Starting from Scratch

by William E. Morris,

The infamous $700 billion bailout is a symbol of the incompetence of big government. It results from previous government actions that have caused a recession, and threaten a depression. The bail-out to the risk we already had of severe inflation and a financial catastrophe.

What if we started over to design a government from scratch a government that really worked for us?


Government and Fraud

by Rep Ron Paul

Billions of dollars were recently lost in the collapse of Bernie Madoff’s self-described Ponzi scheme, in which too-good-to-be-true returns on investments were not really returns at all, but the funds of defrauded new investors.  The pyramid scheme collapsed dramatically when too many clients called in their accounts, and not enough new victims could be found to support these withdrawals.  Bernie Madoff was running a blatant fraud operation.

Fraud is already illegal, and he will be facing criminal consequences, which is as it should be, and should act as an appropriate deterrent to potential future criminals.  But it seems every time someone breaks the law, politicians and pundits decide we need more laws, even though lack of laws was not the problem.


Economic Freedom or Socialist Intervention?

by Rep Ron Paul

The freedom to fail is an essential part of freedom.  Government- provided financial security necessitates relinquishing the very essence of freedom.  Last week, the big 3 American automakers came back to Capitol Hill with their hands out to the government.  Congress spent this past week debating how much money to give them and what strings should be attached.

Though the bailout plan for the auto industry has suffered what I would call a temporary setback in the Senate, other avenues for public funding are being explored through the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department.  I am afraid the American auto industry will soon learn that having billions rain down from Washington will not be the blessing one might expect.

The government, after it subsidizes an industry, tends to become a very demanding benefactor.  Politicians may not have any real idea about how to build a car, run a bank, educate a child, heal the sick or build a road, but they are quite adept at using carrots and sticks to manipulate and threaten those who do.  Most of the federal control over education, roads, healthcare, and now banking and soon auto manufacturing, is done through money, mandates and conditions. 


The Meaning of Federalism

by Clarence B. Carson,

Several developments have contributed to making the meaning of federalism obscure. Some are old, some recent. Some may be more or less innocent; others are destructive of federalism itself. One of these that may be more or less innocent is the habit of referring to the United States government as the “federal government.”

Whether it is innocent or not, it does tend to confuse the unwary. These United States have a federal system of government. The system embraces both the general government and those of the states. Thus, both the United States government and the state government are correctly alluded to as “federal” governments.


Liberty and Obedience

by David Gordon,

The dedication of Restoring the Lost Constitution, “To James Madison and Lysander Spooner,” at once alerts us that we confront an unusual book. During the Constitutional Convention, Madison supported a strong national government; Spooner, by contrast, subjected to withering criticism the notion that the people of the United States had consented to the Constitution. Whom does Barnett support? The Father of the Constitution or the author of The Constitution of No Authority?

Barnett soon makes clear his response. He finds convincing Spooner’s assault on consent theories of political obligation. But this does not lead him to question the need for a state. Quite the contrary, he aims to extricate government from Spooner’s challenge: since consent does not underlie our obligation to obey the state, Barnett must locate something better that will do the job.


Random Thoughts On Secession

by Logos, Unlawful Government

One of the arguments I frequently hear against secession is that the Constitution never mentions this right, so the right must not exist. Assuming for a moment that the rules of a political system control whether a group of citizens may cease participating in that system (a notion that contradicts the Declaration of Independence), how exactly does constitutional silence disprove secession?


The Constitution: A Politically-Incorrect Guide

by David Gordon,

Kevin Gutzman gives his readers much more than they had a right to expect. The “Politically Incorrect Guide” series in which his book appears aims at a popular audience: its goal is to correct commonly held myths of leftist propaganda.

Gutzman eminently fulfills this goal, but his book cannot be called an elementary work. Quite the contrary, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution is a major contribution to American constitutional history.

Gutzman is a leading authority on the Virginia ratification debates on the Constitution, and he uses his research to great effect. He has been much influenced by the pioneering originalist scholar Raoul Berger, but he strengthens and extends Berger’s views.


Unity and Federalism

by Gary Galles

After a bitter and divisive election, Democrats have regained the presidency and widened their control of Congress. Now they are making the usual political victors’ calls for unity. But unfortunately, Americans’ often diametrically opposed preferences for what they want government to do guarantees disunity under our current approach to governance.

Opposing desires (you want “A” but I want “not A”) mean that no national approach or plan can form the basis of unity. Instead, only returning to our Constitution’s forgotten federalism, especially the 10th Amendment, can reconcile them with national unity.


Unlimited Government

By Jeffrey R. Snyder,

The federal government was supposed to be limited to a few defined powers. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution- “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” -confirms it.

The federal government, of course, does not at present respect its constitutional limits. The chief culprit, in this regard, is the massive social legislation and regulatory apparatus enacted under Congress’s constitutional authority “to regulate Commerce . . . among the several states” (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3).


Destroying Liberty

by Walter E. Williams

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned, “The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.” The freedom of individuals from compulsion or coercion never was, and is not now, the normal state of human affairs. The normal state for the ordinary person is tyranny, arbitrary control and abuse mainly by their own government. While imperfect in its execution, the founders of our nation sought to make an exception to this ugly part of mankind’s history. Unfortunately, at the urging of the American people, we are unwittingly in the process of returning to mankind’s normal state of affairs.


Repeal the 17th Amendment

by John MacMullin,

Nearing election time again, we are reminded that the there are no checks and balances available to the states over federal power or over Congress itself in any area. However, in the history of our country, it was not always this way. In the original design by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution, there was an effective check on Congress through the state legislatures’ power to appoint (and remove) United States Senators.

As such, the core of the problem with state’s rights issues lies in the passage of the 17th Amendment in 1913, which abrogated the state legislatures’ right to appoint United States Senators in favor of popular election of those officials. This amendment created a fundamental structural problem which, irrespective of the political party in office, or the laws in effect at any one time, will result, over time, in expanding federal control in every area.

The 17th Amendment caused a failure in the federalist structure, federal deficit spending, inappropriate federal mandates, and federal control over a number of state institutions.