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Thread: America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited

  1. #1

    America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited


    America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited

    This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

    The Anti-Federalists were right: The pursuit of "national greatness" inevitably diminishes liberty and centralizes government. The U.S. Constitution did both, as Sheldon Richman demonstrates in this powerfully argued anarchist case against the blueprint for empire known as the U.S. Constitution. --Bill Kauffman, author, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin

    The libertarian movement has long suffered from a constitutional fetishism that embraces an ahistorical reverence for the U.S. Constitution. Far too many are unaware of the extent to which the framing and adoption of the Constitution was in fact a setback for the cause of liberty. Sheldon Richman, in a compilation of readable, well researched, and compelling essays, exposes the historical, theoretical, and strategic errors in the widespread reification of a purely political document. With no single correct interpretation, the Constitution has been predictably unable to halt the growth of the modern welfare-warfare American State. I urge all proponents of a free society to give his book their diligent attention. --Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Professor, San Jose State University; author, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War

    "No state or government can limit itself through a written constitution, no matter how fine the words or how noble the sentiments they express. It is one of the many virtues of Sheldon Richman's book that it shows how this is true even of the American Constitution, which despite the promises of its designers and the insistence of its defenders down the years, made limited government less and not more likely." --Chandran Kukathas, London School of Economics

    “Richman delivers an accessible, incisive, and well-grounded argument that the Constitution centralized power and undid some of the Revolution’s liberating gains. He rebuts patriotic platitudes but avoids the crude contrarianism so common in libertarian revisionism written for popular consumption. He does not romanticize America’s past or overstate his case. Radical and nuanced, deferential to freedom and historical truth, Richman rises above hagiography or demonization of either the Federalists or anti-Federalists to produce an unsurpassed libertarian exploration of the subject.” — Anthony Gregory, Independent Institute

    “[A]fter reading this book, you will never think about the U.S. Constitution and America’s founding the same way again. Sheldon Richman’s revealing and remarkably well-argued narrative will permanently change your outlook. . . . Richman . . . [is] one of this country’s most treasured thinkers and writers . . . . [H]e draws on the most contemporary and important scholarly research, while putting the evidence in prose that is accessible and compelling.” — Jeffrey A. Tucker, Liberty.me and Foundation for Economic Education

    About the Author

    Sheldon Richman is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org), chair of the Center’s trustees, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the author of three other books: Separating School and State: How to Liberate America’s Families (1994); Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax (1999); and Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State (2001), published by the Future of Freedom Foundation (fff.org). From 1997 to 2012 he was the editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education (fee.org), following which he edited Future of Freedom for the Future of Freedom Foundation. Previously he was an editor at the Cato Institute, the Institute for Humane Studies, and Inquiry magazine. Richman’s articles on foreign and economic policy, civil liberties, and American and Middle East history have appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, USA Today, Reason, Forbes, The Independent Review, The American Scholar, The American Conservative, Cato Policy Report, Journal of Economic Development, Journal of Palestine Studies, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Liberty, and other publications. He is a contributor to the The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Richman is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He blogs at Free Association (sheldonrichman.com).



    https://www.amazon.com/Americas-Coun...ter+revolution



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  3. #2
    Sheldon Richman is a self declared anarchist. Thus this is not "an unsurpassed libertarian exploration of the subject." He just wants to sell you books.

    If the constitution really was "a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class", why make it a republic form of government and not a much easier form to influence or control.

    Obviously the US constitution is flawed, they tried to correct the flaws with the bill of rights.
    I just want objectivity on this forum and will point out flawed sources or points of view at my leisure.

    Quote Originally Posted by spudea on 04/20/16
    There won't be a contested convention
    Quote Originally Posted by spudea on 05/30/17
    The shooting of Gabrielle Gifford was blamed on putting a crosshair on a political map. I wonder what event we'll see justified with pictures like this.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    Sheldon Richman is a self declared anarchist. Thus this is not "an unsurpassed libertarian exploration of the subject." He just wants to sell you books.
    Okay. Whatever.

    Moving on to something of actual substance ...

    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    If the constitution really was "a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class", why make it a republic form of government and not a much easier form to influence or control.
    You ask, "why [not] make it [...] a much easier form [of government] to influence or control?"

    But that is exactly what they did! And that is exactly why they did it ...

    You are dropping the context. Rather than comparing the Constitution to what it was actually designed and intended to replace in the real world (namely, the Articles of Confederation), you are instead trying to invoke a comparison to some vague, unspecified and entirely hypothetical "form ... much easier ... to influence or control" (one that would presumably have been "worse" than the Constitution). But that is exactly what the tighter "republic form" embodied in the Constitution was, relative to the looser "confederal form" embodied in the Articles of Confederation - namely, it was a "much easier form to influence or control." That was the whole point of it.

