Tuesday, April 14, 2009

the constitution

i hear lots of talk about the constitution, especially from those new to the libertarian movement. it mostly revolves around how great the constitution is and how smart the "founding fathers" were. actually, when i was new to the scene, i carried a copy of it in my pocket everywhere i went, to be able to reference it in case the subject came up (no, there's nothing nerdy about that). then someone suggested that i read lysander spooner's "the constitution of no authority". if you're interested, you can click the link, so there's no need for me to go into his analysis of the constitution. needless to say, he exposes it for what it really is - little more than a piece of meaningless paper.

as an idea, the constitution is weak or flawed in many ways. the first thing one has to ask is "where did the 'founding fathers' get the right to put their thoughts onto paper and subject an entire nation of people to them?" the so-called "founding fathers" were little more than just a group of guys who, one day, while hanging out at a bar, decided to write this stuff out. if a group of guys hanging out at a bar has the right to make up a "constitution", doesn't everyone else have the same right? if they can scribble on a couple of pieces of paper some ideas they have for a government, of all things (hadn't they just finished fighting one of those?) and then have everyone in a huge geographical region (and their descendants) be subject to it, then don't you and i have the same right? well, we don't - and neither did they.

of course, there's more. the constitution is nothing more than the founding document of a new government. it's supposedly the rules this government must follow. and who, might you ask, is in charge of enforcing these "restrictive" rules? well, the very people it attempts to restrict, of course! am i missing something? these guys who wrote this thing were really that naive? is anyone at all surprised that we have the problems we have today with an out of control government (as if there could ever be an "under-control" criminal organization)?

you gotta wonder, "did they really think that what they were doing would ever be a good thing?" could anyone have actually thought that this would be anything more than a clever way to hoodwink an ignorant populace into accepting the very same tyranny that they had just spent the previous years throwing off? knowing politicians like we do, and seeing what a practically and philosophically ridiculous idea the constitution is/was, is it such a stretch to think that these founders were trying to take advantage of the newly created power vacuum in america? i don't know. all i can say is that i smell a rat.

getting over the idea that the constitution is legitimate or practically plausible, is one of the first steps in getting past the idea that government itself can ever be restrained or can ever be legitimate. g.w. bush was rarely right about anything, but he was right (inadvertently) when he said the constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper".

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