Skip to comments.What If the Government Rejects the Constitution?
Posted on 04/12/2012 7:14:38 AM PDT by Kaslin
What if the government never took the Constitution seriously? What if the same generation -- in some cases the same human beings -- that wrote in the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech," also enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which made it a crime to criticize the government? What if the feds don't regard the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land?
What if the government regards the Constitution as merely a guideline to be referred to from time to time, or a myth to be foisted upon the voters, but not as a historic delegation of power that lawfully limits the federal government? What if Congress knows that most of what it regulates puts it outside the confines of the Constitution, but it does whatever it can get away with? What if the feds don't think that the Constitution was written to keep them off the people's backs?
What if there's no substantial difference between the two major political parties? What if the same political mentality that gave us the Patriot Act, with its federal agent-written search warrants that permit unconstitutional spying on us, also gave us Obamacare, with its mandate to buy health insurance, even if we don't want or need it? What if both political parties love power more than freedom? What if both parties have used the Commerce Clause in the Constitution to stretch the power of the federal government far beyond its constitutionally ordained boundaries and well beyond the plain meaning of words?
What if both parties love war because the public is more docile during war and permits higher taxes and more federal theft of freedom from individuals and power from the states? What if none of these recent wars has made us freer or safer, but just poorer?
What if Congress bribed the states with cash in return for their enacting legislation that Congress likes, but cannot lawfully enact? What if Congress went to all states in the union and offered them cash to repave their interstate highways, if the states only lowered their speed limits? What if the states took that deal? What if the Supreme Court approved this bribery and then Congress did it again and again? What if this bribery were a way for Congress to get around the few constitutional limitations that Congress acknowledges?
What if Congress believes that it can spend tax dollars on anything it pleases and tie any strings it wants to that spending? What if Congress uses its taxing and spending power to regulate anything it wants to control, whether authorized by the Constitution or not? What if anyone other than members of Congress offered state legislatures cash in return for favorable legislation? What if Congress wrote laws that let it break laws that ordinary people would be prosecuted for breaking?
What if the Declaration of Independence says that the government derives its powers from the consent of the governed? What if the government claims to derive powers from some other source that it will not -- because it cannot -- name? What if we never gave the government the power to spy on us, to print worthless cash, to kill in our names, to force us to buy health insurance or to waste our money by telling us that exercise is good and sugar is bad?
What if we never gave the government the power to bribe the poor with welfare or the middle class with tax breaks or the rich with bailouts or the states with cash? What if we don't consent to what has become of the government? What if the Constitution has been tacitly amended by the consent of both political parties, whereby instead of ratifying amendments, all three branches of government merely look the other way when the government violates the Constitution? What if the president cannot constitutionally bomb whatever country he wants? What if the Congress cannot constitutionally exempt its members from the laws that govern the rest of us? What if the courts cannot constitutionally invent a right to kill babies in the womb?
What if the federal government is out of control, no matter which party controls it? What if there is only harmony on Capitol Hill when government is growing and personal liberty is shrinking? What if the presidential race this fall will not be between good and evil, between right and left, between free markets and central planning or even between constitutional government and Big Government; but only about how much bigger Big Government should get?
What if enough is enough? What do we do about it? What if it's too late?
It's unity that makes the U.S. strong. Once the unity is destroyed expect the post-U.S. to matter as much as, say, South America.
Traitors & cowards, you have been notified.
And I'll bet my retirement papers there are even more patriots out there who live by their Oaths, unlike the treasonous swine and race baiter's in DC.
They thought of just about everything. They knew a time like this time would come.
It’s because they understood history and history clearly shows that people and power do not mix well. That’s why the Constitution is a limiting factor on government (a document of negative rights) and not an enabling factor (a document of positive rights).
The founders understood the paramount importance of defining what the government was allowed to do while expressly saying it was not allowed to do anything else. They understood powerful people very well and the powerful people’s mindset has not changed. That’s why the arguments they made 200+ years ago apply to today and they seem prescient.
The tools and trappings of man has changed but the nature of man has not.
I could not agree with you more. If I was teaching any course on 20th century history or politics which touched on Marxism and its real world effects, George Orwell’s ‘Homage to Catalonia’ woould be required reading. George Orwell is unique as far as I know in being 1) leftist, 2) honest, 3) brave and this is what sets him apart - 4) honorable.
