PostHeaderIcon More About Our Constitution

The following is an elaboration of a presentation I recently made at a local Tea Party meeting. My motivation is that the misunderstanding of our Constitution, indeed, of all aspects of our government, is not only appalling, it has become a threat to our very freedom.

As we well know, the most common misconception is that our government is a democracy. In the last week, I have heard at least 3 people make public statements to this effect, including two liberal pundits and one GOP Senator. I understand why the progressives push this idea… why a supposedly conservative Senator would do so is beyond me — unless he too is becoming brainwashed.

Obviously, we know better, as do those making such claims. The problem is that the intellectually-challenged citizens produced by our failed public education system don’t know better -and- given their crippled reasoning systems, most of them allow the media to do their thinking for them.

The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that, at a glance, democracy might seem a good thing. After all, what can be wrong with a situation where the people rule? It turns out, on closer examination, that there are some very significant problems. First, in a real democracy, there is nothing to protect the rights of minority groups from predation by the majority. Second, democracy lacks any semblance of stability. The majority can change the “rules” at any time, based on whims, emotional reactions and the like.

By contrast, a constitutional republic, which our founders intended us to be, is based on rules which provide protection for minorities as well as the stability required by a modern market-based economy, this last coming from the fact that laws established under our Constitution are intentionally difficult to change, requiring multiple levels of consideration and approval. In fact, not only did our founders NOT create a democracy, several of them rightly and openly referred to democracy as a form of “mob rule”.

However, despite this difficulty, our Constitution has been subjected to several ill-considered amendments, all of them coming soon after the advent of the progressive movement in America in the late 1800’s. I refer specifically to the 16th, 17th and 18th amendments which, between them, fundamentally altered the relationship between the American people and their government.

As we know, the 16th amendment allows an income tax, the 17th amendment provides for the direct election of Senators and the 18th amendment forbade the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, with a minor exception for certain religious uses. We will look at each of these in more detail and explore how and why they helped change the relationship between citizen and government.

The 16th amendment, by allowing the federal government to tax citizen’s incomes, in effect reintroduced a form of slavery into the United States. By definition, slavery is a condition where a person or group of persons are forced to labor for the benefit of another. This means that, for those hours each of us must labor to earn the money required to pay our income taxes, we are effectively slaves of the federal government. This is especially true when the income taxes seized from one person are directly given to another (an act called “income redistribution”). The most dangerous notion introduced by the 16th amendment is that we work for the government rather than the government working for us. You may wonder why the American people would have allowed imposition of such an amendment. The answer is that they were assured that the income tax would only ever apply to the very richest among us. At the time of ratification, the income tax affected about 1% of Americans, the remainder having been convinced they were going to get something for nothing. Clearly, some things never change as similar arguments are being made today to raise taxes on “the rich”. Despite my modest income, every time we go through this, I soon find that I am among the “rich”!

The 17th amendment, in providing for the direct election of Senators, significantly (and intentionally) reduced the influence State legislatures have in the federal government. This had the obvious and intended effect of reducing the power of the States. As you might expect, the people were fed the line that they would gain influence in the operation of government with the ratification of this amendment.

The 18th amendment was the worst of the lot. From the initial ratification of our Constitution, up to the ratification of the 18th amendment, the purpose of our Constitution was to tell the federal government what it could and could not do. With ratification of the 18th amendment, suddenly our Constitution is being used by the federal government to tell the people what they could and could not do. It is hard to imagine a more effective way to pervert the very purpose and meaning of our Constitution. Even though the 21st amendment nullified the 18th, allowing a resumption of the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, the PRECEDENT set by the 18th remains. Why the majority of Americans consented to the passage of the 18th amendment remains a mystery to me.

Another aspect of our Constitution goes unacknowledged, even by many who totally support its meaning and purpose. That aspect is that no body of law, such as our Constitution, is any better than the vigor with which it is enforced. No words written on parchment, paper or digital media are self enforcing. Without unrelenting vigilance, those whose power the Constitution seeks to limit, will invariably stretch the envelope of their power. If this condition continues over time, the Constitution will be rendered meaningless – a condition that virtually exists today in these United States.

The Constitution of the United States of America is our Constitution. This means that it is the responsibility of each of us to insist that it be followed, as written. When we the people fail to do this, it is not our Constitution that has failed us. Instead, we have failed our Constitution. And, the inevitable result of that failure is something none of us wishes to contemplate. Yet, contemplate it we must if this Republic is to have any chance of survival.

Think about it.

Troy L Robinson

7 Responses to “More About Our Constitution”

  • Excellent and posted. Good job.

