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Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts on a Holiday

An alternative take on Memorial Day, focusing on why so many brave men were put in a position to make the ultimate sacrifice, from Jim Bovard via Bill St. Clair:
***
I stopped by the Visitors Center at Manassas Battlefield Park last month and was struck by a quote capturing Georgia private B. M. Zettler’s reaction to being enmeshed in the battle of Bull Run:

“I felt that I was in the presence of death. My first thought was, ‘This is unfair - someone is to blame for getting us all killed. I didn’t come here to fight this way…’

An excellent sentiment - one that should not be forgotten on Memorial Day. It would have been fairer if the politicians had been in the front lines on both sides at Manassas.

Sheldon Richman, the editor of The Freeman, proposes renaming Memorial Day as Revisionist History Day. General Patton said that an ounce of sweat can save a pint of blood. Similarly, a little reading and thinking this time of year can save a heap of grave digging in the future.

Sacralizing the war dead usually results in exonerating the politicians. Rather than parades, it would be better to celebrate this holiday like the British used to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day - by burning politicians in effigy, or a reasonable facsimile...
***

I spent my thinking time this Memorial Day wondering if the American military men and women who have died in combat for this country sacrificed themselves for:

- A Congress that routinely violates its enumerated powers under Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution;

- An Executive Branch whose occupants, from Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama, have also routinely violated the constitutional limitations on Presidential power found in Article II, Section 2;

- A morass of regulatory agencies whose self-promulgated regulations at the Federal level alone runs, as of the 2006 edition, at a mere 69,428 pages (and yes, Virginia, there are also separate regulatory agencies in every state and in many local governments); or

- The creation of an American national surveillance state, whereby information regarding millions of Americans' everyday activities is collected, sorted, and analyzed for a myriad of purposes, each of which is not authorized by either Article I or Article II of the Constitution?

I think not.

Based on the historical record of the past 220 years, I believe that the Constitution has failed utterly in its sole purpose -- to protect individual freedom and political liberty by restraining the powers of the central Federal government. As Judge Andrew Napolitano noted in his recent book The Constitution in Exile and Thomas DiLorenzo reiterated in this article:

"Between 1937 and 1995, not a single federal law was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Not one piece of legislation was seen as exceeding the scope of Congress’s commerce power."


Does that sound like an effective check on government's natural tendency to expand ever more voraciously?

To those who believe that today's problems stem from failing to regard the Founders' original document, I would remind them that that the scope of the original document far exceeded the authority of the convention that drafted it. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was convened "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation", not to create a whole new government of the United States. For more info on that point, see generally this record of the proceedings of the Continental Congress.

In other words, the Constitution itself, by the very circumstances of its birth, is an example of how government and the ambitious folks who populate such bodies have an insatiable desire for ever more power.

The original document also had no list of guarantees of individual rights; only when such a list was proposed for addition via amendment was the Founding Generation willing to ratify the Constitution. Even more tellingly, the original document, even when expanded by its first ten amendments, still allowed for chattel slavery and prohibitions on female suffrage. It took twelve more decades to rectify those fundamental errors, by which time other metastases had occurred, both within the Constitution and by legislative action.

To those who assert that we, the American people, have failed, rather than the document itself, I would partly agree, while noting that only an ineptly-drafted agreement would have breach and penalty provisions so flaccid as those found in Article II, section 4.

To give just one example, let's assume that a group of Senators exceeded their powers under Article I. Is it rational that the only remedy for that breach is the election jeopardy that each Senator might face in his or her own state? What if the Article I breach actually benefited the home states of the offending Senators, say by the award of contracts, military bases, or other kickbacks? Doesn't the Constitution and its absence of effective enforcement mechanisms, especially in the wake of the 17th Amendment, actually encourage enumerated-powers violations?

Is such an impotent document truly the device by which the American people were to be protected from tyranny?

Does anyone really believe that any piece of paper can actually thwart the tendency of many humans towards plunder and other forms of evil?

To David's evisceration last week of a law prof's foolish idea about a new constitutional convention, I posted the following comment:

To quote Ms. Rand, "Check your premises."

To wit, we have a statist/Marxist constitutional law professor in the White House. He is violating the enumerated powers of the President listed in Article II, section 2 of the Constitution by his and his subordinates' actions in the Chrysler secured debt cramdown and other aspects of the so-called "economic stimulus program."

