Guest Commentary – Respecting the Founders

After doing the open mic we had the NBA Finals on Thursday night, and with my Celtics playing, I simply cannot miss watching those games. And to have it be game 7 as well… I will only say that I felt that the officiating was horrible, as evidenced by the fact that the Celtics had 5 players with 4 or more fouls with 3 minutes left. The Lakers had 1. The Lakers were sent to the line to shoot free throws 21 times in the 4th quarter. The Celtics only 6. 37-17 for the entire game. Refs just were determined to give the Lakers every chance they could to score. I am disgusted with the game. The Celtics beat them, the refs took it away. For the guest commentary, we have another appearance by Jon Smith. Jon has been sending me guest commentary articles regularly. I am always impressed with the way that he thinks out the issues, and I enjoy reading his articles. Certainly when I have other guest commentaries to post, I will do so. But I am never disappointed when I am posting Jon’s. For anyone who is not aware, Jon also has his own blog, which also usually feature the articles that we discuss here. You can visit Jon’s blog here: The Libertarian Blog (will open up a new window).

I find this particular topic an interesting one. We have heard from some here at SUFA that believe a complete return to the Constitution would be the cure to all that ails America. I have disagreed with that premise from the start. In my opinion, that is merely pushing a reset button, and would eventually lead to a far worse situation than even the one that we have now. In other words, the same degradation of freedom and liberty would occur. However, I believe that this time it would occur far more rapidly than it did the first time. So the calls for a return to Constitutional purity are dangerous calls.

It amounts to the call for a Constitutional Convention to be held in today’s modern world. That would be a gigantic mistake. We are at a point in our history where the population of citizens is at an all time low in terms of understanding liberty and espousing its benefits. Progressive thought has permeated the American mindset and poisoned the waters of freedom. To have a Constitutional Convention in today’s political environment would surely lead to a document that is 20,000 pages long and which favors the “greater good of society” over the individual rights of man. For those who are willing to risk scrapping the flawed vision for liberty that we have in favor of a new attempt in today’s environment, more power to you. But I will not support such an endeavor, and a growing number of liberty seekers are beginning to understand the flaw to this idea as well.

The founders were fallible men. They did not present us with a perfect document, nor did they have the absolute correct path forward. This has been proven with the perversion of the Constitution that we have seen over the last 100 years. But I do believe that they truly were men of great vision. They were well thought out men who analyzed all they could find and attempted to come up with the absolute best form of government that they could imagine in their time. Could we do better? Maybe, but I doubt that a better version could be sold to the public in today’s environment.

But even if we could today do better, we should absolutely give a gigantic applause to the efforts of these men who created a document during very different times that is essentially still a document that is pertinent to today’s world. They didn’t have the internet. They didn’t have access to nearly the amount of information or insight that an average high school kid today does. Yet despite their limitations, they crafted a brilliant document that has essentially stood the test of time. I believe we could write a better Constitution, but I also believe that even if we did, it would not be nearly as able to stand up to 250 years of scrutiny the way the current one has.

Enough of my thoughts for now, I will let Jon offer his thoughts to all of you. And then we can all discuss away for the rest of the weekend!

Respect the Founders
by Jon Smith

There is a lot of fuss about the founding fathers of this country.

There are those who swear by them, feel that they are some of the greatest men in our history, and believe their intentions were impecable. Most of them also believe in the Constitution of the United States as a great document with few flaws, and that things would be far better if we got back to it instead of treading on it constantly.

There are others who point out the flaws of the Founders, the hypocrisy of them being slave owners or sexist or whatever. Most of them are quick to dismiss the constitution as an outdated document, or at best as an “evolving document”, something that should change with the culture, as if the wisdom of today and our leaders is comparable to the Founders.

I get the point of those who disrespect the founders. They preached equality, but some owned slaves, and they did not move to free them. They claimed all men were created equal, and this excluded women and children. Some even spoke more highly of landowners than other men, and they were cautious not to anger the educated and aristocratic far more than the rank and file. The more liberal minds and the so-called “socially conscious” thought the state was restricted too much by the constitution and claim the founders were uncharitable aristocrats, rich people, who incited to war many with less resources and less understanding then they, and lived to tell the tale, pronouncing themselves leaders. Further accusations even include Early American attitudes toward the Native population. On the side of the libertarian and freedom loving folk that criticize the founders, much criticism is held for various flaws in the Constitution. Separation of church and state was not clear enough, separation of business and state was not present, the second amendment was not clear enough, and the biggest blunder of all, the support of a public education system.

These flaws and more are not denied. There are flaws in the constitution. There is language that is lost and things misunderstood. Intentions are lost because of a lack of clarity. The founders themselves had imperfections. Some were too quick to include British common law in the standards of courts. Exceptions were made in the principles of freedom for many things that should not have been. Even those who have read the other writings and believe in the purer intentions of the founders admit to mistakes in the constitution and errors in the ways of the founders themselves.

Yet:

I still hold them in the highest esteem. I find that the constitution, if followed (of course including the parts that fixed the inequality of men and expanded it to all mankind) would right a lot of our current ills. Despite its gaps and flaws, it remains a document of freedom, with many of the most important aspects of freedom intact. I think it needs to be redone, re-invented. I think that it could be returned to, but that we can learn from the last 240 years and do better this time. But the founders I still respect. Why?

Certainly they were educated men, philosophers, men who thought of something greater than themselves, and men who opened the world to the idea of equality and distribution of power. They took great risk to their own life and property. They tried to follow the protocols granted them in the government they had, and held the moral high ground, at least in many ways, before declaring revolution. They were not the first, they were not thinking of freedom in totally original terms, but they were still early in the game. They created a system that kept men free for a long time, and it worked much better and for much longer than many of them feared.

Ultimately though, I think it comes down to the following analogy that dawned on me the other day. Thomas Edison, known as the inventor of the light bulb. He was not the first to think of making light from electricity. He was not the only one working on that problem. In fact, some of his original ideas, such as the phonograph, occurred in part by accident. The modern LED light is far superior to Edison’s bulb. The incandescent bulb, Edison’s triumph, was the primary light producing source for many many decades. But we can easily point out that the LED bulb lasts a great deal longer, is cheaper to make, burns far less power, is dimmable and comes on instantly just like incandescent, It produces far less heat, making it safer, and it can be made of parts that do not shatter or have sharp residue when broken. Does this mean that Edison was an idiot for not creating the LED light? Should we berate him for giving up too early and not finding a better solution? Should we point to the many flaws of the incandescent light as proof of the idiocy of Thomas Edison?

Of course not, to do such a thing would be absurd. Nearly as absurd as holding the understanding of men from a culture dominated by Monarchies nearly two and a half centuries ago against today’s standards and calling them hypocrites and fools and idiots. Certainly technology has advanced more than the nature of man, but it must be understood that within the culture of the day, the Founders took great risk and made a great stride in the world of freedom. They deserve honor and respect. This does not mean that we should venerate the constitution and treat it as the final answer to the world, but it does mean that we should at least look at it as a starting point. The wheel is already invented, now let us make one that works better, smoother, and is tougher against the constant attack of tyranny.

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Comments

  1. Great article! Very well written! Oh, wait, that’s mine. Just kidding, posting for comments. 😀

    • Good thought provoking article Jon. 🙂 It’s early, and my initial thoughts weren’t about the flaws in the document, but rather the flaws in man who choose to interpret it so that it meets their desires. The Constitution is fairly clear, when understanding the use of the English language at the time it was written. Today, one could write a simple sentence and ten people will attach ten different meanings.

      More later.

      G!

  2. Mathius says:

    USW Said:

    The Celtics beat them, the refs took it away.

    Oh, I’m sorry.. sounds like someone is just bitter because they root for the inferior team.

  3. Buck the Wala says:

    “Certainly technology has advanced more than the nature of man, but it must be understood that within the culture of the day, the Founders took great risk and made a great stride in the world of freedom. They deserve honor and respect. This does not mean that we should venerate the constitution and treat it as the final answer to the world, but it does mean that we should at least look at it as a starting point. The wheel is already invented, now let us make one that works better, smoother, and is tougher against the constant attack of tyranny.”

    And this is precisely why so many of us leftists prescribe to the ‘living document’ theory of constitutional interpretation. The Constitution is an amazing document, but it would be wrong to treat it as the final answer to today’s world, as you say. The Constitution does provide a starting point, but it must be re-read and interpreted to apply to today’s very different society.

    Good article though!

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      Buck, amend it, there is a process, don’t make it subject to a momentary whim.

      • Buck the Wala says:

        Its very easy to cast aside ‘living document’ as subject to one’s momentary and arbitrary whim. But that just isn’t the case. In the vast majority of cases there is a long, drawn out debate as to what the terms of the Constitution mean and how they apply to the facts of a given case.

        Amendments are another thing altogether — to me, amending the constitution is to CHANGE the very terms of the constitution, whereas ‘living document’ is not to change the terms but to read, interpret and apply the terms as they currently exist.

        Reading your post below I take issue with your insistence that “‘A constitution which is is flexible and is a “growing” document is no constitution at all.’” It is an inflexible constitution, in my opinion, that poses a greater threat, binding us all to the will of those who tred centuries before us.

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Just a quickie here Buck, back in the day, I read the “Federalist Papers” which I was encouraged to do. They seemed to answer a lot of my questions about how far the framers meant to go. Have you ever gone through them?

          Please do not take this as any type of knock, just a question.

          The post civil war amendments, I always thought, were to guarantee, in no uncertain terms, the benefits of the Constitution to all, not to CHANGE the terms. I can agree with you here that sometimes wording can cause problems. The born in the USA automatic citizenship amendment was drafted particularly to grant the former slaves citizenship or rather prevent them from being denied citizenship. There was no intent, in debate at the time, to cover the children of visitors or people here illegally. So, if I were an unelected judge asked to make a call on that amendment, I would have to study the debates of the time, the learned papers written, editorials of the time and make a decision as to intent AT THAT MOMENT in our history. If I were to find there was no intent to carry it forward to the future, then I would opine that children of visitors and of illegals are not covered. On the other hand it says what it says and as a jurist I would have to rule that the words stand until such time as they are amended or clarified by a new amendment passed by the legislature and sanctioned by the states.

          Having lived through the ERA era I found it interesting that the amendment failed, not because of any macho hostility to rights for women but because the majority understood that progress was being made through a natural process and there was no need to establish new special rights in the Constitution. That was the beauty of the amendment process.

