L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 217, March 31, 2003
CHANGE THE CODE!
The Emperor Has No Clothes
Exclusive to TLE
Last year, in response to Congressman Ron Paul's attempt to adhere to the Constitutional requirement of declaring war before the President may act as Commander-in-Chief, Speaker Hastert declared that the Constitution was "no longer relevant to modern society." Admittedly, he didn't intend to include the entire Constitution, simply that section that specifies that it is the function of Congress to declare war. The problem is that once you start being selective in your application of the Constitution, it becomes possible to ignore all of it.
Last week, in response to questioning by reporters, United States Supreme Court Justice Scalia announced that the Constitution was only a list of minimums. We can now expect, according to Scalia, that our liberties will be curtailed to be more consistent with those minimums.
One need not even mention President Bush. Even the dimmest bulb can percieve that he spends virtually all of his waking hours violating the Constitution that he swore to protect and defend.
We are at a unique point in the history of the Republic: all three branches of the Federal Government are now in complete agreement that the Constitution is no longer relevant.
Forget for a moment that a Federal elected official who ignores the Constitution is in violation of his Oath of Office. Forget that such a violator must by definition be a traitor. If you're religious, forget that in the majority of cases the Oath was sworn to God, placing the violator's immortal soul in peril of eternal damnation.
Instead, let's consider what it means if the Constitution is, in fact, no longer relevant.
The Constitution is the document that defines the Federal Government: it's powers and functions versus those reserved to the States and the People. The Constitution does not have a "spirit." It does not have an "intent."
I realize that there are individuals who call themselves "Constitutional scholars." I realize that they've been in existence since the founding the the Republic. With all due respect to them, the Constitution isn't a philosophical statement in need of interpretation. Rather, it's a rule book in need of adherence by those in office.
As a parallel, consider this: the company for which I work has an Employee Handbook written and maintained by the Human Resources department. In it are rules set down by my company. As a term of my employment, I agreed to abide by these policies. Failure to do so—even accidentally—can be grounds for disciplinary action, suspension, and even termination. I do not have the option to ignore the parts I dislike. I must either obey it in its entirety, or I must quit my job.
The Constitution is the Federal Government's "Employee Handbook." It explains how the Federal Government operates. Adherance to its edicts is not optional by those in government. If they find that they cannot abide by its rules, their only recourse is to resign their office or to amend the Constitution.
Were those wandering the halls of government not fixated on one goal above all others (the attainment and perpetuation of personal power), violation of the Constitution would carry with it disciplinary action: suspension, ejection from office, and imprisonment. For the better part of a century, those in power have slowly but surely inured the voting public to Constitutional violations. Today, the Speaker of the House can go on record saying that it is no longer relevant.
As I listen to the Republican whores on talk radio, it's becoming more frequent to hear them opine about what parts of the Constitution may be ignored, or to insist that the Constitution doesn't really mean what it says. I find this particularly amusing, because only a few short years ago, they made a pretense of being Constitutionalists in favor of limited government. When they whine about the Unconstitutionality of campaign finance reform in one breath and then declare that it's perfectly Constitutional to lock up American citizens as "enemy combatants" in the next, I tend to burst out laughing.
Just precisely what goes on in these idiots' heads? Admittedly, the best of them is a self-proclaimed half-wit, but does even he not realize that he's been reduced to the level of profesional wrestling ringside commentator? When President Clinton was in power, it was easy for them: he was a traitorous pig, after all. When their own traitor is in power, the Republican whores turn into mindless raving cheerleaders, utterly bereft of any principles they might have had under Clinton.
Of course, in reality, the Republican whores aren't that stupid. They know perfectly well that what they're saying makes no sense. For them, the Constitution is something you root through like a pig at a trough, occasionally dragging out snippets in order to bolster an argument. Any leavings that don't support the argument are simply tossed back into the trough for later use.
Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. You can't selectively apply the Constitution. It either exists as a whole, adhered-to in all respects, or it's no longer relevant.
In point of fact, I agree with Speaker Hastert: the Constitution is no longer relevant. It hasn't been releant for at least half a century. The only difference today is that all three branches of government admit it.
The Constitution defines the Republic. If the Constitution that defines it no longer exists, then the Republic itself no longer exists.
As a parallel, the V8 engine in my gas-guzzling SUV defines the vehicle. If I pull it out, I don't have a car any more: I have a very expensive lawn ornament.
Without the Constitution to define it, the Federal Government cannot exist. The Federal Government is no longer legitimate. The Emperor has no clothes!
Ponder this for a moment: less than one-eighth of the governed populace participates in elections. Less than one-half of registered voters show up at the polls; one-half of eligible voters register; and one-half of the governed populace is eligible.
Less than one-eighth of the populace actually supports the current regime—which itself no longer regognizes the document that called it into existence!
Speaker Hastert is right: the Constitution is no longer relevant. The Federal Government is no longer legitimate, and seven-eighths of the population knows it.
In the favorite words of President Bush, the Federal Government is an outlaw regime.
The pertinent question then becomes: what shall we do about it? The answer is simple:
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
This is exactly what we wish the FedGov to be doing. By ejecting the Constitution, those in power have ejected the Federal Government itself. This is a wonderful thing! It means that we may now begin the process of building a free society, in which individuals self-govern guided by the Zero Aggression Principle.
The Emperor has no clothes. All we need do now is point, laugh at the poor sap, and go on with our lives. We may ignore those pitiable fools in Washington and the befuddled one-eighth of those around us who think Washington's "laws" still have relevance.
Government has removed itself from our lives. Thank you, Speaker Hastert, Justice Scalia, and President Bush, for voluntarily returning control of our lives to us. Each and every one of your former subjects owes you a debt of thanks. We're about to embark on the most extraordinary period of freedom in the history of planet Earth, and it was made possible because you ejected the Constitution—and in the process, de-legitimized yourselves.
The Emperor has no clothes. Let's leave the naked fool standing in the town square and get on with conquering the stars!
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