L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 188, August 26, 2002
Changing The Rules
Exclusive to TLE
Okay, you Constitutionalists out there, let's talk about how well that dead document has served the cause of individual freedom in America.
Plenty of folks (some quite a bit smarter than I) have expressed their doubts about the value of the Constitution over the years. It even started before all the existing states ratified it. Heck, a third of the original Convention delegates walked out rather than foist the condemned thing on a newly free America. Rhode Island was blackmailed into signing off.
And several states that did ratify only acted once that dubiously wonderful Bill of Rights was amended into the deal.
Obligatory Digression: Don't get me wrong. I approve of the Bill of Rights in as much as it was the sole protection of individual liberty in the whole scheme. Of course, as was warned even back then, it was too little, too late. Strong, ever-growing, central government - with the concomitant decrease in state and personal rights - had its foot in the door.
Some Constitutional and BoR detractors warned that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights" would lead to the later presumption on the part of government that any right not specifically listed would be denied existence. Those who didn't merely laugh off the allegedly asinine assertion were certain that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments would ensure such a travesty of liberty never happened.
Did you notice that the Supremely-stupid Court of the United State (not a typo) has decided that the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments - with all their clauses clearly aimed at protecting the doings of individuals - don't have a thing to do with privacy; that the current Chief Cross-Dresser (hey, I don't wear a black dress to work) has declared that no right to privacy exists?
Then there's the Supremes' refusal to slap down lesser courts which deny the Second Amendment. The perpetual meddling in what should clearly be - to anyone with an IQ higher than a fed - strictly internal state matters. Lower courts giving feds the power to illegally install keystroke sniffers on suspects' computers, the go-ahead to spy on their lawyers, and to secretly hold people never charged with crimes.
And we have voir dire, double jeopardy via prosecution appeals and federal trial for state-level offenses, the death of jury nullification, human judgment suspend by mandatory sentencing ...
You get the idea. I hope.
So much for the Judicial Branch of Government. Let's what the Executive Branch has done to... umm, for individuals lately.
Checking my little list: Der Fuhrer Dubya declared a war in violation of Article I, Section 8, clause 11; the new Transportation Gestapo instituted internal passports for air travel (and they've already announced plans to extend this to ground travel as well), the Department of Injustice has begun forming a STASI-style national snitch program - Everyone who believes that backstepping on using all the service industries as spies is permanent, raise your right hand and say, "Heil, Dubya! - to watch innocent Americans, and declared its intent to enforce gun control laws which even it says are unconstitutional.
Reichsmarshall Ashcroft has called for concentration camps for American citizens whom he wants to conveniently declare "enemy combatants" whether or not they've engaged in any sort of combat. Can't happen to you? Jose Padilla; still imprisoned with no lawyer though the FBI says he probably wasn't part of Al-Qaeda after, probably thought that way.
And speaking of the FBI, the dogs are unleashed to "investigate" people with no evidence of a crime even being committed. And their reading skills are still somewhere below that of the typical second-grader.
The War Department (the old name is so much more accurate and meaningful) has officially denied any American birthright to liberty, and made plans to wage war on anyone who makes a convenient scapegoat for anything.
Shall we talk about the BIA, USFS, USPS, et cetera - with no Constitutional authorization - which are still incinerating Western America, directly and indirectly? A Treasury Department ordering your bank to spy and report on you? I thought not.
And the feds are still planning secret military tribunals, to include those unfortunately tagged citizens, using secret evidence. Heck, the INS has been using secret evidence for years.
I guess that takes care of the Executive Branch. So what's left of the three-way balance of power in the Constitution to protect us from tyranny?
Spooner help us, that leaves... Congress.
If all that stands between individual Americans and federal tyranny is that collection of ninnies, twits, criminals, and ambulance chasers of whom Will Rogers said, "The country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer", we're screwed.
