Archive for the ‘Constitution’ Category

In the Washington Times, Senator Rand Paul suggests a new constitutional amendment:

A Long-Needed Constitutional Amendment

Congress shall make no law applicable to a citizen of the United States that is not equally applicable to Congress. This amendment also contains two provisions that apply that same principle to the executive branch and judicial branch of the federal government.

Moreover he refers to his so-called “Read the Bills” resolution

that would forbid voting on legislation until each bill is posted online and the Senate has been in session for at least one day for each 20 pages.

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Similar to the famous ‘what if’ speech by Ron Paul, two years ago Andrew Napolitano raised some ‘what if’ questions:

What if Jefferson was right? What if that government is best which governs the least?

What if you could love your country but hate what the government has done to it?

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life of the law

One of the best quotes on law I have found so far, by former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Oliver Wendell Homes Jr.:

The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience. The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.

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Adding to my recent blog posts on democracy and federalism, I’d like to share an article by Charles C.W. Cooke, published in the National Review:

Repeal the 17th Amendment

It is liberty, not democracy, that is America’s highest ideal.

The Senate was not intended to be the people’s representative body, but that of the states.

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Beforehand, sorry for the rather long time without any new blog posts.

When criticizing current politics it is often argued that in a democracy the voting majority has supported various government interventions and that this ought to justify the interference.

Ayn Rand argues the opposite:

I object to the idea that people have the right to vote on everything. The traditional American system was a system based on the idea that majority will prevail only in public or political affairs and that it was limited by inalienable individual rights.

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Since 1995, from time to time the Pew Research Center has asked the American public whether they regard the government as a threat to freedom. While the wording has been changed slightly over time, the question is something like “Do you think the federal government threatens your own personal rights and freedoms, or not?”. The share of people who answered yes increased between 1995 and 2000, then dropped in the aftermath of 9/11, but has now reached an all-time high with 53 percent.

Is Government a Threat to Our Freedom?

As Barack Obama begins his second term in office, trust in the federal government remains mired near a historic low, while frustration with government remains high. And for the first time, a majority of the public says that the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.

The finding reminds me of a famous quote by Thomas Jefferson (actually by John Basil Barnhill):

When governments fear the people, there is liberty.
When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

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In the past, I have frequently wrote about the disregard of the Constitution of the United States. While watching a recent discussion between Peter Robinson and Thomas Sowell, I came across this brilliant quotation:

When all is said and done, the Constitution of the United States is a set of words on pieces of paper. The only way the Constitution can protect us is if we protect the Constitution. If we rise up and revolt, if we vote out of office people who violate the Constitution, then of course it will mean something. However, if people can do this – say a few pretty words and we say ‘Oh well’ – then the Constitution will erode over time to the point where it will mean absolutely nothing. There will be nice words on paper but people with power will just do what they like.

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One hundred years ago, the United States experienced three major changes:

  • The 16th amendment introduced a federal income tax
  • The Federal Reserve (Fed) was created
  • The 17th amendment introduced the popular vote of senators

Some have described these changes by saying that 1913 was the worst year in U.S. history. Let us have a look at the last two changes.

Nobel laureate Milton Friedman on the track record of the Fed:

It has done far more harm than good.

Judge Andrew Napolitano on the 17th amendment:

It may sound like more democracy but it was the death knell of the idea that the federal government is a coming-together of independent, sovereign states.

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Some days ago, I presented a bunch of quotations on gun control. Over Christmas, however, I found a whole article to summarize much of what I thought. The article argues in favor of locally chosen (instead of federal-level) responses to school shootings. It can be found in the Voluntaryist Reader:

The Solution to Gun Control in a Free Society

As a result of the increased numbers of options in a free society, it would not take long to see which strategies actually produce results. Perhaps regional gun-restriction is the best policy and results in the fewest number of shootings; but perhaps when shootings do occur an attacker may be able to kill large numbers of people virtually unopposed, leading to large death counts. Perhaps the second scenario of not restricting guns in society but having armed, on-site security leads to more frequent shootings but far lower numbers of students actually being killed when they do occur.
How can we tell which would be most effective, unless the various policies are allowed to exist, undiluted, amongst those whom would pursue them?

The ability to rapidly iterate, to take multiple approaches to any problem, and for solutions to then rapidly spread through a society, is one of the greatest strengths in theory of a free society, marked by organizational individualism.

The truth few want to admit is that such attacks may not be entirely preventable at all. […] But politicians cannot admit this truth, cannot throw their hands up and say there’s basically nothing they can do. Because if they do so, people will vote for the other candidates that will claim they can do something.

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After the school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, several politicians, including President Obama, have suggested that stricter gun control laws are necessary. Here are a bunch of quotations to challenge their statements:

Thomas Jefferson:

The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government.

Walter E. Williams:

The framers gave us the Second Amendment not so we could go deer or duck hunting but to give us a modicum of protection against congressional tyranny.

Phillip Van Cleave:

When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away.

William S. Burroughs:

After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.

Plato:

Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.

Alan Eppers:

Dangerous laws created by well intentioned people today can be used by dangerous people with evil intentions tomorrow.

Robert H. Jackson:

It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error.

Paul Harvey Aurandt:

They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?

Neil Smith and Aaron Zelman:

Never Forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t allow him to do if you were equipped to prevent it.

 

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