Yes, a new American civil war would more closely resemble the horrors depicted in ‘Homage to Catalonia’ than ‘Battles and Leaders’. Further, it would be even more post-Christian in flavor than the Spanish Civil War, and would be an absolute playpen for sociopaths.
That is not to say that such a war is unthinkable, and may even be necessary at some future point in some future dystopia. A Communist said it, and she was wrong on application but correct in principle: “It is better to die on our feet than live on our knees.” A terrible option. The last option. But not the worst option.
BS. Right now I the primacy of the Federal Govt. is causing weakness, the accent of the individual state would reverse the enervating effects of tyrannical centralized power.
That's an interesting thought experiment.
What if they had left most if not all legislation strictly to the state legislatures, for which the court system would still be split on state and federal lines depending on interstate issues and appeals from state supreme courts.
Federal budgets would have to be ratified by majority of state houses.
There would be no suing over Obamacare, as the 26 states could effectively veto it.
CWII heads up.
Thoughtful article, thoughtful thread.
If the 50 states dissolve the present Union they are by definition not standing together. Expect mucho conflict and the consequences therefrom.
Think of the impact of the following Amendment:
Legislators of the United States, having shown willful disregard for the limits of their enumerated powers under this Constitution, shall be subject to life imprisonment without possibility of parole provided a majority of their respective State legislature concur.
Judges of the United States, having shown willful disregard for the limits of their enumerated powers under this Constitution, shall be subject to life imprisonment without possibility of parole provided two-thirds of the Senate concur.
I stand corrected; We’ll have to go with the Mongol method.
In the past, persons were loyal to their states first, then the Union. That has certainly changed.
But, I keep hearing this murmur of CW or somethings similar. I just have to sigh. If people don't have the courage to stop voting dem/gop tickets or actually change politics from the local level. Where the hell are they gonna get the courage to enter a CW?
Oh really? If they understood so well that powerful people are inclined to mischief, why is it that there was absolutely NO ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM by which officers of the government would be punished for usurpation of power?
Horse got stolen from barn long time ago.
Now we have to get the gov in line, my tagline says what I think.
There are times when I think we should encourage the PRC to assume the role of the world “super power.” We could take a rest, and watch as China bankrupted itself through expansion and over-extension of its military.
Failing that, we might learn how to make a being a super power profitable, when its our turn again...
I guess you have never heard of mutual defense treaties? Look you think like statist, I get you. We are different, I believe in a weak Federal Govt. That doesn't mean I believe in a weak defense structure. You should really read about the founding of our country and the republic. Are you a naturalized citizen? You seem a little behind the curve.
Most Americans when thinking about the USC are hung up on the BOR's. That is a mistake, the MOST important thing the USC did was establish(or try to establish) a limited centralized Federal Govt. I put you in this category. .
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.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Declaration of Independence
Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters,
Weve stuck together since the late 1950s, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know that we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of America cannot and just will not ever agree on whats right. So lets just end it right now while we can do it on friendly terms. We can smile, shake hands, chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and each go our own way.
So heres a model separation agreement.
Our two groups can equitably divide up the country by land mass, each taking a portion. Thats going to be the difficult part, but Im sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy. Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate taste. We dont like redistributive taxes so you can have those. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. And since you hate guns and you hate war, well take the firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie ODonnell. But you are going to be responsible for finding a biodiesel vehicle big enough to haul them around.
Well keep the capitalism, the greedy corporations, the pharmaceutical companies; we will keep Wal-Mart and Wall Street. You can have the homeless, the homeboys, the hippies and illegal aliens. We will keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, the greedy CEOS and all of the rednecks. Well keep the Bibles and well let you have NBC and Hollywood.
You can be nice to Iran and Palestine and well retain the right to invade and hammer anybody that threatens us. You can have the peaceniks and the war protesters. When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we will provide them with security. You wont have to worry about it. We will keep our Judeo-Christian values. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley Maclaine. You can also have the UN, but we will no longer pay the bill.
