Tag Archives: United States Constitution

James Madison: Father of the Implied-Powers Doctrine The Future of Freedom Foundation

TGIF: James Madison: Father of the Implied-Powers Doctrine The Future of Freedom Foundation.

by  July 26, 2013

James Madison famously wrote in Federalist 45: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.” Strict constructionists are fond of this quote, and often cite it in defense of their view that the Constitution established a government of strictly limited powers.

But did it?

One way to approach this question is to look at Madison’s record. Some people will be surprised to learn that the author of the Constitution was also the author of the implied-powers doctrine, which would seem to run counter to the few-and-defined-powers doctrine.

The U.S. Constitution, of course, was America’s second constitution, the first being the Articles of Confederation (1781–1789). The Articles did little more than formalize the confederation of soon-to-be sovereign states, leaving few powers to the single-branch national government. (It created Congress only, no executive or judiciary.) This government lacked two powers that national governments routinely exercise: the power to tax and the power to regulate trade. Indeed, the power to tax is so essential to the identity of government that we are warranted in calling what the Articles created a quasi government. For its revenue it depended on the power of the states to impose taxes on the people, but it could not tax the people directly. (Attempts to permit the national government to impose a duty on imports failed.)

The bare-bones Articles left little for ambitious politicians to work with. What was a statesman to do? Less than two weeks after the Articles took effect, Madison hit on a solution. As a member of the Congress, he proposed an amendment:

A general and implied power is vested in the United States in Congress assembled to enforce and carry into effect all the articles of the said Confederation against any of the States which shall refuse or neglect to abide by such determinations.

Note the phrase “general and implied power.”

As his biographer, Ralph Ketcham, wrote, “Madison sought as well to make the mode of enforcement explicit: Congress was authorized ‘to employ the force of the United States as well by sea as by land’ to compel obedience to its resolves.”

The amendment, along with others that would have bulked up the central government, failed. (Ketcham noted that Madison then became “more devious”  in his attempts to enlarge its powers.)

The view held by Madison and other Founders that the central government was too weak paved the way to the convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Albert Jay Nock called this the “coup d’etat,” because rather than amending the Articles per its mandate, the convention, which worked behind locked doors, started from scratch. (Changes to the Articles would have required unanimous consent of the states. But the proposed Constitution set its own rules for ratification: only 9 of 13 states were required.

As Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “The evils suffered and feared from weakness in Government … have turned the attention more toward the means of strengthening the [government] than of narrowing [it].”

This was echoed by James Wilson, a well-respected judge from Pennsylvania and an ardent nationalist: “It has never been a complaint [against congresses] that they governed overmuch. The complaint has been that they have governed too little.”

Madison’s interest in implied powers is indicated by what didn’t get into the Constitution. For example, the Articles of Confederation contained this language in Article II:

Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expresslydelegated to the United States, in Congress assembled. [Emphasis added.]

Nothing like this appeared in the Constitution drafted in Philadelphia. On the other hand, the document did extend to Congress the power to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

This is the “necessary and proper” clause so feared by the Antifederalist critics of the proposed Constitution. As the Antifederalist “Brutus” wrote, “No terms can be found more indefinite than these, and it is obvious, that the legislature alone must judge what laws are proper and necessary for the purpose.”

Once the Constitution was released to the public, its champions set out to sell it to a skeptical populace. Wilson sought to assure the people that the government’s powers were expressly limited by enumeration:

The congressional authority is to be collected, not from tacit implication but from the positive grant expressed in the [Constitution].… [E]very thing which is not given [to the national government], is reserved [to the states].

But this assertion was met with incredulity by many who read the document. Jefferson responded:

To say, as Mr. Wilson does that … all is reserved in the case of the general government which is not given … might do for the Audience to whom it was addressed, but is surely gratis dictum, opposed by strong inferences from the body of the instrument, as well as from the omission of the clause of our present confederation [Article II], which declared that in express terms.

Arthur Lee of Virginia also scoffed (PDF):

Mr. Wilson’s sophism has no weight with me when he declares … that in this Constitution we retain all we do not give up, because I cannot observe on what foundation he has rested this curious observation.

The lack of something like Article II of the Articles of Confederation, along with the lack of a bill of rights, created enough concern about the proposed Constitution that its advocates felt compelled to promise to make things right.

After ratification, the first Congress, largely on Rep. Madison’s initiative, set to work writing a bill of rights. (Other nationalists would have just as soon broken their promise.) Twelve amendments made the final cut in the congressional committee. Amendment XII (later to become X when two failed to be ratified by the states) read,

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.

It was a pale reflection of the old Article II. On seeing this language, Rep. Thomas Tudor Tucker of South Carolina rose to amend the amendment by inserting the word expressly before the word delegated.

According to the record, Madison objected that “it was impossible to confine a government to the exercise of express powers; there must necessarily be admitted powers by implication, unless the constitution descended to recount every minutiae.” (Emphasis added.)

