Skip to comments.Is the United States Broken?
Posted on 04/04/2002 10:13:48 AM PST by B. A. Conservative
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Hamilton or Madison wrote in Federalist 62 (Concerning the Constitution of the Senate):
It may be affirmed, on the best grounds, that no small share of the present embarrassments of America is to be charged on the blunders of our governments; and that these have proceeded from the heads rather than the hearts of most of the authors of them. What indeed are all the repealing, explaining, and amending laws, which fill and disgrace our voluminous codes, but so many monuments of deficient wisdom; so many impeachments exhibited by each succeeding against each preceding session;-PJ
The oldest crime is supposedly prostitution. Have laws controlled or affected it? Or have such laws corrupted our politicians and police officials? The list of bad and unnecessary laws is endless. And every one of them has had both the direct and indirect effect of subsidizing the corruption of our political and law enforcement structures. The result is no demonstrable benefit, but additional crime and corruption as a price. And have these laws added to our freedoms or taken away freedoms? The RICO acts pushed by Republicans are among the most repugnant vile acts ever conceived by man. Hitler would be embarrassed that he didn't think of them first. We aren't being pushed into the gas chambers yet, but every April 15, they are loading more passengers on the train. And Bush's push for homeland security is creating the foundation for the passenger lists of the future.
I am opposed to term limits. Why give a choice away? I suggest salary limits.
Bottom line is I agree we are over-taxed and over-regulated. The only solution is for conservatives to continure to fight for what is right, and what made us prosperous. We've come a long way from the '60's, when liberals dominated all three branches of government.
But there is still nowhere else in the world I would rather live and raise my family. God Bless America, problems and all.
Dr. Walter Williams has run two articles suggesting alternatives. One is secession. The other is nullification. He hints in passing that there is a third option -- armed rebellion.
People continue to raise objections to both secession and nullification. Most of these boil down to the idea that anyone who tries them is going to get squashed by the federal government.
Which leaves the third option.
There is a fourth option. That is to leave.
Our government is too efficient -- in a bad way. That's not to say it does things right, but it is very good at stomping on the citizens. There are plenty of governments out there who, while not as free on paper, are so inefficient that you can live your life without government interference. Many people are already choosing this option and it may be the best.
Notice I did not say that "reforming the GOP" or the "election process" are viable options. If there is anything the last 40 or so years should have taught us, it's that the two parties are incorrigible. Both are determined to bring about socialism.
The effect of FDR's Court Packing Bill on the USSC in 1937 should be ample demonstration that the Supremes can be suceptible to coercion.
I still think the best election reform is to eliminate the elections. There may be other problems introduced by the states appointing the Senators instead of the sheeple voting them in, but you'd get rid of 33 of the most expensive campaigns every two years.
Why does Tom Daschle have 85% of his campaign financing coming from outside South Dakota? If the SD legislature appointed their two Senators, you wouldn't have this intrusion on their state business. How much did Corzine spend on his campaign? How much did Hillary! spend? Remember the Feinstein/Huffington race in California? Torricelli is next up to spend to save his seat. Why?
This can all be eliminated by eliminating the elections in the first place.
Some things were to be forbidden to the federal government, and some areas were to be outside of its reach. But there was also to be room for the federal government to use it's "implied powers" to fulfill the powers expressly delegated to it by the Constitution. Here is Madison explaining why the "necessary and proper" clause was indeed necessary and proper. And here is Hamilton. There are more documents from the founders bearing on this question here. You might check this one example of how Madison reads the Constitution: roads and lighthouses, necessary and proper; canals, no; dredging harbors and rivers -- it depends. I don't have the time to make a thorough study, but my impression is that there is more Constitutional leeway for the federal government than Sobran believes.
People here on FR who feel overwhelmingly aggrieved are despicable little rodents. They don't know what they have, I'm not gonna listen to what they've lost. They are fattened losers.
There are powers that aren't given to the federal government. There may also be those that can't fit under the implied powers of the federal government in the Constitution. But those implied powers do give the federal government a wide leeway. Sobran is just wrong if he argues that the federal government can only do those things specifically and expressly mentioned in the Constitution. To execute the powers delegated in the Constitution and to fulfill its objectives it's inevitable that the federal government will take on more tasks. You can find more information about the founders on the "necessary and proper clause" here. The founders, as opposed to those who wanted to reject the Constitution, recognized that the federal government would have more powers than had been granted to it by the Articles of Confederation.
I will be posting the summary of this thread soon. I will probably finish the analysis tonight or early tomorrw. I will post the summary along with the next question and start of a new thread.
Why look farther than the Constitution itself?
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Bill of Rights
Then you have the government you deserve and you have not thought carefully enough to recognize the fallacies of your choices.