          It has been bandied about much in the past few years that SC justices such as Ginzberg are reaching to overseas precedent in their decision making process in an attempt to give us that “living document” thing. Outside of the fact that in the case of creating Constitutions, we, the United States are the oldest and most experienced, at having one and running it, there is always the other issue (at least in my mind) that these Europeans are the hooples who gave you two World Wars in one century a body count of 100 million or so and still, even the English, perhaps the most civilized, don’t have a bill of rights.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            I have read through many of the Federalist Papers, as well as many other materials involving the debates held at the time of the Constitutional Congress. Many of the Founders (not all – there was plenty of disagreement among them, just as we have disagreement now) wanted a ‘living document’ approach to constitutional interpretation. They wanted future generations to read the document and interpret its provisions to apply to changing times. This is one reason why the document is not as clear cut (to me) as you and others believe it to be.

            The Civil War Amendments were, in large part, to extend the Constitution to all, and you are arguably correct in that these amendments did not seek to change the terms of the constitution. But this is not true with all Amendments. Amendments can (and do) seek to add, omit, and change the terms of the original document. That is their purpose. If I can get the support of a supermajority I can change the constitution to anything I deem fit through the Amendment process.

            As for looking to international law – lets be clear that this was not applying international law as governing precedent. Rather, it was used to assist in the determination of what constitutes ‘cruel and unusual punishment’ in modern society. Not sure where there’s a problem in this.

            • SK Trynosky Sr says:

              I don’t remember that part about the founding fathers wanting it to reflect changing times but, even if I agree with you on that who wanted the mechanism to be only an unelected judge or, a bureaucrat in the Department of Whatever or an executive order?

              The Europeans, cruel and unusual punishment? The guys who gave us concentration camps? What country taught these folks about law in 1945?

              • I can say one thing for damn sure.

                We do not need any sort whatsoever of a “Global Goverment”.

                Not if it’s going to be based on a European model anyway.

      • Displaced Okie says:

        Exactly, the Constitution is a living document because it was designed to be amended to adjust to changes in the future not be cause it can be reinterpreted. Just my two cents.

        D.O.

      • I am with SK. Amend it if it NEEDS to be amended.

        However, I do not believe amending it at this time is the answer. Especially not with the Progressive agenda that we have now in charge. And I don’t mean Liberals like Buck and Mathius.

        There are differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives that can be worked out and compromised with that would leave us all satisfied.

        This is not so with the Progressives. Most of their ideas involve total control of our lives and businesses. Their isn’t any compromise with them. It is their way or the highway.

        • Buck the Wala says:

          Sorry Esom, but I am a proud Progressive! (as I believe is Mathius – but I will let him speak for himself on this) 🙂

          As I said, Amendments are very different than theories of constitutional interpretation.

          • SK Trynosky Sr says:

            Yes you are right and you have just proved my point. Taking it a step farther, an Amendment must win the support of the people through their elected officials. A theory merely has to be posited by someone with the power of the Wizard of Oz. It then affects us all and we are all told to shut up because we are not “experts” as the judges are.

            “1984” is a very telling book, what was OK yesterday is not OK today. “Brave New World” is too. What we don’t seem to realize is that we think we are all Alphas but in reality are or are becoming “Epsilons”.

            I used to think of myself as a progressive and probably still do. What I have done however is to live a progressive life, treating all fair and equal, working for the common good but never insisting that what I do become required by statute for all. Ayn Rand notwithstanding, forced charity is no charity and breeds resentment at best.

          • Well! If that is truly the case then I apologize for not calling you a progressive nimrod! 🙂

            Just kidding. You don’t seem to be the kind of Progressive i’m talking about though Buck.

            • You’re talking about all the progressive czars like Van Jones and Cass Sustein. Buck isn’t that bad..although sometimes I’d like to choke him 🙂

        • Well, I can’t honestly say I know the difference between “liberal” and “progress.” I’ve always just thought of them as two names for the same thing.

          Care to clarify?

          • Displaced Okie says:

            I think that rhere used to be a HUGE difference between progressives and liberals, before the progressives hijacked the word lberal. I am pretty sure JAC can explain it. I’ve seen him post referring to himself as a “classical” liberal.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            I too often use the terms interchangeably. Maybe we are just liberal progressives?

          • SK Trynosky Sr says:

            Probably a hard one to define since both have changed so much. By the standards of today, liberals of my youth, Truman, Kennedy (Jack), Humphrey, Scranton, Romney (the father) and a whole bunch more would be considered conservatives today.

            If you look at the 1960’s SDS whom I assume everybody would acknowledge were over the top radicals at the time, you find that they are running the White House today. You don’t have to take my word for this, just check out “The Port Huron” statement. So what is a liberal in this day and age?

            Both Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were progressives. The one overarching thing we can say about them, based solely on their foreign policy goals was that they thought they knew better than anyone else what was good for the country, the people and the world. In that sense, Progressives have not changed. They both sought to impose their beliefs on all.

            Above, I said that I consider myself (privately), progressive. I do not however feel that I have the right to impose these beliefs on anyone else. So there, a schizoid commentary if you ever saw one. I would suggest that us Private progressives all band together like Mother Theresa and promote good works not try to legislate them.

            • I see your point. I myself am a deep Conservative. Or as JAC says, a radical right wing Liberal.

              I am for Liberty. Above all, for Liberty. But as I tried to tell Bob yesterday. Liberty is a two way street. It is your right, in my opinion, to do whatever you wish, within the boundaries of common sense and law.

              I do not and cannot agree that Progressives know what’s best for us all and that the Government should intrude upon our private lives. I like my Government small and minding it’s own damn business. Of course though, I’ve never actually witnessed such.

              But I believe that I can say with confidence that they only way we as a Nation will get out of this mess our big bloated Govt has gotten us into, is for all, and I mean ALL of us to feel the pain.

              The social programs of the Govt are clearly out of control. Hell, beauracracy in general is out of control. We cannot spend our way out of this mess. Obama and his Administration and Progressive Democrat buddies can shout that crap till their faces turn blue. That is BULL DOOKEY!

              Smaller, much smaller Government and a whole hell of a lot less spending is ALL that will get us out of this.

    • No Buck, interpretation based on current events is not the answer. Amendments, and even repealing of amendments is the proper process. Why? Because “interpretation”, despite its heavy debates and so forth, still leaves the final decision to 9 appointed persons who can, through interpretation, have a massive impact on the direction of the country and the very basis of its government. In fact, I would submit that interpretation does far more to change the fundamentals of the constitution than amendments do.

      That is far too much consolidation of power. The whole point of the amendment process was to leave the power with representatives and with the state governments. To circumvent this is to ignore one of the primary intents of the constitution, which is a far cry from using it as a “starting point”.

      • Not only did the New Deal transform U.S. governmental structures as we know them, it also left an economic and legal legacy that to this day is both influential and controversial. Judging from the outright anger of many Democrats to Brown’s criticism of the New Deal, it is not hard to understand that Roosevelt still is the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party, no matter how many “New Democrats” may be running for office.

        New Deal programs from Social Security to the minimum wage play a major role in our lives nearly 70 years after Congress enacted them, and attempts to make even minimal reductions in them spark national outrage. Witness the firestorm that has erupted from the Bush administration’s reform proposals in Social Security. While these programs are regarded as almost sacrosanct today, before Roosevelt’s time in office they would have been regarded as illegal. Furthermore, there was a time in the history of the United States when the vast powers now being wielded by members of the executive branch would have been seen as unconstitutional by most people who understood the law. To put it another way, the United States of America that existed in early 1933 was not the same country when Roosevelt died in April 1945.

        The U.S. Supreme Court played a major role in the legal and political transformation of this country during the New Deal through the way it chose to reinterpret the U.S. Constitution. First, the High Court was willing to ignore the Constitution’s “non-delegation clause” by permitting the executive branch to take on legal responsibilities that the Framers of the Constitution clearly had given Congress. Second, it chose to take earlier rulings regarding laws governing workplaces and employment contracts and turn them upside down. Furthermore, even though the language of the justices’ decisions declared them to be a correct and legal interpretation of the Constitution, those involved in the legal process clearly understood that what they were doing went contrary to the law.

        Rexford G. Tugwell, a close advisor to Roosevelt, said as much in an article entitled “Rewriting the Constitution,” published in the March 1968 issue of The Center Magazine:

        The Constitution was a negative document, meant mostly to protect citizens from their government…. Above all, men were to be free to do as they liked, and since the government was likely to intervene and because prosperity was to be found in the free management of their affairs, a constitution was needed to prevent such intervention…. The laws would maintain order, but would not touch the individual who behaved reasonably.

        Regarding the enforcement of what the Roosevelt administration would have called “social virtues,” Tugwell said,

        To the extent that these new social virtues developed [in the New Deal], they were tortured interpretations of a document intended to prevent them. The government did accept responsibility for individuals’ well-being, and it did interfere to make secure. But it really had to be admitted that it was done irregularly and according to doctrines the framers would have rejected. Organization for these purposes was very inefficient because they were not acknowledged intentions. Much of the lagging and reluctance was owed to constantly reiterated intention that what was being done was in pursuit of the aims embodied in the Constitution of 1787, when obviously it was done in contravention of them.

    • Jon, nice article!

      Buck,

      I am totally against the “living document” theory. The bill of rights were a contract intended to be changeable only by amendment.
      Language does change over time, anyone want to ask a stranger if they are feeling “gay”? Used to just mean happy. So with your living document process, when will the word free come to mean you can do whatever you want, that is not illegal? Jaywalking is illegal today.
      After the Tea Parties, will the right to assemble get twisted and restricted? You know those “mobs” were very unsafe!

      As shown below, they can stretch the meaning to cover anything they wish.

      Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), was a U.S. Supreme Court decision that dramatically increased the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity. A farmer, Roscoe Filburn, was growing wheat to feed his chickens. The U.S. government had imposed limits on wheat production based on acreage owned by a farmer, in order to drive up wheat prices during the Great Depression, and Filburn was growing more than the limits permitted. Filburn was ordered to destroy his crops and pay a fine, even though he was producing the excess wheat for his own use and had no intention of selling it.

      The Supreme Court, interpreting the United States Constitution’s Commerce Clause (which permits the United States Congress to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several States”) decided that, because Filburn’s wheat growing activities reduced the amount of wheat he would buy for chicken feed on the open market, and because wheat was traded nationally, Filburn’s production of more wheat than he was allotted was affecting interstate commerce, and so could be regulated by the federal government.

      • FDR caused more harm to the Contitution during the Depression than almost any other President. He continually bullied The Supreme Court to get his way on things that were clearly Unconstitutional. Like the Commerce Clause. And State’s rights.

        And it was all done for the “Good” of the Country.

        • True dat!