We will keep the SUVs, the pickup trucks and the oversize luxury cars. You can have the compacts, the subcompacts and every Subaru station wagon you can find. You can give everybody healthcare, if you can find any practicing doctors. We will continue to believe that healthcare is a privilege and not a right. We will keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the national anthem, and I am sure you will be happy to substitute in their place Imagine. Id like to teach the world to sing Kumbaya or We are the world. We will practice trickle-down economics and you can give trickle-up poverty your best shot. And since it so offends you, we will keep our history, our name and our flag.
Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots. And if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the friendly spirit of parting, Ill bet you ANWAR which one of us will need whose help in about 15 years.
John J Wall
Law student and an American
P.S. You can also have Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda
We are on the same page. . . Same Hymn. . . . .
About the CWII Ping List The CWII Ping List is short for Civil War II. It is NOT a list of people advocating another Civil War in America. It is a list of people who are interested in the parallels between the Civil War (or War Between the States, if you prefer) and our current situation, or more generally are noting the references to a 'coming Civil War' that are made in the press, or in comments on articles here on Free Republic.
FR rules do not permit advocating for the overthrow of the Republic, and I am not aware of anyone doing so on the list. Still many do see that as the political climate worsens we may be heading in a direction that makes such a conflict all but inevitable, particularly if other avenues for resolving our differences are taken away. Such as widespread vote fraud by leftists making elections meaningless, or a small cadre of judges over-ruling all attempts to end destructive policies over the clear will of the people.
The correct keyword tag for the Civil War II ping list is "CWII".
Please Freep Mail me to get on the list
Oh man......opened a can of worms there.
Uncle Sugar will be a listening in boy’z. Watch what’ya say!
We know that it wasn't an "afterthought," because the Federalist Papers show the debate that occurred between the issue of forming a standing army vs. the check on it via the local militia, and how this interplays with the fear of an unscrupulous executive.
See my summary from 2006 in this thread.
The enforcement provision was built in. It's called impeachment for judges and officers of the executive branch.
It's called elections for congressmen and senators. They can also be expelled by a majority of their own house.
That impeachment has become almost entirely a dead letter is not the fault of the Founders. It's the fault of cowardly congressmen, more interested in re-election than the good of their country.
I sometimes think we'd have a better country if about every fourth president had been impeached and removed from office.
Not second. The original Bill of Rights had 12 Amendments. What is now the 2nd was the 3rd (or 4th) when drafted.
Excellent plan for us here in Texas. Who is going to attack us for it?
Not second. The original Bill of Rights had 12 Amendments. What is now the 2nd was the 3rd (or 4th) when drafted.
Short N sweet.
“Where the hell are they gonna get the courage to enter a CW?”
When the US dollar is worth a Weimar mark, or a Soviet ruble. When a ‘politically incorrect’ school lunch is not merely confiscated, but grounds for arrest. When the risk of one’s own death or imprisonment is more attractive than the certainty of poverty and and servitude for one’s children.
How quickly could it turn? Here is a classic Stalinist dictator addressing a trained and orchestrated hive of ‘comrades’. In less than ten minutes, the dictator is a fugitive and the hive is a swarm of individuals. Four days later the dictator was bullet riddled cold meat.
Trostsky once said something along the lines that “A successful revolution is impossible until conditions make one inevitable’.
Archy, the co-owner of the CWII Ping List has been saying something similar for years. The US Civil War very clear boundaries in most places. You had entire states taking sides. Any future Civil War may not break out that way.
He has suggested the "Dirty Wars" in Chile and Argentina as the more likely models for future conflict in the USA.
A war of factions, various shady organizations, on the government side, taking action in the dead of night against opponents, using the aparatus of the state to find dissidents and using off-the-books federsal alphabet soup groups to persecute them.
The rebels will use typical rebel tactics, including sabotage and targeted assassinations.
Archy's a smart guy, he's thought about this stuff a lot. It's a really grim picture. To this day many people in South America don't know what happened to their dad or brother, only that he was taken away by men in black at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday in July and never seen again.
Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:451
"But, you may ask, if the two departments [i.e., federal and state] should claim each the same subject of power, where is the common umpire to decide ultimately between them? In cases of little importance or urgency, the prudence of both parties will keep them aloof from the questionable ground; but if it can neither be avoided nor compromised, a convention of the States must be called to ascribe the doubtful power to that department which they may think best."
Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. ME 16:47
Part of the genius of America's Founders lay in their anticipation of various threats and dangers to liberty through efforts on the part of imperfect persons in positions of power in government to subvert or to unconstitutionally change the Constitution's limits on their power.
