Sunday, October 7, 2012

Why I am not a constitutionalist.

This is a reiteration of an earlier post with a bit more of a contextual wrapping.

Many libertarians and small government conservatives have this notion that if a strict contructionist view of the U.S. Constitution were just followed the American Republic could be restored and things would be great. So let's read some of it just as it was written.

Article 1, Section 1
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress...

Law is not created, it is discovered. And it was discovered long before the US Constitution was written.

Assault, murder, theft and fraud are crimes. Any behavior that that does not fall into one of those categories is lawful, regardless of what anyone says. The question of whether or not a person is guilty of one of those crimes and the punishment for them is decided by a judge and/or jury acceptable to the all parties disputing the question, not by whoever won the latest popularity contest.

Article 1, Section 8
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes...
To borrow money on the credit of the United States...

By what moral authority are they able to take my wealth or go into debt and hold me liable for it? I never signed on to that, did you?

I'm not even going to go into war making powers, the control of money and that ever so wonderful "general welfare" thing.

If you can find the flaw in the following reasoning, please point it out. If you can you might just make a constitutionalist out of me. If you can't then you are perfectly free to feel bound by a contract you did not sign, just don't expect me to do the same.

"...once there is no longer free entry into the business of the production of protection and adjudication, the price of protection and justice will rise and their quality will fall. Rather than being a protector and judge, a compulsory monopolist will become a protection racketeer--the destroyer and invader of the people and property that he is supposed to protect, a warmonger, and an imperialist.

"Indeed, the inflated price of protection and the perversion of the ancient law by the English king, both of which had led the American colonists to revolt, were the inevitable result of compulsory monopoly. Having successfully seceded and thrown out the British occupiers, it would only have been necessary for the American colonists to let the existing homegrown institutions of self-defense and private (voluntary and cooperative) protection and adjudication by specialized agents and agencies take care of law and order.

"This did not happen, however. The Americans not only did not let the inherited royal institutions of colonies and colonial governments wither away into oblivion; they reconstituted them within the old political borders in the form of independent states, each equipped with its own coercive (unilateral) taxing and legislative powers. While this would have been bad enough, the new Americans made matters worse by adopting the American Constitution and replacing a loose confederation of independent states with the central (federal) government of the United States.

"This Constitution provided for the substitution of a popularly elected parliament and president for an unelected king, but it changed nothing regarding their power to tax and legislate. To the contrary, while the English king's power to tax without consent had only been assumed rather than explicitly granted and was thus in dispute, the Constitution explicitly granted this very power to Congress. Furthermore, while kings--in theory, even absolute kings--had not been considered the makers but only the interpreters and executors of preexisting and immutable law, i.e., as judges rather than legislators, the Constitution explicitly vested Congress with the power of legislating, and the president and the Supreme Court with the powers of executing and interpreting such legislated law.

"In effect, what the American Constitution did was only this: Instead of a king who regarded colonial America as his private property and the colonists as his tenants, the Constitution put temporary and interchangeable caretakers in charge of the country's monopoly of justice and protection.

"These caretakers did not own the country, but as long as they were in office, they could make use of it and its residents to their own and their protégés' advantage. However, as elementary economic theory predicts, this institutional setup will not eliminate the self-interest-driven tendency of a monopolist of law and order toward increased exploitation. To the contrary, it only tends to make his exploitation less calculating, more shortsighted, and wasteful." ~Hans-Hermann Hoppe, On the Impossibility of Limited Government

What the U.S. Constitution did was take powers that absolute monarchs had usurped, that they had always been criticized for, and legitimized them. The natural opposition such powers had always fostered was blunted by giving the illusion, through voting, that anyone could now become an exploiter and enjoy the benefits of legalized plunder. Because of the disincentive and dis-utility of labor people will always choose the political means over the economic means when given the chance to do so. The U.S. Constitution provides those political means. As Lysander Spooner said, " has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist."

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