Category Archives: Constitution

NEW ESSAY: The Anti-Federalists Were Right

Constitution, Federalism, Founding Fathers, History

The Anti-Federalists Were Right,” is now on Mises Wire. Excerpt:

On the eve of the federal convention, and following its adjournment in September of 1787, the Anti-Federalists made the case that the Constitution makers in Philadelphia had exceeded the mandate they were given to amend the Articles of Confederation, and nothing more.

The Federal Constitution augured ill for freedom, argued the Anti-Federalists. These unsung heroes had warned early Americans of the “ropes and chains of consolidation,” in Patrick Henry’s magnificent words, inherent in the new dispensation.

At the very least, and after 230 years of just such “consolidation,” it’s safe to say that the original Constitution is a dead letter.

The natural- and common law traditions, once lodestars for lawmakers, have been buried under the rubble of legislation and statute. However much one shovels the muck of lawmaking aside, natural justice and the Founders’ original intent remain buried too deep to exhume.

Consider: America’s Constitution makers bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. The Constitution gives Congress only some eighteen specific legislative powers. Nowhere among these powers is Social Security, civil rights (predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights), Medicare, Medicaid, and the elaborate public works sprung from the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses.

There is simply no warrant in the Constitution for most of what the Federal Frankenstein does. …

… READ THE REST. “The Anti-Federalists Were Right” is now on Mises Wire.

Mad Max Gets Totaled By Tucker

Classical Liberalism, Constitution, Government, History, Morality, Neoconservatism

For his foreign policy prescriptions, neoconservative Max Boot got totaled by Tucker Carlson of Fox News. Boot-type neoconservatives center their foreign policy around their ideas of what is moral and what is immoral.

A libertarian or classical conservative ought to base foreign policy on the ROLE OF GOVERNMENT. The Constitution doesn’t give government the right to force ideas on its own citizens, much less on the citizens of the world. Let the peoples of the world fight their own battles of ideas. Morality in foreign policy is a prescription for ever accrediting empire.

Constitutionalism in foreign policy is what Americans ought to seek, not morality.

Boot may sound like Tocqueville with a stretch, but given a chance to enact his policies he’d act like Robespierre. This neoconservative’s attachment is to a Jacobin heritage – expressed in a powerful, centralized, universalist state that aggrandizes abstractions and subordinates communities to a national general will.

Libertarians Looking For Trump To Reverse Or Nullify Bad Law

Constitution, Donald Trump, Law, libertarianism, Liberty, Regulation

Trump has signed 15 resolutions reversing Obama-era regulations. Kate’s Law—very important—has passed in Congress. Alas, the so-called Muslim ban is insignificant, unless followed up with something much more meaty.

The media are looking for “major pieces of legislation” from Donald Trump to properly asses him. To take the measure of the man as a president, I was looking for him to nullify lots of laws via Executive Orders. As said in “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June 29, 2016):

“Should Mr. Trump deliver on his promises, consider nullification his political power tool, used by a benevolent Executive to pry the people free. Nullification should be properly considered as Justice’s Jaws of Life. As I said in the Opening, in this post-constitutional era, correctives to the corrosive actions of the State will reduce to action and reaction, force and counterforce.” (The Trump Revolution, p. 233, By ilana Mercer.)

In any case, when you read the convoluted and impenetrable legalese in which legislation is written, you wonder whether implementing change The People want is at all possible in post-constitutional American (a question asked and answered in the book aforementioned). You realize, too, that dismantling any aspect of the Administrative State is pie-in-the-sky (a thing for which the book mentioned had hoped).

Here’s a list of Trump laws, so far, courtesy of NPR. The words “Disapproving the rule” seem very musical, but who knows?

  • H.J.Res. 67: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by qualified State political subdivisions for non-governmental employees”
  • H.J.Res. 43: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule submitted by Secretary of Health and Human Services relating to compliance with title X requirements by project recipients in selecting subrecipients”
  • H.J.Res. 69: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the Department of the Interior relating to ‘Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska’ “
  • H.J.Res. 83: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to ‘Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness'”
  • S.J.Res. 34: “A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services’ “
  • H.J.Res. 42: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to drug testing of unemployment compensation applicants”
  • H.J.Res. 57: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to accountability and State plans under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965”
  • H.J.Res. 58: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Education relating to teacher preparation issues”
  • H.J.Res. 37: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration relating to the Federal Acquisition Regulation”
  • H.J.Res. 44: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976”
  • H.J.Res. 40: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007”
  • H.J.Res. 38: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule”
  • H.J.Res. 41: “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission relating to ‘Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers’ “
  • S. 496: “A bill to repeal the rule issued by the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration entitled ‘Metropolitan Planning Organization Coordination and Planning Area Reform.’ “
  • H.J.Res. 66: “Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to savings arrangements established by States for non-governmental employees.”

