The Constitution: A Politically-Incorrect Guide

by David Gordon, Mises.org

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.

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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.

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Unlimited Government

By Jeffrey R. Snyder, Fee.org

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).

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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.

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Repeal the 17th Amendment

by John MacMullin, Mises.org

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.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

by Ed Noyes, SuperLiberty.com

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.”
Laurence J. Peter, US educator & writer (1919 – 1988)

Where are we going? What is the destiny of America? Who is responsible to save our nation?

It seems apparent that at this time in our history we are struggling to know where we should be going. Given the constant cries for a “bailout” for every form of financial crisis it seems that Americans have resigned themselves to government solutions to our problems. Many are now admitting that our financial crises have been contributed to (if not caused outright) by the government’s unnatural involvement in this economy. Despite this we do not seem to have the courage, or foresight, to address our problems in any other way but through greater government debt, guarantees, etc. Certainly, the endless piling on of debt onto the backs of the American people cannot continue indefinitely.

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Constitution? More of a “Guideline” Really

by History Matters, Church v State

The title of this post is loosely taken from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
“…the code is more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules”

Readers of my posts here will know that I think the courts often get very far from the original intent of our Founding Fathers when they wrote the U.S. Constitution. There is a process for changing the Constitution (i.e. amendments), and that power is not supposed to be just in the hands of a handful of justices or a single judge, nor is it supposed to be in the hands of the legislature along.

The new “Bail-Out Bill” that just passed is a good example of losing sight of the basic theory of the Constitution. The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to “ensure the economic well-being of Americans.” Well, I certainly with for all Americans to have economic well being, but the Federal Government was not originally empowered to do that so directly.

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The Proper Role of Government

by Ed Noyes, SuperLiberty.com

It is amazing how far away we as a nation have strayed from the original vision of the founders with regards to the proper role of government. We have, in fact, devolved 180 degrees from that original purpose. Government was intended to be the protector of the rights of the people. Every individual was to be free to pursue his idea of happiness, as long as he did not violate the rights of others to do the same.

Government was to step in only when one’s “liberty interest” was violated to “restore” the victim. This was called the restorative justice principle. In fact, there was no “crime” other than treason against the people as a whole, unless there was a victim. No fines were paid to the State. The sole purpose of the law was to restore the victim.

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The Do-Something Congress

by Rep Ron Paul

It has not been a good week for the Republic.  It took quite a bit of trampling of the Constitution, but the bailout bill passed, as I suspected it would.

The bailout failed the first time it was brought to the House.  Undaunted, the Senate pressed on by attaching the bailout as an amendment to another House passed bill that was pending in the Senate.  The new bailout version had new taxes, so according to the Constitution it should not have originated in the Senate.

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Economics and the Meltdown

by Rep Ron Paul

The financial meltdown the economists of the Austrian School predicted has arrived.

We are in this crisis because of an excess of artificially created credit at the hands of the Federal Reserve System. The solution being proposed? More artificial credit by the Federal Reserve. No liquidation of bad debt and malinvestment is to be allowed. By doing more of the same, we will only continue and intensify the distortions in our economy – all the capital misallocation, all the malinvestment – and prevent the market’s attempt to re-establish rational pricing of houses and other assets.

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