    That is why the federalists* wanted to replace the Articles of Confederation in the first place. Under the the Articles, they couldn't get the kinds of things they wanted on the scale they wanted them (more centralized power in fewer hands, wider and stronger taxation authority, the predicates for central banking, etc., etc.). So they wanted to replace the Articles with something more tractable to their purposes. That "something" ended up being the Constitution.

    And that is exactly why Patrick Henry famously declared that he "smellt a rat" when a convention was announced for 1787 in Philadelphia - ostensibly (but not really) for the sole purpose of proposing and discussing some possible amendments to the Articles of Confederation for each of the sovereign states to consider and maybe adopt ...

    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    Obviously the US constitution is flawed, they tried to correct the flaws with the bill of rights.
    That is ahistorical and makes no sense.

    The Bill of Rights did not purport to "correct" anything in the body of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was offered and adopted as a sop to the anti-federalists* who were opposed to or skeptical of the Constitution, not as a "patch" to fix anything the federalists thought or agreed might be wrong with it. In fact, many federalists argued that the Bill of Rights would itself introduce flaws into the Constitution. Indeed, it was the foremost federalist of all, Alexander Hamilton himself, who warned that the Bill of Rights was "dangerous" (his exact word). Hamilton argued that the Bill of Rights would just end up being regarded as a listing of permissions granted by the government to the people (thereby leaving the federal government free to do whatever else it wanted), rather than as a listing of just a few of the many and unenumerated rights reserved by the people. (I am rarely on Hamilton's side in anything, but he was entirely correct about this. That is exactly what has happened.)

    It is also interesting to note in this regard that between its creation and ratification (a mere ten months in a world where communication was limited to the speed of travel), the Constitution was never changed by so much as a jot or tittle. Not a single word was added or elided, nor even any comma or period moved or removed - despite the much vaunted "debate" over the document between the federalists and anti-federalists. As far as the actual content of the Constitution is concerned, that brief "debate" might as well have never happened at all ...



    * The federalists were indeed largely supported by "a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class," just as Richman said. The primary support for the anti-federalists, on the other hand, came from those around the other end of the spectrum - smaller merchants, farmers, laborers, etc. This is a generalization, of course, and there were certainly exceptions to be found on both sides (Patrick Henry being notable among the anti-federalists, for example). But Richman's characterization is nevertheless broadly accurate, and speaks directly to the animating "agendas and interests" of the opposing sides.
    Last edited by Occam's Banana; 08-02-2016 at 05:33 PM.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    Okay. Whatever.

    Moving on to something of actual substance ...



    You ask, "why [not] make it [...] a much easier form [of government] to influence or control?"

    But that is exactly what they did! And that is exactly why they did it ...

    You are dropping the context. Instead of comparing the Constitution to what it was actually designed and intended to replace in the real world (namely, the Articles of Confederation), you are trying to invoke a comparison to some vague, unspecified and entirely hypothetical "form ... much easier ... to influence or control" (one that would presumably have been "worse" than the Constitution). But that is exactly what the tighter "republic form" embodied in the Constitution was relative to the looser "confederal form" embodied in the Articles of Confederation - namely, it was a "much easier form to influence or control." That is the whole point.

    That is why the federalists* wanted to replace the Articles of Confederation in the first place. Under the the Articles, they couldn't get the kinds of things they wanted on the scale they wanted them (more centralized power in fewer hands, wider and stronger taxation authority, the predicates for central banking, etc., etc.). So they decided the Articles would have to be replaced with something more tractable to their purposes. That "something" ended up being the Constitution.

    And that is exactly why Patrick Henry famously declared that he "smellt a rat" when a convention was announced for 1787 in Philadelphia - ostensibly (but not really) for the sole purpose of proposing and discussing some possible amendments to the Articles of Confederation for each of the sovereign states to consider and maybe adopt ...



    That is ahistorical and makes no sense.

    The Bill of Rights did not purport to correct anything in the body of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was offered and adopted as a sop to the anti-federalists* who were opposed to or skeptical of the Constitution, not as a "patch" to fix anything the federalists thought might be wrong it. In fact, many federalists argued that the Bill of Rights would itself introduce flaws into the Constitution. Indeed, it was the foremost federalist of all, Alexander Hamilton himself, who warned that the Bill of Rights was "dangerous" (his exact word) and would end up just being regarded as a list of permissions granted by the government to the people, rather than as a list of restrictions laid by the people upon the government. (I am rarely on Hamilton's side in anything, but he was entirely correct about this. That is exactly what has happened.)

    It is also interesting to note in this regard that between its creation and ratification (a mere ten months in a world where communication was limited to the speed of travel), the Constitution was never changed by so much as a jot or tittle. Not a single word was added or elided, nor even any comma or period moved or removed - despite the much vaunted "debate" over the document between the federalists and anti-federalists. As far as the content of the Constitution is concerned, that brief "debate" might as well have never happened at all ...