The constitutional law professor in the White House is committing these unconstitutional acts with the aid and comfort of both houses of the Congress, who are:

a) also violating the enumerated powers of the Congress pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the Constitution by their ongoing passage of numerous unconstitutional laws, as well as

b) failing to commence impeachment proceedings, pursuant to Article II, section 4, against the President for violations of the Article II, section 2 limitations on his power.

You now have center-right law professors such as Barnett and Glenn Reynolds [see, e.g., this entry and this entry] supporting a de facto rewrite of the Constitution via a constitutional convention, which, as Stewart points out above, will quickly turn into a rout, in whole and in part, of all freedom-oriented points of view.

Don't think so? Then you should read Matthew Bracken's account of a (fictional, for now) con-con held in America's near future:

Excerpt from 3rd Bracken Novel - "Foreign Enemies":

"... Tell me something Doug. You’re obviously a smart guy. I’ve been out of the country for seven years. What the hell happened to America? I always thought Americans would fight to keep their freedom. What happened? How could Americans just roll over and give up? What happened? How could we give up our rights without a fight?”

“Well, we didn’t just ‘give up’ our rights. It wasn’t like that. Not at all. It’s more like they were stolen in broad daylight, at the constitutional convention..."


Before you go and read the rest of the excerpt, consider these facts:


1) Statist/Marxist con-law professor in White House and his co-conspirators in Congress running amok in violation of the Constitution [thesis];

2) Center-right con-law professors calling for a con-con ostensibly to restrict the powers of the President and the Congress [antithesis]; and

3) Article V procedures that allow any subject matter -- or even a completely new Constitution -- to be considered and adopted at a con-con [synthesis]...

One thing is for sure: Barnett's proposal -- and the mental gymnastics of constitutional law professors in general -- are not going to be the mechanisms whereby individual freedom is restored in North America.

That job is going to be, shall we say, less cerebral and much more action-oriented.

"Action-oriented", in this context, means that when the rule of law fails (and it has), the rule of men begins (and it has). The "rule of men" is a civilized term for armed conflict, whereby each side kills, injures, steals from, and starves the other side until one side submits. The submitting side is usually enslaved and/or slaughtered immediately thereafter.

The sides in this conflict are clear: those who would control every aspect of Americans' behavior, and those who refuse to be controlled.

The central issue is individual freedom. Nothing more and nothing less.

To the extent that certain documents from our country's history help in that struggle for individual freedom, then use them in whatever manner possible.

But I will not conflate the goal of individual freedom with heedless allegiance to some flawed document which has failed, definitively, in its stated objective.

When I fight, I will be fighting for the same reasons as those Americans who are honored each year on Memorial Day:

To help my friends, and to stop the bastards who would take my freedom -- whichever uniform they happen to be wearing.

Let's win.

PS: Lest anyone think my recent postings on anarchy and related issues mean that I have flipped over into the la-la land where "peaceful behavior begets more peaceful behavior", let me clarify. The only thing that begets peaceful behavior in most humans is the prospect of an immediate and life-threatening beating for contrary behavior.

Ergo, the only power that I would entrust to the post-conflict Federal government is the development and sustainment of absolute military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space. Domestically, I'll trust that a thoroughly armed-and-trained citizenry, augmented with a minimal number of limited-jurisdiction, locally-controlled peace officers, would be sufficient to deliver the requisite amount of violence unto any miscreants, including any public servants who have slipped their leash.

Happy now?
;-)

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking a more principled approach than Vanderboegh on the same subject.

May 26, 2009 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger chris horton said...

We will win. Bet on it.

CIII

May 26, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Peter, me bucko, no one's ever thought of you flippin', I'm sure they've only thought of you as keeping yourself and us informed as to the many ideas rollin' around out there. If we can't have a wide open discussion, we might as well stop calling ourselves free. Besides, your blog, your call. Reading about various anarchists and lukewarm socialists has given me much food for thought, as well an understanding as to where these are coming from. And, no matter how it all pans out, nobody is going to get absolutely everything they want, and nothing of what they don't want. The desires of the few, here and there, can be accomodated, or what's a republic for? I believe there are so many hostile to our present oligarchy because it has gotten so pervasive and strangling. With a little more freedom, a lot of the shrieking will cease, and a lot more freedom will cause a lot of problems to go away. Your site makes people think. Thank you.

May 26, 2009 at 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on the historical record of the past 220 years, I believe that the Constitution has failed utterly in its sole purpose -- to protect individual freedom and political liberty by restraining the powers of the central Federal government.A brilliant beginning...

