Category Archives: Constitution

The Government Is the Only Thing We All Belong To.

According to the Democratic Party, the government is the only thing we all belong to.

Yep.  You heard it.  It’s not a government of, for and by the people.  You belong to IT!

This is the larger of the two major parties in America folks.  This is now mainstream thought in their circles.

Banning guns makes the problem worse

As the initial shock over James Holmes’ midnight massacre subsides, the inevitable chorus of demands for tougher gun control laws is on the rise. But outrage is not a rational argument and the fact that this tragedy occurred changes nothing about the rational, evidence-based case for the private ownership and concealed carry of firearms.

Let’s keep the following facts in mind before we go demanding changes to the law:

  • We have known for at least 16 years (since John R. Lott’s 1996 study) been that taking guns out of the hands of lawful owners leads to more assault. Florida legalized concealed carry in 1997 and the murder rate declined 39% over the next 10 years because criminals were afraid that their marks might be armed.
  • Many things are correlated to homicide rate, but the strictness of a country’s gun control laws aren’t among them — income inequality, poor lack of medical care, and a large trade in illegal drugs (Fajnzylber et al, 2002) are. Gun control is a sideshow to the real problems that cause America’s problem with violent crime.
  • If you think that a willing killer is going to be deterred because he has to buy a gun from his weed dealer instead of from Walmart… well, no study to cite here, you’re just out of your mind, because even a stoner is willing to buy from that guy. In a country with 88 guns per 100 people, gun control laws will leave firearms in the hands of all the wrong people.

This should be required reading for any gun-hating, wannabe do-gooders!

 

Arizonans To Vote On Initiative To Overrule Federal Actions

The Arizona Daily Sun is reporting of an initiative that would allow voters to overrule statist overreach by the federal government.

“The Arizona Constitution already says the federal Constitution ‘is the supreme law of the land.’ This measure, if approved in November, it would add language saying that federal document may not be violated by any government — including the federal government.

More to the point, it would allow Arizonans to reject any federal action that they determine violates the United States Constitution.'”

This would be huge.  Arizona seems to be a flashpoint in the war between statists and small government classical liberals.  Again and again the state of Arizona has attempted to defy a federal government it argues is not upholding federal law or constitutional mandate, whether on illegal immigration or the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Small government classical liberals like Thomas Jefferson often encouraged the practice of nullification, and the issue has largely remained dormant since the 1830s.  The results of this could mean 50 different states coming to several conclusions on the constitutionality of federal law.  What if statist-run states like California and New York abide by federal overreach while more conservative states like Alaska and Arizona declare such overreach as unconstitutional?

This is a can of worms, but any discussion of the unconstitutionality of the expanse of federal power is a discussion worth having.

Liberty’s Downside?!

Kurt Andersen, a baby boomer novelist and “social critic,” wrote an op-ed decrying “The Downside of Liberty” on Independence Day of all days.  I’m pretty tempted to tear down Andersen as a self-important member of the Eastern Establishment glitterati (he is), but let’s stick to the nonsense he writes.

 

“THIS spring I was on a panel at the Woodstock Writers Festival. An audience member asked a question: Why had the revolution dreamed up in the late 1960s mostly been won on the social and cultural fronts — women’s rights, gay rights, black president, ecology, sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll — but lost in the economic realm, with old-school free-market ideas gaining traction all the time?”

So winning more liberty for women’s rights, gay rights, and civil rights is a plus, but economic liberty is seen as a failure of “the revolution” according to Andersen.  But Andersen’s emphasis on limited liberty doesn’t end at low taxes and free markets:

“‘Do your own thing’ is not so different than ‘every man for himself.’ If it feels good, do it, whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six-figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation, or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators.”

Yes folks, “refusing modest gun regulation” is also a sin to Andersen.  Forget the fact that our founders thought gun ownership so important that they explicitly forbade the federal government from impeding on that right……in thesecond amendment, right after free speech, free press, and the right to assemble.

The problem with men like Andersen is that liberty is only okay on their terms, and their terms tend to always veer to a statist point of view.  To men like Andersen only a neanderthal would abhor homosexuality or abortion, and yet it is perfectly reasonable to want to put an end to gun ownership and creating a 90% marginal tax rate.  Hell, he even reminiscences about it.

“My conservative Republican father thought marginal income tax rates of 91 percent were unfairly high, but he and his friends never dreamed of suggesting they be reduced below, say, 50 percent. Sex outside marriage was shameful, beards and divorce were outré — but so were boasting of one’s wealth and blaming unfortunates for their hard luck. When I was growing up in Omaha, rich people who could afford to build palatial houses did not and wouldn’t dream of paying themselves 200 or 400 times what they paid their employees. Greed as well as homosexuality was a love that dared not speak its name. “

Sure they hated gays, but they hated greed too!  And who does Mr Andersen quote to pain his point about greed?

“‘Self-love,’ Jefferson wrote to a friend 38 years after the Declaration, ‘is no part of morality. Indeed it is exactly its counterpart. It is the sole antagonist of virtue leading us constantly by our propensities to self-gratification in violation of our moral duties to others.'”