    * The federalists were indeed largely supported by "a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class," just as Richman said. The primary support for the anti-federalists, on the other hand, came from those around the other end of the spectrum - smaller merchants, farmers, laborers, etc. This is a generalization, of course, and there were certainly exceptions (Patrick Henry being notable among the anti-federalists, for example). But Richman's characterization is nevertheless broadly accurate, and speaks directly to the animating "agendas and interests" of the opposing sides.
    <applause> and +rep.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    <applause> and +rep.
    Yep- spot on!
    There is no spoon.

  7. #6
    Wait- is Ronin Truth permanently banned???
    There is no spoon.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Wait- is Ronin Truth permanently banned???
    https://www.google.com/search?q=Is+R...anently+banned

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    Obviously the US constitution is flawed, they tried to correct the flaws with the bill of rights.
    True.

    As liberty-lovers we have to wear many hats with regard to the Constitution. Talking to someone at a normal mental location politically (main-stream) lauding the Constitution is the thing to do. The Constitution is broadly speaking a libertarian document, as is the Declaration of Independence (even more so), and the Bill of Rights. So here's these documents promoting libertarianism, and they are still widely revered and respected in America, and two of them (really, maybe all three) still technically have legal standing*. That's a propaganda plus-factor that we libertarians have in the US that we don't have anywhere else. And it's helped us greatly! We should continue to exploit it to the hilt!

    But then for those American History buffs who also are radical libertarians (and in particular L. Neil Smith or Murray Rothbard readers), yes, it's true the Articles of Confederation were even better. We should just call the Articles "America's Original Constitution" for branding purposes, by the way, if we're going to talk about them.

    And yes, it was a counter-coup. But to say anything that sounds disparaging towards the Constitution is going to arouse deep suspicion, resentment, etc., among right-tending persons who would otherwise be highly sympathetic to or even in agreement with our ideas. And then with left-tending people, they will be enthused by your open-mindedness in denouncing the Constitution (kill those sacred cows!), but they will definitely not go along with the Original Constitution being better. Because: Old White Men. Plus we think it's better because it was even more Constitutiony, and that's the opposite of what they would want. So it's not particularly good outreach to either of the dominant temperaments, unless you have a whole book-length chunk of their time to make your case. In a book. Preferably titled The Probability Broach. Otherwise: I love the Constitution! Hoorah for the Constitution! (sincerely!)

    * Sadly, only very technically and very theoretically; as in string-theory theoretical. You have to bring in about 15 dimensions before it starts to add up.



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Wait- is Ronin Truth permanently banned???
    Maybe. Maybe not. http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...=1#post6278908

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by helmuth_hubener View Post
    As liberty-lovers we have to wear many hats with regard to the Constitution. Talking to someone at a normal mental location politically (main-stream) lauding the Constitution is the thing to do. The Constitution is broadly speaking a libertarian document, as is the Declaration of Independence (even more so), and the Bill of Rights. So here's these documents promoting libertarianism, and they are still widely revered and respected in America, and two of them (really, maybe all three) still technically have legal standing*. That's a propaganda plus-factor that we libertarians have in the US that we don't have anywhere else. And it's helped us greatly! We should continue to exploit it to the hilt!
    No one has suggested otherwise. (I certainly haven't, at any rate.)

    By all means, the Constitution should be lauded for whatever virtues it possesses - and for all the reasons you commend. But to withhold criticism of it where such criticism is warranted will do no one any favors.

    And even worse than that is to maintain quiescence in the face of outright error ...

    Quote Originally Posted by helmuth_hubener View Post
    And yes, it was a counter-coup. But to say anything that sounds disparaging towards the Constitution is going to arouse deep suspicion, resentment, etc., among right-tending persons who would otherwise be highly sympathetic to or even in agreement with our ideas. And then with left-tending people, they will be enthused by your open-mindedness in denouncing the Constitution (kill those sacred cows!), but they will definitely not go along with the Original Constitution being better. Because: Old White Men. Plus we think it's better because it was even more Constitutiony, and that's the opposite of what they would want. So it's not particularly good outreach to either of the dominant temperaments, unless you have a whole book-length chunk of their time to make your case. In a book. Preferably titled The Probability Broach. Otherwise: I love the Constitution! Hoorah for the Constitution! (sincerely!)
    If denial of warm and fuzzy "storybook" renditions of history is not to be brooked in deference to the mythologized falsehoods that have so well served the current political system's interests, then why even bother? If such matters are to be pussyfooted around because it "sounds disparaging" or because someone might feel "suspicion" or "resentment," then what's the point?

    If the snowflakes aren't ready to hear it by now, when will they ever be? I mean, it's not like any of this adoration-of-the-Constitution-as-reliquary is a new thing. (And the majority of such veneration has historically been and still is mostly empty, thoughtless, reflexive and pro forma, anyway - as well as has been most of the disapprobation directed at those who fail to genuflect with sufficient reverence ...)