Tucker’s amendment failed, and failed again when submitted to the whole Congress. (According to the record, “Mr. Tucker did not view the word ‘expressly’ in the same light with the gentleman who opposed him; he thought every power to be expressly given that could be clearly comprehended within any accurate definition of the general power.”)

Thus, the man who promised that the powers of government under the new Constitution would be “few and defined” now said that any constitution must have unenumerated implied powers. His colleagues should not have been surprised. In Federalist 44 Madison had written that “No axiom is more clearly established in law or in reason than that wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included.”

Even earlier, before the convention, writes biographer Ketcham, Madison “opposed a strict definition of ‘the extent of Legislative power’” in advising Kentuckians who were contemplating a state constitution.

Madison was right, of course. No constitution could expressly enumerate all powers without appending an endless list of minutiae. There must be implied powers — and that’s the danger of any constitution. Implied powers of course must be inferred, and inference requires interpretation. Who is likely to have the inside track in that process: those who seek to restrict government power or those who seek to expand it?

This post was written by:

Sheldon Richman is vice president of The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of FFF’s monthly journal, Future of Freedom. For 15 years he was editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. He is the author of FFF’s award-winning book Separating School & State: How to Liberate America’s FamiliesYour Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax; and Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State. Calling for the abolition, not the reform, of public schooling.Separating School & State has become a landmark book in both libertarian and educational circles. In his column in the Financial Times, Michael Prowse wrote: “I recommend a subversive tract, Separating School & State by Sheldon Richman of the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank… . I also think that Mr. Richman is right to fear that state education undermines personal responsibility…” Sheldon’s articles on economic policy, education, civil liberties, American history, foreign policy, and the Middle East have appeared in the Washington PostWall Street JournalAmerican ScholarChicago TribuneUSA Today,Washington TimesThe American ConservativeInsightCato Policy ReportJournal of Economic DevelopmentThe FreemanThe World & IReasonWashington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Liberty magazine, and other publications. He is a contributor to the The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. A former newspaper reporter and senior editor at the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies, Sheldon is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He blogs at Free Association. Send him e-mail.

© The Future of Freedom Foundation


Dr. Paul Grades Professor Obama

He Gives Him An F

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 – by Ron Paul

Ron Paul

Last week President Obama made some rather shocking comments at a press conference regarding the Supreme Court’s deliberation on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. His comments belie a grasp of constitutional concepts so lacking that perhaps the University of Chicago Law School should offer a refund to any students “taught” constitutional law by then-Professor Obama!

He said, “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” It almost sounds as if he believes the test of constitutionally is whether a majority approves of the bill, as opposed to whether the legislation lies within one of the express powers of the federal government. In fact, the very design of the Constitution, with power split amongst two branches of the legislature which write the laws, an executive who administers the laws and an independent judiciary which resolves disputes regarding meaning of the laws, was designed to thwart popular will and preserve liberty.

President Obama continued in his comments, “For years, what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint, that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, there’s a good example, and I’m pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step.”

President Obama seems to misunderstand that the criticism of an activist judiciary is not that it is overturning unconstitutional federal laws, but instead that it is usurping the authority to intervene in areas, such as abortion, where the Constitution reserves authority to the states. In fact, upholding clearly unconstitutional laws such as Obamacare because the justices bowed to the “will of the people” or believed the individual mandate was good social policy could be considered an example of judicial activism.

The founders never intended the judiciary to have the last word on whether or not a law is constitutional. The judiciary is equal to the Congress and the President, not superior. Representatives, senators, presidents and judges all have an independent duty to determine a law’s constitutionality. The founders would be horrified by the attitude of many lawmakers that they can pass whatever laws they want and federal judges will then determine whether or not the law is constitutional.

Additionally, state governments have the authority to protect their citizens from federal laws that threaten liberty. If the Supreme Court rules that Obamacare is constitutional, I hope state legislators will exercise their powers to pass legislation allowing their citizens to opt-out of the national health care plan.

Unfortunately, even many of my colleagues who correctly argue Obamacare’s unconstitutionality support the President when he asserts the power to send troops into battle without a declaration of war, or have citizens indefinitely detained and even assassinated on little more than his own authority. Other of my colleagues not only cheer the unconstitutional monstrosity of Obamacare, but support the President’s actions to defy the Senate’s appointment powers, and legislate by executive order.

Even worse, some members will only challenge a president’s unconstitutional actions if the president is from a different political party. The defeat of Obamacare in the courts would provide a stark reminder that the limits of government are set by the Constitution, not the will of the president, Congress, or even the Supreme Court. However, the victory would be short-lived as long as the legislative branch refuses to do its duty to abide by the constitutional limits and exercises its powers to ensure the other two branches do likewise.