This would be the Congress that foisted warrantless CALEA wiretaps - and the expense of installing them - on America's telecommunications industry. The Congress that thinks mandatory participation in a fore- doomed Ponzi con is a good idea. That imposed a Hitleresque police state on us through the feel-good named USA PATRIOT Act. That rarely saw a grotesque victim disarmament scheme it didn't like. That thought kiting checks on a taxpayer-funded internal bank was okay, for them.
A Congress that hasn't done a bloody thing to rein in the power- mad authoritarians in either of the other two Branches.
These... things are the guys whom you expect to defend your freedom?
Hell, no. These weaselly hysterics get on TV to bless the atrocities committed against liberty and call for more. They pass newer, bigger, and better tax-and-spend packages to fund the unethical adventures in police state thuggery. And push for more laws like the urban development guidelines meant to shove everyone into socialist-approved HabiTrails for Humanity.
Face it; the Constitution did not provide for a series of checks and balances in the form of counter-balancing branches of government. That's nothing but statist propaganda. The sad - for an old ex-Constitutionalist to be forced to admit - reality is that the Constitution created a federal monster of one body. The branches are merely subsystems.
Congress is the digestive system. It eats us alive, taking our money, our property, our hope, our very reasons for living and turns it all into resources to power itself and the rest of the hungry beast.
The executive branch is the brain - granted, a stupid one under Fuhrer Dubya - and arms of of the nasty creature. It dreams sadomasochistic dreams of paranoid power trips and inflicts them upon us. And demands that we like it or die.
This leaves leaves the judicial system, and most specifically the Supreme Court. Its role in the body politic is perfectly obvious. It's the federal excretory system.
That's why the courts piss on your rights at every opportunity; even if they have to manufacture one.
Thomas Jefferson maintained that "governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes". Possibly he was correct. But generously allowing that serious federal might have only started with the American Dictator Lincoln (habeas corpus suspended, newspapers critical of the administration shut down, individual critics arrested and held illegally, an unconstitutional income tax, a war that killed hundreds of thousands), is a century and a half of bureaucratic slavery light and transient?
But even that doesn't mean that the gun should be our first resort in the struggle against the serious and continuous savaging of liberty. Right?
I've personally been speaking out against abuses by government for most of a decade. For others I know, the struggle has been multiple decades. (Hey, I'm a newby.) Some, like myself, have tried education and persuasion to make a difference. Some have attempted to participate directly in the electoral process.
Which means some of us have lost jobs or missed employment opportunities for the thought-crime of having the wrong ideas. And other have been arrested and physically hurt while trying to work within the one party "Two Party System" as Libertarians and independents.
By and large, we've been a remarkably peaceful bunch. A heck of a lot of us like to shoot, but have refrained from shooting government goons; we just keep giving them benefit of the doubt. We keep hoping we can effect a change without spilling blood, even the blood of those whose elimination would raise the moral, ethical, and intelligence average of the world population.
We keep working within the system. We keep obeying the rules the would-be masters have imposed on us regarding acceptable means of change.
"The shark makes rules that sweep the smaller fish into its jaws." -- (Leslie Fish, No High Ground)
The system, the game, is rigged. And the masters threw away the old rule book anyway. The Constitution is dead except when it suits the goons to claim its protection from us. But somehow it never works the other way around. When the Constitution would help liberty, the goons simply make a law that - somehow - overrides the Constitution and keeps them in power.
The Constitution is dead. The new rules are arbitrary, ever-changing, and destructive of freedom. In spite of that, we've spent years trying to obey those rules to reach freedom.
I think it's time to play by our own rules.
Rules that have nothing to do with grabbing power over other people's lives. Rules that have everything to do with being free again. The kind of rules that Sam Adams chose when he led a mob against Stamp Act revenuers in 1765. The sort of rules to which Jefferson and his partners in treason turned when they threw out an evil government and declared that, "it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it".
Making new rules like this is a basic human right, again as stated in that old honored Declaration: "laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
Men like Jefferson, Hancock, Adams, and others of whom many of us have never heard , saw it as their right and duty to pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to making and working by rules intended to make men free and eliminate government destructive of liberty.
Can we do less?