In the midst of the seemingly indeterminable presidential electoral campaign, some of the candidates have been asked about the possibility of convening a constitutional convention in the hope of addressing the nation’s most pressing issues, most ominously the gargantuan federal deficit now in excess of $18 trillion.
Governor John Kasich supports such a notion with the explicit purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment.
Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self Governance, a leading group pushing the idea, believes that “If it starts to become a serious presidential issue, we could get it done in 2016.”*
Not all presidential contenders are on board with the idea. Senator Marco Rubio has expressed trepidation over the possibility of a convention for amending the current document fearful that it would lead to a total rewrite:
Just make sure that we know how it is going to turn out
because if you open up the Constitution, you are also
opening it up to people that want to re-examine the First
Amendment, people that want to re-examine the Second
Amendment, people that want to re-examine some other
fundamental protect[ions] that are built into the Constitution.”**
Unlike most issues on which he pontificates, Senator Rubio is this time right in his analysis, but most likely for the wrong reasons.
The original Constitutional convention was called to “revise” the supposedly defective Articles of Confederation, but by the time the deliberations (more like arm twisting, threats, and bribes) were over, the Articles had been replaced by a brand spanking new document. The Constitution granted the central government far more power than it had before while the individual states had, in effect, lost their cherished sovereignty and had become mere appendages within the new “federal” union.
Under the current ideological climate, the convocation of another constitutional convention would not return the nation to its halcyon days as a confederation of independent states, but would more than likely increase the central government’s power at the expense of what is left of state and individual rights. The idea of amending the current document is naïve at best, but more importantly a gigantic waste of time.
Groups like Citizens for Self Government do not grasp the essential problem of American political, social and economic life. It is the Constitution itself that is the cause of the myriad of problems which besiege the land. The adoption of the Constitution despite what its sycophantic champions of today and yesteryear have erroneously argued, created a highly centralized national state which is virtually limitless in its power.
The Articles of Confederation, on the other hand, were just that – a system where the national government was dependent for its existence on the individual states’ benevolence. American constitutional history can be seen as the systematic destruction of state, regional, local and, eventually, individual sovereignty from the aggrandizement of federal power, all achieved under Constitutional rule.
The Constitution negates one of the great safeguards of individual liberty – “voting with one’s feet.” Under a confederation of states, tyranny can be avoided, to an extent, by simply relocating to another political jurisdiction. If a state becomes too confiscatory in its taxing policies, its subjects can move to a less tax burdensome district. Thus, the more political jurisdictions there are the better.
Under the Constitution, there is no escape from its dictates unless one expatriates. The ability of populations to move and the greater number of political units provides a far superior check on tyranny than the supposed “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” so celebrated in American federalism.
Amendments, conventions, “strict interpretation” of the Constitution, and all other reforms of the federal system will do nothing to limit or eventually slay the American Leviathan. Decentralization is the key which means secession and a dismantling of the Union.
Secession should not be limited to the Union, but allow for the breakup of the existing states along political, economic and cultural lines. States as geographically, culturally, and economically diverse as California should be broken down into numerous smaller entities. The overriding principle in regard to liberty and prosperity is the greater number of political configurations the better.
Until the Constitution is seen for what it truly is, the rapacious federal state will continue to gorge itself on the ever dwindling productive efforts of its citizenry. Once this is recognized and efforts are taken to disembowel the beast, will the lives, liberties, and property of Americans and a great many around the globe be secured.
*David Sherfinski, “GOP Hopefuls’ Support Boosts Constitutional Convention Idea.” The Washington Times. 24 December 2015.
One of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon Americans at the time of its telling and which is still trumpeted to this very day is the notion that the U.S. Constitution contains within its framework mechanisms which limit its power. The “separation of powers,” where power is distributed among the three branches – legislative, executive, judicial – is supposedly the primary check on the federal government’s aggrandizement.
This sacred held tenet of American political history has once again been disproved.
Last Friday (October 23), the Attorney General’s office announced that it was “closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges” against former Internal Revenue Service’s director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, or, for that matter, anyone else from the agency over whether they improperly targeted Tea Party members, populists, or any other groups, which voiced anti-government sentiments or views.
The Department of Justice statement read:
The probe found ‘substantial evidence of mismanagement,
poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the
belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted
them based on their political viewpoints. But poor
management is not a crime.’ (My emphasis)
Incredibly, it added:
We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on
political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate
motives that would support a criminal prosecution.*
That the DOJ will take no action against one of its rogue departments demonstrates the utter lawlessness and totalitarian nature of the federal government. The DOJ’s refusal to punish documented wrongdoing by the nation’s tax collection agency shows the blatant hypocrisy of Obummer, who promised that his presidency would be one of “transparency.”