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Original Article: http://www.thedailybell.com/3800/Ron-Paul-Professor-Obama-Gets-an-F


10 reasons why even democrats, liberals and progressives are choosing Ron Paul over Obama

Thursday, January 12, 2012
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com

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(NaturalNews) It’s a seemingly absurd idea on the surface: Why would democrats and liberals want to vote for Ron Paul (a Republican) over President Obama? Maybe because they want freedom instead of tyranny, it turns out. Because if you’re a total slave to the police state, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re on the left or the right, does it?
Here, I give you ten solid reasons why even liberals and progressives are supporting Ron Paul. And by the way, I don’t worship Ron Paul or any individual. What I honor is the principles that Ron Paul stands for — the very same principles President Obama has outright abandoned in his broken promises and disturbing reversals against the American people. Out of all the candidates, only Ron Paul has the ethical and moral strength to carry out his office from a place of principle rather than betrayal.

#1) Ron Paul supports decriminalizing marijuana and ending the War on Drugs. Obama does not.

Remember when Obamapromisedhe would decriminalize marijuana, but now his own administration continues to raid legal drug dispensaries in California? That’s a classic Obama lie: Say one thing to get elected, then turn around and do the exact opposite.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, openly supports decriminalizing marijuana and ending the failed War on Drugs. Although he doesn’tpromoterecreational drug use (and neither do I), he understands that treating weed smokers as hard-core criminals is ethical, morally and economically wrong. See my related article on Snoop Dogg and his recent drug bust in Texas: http://www.naturalnews.com/034612_Snoop_Dogg_marijuana_War_on_Drugs.html

#2) Ron Paul supports the freedom to choose what you eat and drink, including raw milk, but the Obama administration continues to run armed raids on raw milk farmers

Under Ron Paul, the FDA would be forced to end its vicious armed raids on Amish farmers and raw dairy producers. Obama has openly allowed such armed raids to continue under his watch, refusing to even take a stand for food freedom in America.

Ron Paul understands that liberty is the most important component of abundance. If you are not free to choose what you want to eat, smoke what you want to smoke, and choose your own type of medicine and health care, then you are a slave, not a citizen. Ron Paul seeks to get Big Government out of your life, away from your kitchen, out of your medicine cabinet and away from your children.

#3) Ron Paul would seek to eliminate FDA censorship of the scientifically-validated health claims for herbs, nutritional supplements and natural remedies

Under Bush and Obama, the FDA’s continued censorship of truthful statements about medicinal herbs, homeopathy and nutritional supplements has been fully supported by the White House. Obama is just a corporate puppet, of course, and that means he does whatever the powerful corporations tell him to do — especially the Wall Street and Big Pharma corporations. So it’s no surprise he hasn’t taken a stand to support health freedom for foods and supplements.

But Ron Paul has pushed the Health Freedom Protection Act year after year (http://www.naturalnews.com/019382_Health_Freedom_Protection_Act.html), tirelessly working tolegalize nutrition in Americaand restore Free Speech for Chinese Medicine herbs, Western medicine herbs and dietary supplements. Where Obama wants people to remain ignorant and malnourished, Ron Paul wants to restore your right to know the truth about supplements and natural medicine. As Ron Paul said in late 2005:

“The Health Freedom Protection Act will force the FDA to at last comply with the commands of Congress, the First Amendment, and the American people by codifying the First Amendment standards adopted by the federal courts. Specifically, the Health Freedom Protection Act stops the FDA from censoring truthful claims about the curative, mitigative, or preventative effects of dietary supplements, and adopts the federal court’s suggested use of disclaimers as an alternative to censorship. The Health Freedom Protection Act also stops the FDA from prohibiting the distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease.”

#4) Ron Paul would shut down secret military prisons like Gitmo, but Obama wants to expand those prisons and fill them with Americans!

It is now common knowledge that Obama lied when he said he would shut down Guantanamo Bay. As it turns out, Obama actually signed the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) on New Year‘s Eve (when no one would notice). The NDAA grants the U.S. government the claimed “legal” right to “indefinitely detain” U.S. citizens, throw them in secret military prisons, interrogate them and even kill them with no due process. All this can now take place without a person even beingchargedwith a crime, much less given their day in court. (http://www.naturalnews.com/034537_NDAA_Bill_of_Rights_Obama.html)

Obama quietly signed this bill on New Year’s Eve, hoping no one would notice. This is how low his morals have stooped, by the way — to signing traitorous bills in the dark of night, on the evening before a major holiday where half the nation is hung over from alcohol. Why no signing ceremony with full coverage by CNN, huh? Maybe it’s because nationaltraitorsdon’t want their crimes against the United States Constitution to be filmed on camera.

In signing this, Obama violated his own oath of office, nullified the U.S. Bill of Rights, and essentially committed an act of mass civil rights violations against the People of America. Rep. Ron Paul, on the other hand, is one of the very few people who has openly and sternly opposed this unlawful NDAA which blatantly and arrogantly violates the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

This single point alone outweighs everything else you might think about Ron Paul. Even if you disagree with Ron Paul on other issues, none of that really matters if you’re rotting away in a secret military prison for daring to protest in a public park, for example. Without the Bill of Rights, nothing else really matters because tyranny takes over. The Bill of Rights must be defended first and at all costs. It is the only thing limiting the power of government and protecting the People from tyranny. Without it, we are all little more than slaves to a military dictatorship.