Jefferson, here, points out the Constitution's own provision for any challenge from the branches of government to assume unlawful powers. "A convention of the States," a constitutional provision involving "the People," is and was the ultimate solution.
According to Justice Story, "the People" are the only "KEEPERS" of the Constitution.
The following excerpt of Concluding Remarks from Justice Story's "Commentaries on the Constitution" might be instructive for all citizens of 2012:
"§ 1903. We have now reviewed all the provisions of the original constitution of the United States, and all the amendments, which have been incorporated into it. And, here, the task originally proposed in these Commentaries is brought to a close. Many reflections naturally crowd upon the mind at such a moment; many grateful recollections of the past; and many anxious thoughts of the future. The past is secure. It is unalterable. The seal of eternity is upon it. The wisdom, which it has displayed, and the blessings, which it has bestowed, cannot be obscured; neither can they be debased by human folly, or human infirmity. The future is that, which may well awaken the most earnest solicitude, both for the virtue and the permanence of our republic. The fate of other republics, their rise, their progress, their decline, and their fall, are written but too legibly on the pages of history, if indeed they were not continually before us in the startling fragments of their ruins. They have perished; and perished by their own hands. Prosperity has enervated them, corruption has debased them, and a venal populace has consummated their destruction. Alternately the prey of military chieftains at home, and of ambitious invaders from abroad, they have been sometimes cheated out of their liberties by servile demagogues; sometimes betrayed into a surrender of them by false patriots; and sometimes they have willingly sold them for a price to the despot, who has bidden highest for his victims. They have disregarded the warning voice of their best statesmen; and have persecuted, and driven from office their truest friends. They have listened to the fawning sycophant, and the base calumniator of the wise and the good. They have reverenced power more in its high abuses and summary movements, than in its calm and constitutional energy, when it dispensed blessings with an unseen, but liberal hand. They have surrendered to faction, what belonged to the country. Patronage and party, the triumph of a leader, and the discontents of a day, have outweighed all solid principles and institutions of government. Such are the melancholy lessons of the past history of republics down to our own.
"§ 1904. It is not my design to detain the reader by any elaborate reflections addressed to his judgment, either by way of admonition or of encouragement. But it may not be wholly without use to glance at one or two considerations, upon which our meditations cannot be too frequently indulged.
"§ 1905. In the first place, it cannot escape our notice, how exceedingly difficult it is to settle the foundations of any government upon principles, which do not admit of controversy or question. The, very elements, out of which it is to be built, are susceptible of infinite modifications; and theory too often deludes us by the attractive simplicity of its plans, and imagination by the visionary perfection of its speculations. In theory, a government may promise the most perfect harmony of operations in all its various combinations. In practice, the whole machinery may be perpetually retarded, or thrown out of order by accidental mal-adjustments. In theory, a government may seem deficient in unity of design and symmetry of parts; and yet, in practice, it may work with astonishing accuracy and force for the general welfare. Whatever, then, has been found to work well in experience, should be rarely hazarded upon conjectural improvements. Time, and long and steady operation are indispensable to the perfection of all social institutions. To be of any value they must become cemented with the habits, the feelings, and the pursuits of the people. Every change discomposes for a while the whole arrangements of the system. What is safe is not always expedient; what is new is often pregnant with unforeseen evils, and imaginary good.
"§ 1906. In the next place, the slightest attention to the history of the national constitution must satisfy every reflecting mind, how many difficulties attended its formation and adoption, from real or imaginary differences of interests, sectional feelings, and local institutions. It is an attempt to create a national sovereignty, and yet to preserve the state sovereignties; though it is impossible to assign definite boundaries in every case to the powers of each. The influence of the disturbing causes, which, more than once in the convention, were on the point of breaking up the Union, have since immeasurably increased in concentration and vigour. The very inequalities of a government, confessedly founded in a compromise, were then felt with a strong sensibility; and every new source of discontent, whether accidental or permanent, has since added increased activity to the painful sense of these inequalities. The North cannot but perceive, that it has yielded to the South a superiority of representatives, already amounting to twenty-five, beyond its due proportion; and the South imagines, that, with all this preponderance in representation, the other parts of the Union enjoy a more perfect protection of their interests, than her own. The West feels her growing power and weight in the Union; and the Atlantic states begin to learn, that the sceptre must one day depart from them. If, under these circumstances, the Union should once be broken up, it is impossible, that a new constitution should ever be formed, embracing the whole Territory. We shall be divided into several nations or confederacies, rivals in power and interest, too proud to brook injury, and too close to make retaliation distant or ineffectual. Our very animosities will, like those of all other kindred nations, become more deadly, because our lineage, laws, and language are the same. Let the history of the Grecian and Italian republics warn us of our dangers. The national constitution is our last, and our only security. United we stand; divided we fall.