          Check the link I posted to Jon just above.

          • LOI. After reading that`article. I now detest FDR and especially Alexander Hamilton worse than I could have ever thought possible.

            And while I’m at it I’ll add Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson to that list also.

            Ol’ Buddy, this Nation is in deep DooDoo.

  4. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    There are only three books that I have kept all these years from High School. My Chemistry book, used every ten years or so. A general American Literature book that I use every three years for some archaic
    literary reference and my Junior/Senior American History book, “Rise of the American Nation” which I use several times a yar.

    The sections on the Constitution and the Declaration, (with interpretations), are magnificent. Some might say that they are biased in an early 1960’s way but to me they reflect a simple uncluttered interpretation of words in use then (the 1780’s) and now. They also represent a firm belief in common sense. Flag, before you jump all over me for that I quote Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self evident”. So, even back then, it was acknowledged that there was such a thing as truth staring you in the face.

    So, when you are a young person of average intelligence, you struggle through those documents in most cases either not really getting it or being in too much of a hurry. Later on, if you are awake, you go back to them in all their magnificence you no longer need the interpretations but now are mature enough to “get” the original intent. . You are stunned with the thought and clarity that went into them and, if you have even a smidgen of religiosity, you harbor, just for a moment, the thought that they were divinely inspired. After all, when, in the course of human history have so many incredibly intelligent people come together at one place and at one time to do so much for so many. (thank you Winston).

    The founders were men of their times. They lived in a society, where, except on the frontier, there was an established societal order. Most could not break out of it as much as they might like. Too radical a change would scare people away from the greater ideas they espoused . Others, just did not have the practical day to day experience of dealing with people of a different caste on an equal basis. Many years ago, my father taught me that I had to forgive people of my grandparents age when they made a faux pas in a cultural, religious or racial comment. He explained that they were of a different generation who did not have the actual real life experiences necessary to arrive at the conclusion that all men (and women) are created equal. Surely they had been told that in their churches but, without the experience, with the wrong peer pressure and with rampant stereotypes, it was difficult for them to go beyond local prejudices. As I grew older, I could see the changes occurring in my parents generation. As their experiences broadened as they were exposed to more, the old nonsense started to fade. While prejudice remains, it is no longer in the majority nor do the people harboring those hatreds control the microphone as they used to.

    The glory of our Constitution is not that it has lasted as long as it has nor that it is the very first to establish the rights of the individual man on so large a scale but that it has allowed us to mature into a people and a nation that truly can accept all. It is not that the activists in the courts have made this so but rather the maturation of the society. Everyone now has access to and can read the founding documents and can grasp the intent. The courts, if anything are really less relevant or at least should be.

    The other great glory of the Constitution is the ability to change it. The brilliance of the founders was in part that they smart enough to know that the “heat of the moment” could be dangerous. They were obstructionists in everything they did. They deliberately chose to create a system that made you jump high hurdles to make a change. You had to fight it out and there were time limits. Their mechanism to have the states decide how senators could be elected/appointed and the electoral college were all part of that slow down process too. I love prohibition because it is the greatest example of the damage that can be done when the system is short circuited fgor a temporal cultural whim.

    The greatest fear we should have for the future, and many are aware of it, is that the Courts have set the Constitution up as a religious document. They are the high priests and pharisees who can interpret it and only they. What you or I think is irrelevant. Their word is final. They even trump the legislature. I find it humorous that these people who have done so much to downgrade religion from the public square have replaced it with a religion of their own making giving themselves the absolute power of medieval royalty . What’s worse, is that like the snake oil salesmen that they really are, they have convinced many of us ,”we the people” , that they are right and that we, not should, but must defer to them! I wonder what the take on that would be of Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson and Franklin.

    We have been handed a document which is the envy of all mankind and the basis for all the social progress around the world in the past 200 years. We, as citizens, have stood by and watched it be eroded. perhaps it was here at SUFA or some other similar place that I first heard the following, “A constitution which is is flexible and is a “growing” document is no constitution at all.” How true. If meanings can be changed literally overnight, it is “1984”.

    • SK

      . What’s worse, is that like the snake oil salesmen that they really are, they have convinced many of us ,”we the people” , that they are right and that we, not should, but must defer to them! I wonder what the take on that would be of Adams, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson and Franklin.

      We do know.

      Madison is the root of the use of the “Commerce Clause” to create federal law over all commerce.

      He is the root of the use of “General Welfare” to impose a broad taxation upon all the people and to justify a standing army.

      The Constitution’s perversions started day One

      Do not believe this is a recent phenomena – the Constitution was purposely created to empower the Federal government.

      The Constitutionalists hated the Articles of Confederation for they saw the States held the most power.

      The consequence of the Constitution and its theory is what you live right now. Demanding a “return to the Constitution” is bizarre – you are demanding what you have.

      • Displaced Okie says:

        Hey BF,
        I am curious as to your thoughts on the Articles of Confederation. I have always been kinda of a fan of them. In a perfect world I prefer a “civil” anarchy(wild west as opposed to Somalia), but I think for that to happen the entire world would have to buy into it(much like what socialists say would have to happen to make it work). I think that the Articles made an attempt at being free, but with some thought on how to protect that freedom from more statist/imperial type countries. Anyway, I was just curious if had any thoughts on them.

        • Okie,

          First, let’s deal with the Somalia fallacy

          One must compare Somalia with a government and it without one

          A study by Benjamin Powell, Ryan Ford and Alex Nowrasteh took “a comparative institutional approach
          Somalia’s performance relative to other African countries both when Somalia had a government and during its extended period of anarchy.”

          And it found that Somalia, when subjected to an honest comparison — “between Somalia when it had a functioning government, and Somalia now” — is less poor, has higher life expectancy, and has experienced a drastic increase in telephone lines.

          Second, one does not need the whole world to agree for you to be free.

          I cannot offer an opinion of the success of the Articles – they did not survive.

          I only offer this reasoning:

          Decentralized power and violence is better than Centralizing power and violence

          …thus, the more defuse the government power, the better.

          • Displaced Okie says:

            I really don’t buy into the whole Somalia as an example of a modern anarchy theory, but I know a certain ninja that likes to use it as one haunts this forum so I thought I would be more specific. Anyway, my concern with Anarchy is: Who protects free individuals from groups of people seeking to control them? I know this is veering way off topic, so maybe we will have to revisit it at a later time.

            • Okie,

              Why do you believe free individuals are prohibited from cooperation?

              • Displaced Okie says:

                I don’t believe that they are prohibited from cooperating with each other, I just have doubts as to how they could repel the large well-organized army of an aggressive nation seeking to countrol them. the image i get in my head is from the movie “300”, where Leonidas’ small army faces off against the massive Persian army. Of course, in modern times the technology gap between the group of “Freemen” versus an organized professional army with billions/trillions of dollars in weapons R&D would be huge. I guess you could make the case that this is what is going on in Afghanistan, but the casualty count is vastly one-sided against the insurgents. So, my question remains( though slightly modified), How would groups of independent free people defend themselves against large organized professional armies with superior weaponry? I am not trying to be antagonistic, I actually want to know. Like I posted earlier this my primary concern in regard to living without government in a world where other powerful(and power-hungry) governments do exist.

              • Okie,

                Why can’t they organize themselves to repel a threat?

                What systemic problem do you think freemen have that makes them blind?

              • Displaced Okie says:

                See below, too squishy here

      • BF, please believe me when I say this with all honesty and good intent, for I do not bode you ill will. What you have said here reads, to me at least, like the rantings of an insane man. I would like to believe that you are not, yet when I look at all the times that you viciously attack the country of your birth with such hatred, I often wonder. I honestly believe that you need help and I urge you to seek it.

        I have served my country and its people all my adult life and I just cannot, for the life of me, understand why a citizen of the only actually free nation on this planet would exhibit such a vile hatred for those who made your freedom possible.

        I am honestly worried about you, my friend, so please take my concern for you to heart.

        • G.A Rowe,

          Whether you choose to be a tool of evil or not is yours, and not mine to make.

          Whether you choose to be blind to evil or not is yours, and not mine to make.

          Whether you believe ignorance is required to be a Patriot is your belief and not mine.

    • Cool SK. I could not have explained my position on the Constitution as well as you have, but I agree with you.

      I do not think at this time that amending the Constitution would result in anything but absolute disaster. The emotions of today’s America would destroy any effort at change. I say this whether Conservative, Liberal, Progressive, OR Ultra Conservative.

      The one thing, though, that I do not understand, is why so many people feel that the Constitution has to be interpreted. I myself need no interpretation of at least some of it.

      Take separation of church and state. I don’t see where that needs a college educated lawyer to interpret. It simply says that there shall be no state sponsored religion. It does not say that there can be no religious symbols on state property. It does not say that you cannot say a prayer before a high school football game. It doen’t say these things because, maybe just in my opinion, but I don’t think so, it doesn’t say it because it wasn’t meant to be taken that way. The founders simply did not want religion in charge of the Government. One way to see that is to study history and why they left their respective countries to begin with. Most Nations at the time were controlled by religions. Only now are we seeing more and more paranoia about ANY religion whatsoever in any government function. That was NOT the founder’s intent.

      The real problem I see with those who think the Constitution should just be thrown out, is simply this. If it IS thrown out, what will replace it????? How much would you want to bet that the replacement would not come close to the Constitution we already have?

      • Buck the Wala says:

        “I myself need no interpretation of at least some of it”

        And the rest of it??

        Even taking your example – separation of church and state. That means no ‘state sponsored religion’ But what constitutes ‘state sponsored religion’. How far can you go???

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          You must be a Presbyterian. It is the only religion we recognize, you must either belong or pay a tax.

          How’s that for a definition?

        • It means no State “established” religion. That you are free to worship, or not, what ever you want.

          But I do not believe that the 99 and 3/4% of the folks at a footbal game should not have prayer at a ball game because the 1/4% might be offended by it.

          And if this is a democracy as I have heard some say, then shouldn’t the majority rule?

          Of course, we are a`Contitutional Republic though, ain’t we?

          As far as the parts I need interpreting. Those are the later Amendments which have more “lawyerspeak” to them.

          • Buck the Wala says:

            Remember:

            majority rule with respect and safeguards of minority rights

            • Buck,

              Who decides the law by which this “minority” rights have?

              Why does the rights of the minority vary from the rights of the Majority?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                Its not that the minority has different rights than the majority. Its that it is more important (in a sense) to act to safeguard the minority’s rights since they lack the ability to protect their own rights.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                There is just this old line that keeps popping up in my head that was put there when I was in like 7th grade “The rights of the majority shall prevail, the rights of the minority shall be respected.”