    In any case, the day I am no longer willing to discuss things (historical or otherwise) for what they actually are or were - just in order to avoid offending the sensibilities of those who don't (or don't want to) understand those things - is the day I will no longer be willing to waste my time discussing those things at all.

    I see little to be gained by going out of one's way to placate those alleged to be "highly sympathetic to or even in agreement with our ideas" but who, by word or action (or "feelz"), demonstrate that they are not actually sympathetic to or in agreement with those ideas. Still less do I see any value in crafting one's presentation in order to avoid the attentions of those who might twist or pervert it to their own ends. To do either would be to play into the hands of one's opponents, allowing them to dictate the shape, shade and meter of debate ...
    Last edited by Occam's Banana; 08-03-2016 at 10:00 PM.

  13. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by spudea View Post
    Obviously the US constitution is flawed, they tried to correct the flaws with the bill of rights.
    The flaws of the Constitution go WAY beyond that.

    Prime example: there is nothing in the document that so much as hints at consequences to be suffered in the event that some governmental instrument (human being) violates the rights of another man or breaches the public trust in some other manner. This is an absolutely RANK AMATEUR error. Those men were far from being amateurs. We must, therefore, conclude that the primary architects were up to something less than commendable there.

    Example: nowhere in the document are there any limitations placed upon the Congress worth the mention to prevent them from doing what they do so well: arbitrarily redefining terms such that they may pass virtually any law they please. "Felony" is perhaps the grand example of this. Through the obliquities of legislation, they have redefined "felon" such that the word carries almost no force, save that of the state against all painted with that moniker. Go back 100 years and a felon was a truly evil human being, fully deserving the miseries heaped upon him. Felons raped, robbed, maimed, and murdered.

    Today, get caught with a cannabis seed in your car seat and you become a "felon". Accidentally carry your sidearm into a post office - felon. Through the process of arbitrary legislation, "felon" has become so broad as to be effectively meaningless. In 1910 and all else equal, if I came to know you were a felon, I would know you were a bad man. Today, I have no idea offhand. If I'm hiring, I may not want to hire a guy just out of prison for murdering his wife and four children. However, I don't give a damn if you did five for having a joint in your pocket. You may be a decent guy who just got screwed by a hopelessly corrupt and evil "justice" (har har har...) system.

    Where are the reins on Jim Crow? All that needs happen is for the sufficient states to amend the Constitution, booting the negroes out... or killing them off, and it becomes the law of the land. Event SCOTUS would be de-balled on the matter. Not likely to happen, you say? That is very much true, but not impossible, not to mention that there is a whole universe of other, equally dangerous things to which the amendment process could be applied.

    How about malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct? Those bastards hide exculpatory evidence all the time and when caught, the worst consequence I can recall is being forced to resign. Big deal. How about for every year the falsely convicted spends in prison, such a lowlife prosecutor receives ten in solitary confinement?

    We could write a book on this.

    Doesn't much matter whether there was a "Hamiltonian coup" afoot in the framing of the Constitution. All that matters is the result, which has largely been crap.

    PS: "Spudea": is that like Judea, only for potatoes?
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    No one has suggested otherwise. (I certainly haven't, at any rate.)
    Oh, I know! You and I are, as is typical, in full agreement on all points of substance.

    I am not so much recommending not discussing it. I myself have shared many, many times with all and sundry the glory that was America's Original Constitution. Perhaps I've done so as much or more than anyone in this thread. I was more maybe just sharing why it is that you will get shot down and the discussion will go nowhere. From experience! Believe me, I know. For instance, there was a good, solid Ron Paul Group guy (we actually elected him and sent him to the National Convention) I knew who I gave (or tried to give and he refused? I don't remember) a CD with a Mises Institute talk talking about some of these federalist vs. anti-federalist issues. I thought he'd really enjoy learning more of the history of the Founding, being a big Patriot and pro-Constitution, pro-Founding Fathers. Surprise! He went full red-flag mode, batten all hatches, raise all walls.

    Anyway, obviously keep sharing. If it sounded like I was advising don't ever talk about the AoCs, well, I have no intention of following that advice myself and will probably end up talking about it sometime in the next couple months when a conversation makes me think of it (especially now that it will be in my mental back-burner because of this thread!). People's reaction to it -- known, predictable, field-tested-and-proven reaction -- is just something to keep in mind.

    When one knows enough truth (as you do) and enough history (as you do) eventually it becomes so much, your head is so packed full of it, that it becomes not only possible but necessary to pick and choose which truths and which historical episodes/lessons that you are going to emphasize. Which ones get the biggest spotlight? That's all.

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    We could write a book on this.



  16. #14
    "No state or government can limit itself through a written constitution, no matter how fine the words or how noble the sentiments they express. It is one of the many virtues of Sheldon Richman's book that it shows how this is true even of the American Constitution, which despite the promises of its designers and the insistence of its defenders down the years, made limited government less and not more likely."
    That's quite true, but it applies as well to the Articles as to the Constitution.
    "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."