The only thing that begets peaceful behavior in most humans is the prospect of an immediate and life-threatening beating for contrary behavior....about to realize that any stable peace must be based on a Darwinian balance of military power...MAD worked, and did NOT require the players to be loving...there is a military advantage to defense, and you can build civilization on it...

Ergo, the only power that I would entrust to the post-conflict Federal government is the development and sustainment of absolute military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space....and then the domestic abuse victim runs back to her abuser, and gets killed. What??

Let's rerun that. 'The goal of controlling peaceful people's behavior, or enabling or increasing that control, is evil. Ergo, the proper way to control criminals is to prevent anyone or anything from attaining practical military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space. Domestically, the goal is that any ad-hoc group of humans is able to make it so costly for any other ad-hoc group of humans to impose their will on them militarily, that nobody will attempt it. The bill of rights is the goal, and the second amendment is the implementation.

The policy result of individual Americans buying every MRE and gun they can find in order to defend themselves is...peace!

May 26, 2009 at 3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The categorical failure of constitutions means the Rule of Law is fiction, a myth, and always has been. The only known alternative to the Rule of Men is No Rule at All.

http://faculty.msb.edu/hasnasj/GTWebSite/MythWeb.htm

May 26, 2009 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is such an impotent document truly the device by which the American people were to be protected from tyranny?No, silly, it was a device for the ambitious and bored founders to crown themselves rulers, in an American copy of the English nobility. Having arranged to farm the peasants for taxes, they could start playing the Great Game with their social peers across the ocean.

May 26, 2009 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Diogenes said...

Like Heinleins world in Starship Troopers. Bring back public floggings and executions, encourage proper discipline from the start, and things will improve. True voluntary Enlistment and encourage movement into the Officer ranks from the enlisted. Give an incentive to "joining up" that makes the ends justifiable to the means.

I completely agree that this country has grown soft(and I am guilty as charged on that myself) It's high time to start fixing this problem.

May 27, 2009 at 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Appreciate the clarification!
:)

wd

May 27, 2009 at 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking a more principled approach than Vanderboegh on the same subject.

I think Vanderboegh is as strongly principled, he's just using neocon principles. Give him a year for the predictable failure-ness of a do-over to gnaw at him, and he might change his mind. If he holds strong principles, it's going to take a lot of strain to shift him to other ones. I consider all his screaming to be the sign of a healthy personality.

May 27, 2009 at 6:09 AM  
Blogger GunRights4US said...

The only thing in this post that I disagree with is this:

“Ergo, the only power that I would entrust to the post-conflict Federal government is the development and sustainment of absolute military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space.”

I don’t trust the Empire with that kind of power. Too big of a hammer results in all problems looking like nails. Most of the founders, and particularly the anti-federalists, completely eschewed the idea of a standing army.

I would much rather see a heavily armed irregular militia drawn from the widest possible slice of the populace - an NO army at all.

Another commenter remarks that no constitution will ever work (or words to that effect). I disagree with this sentiment as well. I point to the Swiss as an example of a loose confederacy based upon a constitution that has successfully prevented the growth of a powerful centralized government, and they are much older than we.

Furthermore, I would forever wonder how things would have gone for our own Republic if the evil genius of Alexander Hamilton had been excluded from the constitutional convention. That sorry bastard’s fingerprints are all over the Leviathan we are presently shackled with!

May 27, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bring back public floggings and executions, encourage proper discipline from the start, and things will improve.--Diogenes

Germany fell marching to discipline.

MALTHUS

May 27, 2009 at 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Ergo, the only power that I would entrust to the post-conflict Federal government is the development and sustainment of absolute military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space. "

no. No. NO!

By willfully providing the means for absolute control, you assume that control will be used "peacefully" or at least to furtherance of your purposes.

It is a stage set, waiting only for the wrong players to enter and seize control for their purposes. If we do not recognize that fact we have learned nothing from history.

We should stick to our own country, stay out of any foreign conflict, refuse entry into any treaties, and trust our defense to OURSELVES.


"The militia is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it. The great object is that every man be armed."
~Patrick Henry

May 27, 2009 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the only power that I would entrust to the post-conflict Federal government is the development and sustainment of absolute military superiority on land, sea, sky, and space

Absolute military superiority requires absolute military superiority over the citizens, too. Absolute military superiority is the precise opposite of the second amendment. Absolute military superiority is exactly what psychopaths like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao tried to achieve. Absolute military superiority means the dictator never has to consider the desires of his herd of human slaves, ever again. Absolute military superiority means you wearing an explosive tracking collar from Running Man.