#5) Ron Paul is anti-war, Obama is pro-war.

Remember when Bush was the President, and everybody on the left was screaming about getting us out of all those wars in the Middle East? Funny how they suddenly fell silent when Obama took over the reins from Bush and continued running those same wars, isn’t it?

Ron Paul is solidly anti-war. Although he agrees with the need to “defend our shores,” he also believes that the United States has no moral authority (nor financial stability) from which to engage in running around the world as some sort of global police force, intervening in the business of nations,especially in the Middle East.

He is solidly against a war with Iran even as all the other candidates seem to be almost desperate to throwother people’s sons and daughtersonto the front lines of violent conflict. Only Ron Paul truly honors the troops by bringing them home. All the other war-mongers who say “support our troops” are really screaming, “Let our troops get killed overseas!” And unlike Gingrich, Ron Paul actually served his country as a military man, even with a child to care for:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/ron-paul-i-went-photo-going-viral-on-internet.html

#6) Ron Paul’s wants to end the Fed and stop bailing out wealthy banksters, while Obama is a Wall Street sellout

Don’t you find it astonishing that, under the Obama administration, wall street crooks like Jon Corzine have been involved in the theft of billions of dollars from American farmers and investors, yetno one has been indicted, prosecuted or criminally chargedfor those crimes?

Under the Obama administration, white-collar crime gets a wink and a nod. That’s because people like Vice President Joe Biden actually worship Jon Corzine

Wall Street crooks were some of the largest contributors to the Obama election campaign, and they continue to promote both Obama and Mitt Romney.

Ron Paul, on the other hand, gets no support from the criminal banksters. That’s because he pledges to reign in the Fed, end the disastrous trillion-dollar bailouts and halt the theft of money from U.S. taxpayers by the wealthy elite.

Once again, this reason alone is enough of a reason to vote for Ron Paul. He’s the only candidate who doesn’t support the financial criminals on Wall Street. Maybe that’s why the crooked corporate media keeps smearing him in the news… they’re all tied in with the same crooks who run Wall Street.

#7) Ron Paul does not need a teleprompter to tell you what he believes, and his message has remained consistent for over 25 years

Obama needs a teleprompter to figure out what to say. That’s because he’s mainly a puppet who says what he’s told to say and signs what he’s told to sign (like the NDAA, which he of course promised he wouldn’t sign but did anyway).

Ron Paul needs no teleprompter. He doesn’t have to keep track of which lies he told in which speech to which group. That’s because Ron Paul tells the truth every time, and his message is the same whether he’s in Iowa, New Hampshire or Texas.

Ron Paul isn’t sexy, trendy or hip. Instead, he’s honest, reliable and ethical. Gee, those might be good qualities for leaders to possess, ya think?

#8) Ron Paul is not really a Republican loyalist

This should come as quite a relief to the Democrats out there. Ron Paul is really aLibertarianwho is running on the Republican ticket thanks to the necessary mechanisms of our two-party system. Most of today’s Republicans are just as corrupt as status quo democrats. They start wars, stage false flag terror events and hand out trillions of dollars in bailouts and government contracts to their corrupt buddies.

Ron Paul is none of that. He’s a humble, highly intelligent and principled individual who often votesagainsthis fellow Republicans on bills that run counter to the United States Constitution.

If Ron Paul wins as a Republican, that would of course give Republicans some additional power in Congress, but Ron Paul answers to no one other than God and the People. As all the corrupt corporate lobbyists realized long ago, Ron Paul thinks for himself and cannot be bought off, no matter how high the offer. He sticks to principles, he honors the Constitution, and he is dedicated to improving the future of our nation, period!

#9) Ron Paul wants to legalize Free Speech (again)

Isn’t it interesting how many of the OWS protesters are now being forced to pay daily fees for the “privilege” of protesting? Gee, I thought America was a free country, and I thought you could peaceably assemble anytime you wanted and shout your grievances to your government. Guess not: http://naturalnews.tv/v.asp?v=FF2F1E3B23AEACE48AB3559AB17B857F

Now the police state pepper spraying has begun, all under Obama of course, who now wants to send Americans into secret military prisons and deprive them of their due process rights. If you believe in the First Amendment and freedom of speech, youcan’tbelieve in Obama! He is the polar opposite of freedom (plus, he flat out lies a lot).

Ron Paul has fought for the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution fordecades, and he has a PERFECT voting record in defending it. He does not waver. He does not bend. He fights for your freedoms in a way that no other Democrat or Republican has ever done.

If you want Free Speech to be legal again in America, vote for Ron Paul.

#10) Ron Paul wants to criminally investigate the crooks in Washington

Most Democrats and Republicans are all crooks who just cover each other’s backs. Yeah, you raped a little kid, but I stole a billion dollars from the taxpayers, and we’ll just agree to both remain silent. Sound familiar? That’s what happens in Washington D.C. almost daily.