Modifying Existing Programs (6)

  • H.R. 353: “Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017”
  • S. 442: “National Aeronautics and Space Administration Transition Authorization Act of 2017”
  • H.R. 72: “GAO Access and Oversight Act of 2017”
  • S. 419: “Public Safety Officers’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2017”
  • S. 583: “American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017”
  • H.R. 657 “Follow the Rules Act”

Encouraging An Agency To Try Something New (5)

  • H.R. 321: “Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act”
  • H.R. 255: “Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act”
  • H.R. 534: “U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act”
  • H.R. 274: “Modernizing Government Travel Act”
  • H.R. 366: “DHS SAVE Act”

Naming Something/Siting A Memorial/Encouraging Flag Flying (5)

  • S.J. Res. 1: “A joint resolution approving the location of a memorial to commemorate and honor the members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm or Operation Desert Shield”
  • H.R. 1362: “To name the Department of Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient clinic in Pago Pago, American Samoa, the Faleomavaega Eni Fa’aua’a Hunkin VA Clinic”
  • H.R. 609: “To designate the Department of Veterans Affairs health care center in Center Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, as the ‘Abie Abraham VA Clinic'”
  • S. 305: “Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017”
  • H.R. 375: “To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 719 Church Street in Nashville, Tennessee, as the ‘Fred D. Thompson Federal Building and United States Courthouse.'”

Personnel-Related (5)

  • S.J.Res. 30: “A joint resolution providing for the reappointment of Steve Case as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution”
  • S.J.Res. 36: “A joint resolution providing for the appointment of Roger W. Ferguson as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution”
  • S.J.Res. 35: “A joint resolution providing for the appointment of Michael Govan as a citizen regent of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution”
  • H.R. 1228: “To provide for the appointment of members of the Board of Directors of the Office of Compliance to replace members whose terms expire during 2017, and for other purposes”
  • S. 84: “A bill to provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces”

Extending Obama-Era Policy (2)

  • S. 544: “A bill to amend the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 to modify the termination date for the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes.”
  • H.J.Res. 99: “Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2017, and for other purposes.”

Omnibus Appropriations Bill (1)

  • H.R. 244: “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017”

New Policy (1)

  • S. 1094: “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017”

****

SOURCE.

Deep State Establishment Vs. The Aristocratic Republic The Founders Bequeathed

America, BAB's A List, Communism, Constitution, Democracy, Donald Trump, Federalism, Foreign Policy, Founding Fathers, Government, History, Intelligence, The State

By Dr. Boyd D. Cathey

Who is former CIA director William Brennan? Here is what the Wikipedia says of him: In 1976, he voted for Communist Party USA candidate Gus Hall in the presidential election; he later said that he viewed it as a way “of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change.”  Despite that and despite what such actions denote, he has been involved in the most sensitive of US intelligence work and in the CIA for twenty-five years, serving directly as a personal intelligence advisor in the administration  of Bill Clinton, and, as a staunch Obama supporter, appointed to head the CIA in 2013.

This fact puts into context an element of the present multifaceted  assault on the Trump presidency, and, indeed, of a highly-politicized intelligence community, infiltrated over decades by cadres of Deep State operatives and sleeper agents, whose goal is to bring down that presidency.

The Deep State establishment wants us to do our thing—pay bills, pay taxes, take the children to school, watch ESPN, mow the grass, maybe go to church, but mainly stay away from getting involved in the “big issues” of really deciding how this country is run. That is their thing: making executive decisions at the top of the food chain, running this nation, conducting its foreign affairs, enacting its domestic policy, lining their pockets, and passing legislation that most of us never hear about until it hits us in the face—or in the pocket book. It’s not exactly an old fashioned dictatorship, but neither is it the republic that our ancestors or the Founders of this nation envisaged, either.

Certainly, those men who assembled to draft our Constitution some 230 years ago did not believe in a “peoples’ democracy.” For them, the republic they gave us did have tiers and gradations, such that those with the most involvement and interest in the new nation would also have the most direct influence. Thus each of the thirteen states had a plethora of property requirements and age requirements, as well as religious tests: all these came together to insure a high level of participation from those who had those interests.

So, what then is the difference between then and now? Do we not still have an aristocracy that, in effect, runs the country?

