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H. L. Mencken's New Deal Constitution
lewrockwell.com | June, 1937 | H. L. Mencken

Posted on 04/06/2002 10:19:59 AM PST by breakem

Constitution for the New Deal

by H. L. Mencken

THIS SATIRICAL PIECE FIRST APPEARED IN The American Mercury,, 41 (June 1937), 129-36, and was reprinted in condensed form by The Reader's Digest, 31 (July 1937), 27-29. In order to indicate what reached the widest audience, the condensed version appears here.

The principal cause of the uproar in Washington is a conflict between the swift- moving idealism of the New Deal and the unyielding hunkerousness of the Constitution of 1788. What is needed, obviously, is a wholly new Constitution, drawn up with enough boldness and imagination to cover the whole program of the More Abundant Life, now and hereafter.

That is what I presume to offer here. The Constitution that follows is not my invention, and in more than. one detail I have unhappy doubts of its wisdom. But I believe that it sets forth with reasonable accuracy the plan of government that the More Abundant Life wizards have sought to substitute for the plan of the Fathers. They have themselves argued at one time or another, by word or deed, for everything contained herein:

PREAMBLE

We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish social justice, draw the fangs of privilege, effect the redistribution of property, remove the burden of liberty from ourselves and our posterity, and insure the continuance of the New Deal, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

ARTICLE I

The Executive

All governmental power of whatever sort shall be vested in a President of the United States. He shall hold office during a series of terms of four years each, and shall take the following oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will (in so far as I deem it feasible and convenient) faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will (to the best of my recollection and in the light of experiment and second thought) carry out the pledges made by me during my campaign for election (or such of them as I may select)."

The President shall be commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy, and of the militia, Boy Scouts, C.I.O., People's Front, and other armed forces of the nation.

The President shall have the power: To lay and collect taxes, and to expend the income of the United States in such manner as he may deem to be to their or his advantage;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States, and to provide for its repayment on such terms as he may fix;

To regulate all commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and within them; to license all persons engaged or proposing to engage in business; to regulate their affairs; to limit their profits by proclamation from time to time; and to fix wages, prices and hours of work;

To coin money, regulate the content and value thereof, and of foreign coin, and to amend or repudiate any contract requiring the payment by the United States, or by any private person, of coin of a given weight or fineness;To repeal or amend, in his discretion, any so-called natural law, including Gresham's law, the law of diminishing returns, and the law of gravitation.

The President shall be assisted by a Cabinet of eight or more persons, whose duties shall be to make speeches whenever so instructed and to expend the public funds in such manner as to guarantee the President's continuance in office.

The President may establish such executive agencies as he deems necessary, and clothe them with such powers as he sees fit. No person shall be a member to any such bureau who has had any practical experience of the matters he is appointed to deal with.

One of the members of the Cabinet shall be an Attorney General. It shall be his duty to provide legal opinions certifying to the constitutionality of all measures undertaken by the President, and to gather evidence of the senility of judges.

ARTICLE II

The Legislature

The legislature of the United States shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Every bill shall be prepared under the direction of the President, and transmitted to the two Houses at his order by their presiding officers. No member shall propose any amendment to a bill without permission in writing from the President or one of his authorized agents. In case any member shall doubt the wisdom of a bill he may apply to the President for light upon it, and thereafter he shall be counted as voting aye. In all cases a majority of members shall be counted as voting aye.

Both Houses may appoint special committees to investigate the business practices, political views, and private lives of any persons known to be inimical to the President; and such committees shall publish at public cost any evidence discovered that appears to be damaging to the persons investigated.

Members of both Houses shall be agents of the President in the distribution of public offices, federal appropriations, and other gratuities in their several states, and shall be rewarded in ratio to their fidelity to his ideals and commands.

ARTICLE III

The Judiciary

The judges of the Supreme Court and of all inferior courts shall be appointed by the President, and shall hold their offices until he determines by proclamation that they have become senile. The number of judges appointed to the Supreme Court shall be prescribed by the President, and may be changed at his discretion. All decisions of the Supreme Court shall be unanimous.

The jurisdiction and powers of all courts shall he determined by the President. No act that he has approved shall be declared unconstitutional by any court.

ARTICLE IV

Bill of Rights

There shall be complete freedom of speech and of the press – subject to such regulations as the President or his agents may from time to time promulgate.

The freedom of communication by radio shall not be abridged; but the President and such persons as he may designate shall have the first call on the time of all stations.

In disputes between capital and labor, all the arbitrators shall be representatives of labor.