    -H. L. Mencken

  17. #15
    Ok, first time poster here, so ... some slack is requested.

    Helmuth;
    So here's these documents promoting libertarianism, and they are still widely revered and respected in America, and two of them (really, maybe all three) still technically have legal standing*.
    I think, if you look around, the Dec. Of Ind. does not have legal standing. Granted, the last person I heard speak on this was some 20-30 year Congressman, who seemed quite happy in the fact that his handy-work couldn't be questioned, only repealed. I think it was the part about:
    "...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."
    That scared him. It should've been included, by reference, in sentence 1, though. Along with something about this being an "inclusive and comprehensive contract".

    Osan;
    How about malicious prosecution and prosecutorial misconduct? Those bastards hide exculpatory evidence all the time and when caught, the worst consequence I can recall is being forced to resign. Big deal. How about for every year the falsely convicted spends in prison, such a lowlife prosecutor receives ten in solitary confinement?
    Maybe a bit harsh. I would settle for them receiving the sentence for the crime they committed, plus the sentence meted out to their victim. Also, all personal belongings to be sold, the proceeds going to the innocent person, up to the amount they would have earned, if free.

    Malicious prosecution: The state pays all attorney fees, court costs, and reimburses the innocent person.

    "No state or government can limit itself through a written constitution, no matter how fine the words or how noble the sentiments they express. It is one of the many virtues of Sheldon Richman's book that it shows how this is true even of the American Constitution, which despite the promises of its designers and the insistence of its defenders down the years, made limited government less and not more likely."
    Don't know as I buy into that, really. The document still stands, says what it says in plain English. Yes, the weasels in Washington have run over it like a freight train, but also... the people have let them!

    And the people have been "bought off" with endless goodies "somebody else" pays for. Bribery and complacency have done their worst.

    I mean the 4th and 5th have no provision, or exception for times of war, times of "pretend war" or when some government stooge wants people really, really scared. This is why The Un-Patriot Act, and FISA were unconstitutional, from day 1. It was the people who sighed a collective "Oh Darn." and let it go.

    Ben Franklin's warning, "Madam, we have given you a republic — if you can keep it," requires a hair trigger. Folk have lost it. Question is can they get it back? Over what? I mean they put up with the NSA collecting their every email, and phone call to Aunt Bitty. They stand in line, holding their shoes, while granny is strip searched, to get photographed in the nude. This done by a pack of mongrels with a documented record of failing to do their job 95% of the time!

    In my fire breathing youth, I was all in favor of a "do-over". And then, about 20 yrs ago it hit me. Exactly who would I trust to write out a "new" binding contract, like it?

    And given the snake pit of politicians, most likely to jump at the chance to organize, and participate in the process, I don't give the project much of a chance (Hell, even Obama calls himself a "Constitutional lawyer"! He shows no sign he's even read it). Not a statesman among 'em.

    No, the people have done this to themselves.

    Government ignores the document, because people have a proven track record of not caring.

    Once I'd realized this, I decided the better ...ok safer course, was to try to get people to wake up, and look how far gov't has strayed from what was intended. How am I doing? Well, so far, I think I gave my daughter convinced... mostly.

    "It may be that the American people are no longer educated, or interested enough to sustain a free society." Paul Craig Roberts

    Those words still make me boil. Mostly because I'm beginning to agree with them.

    Still, I'm stubborn. I keep looking for that "trigger event" that will make folk look up, and see what's slipping away from them.
    Fred

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by r3volution 3.0 View Post
    "No state or government can limit itself through a written constitution, no matter how fine the words or how noble the sentiments they express. It is one of the many virtues of Sheldon Richman's book that it shows how this is true even of the American Constitution, which despite the promises of its designers and the insistence of its defenders down the years, made limited government less and not more likely."
    That's quite true, but it applies as well to the Articles as to the Constitution.
    It's true of all societies, and applies everywhere and always. Every society has a constitution - which is to say, every polity is "constituted" in some manner (much of it implicitly "unwritten," perhaps some of it explicitly "written") which serves, among other things, to delineate rules by which force is to be permitted or debarred. The maintenance of such rules, whatever they may be, is not and cannot be contingent upon the rules themselves, which are but abstractions in any case.

    BTW, this is why, unlike many other anarcho-libertarians, I have never been enamored of Lysander Spooner's oft-cited quote, "But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist." Either his statement applies with respect to the particular historical events and circumstances as they actually occurred ("it ... has been powerless to prevent it"), in which case it cannot serve, as some would have it, as a general indictment of the US Constitution per se (since things might have been otherwise), or it is a general truism that could just as easily be directed at any "constituted" polity that ever might fail to maintain its rules (which is to say, all of them - including "stateless" polities). IOW: Spooner overreached himself on this point and "proved too much," so to speak. If he had just stuck to "it has ... authorized such a government as we have had" and left it at that, he'd have been on much more defensible ground.