"§ 1907. If these Commentaries shall but inspire in the rising generation a more ardent love of their country, an unquenchable thirst for liberty, and a profound reverence for the constitution and the Union, then they will have accomplished all, that their author ought to desire. Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of fife, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defences are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."
Nonsense. That's not enforcement for having committed a crime. It's a slap on the wrist with a cushy lobbying job in the offing, and it is "enforced" only internally.
Smart law student.
Print version —
“What If the Government Rejects the Constitution?” by Judge Andrew Napolitano
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense, which is paramount to all positive forms of government...”
— Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers No. 28.
“There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”
— Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers No. 78.
“Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force”
— Thomas Jefferson
“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”
— Will Durrant about ancient Rome
Talk about the ultimate lip-service of a politician!
So basically, Lincoln stood by the rights of those who would dismember or overthrow or simply throw-off the shackles of their old government - until they do it to him!?!?!
This Lincoln quote makes Romney look “principled!”
If the government rejects our charter, then they should be abolished wholesale and with extreme prejudice.
And yes, we are at that point already.
The rejection of the Constitution goes back way further than Obama’s violations.
The Constitution set up a great system of government, but this question has been nagging at me lately: Just how great is the Constitution really if it can’t get anyone to follow it?
#1 Guerillas don't win wars. Conventional infantry wins wars by occupying real estate and making the population and opposition surrender. Guerilla forces can address that situation forever but they will not, can not, change it. Unless the will to occupy is lost. How long have we occupied Europe? How long have we occupied any nation we invaded?
#2 Winning a revolution or a civil war requires coordinated forces and leadership. Also training to fight as a unit. Sad to say, these don't exist on any scale necessary to defeat a military that's turned against the people and mark my words, folks, today's military and police forces are products of the public schools and their socialistic/communistic curriculums. There is a reason too, that the recruiters biggest targets are inner city high schools. They get the most from those areas. Those areas are where the liberalism is very concentrated. I know, I just left an inner city high school after teaching there for over 16 years. I finally had to get out or drown in the slime.
#3 The Feds couldn't deal with the Beltway snipers very well, but I imagine if there was martial law they could have. Imagine if the resources of the federal government and military had been brought to bear using the highest tech devices in our arsenals? Using highly trained and experienced special forces? Think that might change the results just a little?
Conservative worship of Thomas Jefferson has got to stop.
We'd all be better off if those amendments had never been written. Regardless of "original intent," it was inevitable that eventually they would have been interpreted as government grants of rights which the government had the authority to impose on states and localities (via federal action against prayers at football games or principals editing obscenities out of student newspapers).
The original seven articles merely created and described a new federal government. The "bill of rights" turned it into a document of political philosophy . . . a philosophy that has done nothing but mischief.
I agree that a future American civil war would be much more like the Spanish Civil War than the American Civil War.
However, I don’t see such a rebellion happening. There are too many citizens that would cheer the government’s overreach or be too dumb to know it has happened and see the rebellion as treason. We also are, in general, much more prosperous and softer than Spain was before its civil war, so I can’t see a widespread civil war being fought out by citizens. I guess a coup could possibly happen, but that’s about it.
Really very good points.
There’s some great thinking on FR amid all the “Burn the Witches” screaming sometimes.
Look you think like statist, I get you.
We are different, I believe in a weak Federal Govt.
Afghanistan. 'nuff said.
Think of Ireland, under English/British rule from whenever- you-want-to-start to 1922.
In both cases the country was profoundly changed by the outsiders, and not by the inhabitants or their local culture.
Expect the Chinese to have a similarly profound effect on a Disunited States. One to two centuries from now you will not recognize the ideas and culture as American.