Every person whose annual income fans below a minimum to be fixed by the President shall receive from the public funds an amount sufficient to bring it up to that minimum.

No labor union shall be incorporated and no officer or member thereof shall be accountable for loss of life or damage to person or property during a strike.

All powers not delegated herein to the President are reserved to him, to be used at his discretion.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; Political Humor/Cartoons
KEYWORDS: constitution; governmentalpowers; politics; satire; socialism
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Still applicable today
1 posted on 04/06/2002 10:19:59 AM PST by breakem
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To: breakem
url http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/mencken1.html
2 posted on 04/06/2002 10:22:19 AM PST by breakem
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To: breakem
Ha! I love it! "Social justice" - didn't know that puff term was bandied about that long ago.
3 posted on 04/06/2002 10:25:55 AM PST by bleudevil
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To: breakem
Dare you to post this someplace without the preface explaining the satirical source. See how long it takes for them to catch on.
4 posted on 04/06/2002 10:27:53 AM PST by bleudevil
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To: breakem,freeforall
Thanks for posting this classic!
5 posted on 04/06/2002 10:43:43 AM PST by jodorowsky
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To: breakem; Gail Wynand
most excellent bump....
6 posted on 04/06/2002 11:04:06 AM PST by longshadow
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To: breakem
For another example of Mencken's eerie ability to be ahead of his time, check out: THE UPLIFTERS TRY IT AGAIN .

This essay, first published in 1925, lays out the classic arguments *against* gun control, while rebutting the classic arguments *for* gun control. You'll find that nothing has changed in 77 years.

Excerpt:

The new law that it advocated, indeed, is one of the most absurd specimens of jackass legislation ever heard of, even in this paradise of legislative donkeyism. Its single and sole effect would be to exaggerate enormously all of the evils it proposes to put down. It would not take pistols out of the hands of rogues and fools; it would simply take them out of the hands of honest men. The gunman today has great advantages everywhere. He has artillery in his pocket, and he may assume that, in the large cities, at least two-thirds of his prospective victims are unarmed. But if the Nation's proposed law (or amendment) were passed and enforced, he could assume safely that all of them were unarmed.

7 posted on 04/06/2002 11:04:28 AM PST by Dan Day
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To: breakem
I'd vote for it. It's less left-wing than what we have today. :->

At least it is a constitution. We don't have one now. Between the Courts, Congress and the Executive they have completely destroyed the one we had.

8 posted on 04/06/2002 11:14:25 AM PST by Rule of Law
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To: breakem
Thanks for this thread---used to read Mencken a gazillion years ago....gee the guy had foresight!!!!!
9 posted on 04/06/2002 11:18:21 AM PST by LoneGreenEyeshade
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To: dead culture watch
You'll like this one!

LOL, Me

10 posted on 04/06/2002 11:19:53 AM PST by LoneGreenEyeshade
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To: RonDog;Mudboy Slim;ChaseR;LarryLied;BiggRed;connectthedots
This is worth reading.

Freegards, LGE

11 posted on 04/06/2002 11:21:45 AM PST by LoneGreenEyeshade
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To: Rule of Law
It is not that they have destroyed it; they just do not find it relevant.

He dismissed the idea that abortion is a constitutionally protected right, but he also said the Constitution doesn't explicitly prohibit abortions, either. He indicated the issue ultimately should be decided by a constitutional amendment.

This is a recent quote from USSC Justice Scalia - the same guy that routinely finds a "drug exemption" to the bill of rights.

12 posted on 04/06/2002 11:23:01 AM PST by patton
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To: breakem
Mencken rules BUMP LOL
13 posted on 04/06/2002 11:31:35 AM PST by BMCDA
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To: bleudevil
That would be devious..........and fun!
14 posted on 04/06/2002 11:53:14 AM PST by breakem
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To: patton
Amazing, that even the good ones have their favorite quirks.
15 posted on 04/06/2002 11:54:11 AM PST by breakem
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To: LoneGreenEyeshade
I watch a lot of C-Span 2 book-tv on the weekends. They had some guy today doing a talk as Mencken. When he stated this preamble, I went immediately to the search button. Good stuff.
16 posted on 04/06/2002 11:56:10 AM PST by breakem
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To: Rule of Law
point to you
17 posted on 04/06/2002 11:57:14 AM PST by breakem
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To: victoria delsoul; madameaxe; tpaine; owk; nunya bidness; mercuria; redrock...
-
18 posted on 04/06/2002 11:57:42 AM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Dan Day
Thanx. I haven't really "discovered" Mencken for myself. BTW, I prefer the style of writing Twain, Mencken etc. where they use such great medifores (sp) and adjectives now out of favor.
19 posted on 04/06/2002 11:59:31 AM PST by breakem
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To: jodorowsky, longshadow
your welcome bump
20 posted on 04/06/2002 12:00:28 PM PST by breakem
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To: LoneGreenEyeshade
Thanks for this thread---used to read Mencken a gazillion years ago....gee the guy had foresight!!!!!