                So, I respect you, now for a prayer…..

                Seriously. Of course they lack the ability, they are the minority! Their job in s free society,(God help me, I think I am starting to agree with Flag), is to sell whatever it is they have to sell and convince enough others that they are right thereby becoming the majority and implementing their desire.

                The problems in this country really started getting out of hand when fiats replaced law. You could not convince enough people to vote like you or to pass legislation you wanted so, you either fell back on the courts which of course created yet another giant Judicial Industrial complex. You could not convince them of the need for __________(fill in the blank) so you created a monster like the EPA or DOE. All these were end runs around this Republican participatory democracy we have and are at best insults to the Constitution, its purposes or safeguards.

              • Buck,

                Maybe I’m just dense but what rights do the minority have that need protecting that the majority don’t have?

                If the majority protect their rights, aren’t they logically protecting the same rights of the minority?

              • Buck the Wala says:

                See the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s…

              • Buck,

                Civil Rights Era

                Sorry for still being dense, but “what right does the Majority have that the Minority does not have?”

            • SK Trynosky Sr says:

              But, the question is, how far does that go? I am perfectly willing to safeguard the rights of people not to be Presbyterian for example. Or to be able to protest even when what they do is obnoxious or to speak what used to be unspeakable.

              In turn, do they not have the obligation to safeguard and respect the rights of the majority? To use Esom’s example, they can block their ears at a commencement or football games, or whistle Dixie. I am not asking them to pray,merely to respect my right to pray and the right of THE MAJORITY to pray. Why should the majority always have to parrot Rodney Dangerfields line “We don’t get no respect?”

              I always wind up asking the same damned question over and over again. If it was OK to do something for 199 years, what suddenly made it wrong? It was only when people from the Judicial Industrial Complex, started nitpicking that these things started getting banned. Why? Who benefits.

              As I said above about charity, “Forced tolerance is no tolerance and at best gets you resentment”. based on past human history, resentment, especially among a majority can lead to bad things.

              • What he said! 😀

              • SK is always right on the money!

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                And old too!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I don’t give two hoots if you want to pray at a football game. As long as you’re not forcing me to do the same.

                But now lets take that private prayer at a football game and make it led by the coach at a public school and ‘forcing’ the entire football team to join in. Slightly different issue, don’t you think?

                Also, just because something was done for 199 years does not make it right all those years.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                So, a coach can ask people to join him, if they wish. If he compels them, all bets are off and I am on your side every day including Sunday. If you are “upset” that prayer is being offered or if you feel that because it is a group and you are not participating you are “ostracized” from the group. Tough. As they used to say, grow a pair or at least learn to stand up for what you believe in.

                Nobody ever asks how the members of the majority feel when they are left out,do they? Is that because they don’t have feelings too? Or, as I suspect, is it because someone, somewhere thinks that the majority should have less rights?

                Just because somebody says its wrong after 199 years does not mean it is. Show me the harm, not caused by the overzealous nut cases but by the average practitioner. the difference is really pretty clear. All the nonsense at the Air Force Academy over the past few years gives us good practical examples. Asking for a voluntary prayer before a football game? Fine. Calling the team, Jesus’ team? Wrong. Creating a separate flight(smallest military unit in the AF) of cadets who are not Christians and calling it the heathen flight? Wow, just how wrong can you get!

              • Buck the Wala says:

                And when a coach asks the team to join him, when is such a request actually more? What about the team members who do not wish to do so – why should they be made to feel ostracized and not part of the team? Sure a senior in high school is pretty much an adult and able to make the decision for themselves. But what about the child in middle school? Elementary school?

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                Life is a series of compromises. You cannot have your own way all the time. It is time that we all start acting like grown-ups and not some snot nosed pre k whiner.

                There are MANY things I do not like, agree with or personally condone yet, because I believe in freedom, I would not think, for even a minute, to force others to think the way I do. If I could convince others, fine, but to force them is to do that violence Flag always talks about.

                Telling my ten year old that he cannot join with the majority of his class or teammates to _____ (fill in the blank) because someone else may be offended succeeds in doing exactly one thing, offending my ten year old and myself.

                To quote Rodney King, “can’t we all just get along?” Without court orders.

                The wonder of this period in our history is that thanks to the electronic revolution, we can communicate to and with each other better than ever before. When someone acts badly, peer group pressure can be exerted.

                I believe it took less than a day for that unfortunate BP executive to rescind his “Small people” comment. Poor guy, English was not his first language and he really did misspeak but he was instantaneously brought to task. As long as we have free speech in this country, unencumbered with speech codes or political correctness, jerks who want to call football teams Jesus’ team or create a heathen flights will be brought up short in one quick hurry. At the beginning of today’s posts I said how I thought courts should be less and less relevant on these matters. They should be pretty much taking care of themselves. That is, of course, unless you are looking for a big settlement.

              • Buck the Wala says:

                I completely agree – in most instances things can easily and quickly be dealt with independently.

                Just because someone is offended does not make it unconstitutional. But this brings us back to the larger point – constitutional interpretation and what is constitutional versus unconstitutional. Someone being offended by another’s actions is besides the point. Whether or not that other individual’s actions is constitutional though is entirely the point and often open to interpretation.

                Lets go back to the original question posed on ‘separation of church and state’. We went down a side road of whether or not this phrase is open to interpretation or whether it is clear. But we both missed the larger question – what is separation of church and state? why is this a constitutional question, when the phrase itself appears nowhere in the document? The answer is: constitutional interpretation. Because the 1st amendments provision that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” needs to be interpreted and applied.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                The why is an excellent question. What or rather why exactly did Madeline Murray O’Hare bring up the school prayer issue? How then did the school prayer issue morph into so many other things like Christmas displays, Names of school holidays and benedictions at public events?

                Being around for the Warren court though somewhat young I seem to remember the adults at home and school commenting that the court was overstepping its bounds ruling on an issue that they had no business ruling on. As you say it ain’t in the Constitution. Further, I cannot understand how the phrase “regarding the establishment of religion,” can be interpreted as referring, in context, to anything other than having a particular state sect. One could probably argue intelligently, that based on the founders themselves, the United States could have been declared a “Christian” nation so long as it was not declared a Presbyterian or Catholic or Baptist or Episcopalian nation. Really now, that is pretty much what the 1st amendment means and guarantees.

                When we talk about the establishment clause we should remember that the mother country had “the Church of England”. That, Buck, says it all in a nutshell.

                Off I go, the wife is taking me out for an early Fathers Day celebration. Be back later.

          • For the “Progressives” the US is a constitutional republic when that definition fits their adgenda and a democracy when that fits their adgenda.

      • I think an amendment process would not be as disastrous as you think. I think, however, that it would be pointless without going back to the starting point. The current amendments must first be followed, like the 10th, for instance, then we can look at what needs to be amended. too much confusion and muddling right now.

  5. The underlying theory of government is the flaw that dooms all Constitutions that endeavor to chain the evils of government.

    You cannot make law upon the entity that claims the exclusive right to make law and enforce law.

    Entangling evil in more paper work does not dispel evil. It is relentless. It will complete the paper work.

    Until the People dispel the haze in their brains about the institution of government – they will be doomed to be its slave.

    • The haze is the lack of understanding of where government gets its authority. The Constitution is the document that grants power to the government. If it is violated, the contract is breached and the government has no valid authority. It is only the belief in that authority, or any authority, that gives it power. If people recognize the basis of authority, then they can ignore it if that basis is not honored.

  6. Every age and generation must be as free to act for itself, in all cases, as the ages and generation which preceded it.

    The vanity and presumption of governing beyond the grave, is the most ridiculous and insolent of all tyrannies.

  7. To argue that the world to come, that a certain body of men, who existed a hundred years ago, made a law; and that there does not now exist in the nation, nor ever will, nor ever can, a power to alter it is a great deception upon the minds of the People.

    It has been thought a considerable advance toward establishing the principles of freedom, to say, that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed:

    but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as a man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.

    The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right entered into a compact with each other – as Individuals to produce a society; and this is the only mode in which society has a right to arise -by grant of the Individual- and the only principle on which it has a right to exist.

    • Good post BF. Many, many Anita points for never exhausting on ways to communicate your beliefs 🙂

  8. Jon,

    On your blog, is there not a “subscribe” button somewhere?

    • All I currently have is the RSS feed, and you can subscribe to comments on an individual post….I am looking for a better solution…

  9. What gets me is that the founding fathers couldn’t run from England fast enough to get away from what they saw as tyranny. Our leaders today can’t run fast enough to get back to what the founders were running from. A serious slap in the face to those who risked everything for what they believed was right.

    That’s about as deep as my brain can debate this maybe you guys can take my comments from here.

    • Anita,

      You are mistaken.

      Most of the Founders wanted to create a Kingdom in America that was separated from England…

      …but a Kingdom nonetheless.

      They wanted to run the nation like the King of England ran England. They just didn’t want to be ruled by the King of England.

      As Jefferson retorted:

      “They replaced a King with one of their own making”

      • I don’t quite see it like that but we’ll see where this discussion gets us. I’m not liking your terminology. Why would they have repeated the same thing here. Like you always say- “just a different color of shirt”

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        That is because they really didn’t know any better. Better to copy an existing system and create some weird kind of constitutional monarchy rather than invent an elected, replaceable president.

        I think their error was partly because they saw the “king” as providing continuity as opposed to the written document. This leads back to my point about “flexible”. If its meaning is subject to changes in interpretation based on the whim de jour, the continuity is lost and we head into something very different from what was intended. I guess, ideally from your perspective, that might be something a bit more anarchic. The reality however lies closer to that physics principle about something always trying to fill a vacuum. I suspect our statists and progressives (the bad statist ones)cause the mischief they do because they see themselves filling that role. That, if I remember correctly, is sort of how the Bolsheviks (a small minority) seized power.

  10. Modern politicians holding a Constitutional Convention = Foxes building hen house.

    I need more coffee……

    😉

    • Correct. If there was to be a Constitutional Convention then someone like Judge Napalitano would have to be in charge. No politicians involved.

  11. Hamilton lied repeatedly about the Constitution in The Federalist, downplaying its centralization potential. He always knew what the new government could do.

    He turned the national government into a banker’s dream come true.

    He gave us our first central bank.

    Hamilton had big plans. He needed a big government to achieve them.

    “At Philadelphia, he repeatedly argued that the states should not be treated as sovereign jurisdictions.

    He worked mightily to deny them equal votes in the Senate, and he hoped to give Congress a veto on all state laws, a measure that would have stripped the states of any pretension of sovereignty.”