It can be safely assumed that Congress will not follow up on the matter, as Darrell Issa (R-Ca.), who chaired a committee to investigate the bureau’s wrong doings, admitted that its crimes may never be known.** The DOJ and Issa’s responses are quite predictable once the nature of the federal government and, for that matter, all governments are understood.
Basic political theory has shown that any state is extremely reluctant to police itself or reform unless threatened with destruction, take over, or dismemberment (secession). The Constitution has given to the federal government monopoly power where its taxing and judicial authority are supreme. It will not relinquish such a hold nor will it seek to minimize such power until it is faced with one of these threats.
While it was called a federated system at the time of its enactment and ever since by its apologists, the reality of the matter is quite different. As the Constitution explicitly states in Art. VI, Sect. 2, the central government is “the supreme law of the land.” The individual states are inferior and mere appendages to the national government – ultimate control rests in Washington.
In fact, it was the Constitution’s opponents, the much derided Antifederalists, who were the true champions of a decentralized system of government while their more celebrated opponents such as Madison, Hamilton and Jay wanted an omnipotent national state.
Thus, in the American context, the only method for those oppressed by the federal government is to either threaten or actually go through with secession. Attempts to alter its dictatorial rule through the ballot box or public protests are futile. While there will naturally be outrage at letting the IRS off the hook, focus and anger must be redirected away from participation within the current political system to that of fundamental change.
Congress’ refusal to prosecute an executive bureau that has deliberately used (and is still using) state power to oppress and harass opponents of the Obama regime demonstrates the bankruptcy of the idea that separation of power limits tyranny. Federal power and the corresponding tyranny and corruption which it has bred has never been countered by the checks and balances and separation of powers of the supposed “federal republic” created a little over two centuries ago.
Until the “big lie” of the Constitution is realized, agencies like the IRS will continue to target and tyrannize anti-government organizations, groups, and individuals. The Constitution provides no real mechanism for the redress of grievances from the subjects which it rules. Only when the breakup of the federal Union has taken place, will American liberties and freedoms be secured.
*Tyler Durden, “DOJ Closes Lois Lerner Investigation Without Charges.” Zero Hedge http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-23/doj-closes-lois-lerner-investigation-without-charges
October 23, 2015.
**Melanie Batley, “Issa on IRS Scandal: May Never Get the Truth.” Newsmax http://www.newsmax.com/US/issa-scandal-irs-investigation/2014/07/09/id/581638/ July 9, 2014.
The Antifederalists and the American Empire
If any group of similarly-minded people have been vindicated by the passage of time, it has been those opposed to the United States Constitution who would later become known as the “Antifederalists.” Nearly every objection that the Antifederalists raised about the Constitution have long ago proved to be wholly founded and had they been more politically savvy and persevered in their convictions, the document would have never seen the light of day, arguably, leaving Americans and the rest of the world considerably better off.
One of the Antifederalists’ biggest fears was that the adoption of the Constitution would ultimately lead to an empire and all of the nasty consequences which flow from it. They rightly understood that empire building was the dream of many of their Federalist opponents such as Alexander Hamilton who wanted Americans to follow the path of the British Empire.
“Brutus” beautifully expressed the Antifederalist position on empire:
[Americans] ought to furnish the world with an example of a great people, who in their civil institutions hold chiefly in view, the attainment of virtue, and happiness among ourselves. Let the monarchs in Europe, share among them the glory of depopulating countries, and butchering thousands of their innocent citizens, to revenge private quarrels, or to punish an insult offered to a wife, a mistress, or a favorite: I envy them not the honor, and I pray heaven this country may never be ambitious of it. (1)
Warfare was abhorrent to the Antifederalists the exception, of course, being for defensive purposes. War enriched the few especially the politically connected while everyone else suffered. The “Federal Farmer” echoing a Scholastic viewpoint describes war’s de-civilizing effects:
War is justifiable on no other principle than self-defense, it is at best a curse to any people; it is comprehensive of most, if not all the mischiefs that do or can afflict mankind; it depopulates nations; lays waste the finest countries; destroys arts and sciences; it many times ruins the best men, and advances the worst, it effaces every trace of virtue, piety and compassion, and introduces all kinds of corruption in public affairs; and in short, is pregnant with so many evils, that it ought ever to be avoided if possible; nothing but self-defense can justify it. (2)
While it took at least a century to get going, it is ultimately the Constitution which is responsible for the creation of the American Empire. The imbroglio in the Crimea/Ukraine with the C.I.A. and other agencies fomenting social discord and strife is just the latest episode in the long destructive course of this nation’s imperial history. And, it will not be the last.