As a separate aside, every Congressman and Senator makes decisions that every American has to live with. But 99% never get to cast a ballot for or against the Congressman or Senators outside of their own districts or states respectively. I would have no problem with them being able to stay, if after two terms that had to stand for national elections. If you are not willing to remove them from office, then I would like to have a shot at it since they are making laws that affect my life too.
You left out the fifth option, the one we've chosen for years...
5) Suffer some more of the abuses of government.
1) Secession (I'm staring to think this is the best hope for those who love Freedom)
2) Nullification (I doubt this would work as well, but it has merits)
3) Armed Rebellion (should always be the last resort)
4) Move away (as if France offers better opportunities for Individual Liberty?)
Not France. I was thinking more third worldish. There is no Bill of Rights (as if we had one here anymore). The governments are corrupt. But the governments are also inefficient. Choose the right place & you can live your life without ever knowing there is a government.
You left out the fifth option, the one we've chosen for years...
5) Suffer some more of the abuses of government.
I don't think that is going to remain an option much longer. Within 10 years, our government will erect a "Berlin Wall". Soon, they'll seal the borders "to keep terrorists out", but people will notice that it really keeps people in.
They'll have to. Too many of the productive people are leaving. Our taxes are too high and our regulations are strangling business. Soon, no one will be here to do the work required to fund the welfare state. They are already going after any money Americans keep off shore. It's only a matter of time before they stop allowing people to leave.
That is to leave
No realistic choices of which I am aware.
Notice I did not say that "reforming the GOP" or the "election process" are viable options.
Do you have other thoughts or suggestions? I am not familiar with "nullification". Could you post a link that we can all review?
Here's Dr. Williams' article.
Also don't see why you're saying armed rebellionis unacceptable.
"Is life so dear, is peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, Give me Liberty of Give me Death!"
"One response to federal encroachment is for state governments to declare federal laws that have no constitutional authority null and void, and refuse to enforce them."
Unfortunately, I think the state governments are just as bad as the federal behemoth, just on a smaller scale. Besides, can you see any state refusing to enforce the unConstitutional gun laws? I doubt even Texas would allow gang-land students to carry rifles to school again.
Frightening concept and one that I had not considered. I have always known that they will be coming for IRA's and 401's before 2012, but I never really considered the idea that they would imprison us. But you are absolutely right. As unthinkable as it is, it is definitely something we might well face. Dividing the INS into two branches might even be seen as the first step.
Americans will be allowed to leave, but only empty handedly. If your assets aren't outside, the door will close on getting them out under your own control.
It's called Federalism. Some folks a few hundred years ago or so thought it had its merits.
I would have no problem with them being able to stay, if after two terms that had to stand for national elections.
Interesting idea, if you think more national democracy and less Federalism is a good thing.
If you are not willing to remove them from office, then I would like to have a shot at it since they are making laws that affect my life too.
Then you might as well get rid of all state governments, and all state representation, and create one giant democracy. That's what it amounts to. No thanks.
However, we are truly living in the greatest period the world has ever known: peace (despite terrorism), prosperity (despite growing economic pain) and freedom (unlike the world has known). So what's really the problem?
At first, yes. But soon, they won't even let people go. After all, we will be slaves and who is going to let all the slaves run away?
That's why I'm looking at emigrating within the next year or two.
As Federal control becomes more and more pervasive, it dilutes democracy at the state and local levels. When virtually every issue is decided and every policy is dictated from within the beltway, then there is really nothing left of any consequence to vote on. If there is to be any meaningful component of democracy to our system of government, the it either needs to be institued at the federal level, or the federal government needs to back off and leave some decisions to the states.
Patrick Henry gave us what maybe the most inspiring words ever uttered by mere mortal man. My eyes water every time I read them.
My thoughts are:
First look for a means of restoring the Constitution and forcing the government to live within it. I frankly think the viability of this approach was lost when the Republicans failed to exercise power after the 1994 elections. And I am not sure that we can recover the momentum lost before the SS and Medicare clocks run out.
Next, find a state to be first for secession. I now think nullification could be a serious alternative to this approach. It is this type of discovery for me that is one of the reasons why I originated these threads.
Armed rebellion will be surpressed. And conventional war with the United States by any other power on earth is unthinkable. But rebellion of the sort put in play by Boris Yeltsin can work. One man resisting in the state capitol of a seceding state is a powerful statement. Would Ashcroft or Bush send in tanks to kill such a man? Maybe. Would the tank commanders? Maybe. Martyrs make powerful statements in the right setting. People listen. Even if they sent the tanks the first time, I think they would listen more carefully to the second man willing to become a martyr. One thing is for sure, I know they would fear him like no other. Our people have not completely forgotten the difference between freedom and tyranny. The image of one man dying for freedom in the face of tyranny is a message unlikely to be dismissed or forgotten. The brave souls who died at the Alamo will live forever in recorded history. God forbid that we should ever be capable of forgetting.
By allowing perpetual re-election you guarantee democracy at the expense of doing what is right.