Ron Paul thinks elected officials should follow the law. Shock! What a concept! Along with that, he also believes that Attorney General Eric Holder should not run guns into Mexico as part of a staged scam to blame the Second Amendment. Gasp!

Who else dares to say the bureaucrats in Washington are crooks who should be criminally investigated for their crimes against the People? You won’t find status quo officials pursuing any of this, of course, becausethey’re all corrupt!

Only Ron Paul stands out above the lawless corruption and criminal-mindedness of the status quo in Washington D.C. He is the “anti-insider,” the one man who actually threatens the entire corrupt system (which is why the press smears him every single day). This is why the recent voting in Iowa was falsified and rigged to make sure Ron Paul wouldn’t win (this was openly admitted by the Republican leaders on local radio). The crooks in Washington absolutely do not want Ron Paul to become President, and that alone should be sufficient reason to put Ron Paul into office!

You want real hope? Real change? Support Ron Paul

If you love the way things are today — unemployment on the rise, a government drowning in debt, soldiers coming home in body bags, your friends and neighbors rotting in prison after getting caught with a little weed — then vote for Obama! He’s happy to carry on the insane policies that have led us to this point in history.

But if you wantreal changein America, support Ron Paul.Make a donation today, so that he can raise the necessary funds to clobber “Mittens” Romney and win the Republican nomination. Then we’ll have a faceoff between Barack Obama and Ron Paul, and there’s no question Paul would win that contest if the voters still have a couple of brain cells functioning when they go to vote.

Make your donations at:
www.RonPaul2012.com

Or support the South Carolina money bomb by donating here:
http://ronpaul-2012.org/mbpledge_sc.html

Original Article:

http://www.naturalnews.com/034630_Ron_Paul_democrats_liberals.html#ixzz1kDlPDjcW

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A Mosque, Some Muslims, and a Mob

by C.J. Maloney
by CJ Maloney

Recently by CJ Maloney: Count Our Holiday Blessings: At Least We’re Not Starving

Is it possible The People should ever be their own enemies?

~ Fischer Ames (1805)

Remember the “Ground Zero Mosque” controversy? It took place last summer in New York City when some people – with no sense of how a democracy works – had the foolish notion to build on property they owned an Islamic cultural center to worship God as they pleased. In both Constitutional law and simple humanity they were well within their rights but their proposed location was, unfortunately, just two blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood. Crushed under a wave of populist indignation, the Islamic center has yet to be built.

Admittedly I hadn’t thought about it in some time, and would gather that most New Yorkers hadn’t thought about the “Ground Zero Mosque,” either, since the tabloids stopped telling us to think about it. The angry mobs that once gathered outside the proposed location have taken their pitchforks and torches and run off toward other distractions. (Call of Duty: Black Ops was released, for one.) Now emotions lay at low tide, all is calm. So it’s time to take stock of what it cost us.

The fact that a most basic human right – to worship in peace as you please – came under blatant assault in America, in our greatest, most liberal city no less, is tragic but predictable. This is what you get from nine (and counting) years of living under endless war, breathing the harsh, poisonous air of an increasingly militarized society, and the effects were shown in the tepid defense my great state’s political grandees’ offered in response to this populist rejection of religious freedom.

The political leaders of New York were, with but rare exception, either outright scoundrels or mealy-mouthed cowards. Steve Israel, my local House representative, took a few moments to defend our Constitution in a fuzzy, kind of, sort of way that characterizes those without any spine. “While they have a constitutional right to build the mosque,” he began (and history would be kinder to him had he stopped there), “it would be better if they had demonstrated more sensitivity to the families of 9/11 victims.”

So there we have it. Our Constitution, Israel laments, is too insensitive. Freedom isn’t free, the saying goes, and here Israel is unwilling to pay even the price of hurt feelings. Mr. Israel’s feeble gesture sums up all that New York’s timid Congressional representatives could muster in defense of religious freedom; highlights how bereft our leaders are of any courage to stand up to a howling mob.

The farce deepened as the one politician who came out the hero of this sad tale was none other than the Golden Tongue himself, Barack Obama, a man not exactly known for political courage. “In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion. I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding.” For once I applauded the man and realized I was wrong about one thing – he has read the Constitution.

The entire sad episode of the “Ground Zero Mosque” gave warning that democracy is no bulwark for liberty; it never has been and cannot be. I look at America today and see the wisdom in Bertrand de Jouvenel’s assertion that democracy is “the time of tyranny’s incubation.” (de Jouvenel, 1978, 15) Americans have forgotten to remember that Hitler – who was elected – is not only a symbol of the vile Holocaust but of sweet democracy, too.

Like many of our ancestors these newly arrived Muslim immigrants pinned their hopes on America’s reputation as a nation of law and not of men but found, in this case, that reputation to be far short to its reality. Today, America’s reality starts for the Muslim immigrant as soon as they disembark onto freedom’s golden shores.