The issue here is rather the nature of government and how it is construed and operated. Our Founders considered the aristocratic republic they established to be a natural development, based firmly in the deepest traditions and inherited beliefs of the citizens of the new nation. The new constitution would represent an organic “moment” in which the new United States would crystallize its history, reaffirm its British heritage of law and justice. It was, then, not a revolutionary moment, but one cementing a link and connection to the past, to rights that went back to Magna Carta, to Rome, Athens, and, yes, Jerusalem.

It was also intended to be transparent, in that this constitutional arrangement, with its mix of the traditions of aristocracy and limited democratic participation, was not hidden from view. Nor was it intended to be. Americans knew what they were getting. Of course, there were debates over aspects of the founding, and there were disputes, seen most particularly in the several state conventions in the 1820s and 1830s, about whether we wanted to move further in the direction of “democracy” or not.

A major concern of the Founders was the effect wealth might have in influencing elections. They wanted to avoid impropriety as much as possible, to make such concerns as public as they were able.  While they foresaw that men of great affluence might gain advantage, imposing set property conditions and the accumulated weight of traditions, custom, and a sense of deference they believed, could offset such dangers. And, very importantly, they wished that local and states’ rights act as a major counter-balance to eventual encroachments attempted by the Federal government. In other words, they posited what Catholic theorists term “subsidiarity,” that is, what can be done on a lower level of governance, ought to be done on that level and not on a higher level. A whole series of layers of intermediate organisms, families, communities, states, would insulate citizens from overweening powers emanating from Washington.

But, as was stated more than once, the republican “experiment” depended largely on the virtue of its citizenry.

Contrast this now with what acute observers like James Burnham (e.g., The Managerial Revolution) and Samuel Francis (e.g., Leviathan) have starkly noted about the modern United States, about how unelected and largely unseen “managers,” technocrats, and political operatives have in a real sense taken over both the electoral process as well as the running of government, forming a new, “hidden” kleptocracy, of those who answer to no one, and whose tenure is unlimited.  It is, thus, an ugly and grasping inverted mirror of the model the Founders envisaged.

And since 1865 those protective, intermediate layers—states’ rights, local controls, our liberties—have succumbed, one by one, to the power of the Federal state which seems to increasingly suck the lifeblood out of society. We now are face-to-face, far too often, with the full power and threats of a Federal bureaucracy which seems to know no limits. Those unseen managers, the Deep State establishment, will brook no real opposition. If it should appear, it is either tamed and bought off, or squelched.

Enter Donald J. Trump and an agenda that promised to “drain the swamps,” and a very rude awakening in last November’s election. For the Deep State establishment it could not—must not—be permitted to stand. And thus we come to today, all the chimerical controversy about how the “Russians did it,” and how that uncouth ruffian in the White House needs to be taken down a peg or two, surrounded by “experienced advisors,” or perhaps removed from office, toute suite!

This process has in effect torn the lying mask off the face of the Deep State, and most particularly, its advance panzer units, the Mainstream Media. A recent study completed by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy [May 18] has analyzed media coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office. Here is what was found:

CBS, CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. All six portrayed Trump’s first 100 days in highly unfavorable terms. CNN and NBC’s coverage was the most unrelenting—negative stories about Trump outpaced positive ones by 13-to-1 on the two networks. Trump’s coverage on CBS also exceeded the 90 percent mark. Trump’s coverage exceeded the 80 percent level in The New York Times (87 percent negative) and The Washington Post (83 percent negative). The Wall Street Journal came in below that level (70 percent negative), a difference largely attributable to the Journal’s more frequent and more favorable economic coverage.

Even Fox scarcely gave the president more than 50% favorable coverage.

Add to this the unrelenting assaults by Democrats, academia, Hollywood, and various skittish Republicans and NeverTrump Neoconservatives, and we can see the massive offensive against not just President Trump, but even more, against the “drain the swamps” agenda that brought him to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the first place.

More than once I have called for a massive response to this massive offensive. I have stated that while winning this past November 8 was a mini-miracle, extremely difficult to achieve, “winning the victory” would be even harder. And, certainly, it is proving to be so.

*****

~ DR. BOYD D. CATHEY is an Unz Review columnist, as well as a Barely a Blog contributor, whose work is easily located on this site under the “BAB’s A List” search category. Dr. Cathey earned an MA in history at the University of Virginia (as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow), and as a Richard M Weaver Fellow earned his doctorate in history and political philosophy at the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain. After additional studies in theology and philosophy in Switzerland, he taught in Argentina and Connecticut before returning to North Carolina. He was State Registrar of the North Carolina State Archives before retiring in 2011. He writes for The Unz Review, The Abbeville Institute, Confederate Veteran magazine, The Remnant, and other publications in the United States and Europe on a variety of topics, including politics, social and religious questions, film, and music.