TERM LIMITS breaks the link with electorate thereby preventing mob rule. The term limited representative knows that he and his family are going to have to live with the consequences of his votes. Perpetual election ensures that they are above the law.
One thing I can absolutely guarantee you to be true, we would not be in the mess we are in if TERM LIMITS for members of Congress and the federal judiciary had been part of the original constitution. And the United States cannot be saved without this addition.
YOU are confusing prospects with reality. In the past two hundred years, how many Americans have been killed by foreign powers on our own soil? Granted it has been more than a hundred years since the United States attacked it's own citizens, but it has only been a matter of months since Ruby Ridge, Waco, and little Elian.
And yes the rest of the world has been, to a degree, following the role model set by the US in terms of granting more freedom to its citizens. But in our country, the citizens granted limited powers to the government. Now the government is stripping those freedoms away from the people. Look at the hundreds if not thousands of pounds of laws and regulations that have been passed in the last seventy years. Do you think those have made you more free? Those pounds of paper are links in the chains that are enslaving us.
And as for the illusion of prosperity, you are only looking at the asset side of the ledger. The US is now the largest debtor in the history of the world. Our savings rate is the lowest in history. Government debt at all levels of government is at all time highs. Corporate debt is at an all time high. Mortgage debt is at an all time high. Credit card debt is at an all time high. On a per centage basis US net worth is at an all time low. When the home loan program to foster home ownership was passed in the 50's, home equity was at 57% of individual net worth. Fifty years later, it has fallen below 50%, home equity has actually declined. Americans have been consuming their savings and capital base. And unless we are very lucky, a lot of that debt is going to produce a mountain of bankruptcies. Most people like to allow for a margin of safety. Thanks to Robert Rubin and Allan Greenspan, most Americans have already consumed it or had their government take it away and give it to someone else.
I agree. Tell it to BA Conservative. He's the one who wants to nationalize Senatorial elections.
You seem to agree with it only insofar as you perceive it to support your position against BA. You agree with the premise, but you oppose democracy at the federal level, and don't seem to think that the federal government is in any particular need of being reigned in.
I agree that democracy at the Fed level dilutes democracy at the state and local levels. I favor state and local influence over federal, therefore, I oppose an expansion of federal influence such as increased national elections or national control over state elections.
I have not said that the federal government shouldn't be reigned in. I have said that the tools necessary are all in good working order. The system is not broken. It works. If there is a problem with the results, it is due to the limits of human nature. But, there's always tomorrow.
Therein seems to lie the the difference of opinion. Calling it "broken" is something of an analogy to a mechanical system. You perceive the "tools" as an integral part of the system, and therefore do not see it as "broken", because the tools are still there to fix it.
It's like saying a car with a seized water pump is "not broken" as long as you have tools and and spare water pump in the trunk.
So would secession and attempts at nullification.
There are a couple of other approaches we might try.
One is, I beleive, beyond the pale. That is to get enough states together to call for a constitutional convention. The problem with that approach is that we have no idea what type of Constitution we'd come up with. But with the caliber of today's education and with today's press --in fact, with today's citizenry -- we'd probably end up with something that looked like the Soviet Constitution.
The other is to put together a militia movement. Not a bunch of nut cases (though that is how they would be characterized in the press), but ordinary citizens. Get them drilling in public. In front of courthouses and statehouses and particularly on the Mall in Washington. You could bet we'd get martyrs then. But we might remind the government that we're still here and that they've gone too far.
Of course, I'm getting a bit ahead of the roadmap with this, but it's unavoidable.
Who was it that said by design governments consume power infinitely?
Sounds like cheap ribs and free NASCAR for everyone! Count me in! < /kidding>
I like voting myself, but restricting the franchise would probably be a good thing.
A proposal I like: Reward each registered voter who does not vote with the maximum of either $1000 cash tax-free or a 100% income tax refund. (The latter is really just the same deal that Puerto Ricans have. I bet huge numbers of Americans would take it if they could.)
Absolutely it is. I think that the Bill of Rights was meant to be an absolute. Our rights are being trampled on, and too many people don't care. Our federal government is growing larger and larger. Our tax system is incomprehensible, and the group that imposes it is more feared than any mafia. Our government rewards no-production, and punishes those who truely deserve those rewards. Our nation is on it's way to bankruptcy. The list goes on and on. Yes. Our country is broken.
We may still disagree on the scope and course of action, but we had best settle on both of these issues quickly. The time is wasting. Even if we manage to merely keep the Klintoons and the D'asshles on the cusp of power while RINOs and pseudo-conservatives too afraid to give the reins of power a hard yank or two are at said reins, we have, at best, 12 years before what their predecessors unleashed overtakes us. If nothing substanitive is done in the intervening years, there will be a Second Civil War, one where we would be the incredible underdog as all we would have is experience in bodies too old to take advantage of it.