Where once our forefathers, upon entry into New York harbor, came up from steerage to gather on the ship’s deck and watch the Statue of Liberty slide by, today’s immigrants come through an airport. What do they think when they first spot a line of freedom-loving Americans, standing meek with shoes in hand and pants around the ankles as surly TSA agents bark orders and jam their hands into our crotch? Do any of them take a moment to think about the lawlessness they had fled and wonder, “Why did I bother?”

Don’t be alarmed, new Muslim-Americans, all you see and hear about you is from what democracy is made! As H.L. Mencken noted long ago, a citizen of a democracy will be met everywhere by “an assumption of his disingenuousness and dishonour.” (Mencken, 2009, 156) So take off your sandals, lift your robe, and wait for Uncle Sam’s frisk.

I don’t claim this anti-Muslim populism to be anything unusual. History tells us that all human societies need a dog to kick. Without exception every race and nationality has been through the ringer at one time or another and, also without exception, every race and nationality has behaved like a beast when given the opportunity to pummel some minority in their midst. Every dog has its day, and every society has its dog. Current dog in America are Muslims within our borders. Native born or no, these poor people now find themselves cursed to be Muslim in a land that doesn’t want them.

James Madison once looked about him at 1774 Virginia and its wave of religious persecutions and exclaimed that he had “nothing to brag of as to the State and Liberty of my country…that diabolical Hell conceived principle of persecution rages among some.” Now, over two hundred years on, some Texas Congressman named John Cornyn declared of President Obama’s defense of religious freedom “the president himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America.” No truer words can be said of 2010 America. Democracy has spoken; The People have made themselves heard. Freedom of religion is conditional upon the mob’s approval, the Constitution be damned.

As things currently stand any Muslim who comes to America in search of freedom is to be pitied – they are like a drowning sailor climbing into a sinking lifeboat.

Sources Cited

Mencken, H.L. Notes on Democracy (Dissident Books, New York, 2009)

De Jouvenel, Bertrand. On Power: The Natural History of Its Growth (Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, IN, 1975)

December 24, 2010

CJ Maloney [send him mail] lives and works in New York City. He blogs for Liberty & Power on the History News Network website and the DailyKos. His first book Back to the Land (Arthurdale, FDR’s New Deal, and the Costs of Economic Planning) is to be released by John Wiley and Sons in February 2011.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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The Latest New York Times Nonsense About Lincoln

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Recently by Thomas DiLorenzo: The Most Cynical and Hypocritical Speech Ever Delivered

At the outset of the War to Prevent Southern Independence both Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress declared publicly that the sole purpose of the war was to save the union and not to interfere with Southern slavery. Lincoln himself stated this very clearly in his first inaugural address and in many other places. This fact bothers the court historians of the Lincoln cult who have in the past forty years rewritten American history to suggest that slavery was the sole cause of the war. (A generation ago, if one took a college course on “the Civil War” it was likely that one would have read The Causes of the Civil Warby Kenneth Stampp, a former president of the American Historical Association.)

The latest attempt to rewrite or whitewash history comes from one Richard Striner in a December 13 New York Times article entitled “How Lincoln Undid the Union.” The gist of Striner’s argument is that: 1) a compromise to save the union was in the works in Washington in December of 1860; but 2) Lincoln persuaded key members of the Republican Party to oppose it because it might not have prohibited the extension of slavery into the new territories, a key feature of the 1860 Republican Party platform. Lincoln wanted to save the union, says Striner, but he wanted a union that would put slavery “on the path to extinction.”

What rubbish. The notion that prohibiting the extension of slavery would somehow magically cause the end of Southern slavery has always been totally nonsensical. As University of Virginia Historian Michael Holt wrote in his book, Fate of Their Country(p. 27), “Modern economic historians have demonstrated that this assumption was false.” It is every bit as nonsensical as Lincoln’s crazy assertion that the extension of slavery into the Territories would have somehow led to the re-introduction of slavery into Maine, Massachusetts, and other states that had legally abolished slavery! (He ludicrously said that a nation “could not exist” half slave and half free). It is hard to believe that rational human beings ever believed such things. It is unlikely that many Americans of Lincoln’s time did.

Striner pretends to be able to read Lincoln’s mind when he speculates that his motivation was to put slavery “on the road to extinction.” He does not quote Lincoln himself as saying that this was his motivation; he merely speculates and fabricates a story. But Lincoln and other prominent Republicans did in fact state very clearly what their motivation was. There is no need to speculate. As Professor Holt, the history profession’s preeminent expert on the politics of the antebellum era wrote: “Many northern whites also wanted to keep slaves out of the West in order to keep blacks out. The North was a pervasively racist society where free blacks suffered social, economic, and political discrimination . . . . Bigots, they sought to bar African-American slaves from the West.” Lincoln himself clearly stated that “we” want the Territories “for free white labor.”