    (As for the closing portion of Kukathas's remark, the application of the rules delineated in the US Constitution did indeed "ma[k]e limited government less and not more likely" relative to the Articles of Confederation. As I noted in my first post in this thread, that was the whole point of replacing the Articles with the Constitution in the first place.)



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Occam's Banana View Post
    It's true of all societies, and applies everywhere and always. Every society has a constitution - which is to say, every polity is "constituted" in some manner (much of it implicitly "unwritten," perhaps some of it explicitly "written") which serves, among other things, to delineate rules by which force is to be permitted or debarred. The maintenance of such rules, whatever they may be, is not and cannot be contingent upon the rules themselves, which are but abstractions in any case.
    It was this realization some 20 years ago that gave me cause to abandon my constitution project. I kept closing loopholes and with each one, two more would open up. It finally hit me that a constitution is literally nothing, certainly not without the people being fully on board.

    But now take a step back and observe the asymmetry between the structural underpinnings of a "free" nation and that of a tyranny. The constitution of a free land leads to tyranny and tyranny leads to more tyranny, most often. And in those rare occasions where tyranny is eliminated, it is done so only very temporarily, the same people who fought for freedom invariably becoming or succumbing to the new tyrants.

    This all brings me back to my studies in thermodynamics when I was a very much younger man. Entropy rules. All systems move toward entropy. Tyranny is more entropic than freedom, at least in the context of sedentary civilizations. The moment you fix yourself to a plot of land, you assassinate your freedoms because you have limited them by the very act of imprisoning yourself where 'X' marks the spot. You then begin to want more than that which your own hands can provide and once the wanting starts, the decay into tyranny soon follows. I cannot say whether it must perforce be this way, but only that it always is. As the mental landscape of people d/evolves with time, people begin to want and expect more and more of life and of others. Why did slavery arise? Slavery is an artifact unique to sedentary civilizations. With settlements arise things that people must then defend against predation from other humans. Therein lay the opportunity for the strong man who successfully manages the defense of that which "the people" have built. In time, the strong man becomes king and further on as his perceptual landscape rearranges itself, he begins to want that which his own hands alone cannot provide. Temples, bridges, monuments to his own glory all represent super-human endeavors whose attainment can only be realized by building super-human organisms wherein the individual man is but a single cell.

    When the king cannot find sufficient men to do his bidding through voluntary means, he resorts to force - conscription and outright chattel enslavement in order that his visions for whatever project might be realized. This is all that any sedentary human civilization has ever come to. Not a single one has come to any other end, save perhaps those that have been destroyed by those aggressor who themselves inevitably came to it.

    And as those things take on a more prominent value in the minds of the average man, the drive to rationalize the plundering of one's fellows grows out of all proportion and eventually you end up in 21st century America, Europe, China, and so on, effectively a stinking chattel slave who no longer even has the benefit of being fed, clothed, and housed by he master. The overhead of the slave is left for the slave to foot.

    BTW, this is why, unlike many other anarcho-libertarians, I have never been enamored of Lysander Spooner's oft-cited quote, "But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist." Either his statement applies with respect to the particular historical events and circumstances as they actually occurred ("it ... has been powerless to prevent it"), in which case it cannot serve, as some would have it, as a general indictment of the US Constitution per se (since things might have been otherwise), or it is a general truism that could just as easily be directed at any "constituted" polity that ever might fail to maintain its rules (which is to say, all of them - including "stateless" polities). IOW: Spooner overreached himself on this point and "proved too much," so to speak. If he had just stuck to "it has ... authorized such a government as we have had" and left it at that, he'd have been on much more defensible ground.
    But at the end of the day the polity is naught more than the individual. Spooner's error lies in that he seems to implicitly attribute to the Constitution characteristics not in evidence. Of course it had no power to stop it. If I write a new constitution and lock it in a bank vault, what will it change? Nothing. It is only the people that change things. To imply that any constitution has power (which can be inferred from the quote) is absurd on its face. It is a piece of paper with scribblings upon it. Similarly, the "polity" has no power because it is naught but an abstraction. The only reality there are the people making it up the the agreements to which they hold in terms of how they shall comport themselves with respect to the ways of politics.

    The individual is the beginning, middle, and end of all the misery in this world. Constitutions have nothing to do with it per sé, but only insofar as they serve as the inspiration of people to act in one manner or another.