    Madison considered the congressional veto paramount: “This prerogative of the General Govt. is the great pervading principle that must control the centrifugal tendency of the States.”

    “Madison did not go to the Constitutional Convention to defend the states – more nearly to destroy them.”

    He was the major architect of the unitary Leviathan into which our federal constitutional republic has degenerated.

  12. Cyndi P says:

    Off Topic question,

    I was over at Zero Hedge and saw this as part of a reader comment. Has anyone else seen this?

    4.direct confiscation of wealth through currency devaluation (new bills are already being publicized through the propaganda channels, with radically redesigned frn$10 bills ready to be exchanged for your old frn$100 bills)
    5.wealth confiscation

  13. SK Trynosky Sr says:

    ” That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

    ” Prudence indeed will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes: and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are more disposable to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed”.

    Kind of says it all doesn’t it. Although, if I changed the wording just slightly, to bring it into the modern vernacular, and paid to have a full page ad run in every newspaper across the country I might be accused of sedition or treason.

    • Shoot SK, Sean Penn and Janine Garafartblow would have anyone who didn’t agree with their Socialist principles arrested and accused of sedition and treason right now!

      Oh, and let’s don’t forget racist as well.

      • Displaced Okie says:

        Something I have always wondered: Are sedition laws unconstitutional?

        • SK Trynosky Sr says:

          Apparently the 1918 act was upheld by the Supremes. The act limited itself “to a time of war”. IWW members were convicted under it. The act was abolished by congress in 1920. The Alien registration act of 1940 was another Sedition act. Current thinking is that any new Sedition act would not, because of intervening court decisions, be declared constitutional today.

          Now, would you trust you life to that? Can anybody say Homeland security? How about Patriot Act? Right time, right circumstances, right propaganda and we all rot in jail or face a firing squad. as Joe Goebbels used to say, “Sieg Heil Baby!”

          • Displaced Okie says:

            Dontcha just love how if a topic is thorny, the supreme court is so quick to cover its eyes, shove its fingers in its ears and just chant “Legal Precedent!, Legal Precedent!”

            *Yes, some how the court actually has enough hands and fingers to do all of that at once….

            • The Supreme Court has turned into just another Politically motivated arm of the Government. Just like the other two branches.

              Instead of being the enforcers of the Constitution, like they are supposed to be. They have become the perveyors of whatever the political winds are blowing towards at the time. Making the Constitution worthless more and more everyday.

              • Esom,

                They are the enforcers of the Constitution, and this is what you have.

              • SK Trynosky Sr says:

                You had it right earlier. No matter what it is, when you pass something that works, people start to tinker with it immediately and then they tell you, “Why sir, this is what it really meant all the time” I am so sick of that.

                The court bears about as much relation to the Constitution as the NY Rangers do, actually, I think I would prefer any NHL team to interpret the Constitution before the US Supreme court.

                That’s my bitch about public education. NY City was the envy of the world in the first six decades of the 20th century. They managed to educate kids from 50 different backgrounds who spoke 100 different languages. Then they decided to improve things. And, as Paul Harvey used to say, “now you know the rest of the story.”

  14. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
    You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
    You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
    You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
    You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
    You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
    You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.

    Attributed to Abraham Lincoln, among the wiser things he said if the attribution is correct.

    • And doesn’t that sound just like what Obama is trying to do now?

      Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t start with him, but he is the one who is President. And also the one talking about it the most.

  15. Not intended as a hijack, 1St amendment issue,
    from American Thinker

    The NRA’s Deal with the Devil
    By Mark J. Fitzgibbons
    Disappointment does not come from opponents; it comes from friends.

    Earlier this week, the NRA issued a statement when it was becoming known that Democrats had cut a deal exempting the NRA from coverage under the DISCLOSE Act, which is the Nancy Pelosi-Chuck Schumer response to the Citizens United First Amendment decision by the Supreme Court that targets free speech.

    The NRA’s initial statement of justification reflected the logical inconsistency of the NRA’s position, to wit:

    Thus, the NRA’s first obligation must be to its members and to its most ardent defense of firearms freedom for America’s lawful gun owners.

    ****

    Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.

    That initial justification ignored the fact that NRA members, first and foremost, are citizens before they are NRA members. As citizens, they will be hurt by the DISCLOSE Act because it will reduce speech, press, and association rights.

    The DISCLOSE Act will weaken the ability of citizens to rid the country of bad, corrupt politicians. The bill will help protect the unconstitutional power-grab by the Barack Obama administration and law-breaking by the government. Additionally, the NRA has no guarantee that a future Congress won’t renege on its current deal.

    By exempting the NRA so that it would not oppose the legislation, congressional Democrats knew darn well that they would still be abridging the First Amendment rights of all NRA members — as in, every last one of them. The exemption for the NRA may protect the entity called the NRA, but it nevertheless harms the First Amendment rights of NRA members.

    Secondly, all NRA members are associated in one way or another with commercial and nonprofit entities that will be hurt by the DISCLOSE Act. The NRA has, of course, no legal obligation to protect the rights of other entities.

    There are, however, entities that have fought to protect rights from which NRA has benefited. Suffice it to say, there might not even be an NRA but for the entities that exist because of free markets, or organizations that fight for the other nine rights in the Bill of Rights, not to mention the fact that the very existence of other Second Amendment organizations benefits the NRA, even if indirectly, because they add more force, energy, and ideas to the cause.

    The NRA apparently forgets what Ben Franklin said, which is that we must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

    Therefore, the NRA’s initial statement of justification — that its first obligation must be to its members — failed on its face.

    Following harsh criticisms in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post (by NRA board member Cleta Mitchell), National Review, and just about every constitutional conservative who hasn’t been in a coma this past week, the NRA issued another statement on June 17. It only added insult to injury.

    The second NRA statement comes out swinging at its friends, saying “critics of our position have misstated or misunderstood the facts.” Not so. Congressional Democrats and the NRA are doing what is categorically unacceptable, which is playing crony politics with the Bill of Rights and our freedoms.

    The statement went on to argue that the NRA hadn’t “sold out,” as many of its friends and members charged. It reads:

    Our position is based on principle and experience. During consideration of the previous campaign finance legislation passed in 2002, congressional leadership repeatedly refused to exempt the NRA from its provisions, promising that our concerns would be fixed somewhere down the line. That didn’t happen; instead, the NRA had to live under those restrictions for seven years and spend millions of dollars on compliance costs and on legal fees to challenge the law. We will not go down that road again when we have an opportunity to protect our ability to speak.

    Sorry, but that is doublespeak. It’s the equivalent of saying, “Our reason for selling out now is that we tried to sell out on campaign finance legislation before, but Congress reneged on its deal with us.”

    The part of the statement that should throw everyone into a fit, however, is this:

    There are those who say the NRA has a greater duty to principle than to gun rights. It’s easy to say we should put the Second Amendment at risk over some so-called First Amendment principle.

    So-called? That’s a despicable phrase for an organization claiming to support the Bill of Rights and a Bill of Rights defender. We expect the First Amendment to be called “so-called” by congressional Democrats, crusty old Washington left-wingers, and the liberal faux good government groups composed of ’60s retreads such as the League of Women Voters.

    American is at a moment in time when people are fed up by the type of deal the NRA just cut. The NRA’s friends told it that it was on the wrong side of this issue and on the wrong side of this American moment. The NRA, however, spurned its friends, its members, and ultimately, freedom.

    Update: Nancy Pelosi has pulled the vote on the DISCLOSE bill. John Bresnahan of Politico writes:

    Following a rebellion by two important factions of rank-and-file House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pulled a campaign-finance bill opposed by a broad coalition of special interest groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    Pelosi and other Democratic leaders had scheduled a Friday vote on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill requiring special-interest groups to disclose their top donors if they choose to run TV ads or send out mass mailings in the final months of an election. The legislation is designed to roll back the controversial Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which overturned restrictions on corporate campaign activities.

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      So, maybe at the Annual Meeting, its time for a second internal revolution like the last one at Cincinnati where they threw out the fellow travelers and replaced them.

    • It sort of sounds to me as if, like the AARP before them with the Health Care Act, They may have sold out their members for Political gain?

      • SK Trynosky Sr says:

        AARP has always been a left wing outfit. There is no democracy there. Ask anyone who has ever gone to a national meeting and tried to ask an unpopular question.

        The NRA is usually pretty good but even they can be swayed from time to time by listening to that soft siren song. it’s like the devil and Jesus, just give me this one thing and I will give you all that. Yeah, right..

  16. The column author and his guest present two differing views. The columnist says it is a mistake to hold an Article V Convention now that we are too uneducated and therefore presumably too stupid to propose amendments. Pure BS. He forgets it is the Constitution AS AMENDED that is such a fine document today. That is why a convention can be held now. People of any time period in our history were no more educated than we on our form of government. Heck, before 1789 they’d never even heard of the Constitution.

    The founders as the guest points out had weaknesses and more importantly, they knew it. That is why they designed a document that could be altered or amended to correct any defects or address any needs that time might reveal. In this they were brilliant and because they were so brilliant we have had a Constitution that has remained viable all these years. In sum, there is no danger in proposing amendments such as the one author suggests. The real danger lies in not doing so.

    Congress is now required to call a convention. To urge otherwise is to urge the Constitution be vetoed, a very dangerous situation. The over 700 applications from the states (all that is required is 34) can be read at http://www.foavc.org. The public record is irrefutable. Congress must call a convention.

  17. Judy Sabatini says:

    Hi All

    This is totally off topic, but I would like to give a big shout out to Kent, and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, AND HOPE ALL YOUR DREAMS AND WISHES WILL BE FULFILLED, AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS.

    I would also like to say to all you dad’s out there, A GREAT BIG HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO YOU ALL, AND MAY YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY WITH YOU LOVED ONES. If any of you still have your dad with you, please, be grateful and do all you can for him, and spend as much time as you can with him for as long as you can.

    My husband and I don’t have our dad’s with us anymore, and I would give anything to be able to see them and to be able to spend as much time with them as possible. I miss my dad so much, it’s been 12 years since he’s passed away. and 15 for my father in law. And to them I would like to say HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO YOU BOTH, YOU ARE GREATLY MISSED.

    Judy

  18. BF,

    You’re slipping today. Fox just reported gold at $1265, it’s highest ever. I can’t confirm that online though. I found $1256 so far.

  19. Looking out for Dread Pirate so as to remove submarine nets to allow free passage to Laguna Madre. Cask of rum in the shade….Iced down Dublin DP by the hammocks…fajitas on the grill, and shrimp on he barbie.

  20. Displaced Okie says:

    Okie,

    Why can’t they organize themselves to repel a threat?