Thus, part of Lincoln’s motivation for opposing the extension of slavery – but making an ironclad defense of Southern slavery in his first inaugural address – was pandering to northern white supremacist voters (like himself) who did not want any blacks – free or slave – living among them. There was also a protectionist motivation, as the Republican Party wanted to prohibit competition for jobs from all blacks, free or slave. Illinois – Land of Lincoln – even amended its Constitution in 1848 to prohibit the emigration of black people into the state, a position that was endorsed by Lincoln. (Lincoln was also a “manager” of the Illinois Colonization Society, which sought to usestate tax funds to deport the small number of free blacks who resided in the state.)

A third motivation for Lincoln’s opposition to slavery extension was purely political. If slaves entered the Territories, they would inflate the congressional representation of the Democratic Party when the Territories became states because of the Three-Fifths Clause of the Constitution. That in turn – and most importantly – would block the Republican Party’s economic agenda. Professor Holt quotes Ohio Congressman Joshua R. Giddings (p. 28) on this point: “To give the south the preponderance of political power would be itself a surrender of our tariff, our internal improvements, our distribution of proceeds of public lands . . . . It is the most abominable proposition with which a free people were ever insulted.” It would destroy everything the Republican Party claimed to stand for, in other words, i.e., mercantilist economics. This is the real reason why Lincoln was so adamant about opposing the extension of slavery into the territories.

Besides his demonstrably false, speculative fantasies about Lincoln’s supposedly saintly motivations, Striner presents a very distorted and misleading account of the events of late 1860–early 1861. He quotes a private letter from Lincoln expressing his opposition to the particular compromise to save the union that was being sponsored by Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky at the time, but makes no mention of Lincoln’s own “compromise” that was also in the works. The high priestess of the Lincoln Cult, Doris Kearns-Goodwin, describes Lincoln’s compromise on page 296 of her book, Team of Rivals. As soon as he was elected, Lincoln “instructed [William] Seward to introduce [the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution] in the Senate Committee of Thirteen without indicating they issued from Springfield.” The Corwin Amendment, which did pass the House and Senate, would have prohibited the federal government from ever interfering with Southern slavery. As Goodwin writes, Lincoln instructed Seward to make sure that the amendment said that “the Constitution should never be altered so as to authorize Congress to abolish or interfere with slavery in the states” where it existed. In addition, writes Goodwin, Lincoln instructed Seward, who would become his Secretary of State, to get a federal law introduced that would have made various personal liberty laws that existed in some Northern states illegal. These state laws were meant to nullify the federal Fugitive Slave Act, an act that Lincoln very strongly supported. Far from putting slavery “on the path to extinction,” these actions of Lincoln’s would have granted it more powerful government support than ever. Thus, Lincoln’s actions in late 1860–early 1861 were exactly the opposite of how Professor Striner portrays them as being with regard to the issue of slavery.

The white supremacists of the North were very pleased indeed with Lincoln’s assurances that he would do all that he could to prohibit black people from ever living among them, first by keeping them out of the Territories, and second by enshrining Southern slavery explicitly in the Constitution. He effectively promised to keep black people far away from such places as Boston, Massachusetts. Goodwin writes that when Seward went public and announced these actions to a Boston audience he was met with “thunderous applause.”

On March 4, 1861, Lincoln praised the Corwin Amendment in his first inaugural address, offered his support of it, and said that while he believed slavery to already be constitutional, he had no reservations about making it “express and irrevocable” in the text of the U.S. Constitution.

These actual historical facts paint a very different picture of Lincoln’s machinations from the one based on Professor Striner’s baseless speculations and historical distortions. More disturbingly, Professor Striner, like all other Lincoln cultists, makes no mention at all of the fact that Lincoln’s actions led to the mass murder of some 350,000 fellow American citizens, including more than 50,000 Southern civilians, along with an equivalent number of Northern war deaths. While virtually all the rest of the world had ended – or was in the process of ending – slavery peacefully, Lincoln cultists actually praise Lincoln for eschewing that well-charted peaceful route to emancipation while plunging his country into the bloodiest war in human history up to that point to supposedly “save the union.” There is something awfully sick (and sickening) about this.

 

December 16, 2010

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mailis professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America.His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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I’m Fed Up With Constitution Worship!


by Gary D. Barnett

I must say that I didn’t always feel this way, but I am now truly sick of hearing every day about how we should uphold, defend, and worship the U.S. Constitution. Yes, I am aware that if it were followed to the letter that we would all be somewhat better off, but was that ever the real intent? I think not.

As I perused an article recently in the Christian Science Monitor titled “Why Do Americans Get the Constitution So Wrong” by Lion Calandra, I thought it was time to expose some of the misconceptions about our so-called reverent “founding” document. The first few words of that article set the stage for my rant.

The opening statement: “On this day, 223 years ago, the U.S. Constitution was born, giving Americans the freedoms that they hold dear, the freedoms that men and women have died to defend.”