    That all said, I still believe that if one is to accept the use of such instruments that it behooves men to contrive them in the best ways possible. In this regard the US Constitution fails miserably. I maintain that it is a document written for scholarly saints and not the contemporary Meaner. Had we a constitution such as the one of my designing in place that addressed in sufficient detail the law, judges, legislators, and executives would have a far more difficult time with violating the rights of their fellows. Indeed, such a document might even go far toward instilling and maintaining the proper attitude of intolerance needed to keep those entrusted with the duties of governance properly nervous about how they discharge their obligations to the public.
    Last edited by osan; 09-30-2016 at 08:58 AM.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by osan View Post
    This all brings me back to my studies in thermodynamics when I was a very much younger man. Entropy rules. All systems move toward entropy. Tyranny is more entropic than freedom, at least in the context of sedentary civilizations.
    Gad you are ignorant. Entropy is a law, it has nothing to do with systems..
    in a nutshell, it defines the flow of energy.
    not systems fool.

    the 2nd Law of thermodynamics predates information technologies by a VERY wide margin.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

    "for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson.

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by fredkc View Post
    Maybe a bit harsh.
    Intended to be. One thing I have learned in my 58 years is that some people never learn. For me, violating the rights of a man by employing the abuse of one's mantle of government is right up there with child rape for despicable and unforgivable crimes. Those who do this need to be slapped down rapidly, with great and blunt force, and without the least shred of mercy. Human instruments of governance need to leave their tenures with bleeding ulcers for the trepidation their daily lives must be as they churn in fear of misapplying their authority to the detriment and violation of one of those whom they swore an oath to serve. This state, generated by their knowing that if they pooch they will suffer greatly, is the only thing that may offer even a reasonable assurance that they will think twice before acting. We are become a degenerate culture where every perversion and stupidity is elevated in praise and where decency is thrown to the ground, reviled, and cast aside. Reason, logic, and appeals to that which is right have no place in the box of effective tools against the abuse of power in such a land as this has become. Rather, stern and non-equivocating force carrying the timbre of raw and merciless vengeance is the only thing that, when applied to make of a man a cruel example for the rest to witness, produces the best result that one can expect in such circumstances.

    In my fire breathing youth, I was all in favor of a "do-over". And then, about 20 yrs ago it hit me. Exactly who would I trust to write out a "new" binding contract, like it?
    I wrote one. Vastly superior, and it still will not get the job done because the mean American is a corrupt nitwit interested in how much free blow he can put up his nose, staring at the tube, and getting his knob polished by whatever means suits him.

    No, the people have done this to themselves.

    Government ignores the document, because people have a proven track record of not caring.

    Once I'd realized this, I decided the better ...ok safer course, was to try to get people to wake up, and look how far gov't has strayed from what was intended. How am I doing? Well, so far, I think I gave my daughter convinced... mostly.
    The fly in that ointment is that so few have any interest in waking up. They want their neat and easy little matrix existences. To attempt to rouse them from the stupor is to invite their wrath.

    "It may be that the American people are no longer educated, or interested enough to sustain a free society." Paul Craig Roberts

    Those words still make me boil. Mostly because I'm beginning to agree with them.
    You may be a bit late to that game, but welcome.

    Still, I'm stubborn. I keep looking for that "trigger event" that will make folk look up, and see what's slipping away from them.
    Fred
    By that time it will likely be too late. I hope I am wrong on that point. I also hope there are enough people left here with self-respect sufficient to the task of putting this bull$#@! to ends, but I am not confident because the only likely way of achieving such a goal is to kill people. I see no possibility of persuading with words sufficient volumes of Americans to come to their senses. They think you are mad for suggesting such things. That pretty well narrows the field of options down to one. We did this to ourselves and now we will have to pay either by laying down for the tyrant, of putting bullets in him. I no longer see any reasonable possibility for a peaceful correction.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.


  23. #20
    I think the constitution would be fine if we'd revisit our moral state as a nation. Our documents are framed on a specific foundation for moral code that is a product of Man's Divine origin. That spiritual relationship is what guides proper Man-to-Man/Governement-to-Man relations. I don't think it's fair to blame the documents. Blame society for becoming anti-moral and rejecting the foundation that our documents were based on. That right there is the most unrecogniized threat to Individual Liberty today. The erosion of public morality. You can't and won't have Individual Liberty without public virtue/morality. Man wants more because he forgot who he is. Where he came from. And why he has the natural rights that he has. That he, himself, is of primary value and importance compared with material things. He forgot his moral duty. Or rejects it. Whichever. Same thing. End of the day, we traded in Lawfulness that was based on that moral foundation for legalities tht are based on anything but.

    We have a moral problem is what we have.
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 08-18-2016 at 09:19 PM.

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Citizen View Post
    I think the constitution would be fine if we'd revisit our moral state as a nation.

    We have a moral problem is what we have.
    Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

    The character and temperament of the people determine the destiny of a nation. Beyond that, the details of their legal documents, their institutions, etc., are almost academic.

    Other countries (Mexico?) have at various times in history decided to implement the US Constitution for themselves, almost verbatim. "Hey, it obviously worked -- let's copy it!" Didn't work out the same way for them. Why? A different character of people.

    So, the most interesting Constitutional question, the one with the longest-lasting and most profound import, is actually: How do you raise your children?