I still read him at least once a week, if not more frequently. Today, alas, he'd be considered anything from a far right wingnut (by the left) to a venal lunatic and unrealistic obstructionist bent on throwing it all to the left by default (by today's alleged right).

Mencken In Print:

A Mencken Chrestomathy (Vintage Books)
A Second Mencken Chrestomathy (Vintage Books)
Smart Set Criticism (Johns Hopkins)
Prejudices: A Selection (Johns Hopkins)
Vintage Mencken (Vintage Books)
The Impossible H.L. Mencken (McGraw-Hill)
A Choice of Days (Vintage or Johns Hopkins)
21 posted on 04/06/2002 12:02:26 PM PST by BluesDuke
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To: breakem
Boy ! Bill Clinton must have borrowed heavily from this one !
22 posted on 04/06/2002 12:26:47 PM PST by genefromjersey
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To: genefromjersey
must have done at least one scholl paper on it
23 posted on 04/06/2002 12:29:20 PM PST by breakem
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To: LoneGreenEyeshade;BluesDuke
The Democratic Party Platform of 1932 is good for a laugh too:

We favor maintenance of the national credit by a federal budget annually balanced on the basis of accurate executive estimates within revenues, raised by a system of taxation levied on the principle of ability to pay.

We advocate a sound currency to be preserved at all hazards and an international monetary conference called on the invitation of our government to consider the rehabilitation of silver and related questions.

We advocate unemployment and old-age insurance under state laws.

(We Advocate) The removal of government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and natural resources in the common interest.

We condemn the open and covert resistance of administrative officials to every effort made by Congressional Committees to curtail the extravagant expenditures of the Government and to revoke improvident subsidies granted to favorite interests

24 posted on 04/06/2002 12:47:45 PM PST by LarryLied
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To: LarryLied
It's good for a laugh like Figaro's, that we might not weep. Except that, by the time Roosevelt and company got finished, the 1932 Democratic Party platform looked in comparison like a manifesto from Robert Taft. (Gee...if only today's Republicans could hear the word "Taft" and think of someone other than a one-time President who became Chief Justice when he, er, grew up...)
25 posted on 04/06/2002 1:20:37 PM PST by BluesDuke
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To: LoneGreenEyeshade
Thanks for the ping, so apropo, I guess for all times. Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

If any body thinks thats a dig at bush, yur right.

26 posted on 04/06/2002 1:45:39 PM PST by dead culture watch
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To: patton
This is a recent quote from USSC Justice Scalia - the same guy that routinely finds a "drug exemption" to the bill of rights.

Mr. Justice Scalia is the best justice on the Supreme Court. Which tells you what a sorry shape the Court is in.

Mr. Justice Scalia is perfectly willing to ignore the Constitution when it suits him. He is always ready to find a "traditional" deviation from the meaning of the Constitution when he wants to get around the fact that the Constitution does not allow the government to do whatever it is he wants it to do.

The "traditional" exception idea is particulary disgusting. It goes like this. The Constitution says X but for the last 75 years we've done Y. So it would be wrong to change. So two wrongs make a right.

We can apply that sort of dunderheaded logic to just about anything. Slavery is wrong, but we've traditionally had slavery, so it would be wrong to change that. Taxation without representation is wrong, but traditionally, that's the way we've done things, so we can't change it.

This is what passes for logic on the Supreme Court.

But there is one good thing about Mr. Justice Scalia. In just about every one of his opinions, he takes the time to say that Madame Justess O'Conner is an idiot. And there, he's right on the money.

27 posted on 04/06/2002 2:00:59 PM PST by Rule of Law
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To: breakem;dead culture watch
adjectives now out of favor.

But great for playing Scrabble!!!!

28 posted on 04/06/2002 2:02:21 PM PST by LoneGreenEyeshade
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To: Rule of Law
The Constitution says X but for the last 75 years we've done Y. So it would be wrong to change. So two wrongs make a right.

That kind of logic gets particularly galling when you realize that we did just fine doing X for 150 years, until someone (mostly FDR and his New Deal congress and court) decided we should do Y. The didn't have any problem changing after 150 years, what's so hard about doing it after 75?

