"It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers, to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expence, either by sumptuary laws, or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society. Let them look well after their own expence, and they may safely trust private people with theirs. If their own extravagance does not ruin the state, that of their subjects never will." ~ Adam Smith
I Pledge Allegiance, Under God, to the Constitution of Independence
Column by tzo.
Exclusive to STR
The citizens of the United States are proud of their nation’s Founding Fathers and the Founding Documents they authored, based on Noble Guiding Principles, firmly grounded in Freedom and Justice For All. God Himself seems to be an ardent admirer, as evidenced by the fact that He hath not yet come forth to dispute having made any of the many endorsements that these documents have attributed to him. Sorry, Him.
But I remain generally unconvinced by all the hype and hoopla. I have examined the written evidence and have observed the everyday application of this particular system, and have found it somewhat…less than advertised. No, that’s not quite right. I find it completely fraudulent, if I may be allowed to put a slightly finer point on it.
The Constitution of the United States of America is a not-overly-lengthy, yet somewhat rambling 4,400-word document. It can perhaps best be characterized as a lively mix of dry procedure and endless redundancy.
But is it really something other than an Arthur Murray Dance Studio footprint diagram sequence that, when danced out in the proper order, magically gives certain human beings superhuman powers that include creating whatever laws they wish? I guess since there are no volcanoes to dance around in the DC metro area, some alternative had to be invented for summoning the supernatural spirits.
But if the Constitution permits that certain people can conjure whatever capricious laws they might care to imagine, then why stipulate within the same document that it allows for the establishing of post offices and post roads? Or to lay and collect taxes? Of course it allows these things, so long as the magical legislative elves decide to create legislation stating that it shall be so. There is no need to spell out any particular applications of the legislative monopoly, since anything one can imagine falls under its auspices. This is the basis of my redundancy charge, as many words are wasted stipulating certain powers that fall within an omnipotent power’s omnipotent power.
What’s that now? The Bill of Rights and other sternly-written paragraphs were inserted into the Constitution as a means to limit the scope of what the government is allowed to do?
(pause) OK then, moving on.
Now the other half of the Dynamic Duo of Documents is the Declaration of Sin Dependence. Herein it is declared that All Men Are Created Equal but are completely dependent upon the institution of “Thou Shalt Not Steal But We Shall” to defend some subset of their inalienable rights.
Such an exquisite gallimaufry (go on, I’ll wait here while you consult your dictionary) of Founders, Principles, Freedom, and God! Just pour it through a strainer to remove all the thorny little contradictions and you’ve got a real feel-good smoothie to gulp on down. Don’t sweat the brain freeze—that’s supposed to happen.
Ah, but who really has the time to plow through the entirety of these things? And reading these aging documents is a bit like parsing Shakespeare, what with the writs and emoluments and such. And then to interpret the subtleties that the wise Founders embedded into the scripture? Who do I look like, Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code? And then to consider the ramifications of the Constitution being a living, breathing document? Which parts have fallen by the wayside, and which endure? And for those enduring parts, how have they morphed from inception to modern times in how they should be interpreted and applied? Who has the decoder ring?
No, this is a daunting task indeed for the common modern mortal who may be seeking enlightenment. Isn’t there some way to combine all of this into a single, easy-to-read snippet that sums up the whole business?
Well, I’m glad you asked; and yes, there is.
We, the Founding Fathers of this social organization that we will call a nation, will endeavor to carve out a portion of this Earth by whatever means necessary—including killing all misguided human beings who may happen to occupy said portion and mistakenly believe it is not ours to claim—and all this to the extent limited only by our ability to effectively keep all other human beings out. This, then, will be our fair nation. May Our Loving God Bless It, Always.
We will then grant superhuman powers to select persons so that they can make the rules for all others to follow, taking care to put the higher value on society than the individual. After all, there is no "I" in "We The People" or in “General Welfare.” However, certain individuals will enjoy an extended set of rights based on the group to which they belong—which we will call government; while those with lesser human rights—the citizens—will enjoy the protections afforded by said government in exchange for their narrower scope of rights. TANSTAAFL.
The government shall hold all the guns and shall create, adjudicate, and enforce all of the laws of the nation. The citizens shall obey and fund the government. The government is free to expand the scope of its rights and to further limit the scope of the citizens’ rights at the peril of going too far and having the citizens sever the heads of said officials. In this case, some of the citizens will then be elevated to government-official status in order to replace their unfortunate predecessors. Eventually they, too, will forget the lesson and so rinsing and repeating will be necessary ad infinitum.
Anyone exiting their mother's birth canal between specified ranges of latitude and longitude will be considered citizens and property of this nation, and will be expected to abide by the rules of the land onto which they have been born. Our house, our rules. All others will not be allowed to set foot upon our nation's soil without the express written consent of this nation's government and Major League Baseball.
And if by chance some of those outsiders do not behave in a manner we deem acceptable—even if they stay on their own side of the playground—we reserve the right to correct their errant behavior By Any Means Necessary and With Extreme Prejudice. The citizens—those existing and those yet to be born—shall be responsible for picking up the tab for whatever costs are incurred in such international disciplinary actions.
And speaking of costs: Money is what we say it is.
Any individual who elects to not participate in this nation's set of procedures is free to leave (unless we change our minds and rescind this permission) and take up residence in some other nation—or on a raft in an ocean somewhere—if he so prefers. And oh yeah: Somalia.
And there you have it.
And if we run this sour mash through the distiller one more time, we can extract the pure essence: Might Makes Right.
So easy, a caveman could understand it.