  • ◄Dave► says:

    Well done, Troy. One question – is our Republic worth saving at this point, or perhaps has it been so modified by 100 years of Progressive tweaking that it has outlived its usefulness as a safeguard for out Liberty? I am currently working on an essay suggesting we give the OWS crowd what they want, and allow the Federal government to collapse. Contrary to the notion that anarchy would automatically ensue, it would have the effect of adding 50 new sovereign countries to the world’s count.

    They could then create new federations on a regional basis, organized on whatever principles their citizen’s preferred. The blue States could create the socialist nanny states of their utopian dreams, and red states could create capitalist enclaves organized around something like our original Constitution. I.e., instead of seceding from the union, allow the union to cease to exist, and start over.

    If we could sell this idea, U-haul would be a hot investment; because there would be a whole lot of migration going on as citizens scrambled to move to their preferred societies. It might be a bit messy at first, but infinitely better than the eventual civil war, which we are rapidly approaching on our present course. Move over; surely there is room in Texas for one more disgruntled Californian Patriot. Thoughts? ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Dave,
      You probably do not know this but, years ago, I was profoundly influenced by Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. Without belaboring the point, the primary theme was that this scientist had figured out a way to let history take its inevitable course yet speed the recovery after stuff had hit the fan. Even though the series was fiction, I believe it represents the best course for America.

      No, I do not think our present situation can be corrected without a collapse. The corruption that naturally follows a concentration of power and money has infected every cell of our national being. The only “cure” is to let the monster die.

      As for regional confederations/federations forming after the States are once again free and independent, that is an idea I have long favored for exactly the reasons you list. Indeed, a couple of years ago when Texas secession seemed a viable possibility, many of us could envision a confederation of the ex States of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. Such a confederation would, IMHO, have great economic viability, sufficient coastline, a land mass approaching the size of Western Europe and sufficient population to raise and army. Alas, the idea is now dead under talk-a-lot/do-little Perry.

      The only real problem I can see in such an arrangement is what to do when the “blue state” confederations turn into “PIGS” (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain). Do we welcome them back into the fold? Do we sit by and let them perish in a horrible fashion (even though they asked for it)?

      Troy

      • ◄Dave► says:

        Interesting. I am not familiar with the “Foundation” series; but I know my worldview was heavily influenced by reading all of Robert Heinlein’s books at the age of 12 or so. I like your initial region; because I am a Natural Born Citizen of Arkansas, so there should be no question of my ‘right of return.’ 🙂

        No, my initial reaction would be to let them collapse. I suppose that once they do, if their citizens decide they want to try capitalism instead of a nanny state, and rewrite their constitutions to conform to our model of the world, then on a State by State basis, we might allow them to join our federation. That presupposes that we have arranged our affairs such that we use real money and the citizens of one State are never taxed to support citizens of another State.

        Since we would have deleted all the Amendments after the Tenth, our Federation would be powerless to raise revenue beyond tariffs etc. without begging the States for more, so the only advantage they would gain from joining us, would be the mutual defense and free trade pact, which would permit them to concentrate on rebuilding their economies with free market capitalism.

        The biggest problems I see include how to divvy up the mobile military assets, such as naval vessels, aircraft, and the nuclear arsenal in the initial collapse. Another is what to do about the number of people living on SSI, military retirement, etc. payments received directly from the existing Federal government. Perhaps the two could be conflated, by having the individual States and/or new federations purchase the military assets, etc. and set up a trust fund with the proceeds to continue to pay these retirement obligations. ◄Dave►

  • Daedalus says:

    When the Union was founded, there was much discussion of the benefits of joining under the constitutional umbrella. The advocacy of one country rather than separate federations one the day. Briefly, once separated, foreign powers will shortly take advantage of the weaker federations and make them colonies, protectorates or simply part of their country. Mexico might easily take over California, they are not doing to bad a job of it already. We have to stand together. It can only be done through education, please keep trying.

    • ◄Dave► says:

      I am afraid it is much too late for that John:

      http://www.thoughtsaloud.com/essays/why-live-in-a-salad-bowl/

      Join me there and we can spar over it. 🙂 ◄Dave►

    • Troy says:

      Dae,
      Just for the sake of argument, suppose that a miracle occurs November 2012 and just the right folks are elected to all significant offices. Then, starting in 2013, we begin to restore a true system of public education rather than the nonsense we have today. This would mean it would be nearly 20 years before an educated voting class would emerge and at least another 15 before this educated class would begin to assume the reigns of power. In the meantime, America would continue her downward spiral, driven by the herds of dependent non-thinkers and the greed of crony capitalists. This does not seem a viable solution to me. Plus, we most certainly do not have another 20 years to fix the problem. Dictatorship is certain to occur much sooner than that. Indeed, it WILL occur unless BHO is removed from office next year and even that is no guarantee.

      Troy

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