    It's mind-blowing once you fully grok it! That, and not the Supreme Court of Last Resort, is what decides how the country will be run and how the words in the founding documents will be interpreted.

  25. #22
    Natural Citizen;
    I think the constitution would be fine if we'd revisit our moral state as a nation. Our documents are framed on a specific foundation for moral code that is a product of Man's Divine origin.

    We have a moral problem is what we have.
    Helmuth;
    Other countries (Mexico?) have at various times in history decided to implement the US Constitution for themselves, almost verbatim. "Hey, it obviously worked -- let's copy it!" Didn't work out the same way for them. Why? A different character of people.
    From memory, but close:
    "The Constitution is intended to govern a moral, god-fearing people, and wholly unsuited to any other kind." James Madison

    Osan;
    Intended to be. One thing I have learned in my 58 years is that some people never learn. For me, violating the rights of a man by employing the abuse of one's mantle of government is right up there with child rape for despicable and unforgivable crimes.
    Hence the old Common Law definition of " High crimes, and misdemeanors":
    "Using the color of authority to subvert justice"
    Osan;
    I no longer see any reasonable possibility for a peaceful correction.
    Well, in my 64 years, one thing I've learned is that with violent overthrows, comes a high probability of throwing the baby out with the bath water. I think it's because the fact that those having, and willing to use their violent nature, being the ones who wind up making the next set of rules.
    Fred

  26. #23
    Odd, looks like I dbl posted somehow. Huh!
    Haven't seen V-Bulletin do that b4
    Last edited by fredkc; 08-20-2016 at 05:52 PM.

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by fredkc View Post
    From memory, but close:
    "The Constitution is intended to govern a moral, god-fearing people, and wholly unsuited to any other kind." James Madison
    Yep. That's exactly what I was thinking of when I said that. Our traditional philosophy of governance is religious in nature.

    Good observation there, Fred.



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  29. #25
    There are several books on this subject already: "Hologram of Liberty" and "Cracks in the Constitution."

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by helmuth_hubener View Post
    Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

    The character and temperament of the people determine the destiny of a nation. Beyond that, the details of their legal documents, their institutions, etc., are almost academic.
    That is exactly what FEE argues. Most notably the "Are we good enough for Liberty." But how to change/influence character?

  31. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Citizen View Post
    I think the constitution would be fine if we'd revisit our moral state as a nation. Our documents are framed on a specific foundation for moral code that is a product of Man's Divine origin. That spiritual relationship is what guides proper Man-to-Man/Governement-to-Man relations. I don't think it's fair to blame the documents. Blame society for becoming anti-moral and rejecting the foundation that our documents were based on. That right there is the most unrecogniized threat to Individual Liberty today. The erosion of public morality. You can't and won't have Individual Liberty without public virtue/morality. Man wants more because he forgot who he is. Where he came from. And why he has the natural rights that he has. That he, himself, is of primary value and importance compared with material things. He forgot his moral duty. Or rejects it. Whichever. Same thing. End of the day, we traded in Lawfulness that was based on that moral foundation for legalities tht are based on anything but.

    We have a moral problem is what we have.
    Well now you have anti-human propaganda in pop culture - just look at flicks dealing with AI or aliens.

    "Humans are dumb apes and deserve to be exterminated or heavily controlled."

    Case in point, the upcoming film "ARRIVAL." Looks like more misanthropic BS. It creates low self esteem for us a species, and with low self esteem comes easy manipulation into servitude and slavery. Just look at how the west is reacting to all of this "white guilt" created by the cultural marxists.
    Last edited by Son_of_Liberty90; 08-25-2016 at 05:23 PM.

  32. #28
    I have long said that we should have retained the Articles of Confederation. It is hard to see how such a cusp in history would leave us in worse straits than we are today.

  33. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by fredkc View Post
    From memory, but close:
    "The Constitution is intended to govern a moral, god-fearing people, and wholly unsuited to any other kind." James Madison
    Which has been one of my central and oft-repeated points here. Many, here and elsewhere, go on about the Constitution and how we must either replace or amend it, or return to the Articles. It's a futile endeavor in a land infested with this:



    and this...



    and... well, you know.

    Hence the old Common Law definition of " High crimes, and misdemeanors": "Using the color of authority to subvert justice"
    When's the last time you heard anyone in "government" make reference to such a thing?

    Well, in my 64 years, one thing I've learned is that with violent overthrows, comes a high probability of throwing the baby out with the bath water.
    The track record is not good, I agree.

    I think it's because the fact that those having, and willing to use their violent nature, being the ones who wind up making the next set of rules.
    Fred
    Perhaps, but as likely or more so, those who prevail are often as rank a set of idiots as those they overcame. Or as corrupt. Lots of corrupt people seem REALLY nice, until you endow them with power. It's an ancient pattern.
    Through lives and lives shalt thou pay, O' king.

    "It’s just interesting to note how constant government oppression can kill people’s fighting spirit." - Withur We




    Pray for reset.




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