I’ll say this to Kurt Andersen: Jefferson was right, self love is no part of morality….but neither is statist intervention into the livelihoods of man.   You can’t have it both ways.  Men who love liberty can accept a society that tolerates the existence of homosexuals and atheists as well as guns.  A liberty loving social conservative doesn’t have to approve of homosexuality or atheism any more than a liberty loving liberal has to approve of gun ownership.  The important thing here is a respect for the rights of others.

Unfortunately we’ve seen too much of this drek lately, whether it’s Thomas L. Friedman lamenting the fact our system of governance isn’t as efficient as China’s authoritarianism or Toure saying who knows what.

Kurt Andersen, Champion of Limited Liberty

 

 

 

A government of laws, not of men

Critical to the theory and legitimacy of modern democratic government is the idea that no one is above the law. Thomas Paine wrote in his pamphlet Common Sense: “In America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.” John Adams codified this principle in the Massachusetts Constitution in 1780 by seeking to establish “a government of laws and not of men.” The Founders thought long and hard about the issue and realized that the only way to assure the “separate and equal station” of all people was to govern through objective laws that applied equally to everybody.

236 years on, have we truly upheld this principle of governing by laws rather than by the whims of powerful men? If the Supreme Court’s ruling on the “Affordable” Healthcare Act is any measure, we have failed completely, and jeopardized individual liberty in the process.

Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion is bizarre to say the least. The Affordable Healthcare Act legislates that Americans who don’t purchase health insurance will be forced to pay a penalty, an unprecedented act of Congressional compulsion — the first time that a law has ever penalized a private citizen’s decision not to engage in a commercial transaction. Sure, the state can force you to buy car insurance, but this is not the same – if you lose your job and you’re hard up, you can stop driving, cancel your insurance, and take the bus to your job interviews. The only way you can opt out of the Affordable Healthcare Act’s mandate is to stop breathing. From cradle to grave, they have you.

The defense made the case that this mandate was justifiable under the Constitution’s oft-cited Commerce Clause, under which considerable authority to regulate private commercial transactions has already been granted to Congress: “[The Congress shall have Power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States.” But this clause grants the power to regulate, not to compel, and the AHA compels: it creates commerce where commerce did not previously exist. John Roberts’ opinion upheld the view that the Commerce Clause doesn’t grant Congress the authority to penalize Americans who don’t purchase health insurance. Congress cannot order us to purchase a private service.

But then the opinion took a bizarre turn: Roberts held that Congress did have the power to enact this mandate as a tax. This is doublespeak of the baldest kind: no matter what Roberts calls it, the mandate is a penalty for non-compliance. To say that threatening to tax us if we don’t comply isn’t a way of ordering us to comply is utter nonsense.

So now the Court has upheld the law as a tax, even though it claims it’s not a tax, its advocates insisted it wasn’t a tax, and it fits none of the forms of taxation defined and permitted by the Constitution (direct, excise, and income). There is nothing constitutional about this mandate. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a god damned duck: this ruling is flimsy and illegitimate. To those who claim that the Court has the final say on what is constitutional, I say that the Court adjudicates only with the consent of the governed. We the people have given our consent to be governed only by law — not by men who break it for the sake of political convenience.

For this ruling is in fact a political decision. Roberts feared what the reaction of the AHA’s supporters would be if a conservative majority struck down a law so closely associated with the President and the Left. While he may have had good intentions in seeking to avoid a perception of bias, this was an act of weakness that betrayed both the letter and the spirit of the law which ensures all Americans equal treatment by the government. Enemies of the rule of law have now seen that if they push hard enough, even the Supreme Court will not stop them from trampling the Constitution, and having won this victory, they will undoubtedly test the limits again.

The Supreme Court sold out. It can no longer be trusted to uphold the Constitution when a vocal and powerful minority seeks to undermine it. Men are now dominant in our government, not laws, and woe to those who are different from the men in power — because nothing can stop them now.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776 The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah BartlettWilliam WhippleMatthew Thornton

Massachusetts:
John HancockSamuel AdamsJohn AdamsRobert Treat PaineElbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen HopkinsWilliam Ellery

Connecticut:
Roger ShermanSamuel HuntingtonWilliam WilliamsOliver Wolcott

New York:
William FloydPhilip LivingstonFrancis LewisLewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard StocktonJohn WitherspoonFrancis HopkinsonJohn HartAbraham Clark

Pennsylvania:
Robert MorrisBenjamin RushBenjamin FranklinJohn MortonGeorge ClymerJames SmithGeorge TaylorJames WilsonGeorge Ross

Delaware:
Caesar RodneyGeorge ReadThomas McKean

Maryland:
Samuel ChaseWilliam PacaThomas StoneCharles Carroll of Carrollton

Virginia:
George WytheRichard Henry LeeThomas JeffersonBenjamin HarrisonThomas Nelson, Jr.Francis Lightfoot LeeCarter Braxton

North Carolina:
William HooperJoseph HewesJohn Penn

South Carolina:
Edward RutledgeThomas Heyward, Jr.Thomas Lynch, Jr.Arthur Middleton

Georgia:
Button GwinnettLyman HallGeorge Walton

 

Excerpt from the dissent

“The fragmentation of power produced by the structure of our government is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty in peril. Today’s decision should have vindicated, should have taught, this truth; instead our judgment today has disregarded it.”

Source: CBS News