May 28, 2009 at 4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the original AT article initially addresses Obama speaking at ND, the development of the article plus the links make it a must-read, if you want to know "what happened to America"

1) http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/frankfurt_school_reigns_suprem.html

http://www.newtotalitarians.com/FrankfurtSchool.html

http://catholicinsight.com/online/features/article_882.shtml

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/hate_crime_legislation_back_do.html

The 1) link is the primary article, and the others are links contained within
the article. The primary article is a good one. The others are shocking. At
least they were to me. Maybe this will be old hat to you - I don't know - but
if they are not, I hope they will shock you into thinking about this great
country and how the heck we're going to get out of this mess.

May 28, 2009 at 6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd like to hear more principled discussion on how the Republic 3.0 version should deal with predatory foreign regimes/ideologies."

I think the fear of being overrun by foreign enemies is a moral panic, a scare story, and the exaggeration of a threat which isn't nearly as dire as it is claimed. The real effect of "Republic 3.0" would be to limit liberty with gun control, and institutionalized theft to benefit the elites, just as it was with Republic 2.0 and 1.0. For example, the missile gap with the USSR turned out to be a fiction to justify extracting tax money for the war establishment.

The militarily strongest approach is the most free country with the strongest economy and the wealthiest population. This will result in more than a rifle behind every blade of grass, and factories to produce hummers and bombs at need should that be necessary.

"I think the answer has a lot to do with the US military's long-standing ability to remain subordinate to civilian control"

"Civilian control"? How did that work out for the South in The War of Northern Aggression? Or do you mean the modern mainstream media machine that persuaded the voters into electing and confirming a whole slate of communists and gun controllers this cycle?

The Swiss gave up their financial privacy to help prosecute US tax evaders, and have started to inflate their money. Whatever magic they had, it seems to have failed.

The evil genius of Alexander Hamilton is exactly what the constitution was claimed to thwart, but didn't. You can't get safety by wishing the bad guys out of existence.

June 1, 2009 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'd like to hear more principled discussion on how the Republic 3.0 version should deal with predatory foreign regimes/ideologies."

In very much agreement w/previous post. The spectre of foreign encroachment on our liberties has ALWAYS been the boogeyman under the bed, the better to frighten the chillens (us) into submission. And to usurp those same liberties - the better to protect us, don'cha know.

Our best defense is to be armed individually, trade only in honest currency, reject all forms of collectivism, and control who enters the country. Oh yeah, taxes - abolish all income based tax, abolish sales tax, abolish property tax - fund a very limited government on miniscule tariffs and equally apportioned tax - no one pays more or less, no one gets a free ride.

We really COULD be a light to the world, conquering not by force or bribe but spreading liberty by example.

June 1, 2009 at 10:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you propose that Republic 3.0 run on donations, or will it tax to support itself? If it taxes, then what kinds of gun control will it impose to guarantee that Whiskey Rebellion 3.0 fails?

June 2, 2009 at 12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Republic 3.0 and anit-national military sentiment.

--

Not wanting to have a strong national defense force (to me) is akin to Obama not wanting US Nukes.

A boogey man under the bed is precisely what the millions of US/Freedom haters, plotting in their dark corners globally to destroy us are.

Republic 3.0 should not consist on any model that we are drunkardly bound to consider the faults of the current schema.

In my dream, the "United States" consists of 50 constitutional republics where the "National President" is a figure head who sits over a small body of elected state reps who's sole purpose is to settle disputes among the states.

The natianl defence force resides
underneath another similar (but separate) body of reps.

I prefer a national guard type model for each state, which is as advance as an all powerful US Military like described above, but simply smaller, and this guard will again be controlled ONLY by the state.

Citizens will have access to the guard and their resources, but in a less organized manner.

Do not get caught in the trap the Republic 3.0 will have the same powerful hand of evil at the top, hence you could not call it Republic 3.0.

Staying out of foreign issues is desired but most likely unrealistic (to a point).

Having a strong national defense is essential to the survival of our nation (even in a more separated model)

Eventually, China will run out of resources and property, and the notion that the cold war is over is lunacy at best.

-Savagejay
III

June 7, 2009 at 2:10 PM  

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