16, 17, and 18 in order. The word 'repealed' does not appear in the language or the explanations of the first two, and only the last of these three was actually repealed. The text of Amendment 21, which negated Amendment 18, actually specifies the repeal in its language. Therefore, it appears that one can take an oath to uphold and defend Amendment 21 in a document that contains Amendment 18, because Amendment 18 is clearly repealed. In other words, Amendment 18 is now nothing more than a historical footnote. Amendment 21 says that you can drink alcohol. A president can be sworn into office and permit us all to drink. ('Oh, thank you, sir! My best to your lovely wife!')
However, Amendment 16 is contradictory to Article I, Sections 2 and 9, which state, in part, 'Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States'' and 'No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.' What does Amendment 16 say? Well, apparently, Congress can 'lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.' Furthermore, since the previous sections of Article I are not repealed, both sections are legally enforceable. In other words, the IRS can rape you as much as it wants, while ignoring Sections 2 and 9, but it must also abide by these same sections while it rapes. Yet, Amendment 16, according to the creators of this Constitutional website, 'clarifies' the language in Section 9. According to this clarification, the words 'census' and 'enumeration' in this section now mean to disregard census and enumeration. In addition, the creators of this website apparently believe that there are no longer any direct taxes. Remember that when you look at what is taken indirectly from your next paycheck by our benevolent government. A bit like parking in front of a sign that permits you to park, then being ticketed for what you are permitted to do.
So would it actually be possible for an oath-taker to uphold and defend Sections 2 and 9, in a document containing Amendment 16, by only legislating or enforcing these sections and ignoring Amendment 16? After all, there is no language in the latter saying that it must be obeyed, only that the power is available to our ravenous representatives, to disregard census and enumeration. Perhaps it would have been possible, except for that pesky business of Amendment 13, which quite clearly states that involuntary servitude is abolished. If taxation is not involuntary servitude, then 'involuntary servitude,' like 'census' and 'enumeration,' can be clarified by another amendment negating its true meaning. But no more of that here, as STR is itself an argument in favor of the true meaning of Amendment 13, above any other law.
No, the true Achilles Heel of this document is actually the contradiction between Article I, Section 3 and Amendment 17. Article I, Section 3 states, in part, 'The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof)'' This particular link simply states that this section is 'superseded' by Amendment 17. There is no explanation here as to exactly how one part of The Constitution can supersede another, but that is apparently what we are supposed to believe about Amendment 17, which states, 'The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof.' And there you have it. This, unlike Article I, Sections 2 and 9 and Amendment 16, cannot be ignored, unless it is undertaken to have no Senate at all. (Yea!) But if there is a Senate, it cannot be elected by two different sources and remain valid. Your senator cannot claim to represent you, and cannot lay down any law for or against you, whether he is elected according to Section 3 of Article I, or Amendment 17. One or the other part of The Constitution must be repealed first. Every senator, congressman, and president, down to every blue-collar cop, is an oath-violator, vowing on an oath-banning book, to uphold something that cannot be upheld by any logical argument, as long as there is a Senate in existence, or as long as any election of senators is held.
There is nothing in the text of The Constitution to explain how one part of The Constitution can be superseded by any other, nor is there even an explanation about how one section can be repealed by any other, except that the language in the one amendment that actually repealed another amendment is at least clear and concise. Amendment 18 has been repealed. It is clearly written out in The Constitution itself. It is no longer in force. Article I, Sections 2, 3 and 9 have not been repealed, nor have they been clarified or superseded by Amendments 16 and 17. They are still in force, just as much as their counterparts are. No repeal, clarification or superceding of these sections appears anywhere in The Constitution.
Yet there are governmental oaths in Nevada, New Jersey, and Florida, to uphold and defend this document, as well as laws applying to their respective local areas. Never mind that in each of these states, there are undoubtedly numerous laws on the books that are unenforceable due to their contradictory and unconstitutional nature, just as there are judicial decisions ranging from the enforcement of slavery to the enforcement of equality. All of it chaos. All of it false. All of it making the oath-taker a liar and a cheat, or at the very least, a fool.
Now, one of the reasons I like shopping at the Wal-Mart in my area, beyond the fact that the store manager keeps it up-to-date and very clean and orderly, is because their return policy is pretty straightforward and easy to comprehend. If I have opened it, with very few exceptions, I can return it anyway. (Even an iPod!) Sometimes, though, I need to go to Circuit City instead. Their return policy, while different, is also square-dealing. It isn't a guessing game, and I'm not frozen in my tracks wondering which rule will be honored, nor am I confronted with rules that don't make sense. That's how the free market works, as it always deals with the interactions of people who want to interact. I know where the checkout counters are. I know the procedure when I reach the counter. I know whom to ask if I have a question or a concern, and if I don't, most stores will go out of their way to help me understand.
The perverted governmental version of this organic relationship can only be forced. It is the nature of government to enforce the opposite of what I want, and at dangerous levels. This is the real reason for a Constitution: rules for the rule-breakers, in a store forced upon its unwilling customers. It is the equivalent of an edict that comes from a parent, 'Because I said so.' It may be revoked openly through repeal, or implied through being superseded, while you stand cowering in a corner like a frightened child, waiting for the next contradictory edict to be spewed forth, trying to determine the nature of what was superseded, or for a child-rearing expert to clarify it. If a future amendment to the constitution makes it a federal offense to contradict the vice president to his face, or to burn the flag, does that mean that the First Amendment has been repealed, superseded, or merely clarified? We will have to wait for Cheney, or the next Cheney knock-off, to tell us whether he says so. That, in the end, is all this document really means. And unless the oath-taker abolishes both taxation and the Senate, an oath to uphold and defend The Constitution's contradictions means even less.