The chief reason why those who opposed the American Empire from its beginnings until the present day have failed to halt its malignant growth is because they have not challenged the foundation upon which that edifice rests. The Constitution created a powerful central government which obliterated any real check that the individual states had upon its largesse. The Antifederalists clearly understood this, while most contemporary opponents of the Federal Leviathan do not.
The enactment of the Constitution was a grand reversal in the course of human events away from political decentralization which was embodied in the American Revolution. Tragically, within a decade after secession from the mightiest empire on earth at the time, Americans foolishly allowed to be imposed on them a highly centralized national state which would eventually develop into a global juggernaut that has now become the greatest threat to human liberty, peace and prosperity mankind has ever witnessed.
If the American Empire is to be dismantled prior to an economic collapse, its intellectual justification must first be debunked. There is no better place to start than with the perspicacious arguments of the 18th century opponents of the United States Constitution and the empire it created.
(1) Herbert J. Storing. What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1981, p. 31.
First published 4-23-’14
World War I and the Course of American Foreign Policy
This year marks one full century since the outbreak of one of the most horrific and world altering events in all of history, World War I. “The war to end all wars,” as it was first naively dubbed, was an unmitigated disaster for mankind where everyone who was affected suffered, the exception, of course, were the usual suspects: politicians, their financiers, and the armament industries. The consequences of the conflagration still linger long after millions had been slaughtered and the wanton destruction had concluded.
As happens with most wars, the origins of WWI were sown in a previous conflict which in this case was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 where France was handily defeated and forced to relinquish territory, most notably, Alsace-Lorraine. While French revanche for its defeat was the primary impetus for the Great War’s outbreak, other factors certainly contributed. Most importantly, the rise of nationalism throughout Europe coupled with a neo-imperialism among the major powers which inevitably brought them into disputes over colonial possessions. Moreover, a system of mutual “defense” treaties and alliances were made which committed nations to military engagement if a partner came under attack.
Thus, by 1914, the world was one big powder keg ready to be detonated by a spark which, tragically, was lit by the assassination of Austria’s Archduke. The deaths of combatants and non-combatants on an unprecedented scale quickly ensued while the cost of the war exceeded anything previously fought, forcing nations to borrow prodigiously and print vast amounts of money.
While the blame for the war’s outbreak can be placed on national pride and the utter stupidity and incompetence of the contending European powers, its grizzly continuation can be placed at the feet of one individual and the nation he headed, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States. If it had not been for this former Princeton political science professor, the war, most likely, would have come to an earlier conclusion and a second more destructive conflict would have been avoided.
By 1916, the War had come to a standstill as each side finally began to realize their collective insanity and opened peace talks. In the United States, which had ostensibly remained “neutral,” but had favored the Triple Entente (United Kingdom, France, Russia), a presidential election was taking place. When it comes to foreign policy, all presidents lie and Wilson continued the tradition during the campaign. Despite running on a platform of neutrality, he had secretly told the Allies that he would do all in his power to bring the nation into the war after his re-election.
The promise of United States intervention emboldened the Allied powers to spurn negotiations and press on despite near exhaustion. A little over a month after his inauguration, in April, 1917, Wilson called on Congress to declare war on the Central Powers who had taken no direct military action against America. Wilson’s call for war was based on the ludicrous slogan “to make the world safe for democracy.” Unfortunately, Congress and enough of the gullible public went along with the hoax and the nation plunged itself into the madness which set it on its ruinous course of global empire.
While making the world safe for democracy appealed to many, the primary reason why Wilson got into the conflict (surprise, surprise) was financial. Wilson was intimately connected with J.P. Morgan’s financial empire which had underwritten a considerable amount of Allied debt. If the war ended on unfavorable terms for the Entente Powers or if the Central Powers would actually win, the House of Morgan would be ruined. An Allied victory would bail out the Morgans and allow Wilson to have a hand in redesigning the map of Europe as he undoubtedly dreamed of during his Princeton teaching years.
While the United States’ rout of Spain in 1898 is technically the beginning of its rise as global policeman, it was intervention in World War I which became the blueprint for its meddlesome foreign policy of the past century. The nation would become involved in a seemingly endless string of wars (both “hot” and “cold”), revolutions, coups, ethnic strife, and internecine struggles none of which threatened its own security. The current Ukraine imbroglio is just the latest example of such.
After a century of foreign intervention which have enriched politicians and the politically-connected financial elite while bringing death, destruction and misery to peoples throughout the world, America’s superpower status is coming to an end. The continuing economic deterioration and likelihood of a major financial collapse will eventually curtail its overseas adventurism. The resources will simply not be available to conduct and maintain a global military apparatus. There will thus be a good that comes out of an economic collapse: the end of the American empire!
Until that day, however, expect the continuation of a belligerent and domineering foreign policy which began when the United States made the infamous decision a century ago to enter a war that was supposed “to end all wars.”
First Published 3-29-’14