    What systemic problem do you think freemen have that makes them blind?
    ——
    I don’t think that anything makes them blind. I just wonder how they can compete with a professional organized army. Unless you are suggesting that the freemen would be cognizant of the threat early enough that they could organize and fund an army to repel the aggressor. I am not saying that I don’t believe that it is possible, but I was hoping you could maybe “flesh” it out for me a lttle better. You never know when I might need to use it in an arguement with one of my more statist friends–besides, it’s not very often that I get to pick the brain of a polymath. 😉

    • Okie

      I don’t think that anything makes them blind. I just wonder how they can compete with a professional organized army.

      Why do you assume freemen cannot organize a professional army?

      Freemen appear capable of organizing the most complex systems in society. Imagine the complexity of getting food to your table. It requires a nearly-infinite complex set of activities spanning the globe, yet – like clockwork – you munch away at your dinner table, oblivious to the incredible size and scope of the task of provisioning.

      Managing an army is child’s play in comparison.

      • Displaced Okie says:

        I guess the things that get me confused are:
        1 How an army or its equipment would be purchased, maintained and upgraded without taxes or some way of paying for it.
        2 Another thing is now that we live in a world where an army can mobilize and invade a country in short amount of how fast would an army of “non” professional soldiers be able group up(or regroup after an attack) and cooridinate with other similar groups that they may not have trained with or have compatable equipment with, such as communications.

        and finally,
        3.I have to go back the technology issue, how would the group develop weapons system to combat a modern army (cutting edge tanks, fighters, bombers, WMD’s etc…).

        I have some ideas on how to solve these problems, but I would like to get your take on them..(plus I am trying to take advantage of this as a little private session at “Anarchist U”)

        • Okie

          I guess the things that get me confused are:
          1 How an army or its equipment would be purchased,

          Allow me to paraprase:

          How would a bunch of goceries stores be purchased?

          Hmmm…..

          maintained and upgraded without taxes or some way of paying for it.

          Hmm… I wonder how I will get my food =which I need everday= unless I tax everyone!!!

          My point: you have serious needs provided to you without government – why are you so confused that men, freely, will figure a way to trade with you your ability/earning that they NEED (a need you know must exit BECAUSE YOU HAVE A JOB) with what you need????

          Why is this such a mystery? Is it because you believe the pittance of a job you do is so worthless that you are amazed anyone pays you?????

          I am honestly inquiring about this. It appears so many seem to believe the wages they earn are a “gift from God” and they do not really “earn” their living…. is this a truth????

          Another thing is now that we live in a world where an army can mobilize and invade a country in short amount of how fast would an army of “non” professional soldiers

          Are you serious??

          What army/navy/air force could “surprise” attack the USA?

          Such a force would consume such a significant part of an economy to the point of bankruptcy – which is why it hasn’t happened – even by Russia and China, for Gawds sake!!

          3.I have to go back the technology issue, how would the group develop weapons system to combat a modern army (cutting edge tanks, fighters, bombers, WMD’s etc…).

          Free men have invented every significant weapons system, period.

          • Apples and oranges BF.

            Food is something all people need every day. Defense is not. The question is how many people would pay into an army in a free market? There would be some, perhaps, but in a time of peace, many may choose to ignore the possibility of a threat. Technology would be very advanced, tho perhaps not applied to military endeavors. The key to an organized military is not just intelligence of people or a willingness to fight or any of that. It is not even the success of the market and the wealth of the people in that market.

            An army is powerful because of 2 things that would be absent in an anarchal society:
            1) Chain of command. Some people do the thinking, some do the dying. It is not a collectively run organization. Wars go badly when there are too many chiefs and not enough warriors.
            2) Constant readiness. High level combat skills, advanced equipment in combat ready condition with skilled operators, enough equipment and ammo on hand for battle, with transportation systems to deliver this to the front and production infrastructure to resupply. This is all stuff that fully voluntary funding would not likely support, based on the average attitude of persons, including many of your philosophical peers.

            It has nothing to do with the complexity of a military operation, nor the advancement of technology, nor the available wealth to build an army. It has to do with the will to constantly maintain a military presence and devote resources to it in times of apparent peace. It is about having fighting specialists at combat readiness at all times. It is about watchfulness on the border and in other nations so that we would not be snuck up on. Could someone suprise attack the US? Not right now, but 20 years into your anarchic society? Yea, it could happen. Friggin Nicaragua could take out Arizona before a military could stop them, if that military was purely market driven.

            • I might buy into that if I didn’t see how many people get their only self-worth from being a “warrior”. I think those types will continue to pursue that career path no matter what society is based upon. Even if they have to work a regular job and train on nights and weekends. And there will always be a network of cybergeeks (especially in the absence of “Homeland Security”) who will monitor the airspace/shores/”borders”/infrastructure just for the excitement of doing it, and for the thrill of getting to alert defense to the possible threat.

              You get better quality when people do it because it’s their passion than you do by paying them.

    • SK Trynosky Sr. says:

      What would you expect. Despite everybody thinking they are, these folks are not stupid.

      We are in the process of destroying ourselves or as Bob Heinlein would say, voluntarily discorporating. A modern society runs on energy. We emerged as the most powerful country in the world because of our abundance of energy. Thanks to three Mile Island, Nukes are out. Thanks to Obama, coal and on shore drilling is out. Thanks to BP and the Gulf spill, offshore drilling is out.

      What we have left are giant pinwheels and ugly inefficient solar panels neither of which are capable of sustaining round the clock power. Oh, of course we can send every last penny we have overseas, to fund our own destruction but then when we run out of pennies, I wonder who will donate energy to us, Mexico?, The Canadians? Russia?

      With the first Arab oil embargo, the handwriting was on the wall. We were in a situation that required a new Manhattan project or as the progressives might say, the moral equivalent of war. In the interim, until hydrogen power, fusion or squirrels in a cage, comes along, we should have been looking for conventional resources under every rock.

      To paraphrase Andy Rooney, Didja ever notice how despite the fact that we have made coal, gas and oil 90 percent cleaner to use over the past forty years, not a single environmentalist ever mentions it? Why by God, if this ever got out there might be an effort to use more of these fuels.

  21. Black Order says:

    I found this and thought some of you might find it rather interesting. I know I did. I can just see BF cringing after reading.

    http://amicusdei.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/for-those-who-think-we-have-too-much-government/

    For Those Who Think We Have Too Much Government

    We’ve heard the mantra over and over this summer — “our government is too big!” Never mind that those who are the quickest to shout it out at a rally are also the quickest to claim their Social Security and Medicare benefits. As one healthcare protestor said during a healthcare town hall meeting — “Keep government out of my Medicare!” Of course, someone pointed out later that Medicare is a government program. But despite the pesky facts that continue to get in the way of the “government is too big” protests, the idea persists that less government would be a good thing.

    To all of those who think we have too much government…

    Tomorrow when you pull out of your driveway onto a paved road that leads to a multi-lane interstate highway system, thank the government.

    When you stop at a stoplight, placed in the intersection to regulate the flow of traffic and prevent chaos, thank either your local, county, or state government who probably got the funds to install that traffic light from the federal government.

    When you drop your kids off at a school that they attend for free, staffed by highly-qualified, college graduates most of whom have master’s degrees or higher, take note that education is primarily a government-funded and administered perk of living in the United States of America.

    As you pull into the daycare center that will keep your youngest until they are ready for free public pre-kindergarten, you might remember the line item deduction on your IRS form 1040 that gives you credit for childcare so that you can work to support your family. That’s your government at work, subsidizing your income with a tax credit to enable you to be a productive American.

    Arriving at your company’s headquarters where you work, you might not know that the industry you work for gets special treatment in government tax credits so that your company can invest in the equipment necessary to expand manufacturing, increase production, and hire more workers.

    As you settle into your desk for the workday, government is there, insuring that the workplace, from the factory floor to the cafeteria, is a safe place for all to work.

    Down the hall in Human Resources, government has assured that your company cannot discriminate in its hiring practices, and that all Americans have an opportunity to apply for and be hired for the jobs of their dreams. Fifty years ago, discrimination was the rule of the day and minority workers had little hope of getting a good job, or of advancing with the company that did hire them. One hundred years ago, my ancestors from Ireland were also denied jobs because of their ethnicity. Today’s minorities, while still not operating on a level playing field, at least have a better chance than they did in the past — all because government has guaranteed that institutionalized discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated.

    When you go out for lunch, government inspectors have assured that the meal you eat, the restaurant in which you eat it, and the workers who prepare it meet minimum standards for health and safe food handling.

    After work, you might stop to visit your mother in the assisted-living center where she has moved since your father died. Government is there with assurances that the elderly are not abused, that proper medical care is provided, and that the enormous costs of living with assistance and medical attention are born by Medicare and Medicaid.

    Street lights come on at dusk as you make your way back home. They’re part of a crime reduction program that includes better public lighting, more police on the streets, and gang prevention programs in schools and community centers, all funded by the government to keep us safe and secure in our homes and neighborhoods.

    As you turn on the evening news, you catch video of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States has the only global “bluewater” navy in the world; better trained and equipped soldiers than any country in the world, and more advanced defense technology than the world has ever seen. All of that is provided, funded, and deployed by the government of the United States to insure that Americans have the right to protest that their government is too big.

    The evening news itself, available 24-hours a day from over a dozen or more independent news operations is also a testimony to the power and influence of government. Freedom of the press is a constitutional guarantee that tyrants have sought to quash in every dictatorial power grab attempted. It is the government through the U.S. Justice Department, that enforces the law of the land insuring that the news you get will be unhindered by government interference. And, in the United States, if you don’t like the spin one network puts on the news, you can find another to match your own political preferences. Try that in Venezuela or Cuba or China, if you think we have too much government in the United States.

    Tomorrow on payday when you deposit your check, the bank into which you place your money is guaranteed to be solvent by the government of the United States. When it appeared that some of our largest financial institutions were near collapse, the federal government was the only entity in the world with the resources and jurisdiction to step in and save them, and the depositors who had trusted them.

    This summer when you travel to a state or national park on vacation, see the bald eagles brought back from extinction, or look into the depths of the Grand Canyon, you have government to thank for saving those areas from commercial exploitation, and preserving species of wildlife threatened by manmade calamity.

    The list could go on to include the safety of the toys your child plays with; the purity of the pharmaceuticals we depend upon for curing our diseases and sustaining our lives; and, the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink — all exist because government inspects and monitors each of these areas and more.