Obviously, the author also got it wrong, because everything in the above sentence is patently false. Our freedoms did not come from any political class or due to any drafting of a political document. Our rights and freedoms are God-given and inherent. They are natural human rights, and cannot be bestowed by men! Our natural rights to life, liberty, and property encompass all others; this a fact barely acknowledged by most. Without the right to life and liberty, no other right can exist. With the right to life and liberty, all other rights are evident.


Also, the notion that men and women died to defend our freedoms can only be correct if one considers those very few who have died fighting against our own federal government’s encroachment against liberty. If the intent here is to laud those who died in warfare, then again, the author is completely wrong. Those who fight in wars are defending and serving the government, and therefore are harming freedom, not protecting it. This may seem a harsh statement to some, but it is this truth that escapes almost all Americans. If more understood this, we would all be much better off. War is the health of the state, and therefore is antithetical to freedom. U.S. wars are directly responsible for a more powerful government and less freedom; the opposite of what is taught in the government-run schools, and what political pundits constantly spew.

Why was the current U.S. constitution drafted and ratified in the first place? Was it because our founders believed that they were doing more to protect liberty? Did they think that this particular document would serve to expand and protect our freedoms? Were the Articles of Confederation, our constitution at the time, anti-freedom or inadequate? Did that constitution allow the federal government more or less power than the new one?

If one answers these questions honestly, many other questions will arise, and the answers to those questions may cause resentment to replace respect. In fact, our current constitution greatly expanded government power over the people, not the other way around, as most believe. Just consider one example: In the Articles of Confederation the federal government had no power to lay and collect (by force) taxes. Any money needed had to come voluntarily from the individual states. In Article 1, Section 8 of our current constitution, the federal government has virtually an unlimited power to tax. This fact alone should have been reason enough to not ratify the constitution 223 years ago. Of course, most of the rest of those powers given to Congress in Article 1, Section 8 should have also caused great concern for anyone sympathetic to liberty.


The Anti-federalists had it right all along. The Articles of Confederation were certainly not perfect, but that constitution was a damn sight better than the one we have now. One single reading of Article 1, Section 8 of the current U.S. Constitution should literally scare the living daylights out of all who believe in freedom and liberty. In my opinion, Hamilton and his followers were able to fool and then co-opt enough of the political leaders of the time to bring about a massive change; a change that ushered in a much more powerful central governing system. This was entirely by design in my opinion, and was never intended to advance and protect the freedom of the individual. Had that been the case, slavery would never have been sanctioned by that same document. Why this system is so revered is beyond me. It can only be due to long-term indoctrination. I have been told since childhood of the greatness of the constitution by peers, by the school system, by politicians, by the media, and by virtually everyone else able to utter the spoken word. Considering this, it is no wonder that this mediocre document is worshiped by so many.

It should be obvious that I am not attempting to fully explain or outline the constitution, nor am I attempting to put forth any expert legal opinion concerning it. This has been done over and over again. I am simply pointing out that this supreme law of the United States is not what it seems. Things are always done for a reason, and in my opinion, the constitution was drafted so as to expand the powers of the national government, and weaken the powers held by the individual states and the people. This has certainly been the end result. I think it is important to remember that many of the founders of this country, while courageous in their fight to free themselves from English rule, were still politicians, and as such had their own agendas. These agendas did not always run parallel with individual freedom, especially considering the Hamiltonians. While this may be hard to swallow for some, it is nonetheless true.

What does all this mean? In my mind, it simply means that a piece of paper does not freedom make. None of us gained freedom due to other men bestowing it upon us. None of us gained our freedom due to men drafting constitutional documents. We gain our freedom naturally at birth, and from that point forward, it is up to each individual to protect it. Freedom can only exist and thrive when individuals understand its importance and defend it at all costs. Not against monsters from abroad as is the opinion of most, but against our own government. No constitution can accomplish this, and any constitution is worthless without the ideas of freedom and liberty living in the hearts and minds of individuals willing to force its compliance. There are some who have the freedom philosophy living in their hearts and minds, but there are very few who are willing to risk all to fight for it. This dynamic will have to change before we again become truly free of this now tyrannical government.


I think the time has come for all of us to reevaluate the meaning of freedom. Freedom comes from within and is natural to the human species. Men cannot give freedom but men can take it away. All government operates by force, and force is the absolute opposite of freedom. Government is never a friend to liberty, so government should be held back and controlled. If some set of rules such as a constitution is the desired vehicle to accomplish order, then those set of rules should not only be strict and limited, but enforced by the people themselves. Without this control, we end up in 2010 America.

The following excerpt from Human Action thoroughly illustrates the antagonism between freedom and government:

It is important to remember that government interference always means either violent action or the threat of such action. The funds that a government spends for whatever purposes are levied by taxation. And taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers. They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless. As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend. Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen. The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning. Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

I will put my faith in God, not men. I will have faith in freedom, not constitutions. Our salvation and return to liberty lies not in faith in men residing in the halls of congress, but in our belief in us as free and sovereign individuals.

September 25, 2010

Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is president of Barnett Financial Services, Inc., in Lewistown, Montana.

Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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