29 posted on 04/06/2002 2:06:20 PM PST by tacticalogic
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To: LarryLied;dead culture watch
to curtail the extravagant expenditures of the Government and to revoke improvident subsidies granted to favorite interests

Gee, that would almost wipe out most of our federal budget and just think of all the unemployment for all of those bureaucrats! (Maybe they could go to work at airport security instead!)

30 posted on 04/06/2002 2:08:16 PM PST by LoneGreenEyeshade
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To: tacticalogic
That kind of logic gets particularly galling when you realize that we did just fine doing X for 150 years, until someone (mostly FDR and his New Deal congress and court) decided we should do Y. The didn't have any problem changing after 150 years, what's so hard about doing it after 75?

Because of what we'd be changing back to -- a limited government where Washington wasn't all that important. They don't want that.

31 posted on 04/06/2002 2:12:08 PM PST by Rule of Law
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To: patton
Did ya find a little-gator for that property /2nd case ?
32 posted on 04/06/2002 2:24:27 PM PST by Squantos
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To: LarryLied
I like the one about democracy, I think it goes,

"A democracy is where the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
or something like that.

33 posted on 04/06/2002 2:32:40 PM PST by tet68
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To: breakem
Clarence B Carson has it writtian in his set "Basic History of the United States". Thanks for posting it! Its too bad that he, like many conservatives of his era, held to the enlightenment view of religion (the man hated Christians worse than Ayn Rand), the man was a censored beacon of Old Right truth in regards to the Roosevelt Revolution. This is as funny now as it was yesterday, and you laugh to keep from crying.
34 posted on 04/06/2002 2:41:23 PM PST by Scholastic
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To: Scholastic
We will hear more attacks on Mencken. Right onw on C-Span 2 Charles Fecher, author of The Diary of H. L. Mencken, mentioned that the National Press Club is considering removing his name from their library because of anti-semitic comments in his diary. One day, we will have no history if we keep destroying those who made it.
35 posted on 04/06/2002 3:14:15 PM PST by breakem
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To: Squantos
No, not yet. Been a busy couple of days.
36 posted on 04/06/2002 3:25:29 PM PST by patton
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To: tet68
lol....

Listening to liberals I just noticed that "democracy" is a code word for "communism". When did this start?

37 posted on 04/06/2002 3:43:09 PM PST by LarryLied
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To: all
bump
38 posted on 04/06/2002 6:29:17 PM PST by breakem
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To: all
bump
39 posted on 04/06/2002 9:17:22 PM PST by breakem
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To: breakem
All your freedoms
All your liberties
Are belong to us.
40 posted on 04/07/2002 9:51:23 AM PDT by Countyline
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To: breakem
Mencken is King! I read an anthology of his work -- his heyday being in the 20's and 30's -- a few years ago. Find it and read it. It's hilarious!

His 1925 eluogy of William Jennings Bryan is a classic. If you believe FDR is the father and Woodrow Wilson is the grandfather of all in the world that is f***** up, than Bryan is the GREAT grandfather!

Bryan was a combination of Adlai Stevenson (loser), Al Gore (insufferable), and Hillary Clinton (puke inducing) all rolled into one.

And Mencken was the only one with the balls to say so.

41 posted on 04/07/2002 10:04:34 AM PDT by tbg681
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To: breakem
what about the anti-Christian ones? Leave if to the left.
42 posted on 04/07/2002 11:07:18 AM PDT by Scholastic
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To: tbg681
Thanx familiar with WJB, but now Mencken's book. The guy yesterday said it was his best work.
43 posted on 04/07/2002 11:09:54 AM PDT by breakem
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To: breakem
Bump
44 posted on 04/07/2002 11:10:02 AM PDT by Fiddlstix
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To: Scholastic
The concept that we all have the right to not be offended is ruining the country.
45 posted on 04/07/2002 11:10:45 AM PDT by breakem
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To: Countyline
.........and all your bumps also.
46 posted on 04/07/2002 11:12:01 AM PDT by breakem
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To: breakem
medifores? Perhaps "metaphors"...
47 posted on 04/07/2002 12:17:22 PM PDT by Bigg Red
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To: breakem
OUTSTANDING POST!
48 posted on 04/07/2002 12:20:02 PM PDT by Buckeroo
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To: Bigg Red
Thanx, it's been a long time and even my spelling is a metaphor.
49 posted on 04/07/2002 1:38:22 PM PDT by breakem
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To: Buckeroo
Thanx, some of my best work is posting other peoples writing? perhaps I'll become a historian where plagarism seems to be an acceptable form. : )
50 posted on 04/07/2002 1:39:31 PM PDT by breakem
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