    The next time you’re tempted to say, “our government is too big” think about what your life would be like without the power of government at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

    Does government fail too often? Absolutely, because just like your company, or your church, or your school government is not some machine; government is people. Does government waste our tax dollars too frequently? Of course, it does, but far more good is done than harm in the administration of government programs. Can government operate more effectively, responsively, and efficiently? Improvement can always take place, but the idea of government itself is not the problem.

    About 235 years ago, “we the people” cast off one form of government called monarchy for another form called democracy. Government is the organized expression of the will of the people of the United States. If all the government services that I have mentioned in this brief article were to disappear tomorrow, those who are demanding smaller government today would demand that these essential services be restored immediately. For those who think we have too much government, let me suggest a trip to an ungovernable place like Somalia. Not much government there, and the sea pirates are “free” to do as they please, but that’s not the kind of state most of us want to live in. You might disagree, but I’m happy with the size of our government.

    Sunday I’ll go to church and exercise one of the freedoms guaranteed by my government: I’ll pray for our leaders, our soldiers, and those working to make this world a better place. If all of those criticizing our government would do the same, the size of government might become just about right for all of us.

    A final note: I am critiquing those who describe “government” itself as the problem, but I am not suggesting that government spending or the federal budget is off-limits for serious debate. Even the Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke has stated that our nation’s deficit is “unsustainable.” Let’s have a debate about budgets and spending, but let’s also realize that government guarantees the freedoms that we enjoy. The opposite of government is anarchy, not freedom.

    • Any of the things on that list that need to be done could be done better without murdering and stealing to “provide” them. I feel sorry for people who don’t recognize that simple, and obvious, truth.

      Anarchy IS freedom. It is up to you to live withing your rights, in other words- exercise your liberty, lest you be darwinized by those of us who do not consent to be enslaved for any reason.

    • Oh yeah, BO. I’ll only use this many examples of government wasteful spending. There is a list of 50 examples if you care to see more.

      http://heritage.org/Research/Reports/2009/10/50-Examples-of-Government-Waste

      Washington will spend $2.6 million training Chinese prostitutes to drink more responsibly on the job.

      The Securities and Exchange Commission spent $3.9 million rearranging desks and offices at its Washington, D.C., headquarters

      The refusal of many federal employees to fly coach costs taxpayers $146 million annually in flight upgrades

      Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California; $190,000 for the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming; and $75,000 for the Totally Teen Zone in Albany, Georgia

      The National Institutes of Health spends $1.3 million per month to rent a lab that it cannot use

      Congress recently spent $2.4 billion on 10 new jets that the Pentagon insists it does not need and will not use

      • Black Order says:

        Good find, Sweetleaf.

        And thats just 50.

        There are COUNTLESS more examples. Just think of how much has been wasted in the last century.

        • I hear ya BO. JAC wants to take away entire departments which is fine by me but if we could just quit this type of spending we could have a balanced budget in no time. I will never understand. Do these spenders run their own household budgets with stupid spending like this? I doubt it…and why do they continue get voted in?

          • Black Order says:

            Anita – “JAC wants to take away entire departments which is fine by me but if we could just quit this type of spending we could have a balanced budget in no time.”

            BO – I would love to see as many whole departments eliminated as possible. ALL of them would be nice.

            I’m not sure a balanced budget would make a difference at this point though. We’re so far in debt that it is likely irreversable. But I’ll leave that to the economic experts to touch on before I make an ass of myself.

            Anita – “Do these spenders run their own household budgets with stupid spending like this? I doubt it”

            BO – I doubt it as well. It’s much easier to waste someone else’s money than their own.

            Anita – “…and why do they continue get voted in?”

            BO – I would have to refer to Mathius’s first law…

            People are stupid.

            • I’m giving the stupid people the benefit of the doubt one more time. We’re in so deep right now that I honeslty think that the sleeping giant has awaken. If the midterms don’t work out as I hope then I’ll throw the white flag out. Until then its HOPE & PRAY.

  22. You drive on roads that are probably in need of repair and bridges that may be ready to collapse because they’re maintained by government.

    Your children attend sub-standard schooling and learn everything they need to know to become good worker bees (and nothing more) thanks to government.

    Your neighbors, friends, and relatives are shipped off to die at war in some country you’ve never heard of to “fight for your freedom” thanks to government.

    Your shores are being inundated with crude oil thanks to sloppy (non-existent and bribed for) oversight by government.

    Your rights are continually being trashed and thrown out the window as old ladies get assaulted by police, more people are incarcerated than in any other civilized nation, and more people are convicted of non-violent offenses and trumped-up charges thanks to your government.

    Should I keep going?

    • Sure, Aaron, keep going. It should be amusing. Don’t let BO scare you. He’s on your side, as are most here. What else do you have?

    • Black Order says:

      Aaron – “Should I keep going?”

      BO – Not in here. It’s not necessary. Instead perhaps you should click on the link and tell the guy that wrote the article. Personally, I think everything that he mentions in the article can be done better, cheaper, and more efficiently in the hands of private entities than it can by government.

      FYI,…Any time you see someone with the word “BLACK” in their screen name or pen name, it means they espouse some type of an anarchist ideology. Wikipedia explains it pretty well…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchist_symbolism

      While anarchists have historically largely denied the importance of symbols to political movement, they have embraced certain symbols for their cause, including most prominently the circle-A and the black flag. Since the revival of anarchism at the turn of the 21st-century concurrent with the rise of the anti-globalization movement, anarchist cultural symbols are widely present

      The black flag, and the color black in general, have been associated with anarchy since the 1880s. Many anarchist collectives contain the word “black” in their names.

      • I’m aware of what the Black in names mean. I personally don’t subscribe to those types of symbolism denoting anarchism (despite being one). I usually tell people I’m a libertarian. Less argument and immediate assumptions on their part regarding what I may or may not believe in or take part in. I’d rather argue about the merits of a way of doing things (or not doing them) than about what names mean. 🙂

        At any rate, those of you who are pointing all the blame at BP should read this:

        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965?RS_show_page=0#

        Rather long, but it exposes the hand-in-hand-in-hand-in-hand relationship between BP, Obama, various government agencies, etc. It’s a nice caricature of our corporatist fascism in action.

        • Black Order says:

          Like Anita, I thought that you were perhaps arguing against the article(and me) as if I were in support of what it espouses. And seeing/assuming that you are new here, I just thought that I would clarify where I’m coming from.

          I’m glad to know there is at least one more sensible human being on the planet.

          I’m also glad to see that you call the corporate-government partnership what it is…Fascism.

          You fit right in here at SUFA.

          Welcome.

          • Nope. In fact, I just finished reading a great book titled “Tempest at Dawn.” It’s a novelized version of the Constitutional Convention by James D. Best. Great read.

            Personally, I don’t think the Constitution is going to “save us” and neither is it a perfect document. Hamilton, among others, made sure of that.

            Regardless, you might know me as the guy behind MilitantLibertarian.org. You can thank Kent McManigal for sending me here. I also read his blog.

            I’ve grabbed your RSS, so expect to see more of me off and on as time permits.

      • Ah, sorry Black Order- I thought the words were yours since I saw no quotation marks. I actually thought you were the originator of the article you linked to but were sharing it here anonymously. You know what they say about assuming…
        I will immediately edit my Examiner article to clear up the misunderstanding.

        • Black Order says:

          Don’t sweat it, bro. I’m not. But I’m glad you DID clarify/correct.

          Just a thought, but (like I’ve suggested to Black Flag in the past) we should go to other blogs as a “Wolf Pack” to terrorize, educate and enlighten.

          The site from the above posted article is a good candidate for targeting. 🙂

  23. VH, BF,

    Had to give you an update. Just watched the first episode of Lonesome Dove. Heehee. Got a 6 DVD set. 20 more episodes to go. Hyah!!!!!!! 🙂

  24. Your shores are being inundated with crude oil thanks to sloppy (non-existent and bribed for) oversight by government.

    What is your complaint here, Aaron? It reads like you wish the oversight was more rigorous; at least effective.

    I’ve been wondering what’s going on here since BP’s deceptiveness and probably criminal activity (bribes) has been partially exposed. I’m sure there’s more to come if anyone bothers to really investigate, but what about this situation? Are you guys (most of you) defending the “shakedown” stance of Joe Barton? Do you(s) feel BP would’ve been better off without any regulation? Should they be free to do whatever they want wherever they want?

    Just curious. I know I want genuine regulation of anything as dangerous as oil drilling, but I do admit that government (this one anyway) has been absolutely innefective in pretty much everything it’s stuck its nose in.

    • Regulation didn’t/doesn’t work. In a free society there would be no liability cap. Your company causes damage and you are personally liable for restitution. No “corporation” to hide behind.

      Corporations are a government-created fiction (with special status and perks) and are the result of “regulation” and government manipulation of the free market, not a result of the free market.

      • USWeapon says:

        Perfectly said Kent.

      • government created fiction? So it wasn’t big business that opted for “corporations”?

        I like the idea of personal liability, but to suggest the government came up with corporations for anybody other than big business isn’t close to accurate. You can’t have it both ways, Kent.

        • Well, Charlie, you are right and you are wrong. Big business coopted the process of government to give themselves and their cronies protection from upstart competition and protection from harm they may cause; thus was born the “corporation”- and in return those newly created “corporations” pump money back to those in government who serve their interests. Big business may have “opted for ‘corporations'”, but it could not have been delivered without the complicity of government. It’s a very cozy arrangement. There is no “both ways”.

    • SK Trynosky Sr says:

      We would not be drilling out in the middle of nowhere if our government let us drill where we know there is oil on land. So, yes, in one sense you are right, government should probably have kept a closer eye on BP but no, you are wrong, if government acted in our best interests, there never would have been a spill.

      I don’t remember anymore what it is called in debate but in math, it is the lowest common denominator, just who screwed up first?

      The congressman was right and should not have apologized. BP is ultimately responsible and their spokesman is a jerk. But Obama talking about his “Jackboot” on someones neck is not a particularly American way of looking at things. Maybe it fits better with Stalin or Hitler. So, the overeducated underachiever in the White House needs a cram course in both civility as well as diplomacy.

      • Again, read this:
        http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/111965?RS_show_page=0#

        The blame lies with people thinking that government oversight is in place and working well (it obviously wasn’t), in the system of “leasing” land from the fedgov to these companies, and in the resulting coverup and denials that come when the SHTF. Even the much-respected NOAA is in on this one.

        So, Charlie, what I was pointing out in my entire comment (front which you took one slice) is that government doesn’t work. Which is what Kent said for me.

        These gigantic, mega-national, corporations wouldn’t exist if governments weren’t there to work enforcement for them and keep the competition at bay. Remove government, you begin quickly downsizing the corps with them.

        • Aaron, I like the concept (BF had mentioned this as well; how the small ants would chew up the bigger corporation if all were free to do so). The problem is how do you get there at this point? These corporations aren’t about to let themselves be broken up (and wouldn’t that be infringing?). Take down the government with the money in place and everybody else is way behind.

          What Kent said makes sense only if you’re willing to believe that big business didn’t push for the concept of corporations; money protecting itself. I like the idea of a Libertarian structure … up to a point where; a point at which it becomes as idealistic as socialism. You’re not starting from ground zero; BP (for one), isn’t going to play fair just because you remove restrictions. Who would enforce their unlimited liability? How do you force shareholders to take responsibility (or Mr. BP himself is there are no shareholders)? It seems pretty chaotic to me.

          • Simply remove the enforcement power of government and the big co’s will find themselves relatively helpless. Let’s use BP as an example.

            Suddenly, there’s no government to give BP limited liability and to shore up BP’s costs through subsidies and various freebie programs. BP has a well, say, in Texas and has been operating it for a decade. That well is not entirely profitable without gov’t subsidies. Likely as not, BP will shut down or sell the well. Another well in Alaska, say, is chronically spilling because, in order to make a profit, BP has to cut every corner they can.

            So they sell the Texas well to upstart AaronOil, a new company started by the farmer who owns the land the well is actually pumping from. Now with no lease payment or royalty payout (the farmer owns the land), the well is modestly profitable.

            The Alaska well has been peeving the locals for years. They finally have had enough and tell BP to get out. Let’s say BP owns the land the well is on (pretty unusual, but for big wells, it’s possible). So the residents can’t just cancel a lease and be done with them. They get together and tell BP that the company either sells the land or finds themselves with a well they can’t ship oil out of because they have no access to anything else (private or community-owned land surrounds).

            The locals acquire the well. Not having the funds to rebuild the well to meet better safety standards, they lease it to another company, say Exxon-Mobil, with the explicit requirement that they fix up the well to specs.

            These are small scenarios that, played out dozens of times, would find smaller groups and companies taking over larger conglomerates piece by piece.

            This doesn’t rule out physical force either. I know if my neighbor has an oil well on his land and it’s polluting mine and there is no other recourse for me to take, I have no problem going over there and shutting the thing down and capping it off myself. Some would argue that this is against the ZAP principle, but as I see it, he’s doing harm, so my actions of closing down that harm are self-defense.

            At any rate, this is a good writeup on the corporate-state:
            http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=32260

            There’s also a pretty good egghead Q&A here on this:
            http://www.dailypaul.com/node/58059

            • Aaron: It all sounds good, but frankly no less idealistic than socialism. There are a lot of assumptions in your formula that seem to run counter to what capitalism requires to survive (i.e., growth). I don’t see big money giving up the fight as easily and people can be corrupted (as we’ve seen in government throughout history), but they’re equally as corrupt outside of government. The Libertarian movement has a lot of great ideas but ultimately it relies on the same level of blind faith as does socialism (the way I see it). I’ll take a read of your articles for sure and get back to you again.

              • Charlie,

                What constantly underlines your belief system is the requirement to attack other people.

                Certainly people can be and are corrupt. But who cares as long as they don’t use violence.

                Capitalism is a system that voluntary trade creates.

                Socialism is a system that violence creates.

              • I’m confused. Are you suggesting that big money wouldn’t protect itself with violence? That’s how the mob came to be, BF. Strikebreaking. Unless I’m reading you incorrectly …

              • Charlie,

                The mob is a bunch of crooks, and aren’t that significant compared to Government.

                Further, the mob does not have legitimacy, which makes their actions as dangerous TO THEM as it maybe to YOU.

              • What the “non-cooperators” fail to realize about libertarianism is that it works perfectly well on an individual basis. Libertarians don’t need the dissenters to agree or cooperate. I can, and do, live by my principles anyway. Yes, there are nasty individuals and groups working to rob or attack me at every turn, and prohibiting liberty with their “laws”, but that’s just life, and would be the reality as long as bad people exist- which they always will. Socialism, by whatever name (including the form that has infected and taken over America) requires/demands the cooperation of everyone to “work”. And even when it “works” it is unsustainable and violent.

                I choose to be a part of the solution instead of falling for the lie that “it won’t work”. I know it works since I didn’t wait to see if “the majority” would agree before I tried it. But, for those addicted to coercion and aggression for whatever reason, all I can say is- instead of being a part of the solution, just go right ahead and poo-poo the idea and call libertarians and anarchists by whatever insulting name makes you happy. It’s your loss.

  25. Judy Sabatini says:

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY GUYS, HOPE YOUR DAY WILL BE A SPECIAL DAY FOR YOU ALL.

    TAKE CARE

    JUDY

  26. I don’t care how poor a man is; if he has family, he’s rich. ~M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

    If you think about it, Jesus had more trouble than any of the rest of us buying his Father a gift for Father’s Day. I mean, what do you get somebody who’s Everything?

    Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected. ~Red Buttons

    HAPPY FATHER’S DAY GUYS 🙂

  27. Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there.

    I MUST put my 2 cents in here on the oil mess. Tony Hayward took a couple days off. Fox News went nuts, but Obama played golf. Hayward is a private citizen, not a politician. My fantasy is that he has the stones to tell Obama off in public. The man paid $20B to have some time off.

    It just blows my mind that the oil was allowed to reach the beach after 8 weeks of inaction. It was 40 miles offshore. Come on people!!!!

    So the blame game continues, but we don’t want any help. If I believed in Conspiracy Theories, I would swear that the Environmental extremists are in charge.

  28. Jon

    Apples and oranges BF.

    Exactly, Jon. They are all economic goods and the value of such goods is completely subjective to the individual.

    Food is something all people need every day.

    Not true. You can not eat for a month or so.

    People will trade food for water, and water for air.

    Same with defense. IT is merely another economic good.

    Defense is not. The question is how many people would pay into an army in a free market?

    How many people would pay into a hamburger joint in a free market?

    Answ: any one who wants a fast-food hamburger.

    Substitute the subject of your question for hamburger and review the answer carefully.

    An army is powerful because of 2 things that would be absent in an anarchal society:
    1) Chain of command. Some people do the thinking, some do the dying. It is not a collectively run organization. Wars go badly when there are too many chiefs and not enough warriors.

    Not true.

    Historical example:
    The Boers had no problems with mobilisation, since the fiercely independent Boers had no regular army units (apart from the Staatsartillerie of both republics).

    When danger threatened, all the burghers (citizens) in a district would form a military unit called a commando and would elect officers.

    A full-time official titled a Veldkornet maintained muster rolls, but had no disciplinary powers. Each man brought his own weapon and his own horses.

    The Presidents of the Transvaal and Orange Free State simply signed decrees to concentrate within a week and the Commandos could muster between 30-40,000 men in a week.

    2) Constant readiness. High level combat skills, advanced equipment in combat ready condition with skilled operators, enough equipment and ammo on hand for battle, with transportation systems to deliver this to the front and production infrastructure to resupply. This is all stuff that fully voluntary funding would not likely support, based on the average attitude of persons, including many of your philosophical peers.

    Again, not true.

    You require stupidity to be the primary necessity of free men.

    In fact, free men are rarely stupid – it has a natural ‘weeding out’ factor.

    Kent is a fine example. Free men tend to be prepared for they understand they are responsible for themselves and will not sit back and wait for rescue from “their government”

    Surprise the USA? Not right now,

    You jest! Is 9-11 such a distant memory already???

  29. you were the one asking about who could surprise attack the US, I was speaking in contect to that question.

    Ref your other two examples, tactics and technology have changed since then, insufficient relative skills are provided by day to day life.

    You may be right about free men once all else are weeded out. Not sure you are prepared for that much death tho.

    • Jon,

      No death is necessary.

      I sense you believe people will curl up into a little ball if there isn’t government defending them.

      • I am sure most would fight to the death. Some might even do pretty well. I rather doubt, however, that most would be able to fight against a couple of carriers full of jets, much less a full invasion force. Would the free men just roll over? Of course not. Would they win against an army on par with, say, Japan? No, not really.

        The death I was talking about was in teh weeding out process. I think you would find a lot more people who were not able to handle being free men, at least on the level as yourself and Kent, than you imagine.

        • Jon,

          I think you seriously underestimate humans. I’m mean you made it this far – you come from a very long line of incredibly hardy ancestors….

          The cost of defense is very small.

          The cost of offense is very large.

          Let the enemy bankrupt themselves – that is the easiest defense plan!

          Afghan and Iraq demonstrate that even against the most powerful nation on Earth, a few men dedicated to resistance can wear out even the strongest.

          • Perhaps I am being too cynical, but history is full of organized armies crushing native populations, particularly loosely governed regions and tribes.

            As for your examples of Afghanistan, et al, that is hardly relevant. We defeat ourselves. Our media and comparative good nature holds us back. If we were intent on conquering, we would roll over the population and their measly freedom fighters like armored cavalry charging against sheep. It is not the terrain and the dogged determination of those we fight in the middle east, but a lack of commitment on our part, and a lack of will to truly win, to conquer. If faced with that, there would be little they could do against our military machine.

            Were a country, I will use China as an example, to play on nationalism and the needs of people, mixed with either a religious or racial superiority to decide to conquer this land, and we had only anarchy and no central organization, we would be beaten back badly. Even if we did not lose, it would be a tempting target and many would die. With a nationally organized military funded by citizens, allowing the few who insisted on not being citizens to live and work among them, no nation on earth would dare, much less have chance of success. I do not underestimate mankind. I know some are evil, some are lazy, some are fools, some are smart, some wise, some powerful, some will follow, some will lead, and some will be free.

            • Jon,

              You probably suffer a bit of “victor’s disease” – that is it is the victor who writes the history.

              History is FULL of a successful resistance – yes, some end badly eventually, some don’t. It depends on your scale of time.

              The Zulu and the Boer are two examples – took on the largest Empire and won (and then lost, and then won).

              Circa WW2:
              Italy in Africa – they barely won; Italy in Greece, lost.

              Circa New World: true, the Spanish defeated the Central Americans, but were utterly wiped out by the Plains Indians.

              Afghanistan is perfectly relevant. The Russians “rolled over” the country as you suggest and it didn’t matter.

              The hubris of American public as you demonstrate is that by some unknown reason, the tactics, goals, ability, and superiority of American military is sacrosanct. To burst your bubble, it isn’t. But let me warn you, the same hubris destroyed Athens, Persians, Romans, Spanish, French, Swedish, Russians, Chinese and English to name a few.

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