by Gary D. Barnett: War
Is Unholy, but God Is on Our Side?
the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain
— that it has either authorized such a government as we have had,
or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit
I have in the
past written about the folly of constitution worship here
but the widespread belief by most Americans that this document grants
us our rights, and that it also is meant to protect our freedoms,
is in my opinion absurd.
or any rights for that matter, are inherent due to our very humanity.
Our right to life and liberty, whether one believes that those rights
come from God or not, can never be bestowed by men. For if men can
bestow rights, then they are not rights at all, because they can
just as easily be taken away. To believe then, that a group of men
that some call "founders," could with the stroke of a
pen grant rights to another group of men, is ludicrous.
to life and liberty are evident from the time of our very existence.
These rights encompass all others, for without the right to life,
and the freedom to sustain and protect that life; no other rights
could possibly exist. Pieces of paper secretly drafted by politicians
in the dark of night cannot give or protect rights, as those same
politicians, or those who follow in their footsteps, could arbitrarily
change the rules at any time of their choosing. For any set of rules
to be valid, they first have to be accepted voluntarily by the individuals
involved, and actively defended at every turn. But today, those
individuals affected rely on a small group of corrupt politicians
called "representatives," to act in their behalf, instead
of taking responsibility for their own lot in life. That, in my
opinion, is a recipe for tyranny.
As I see it,
the U.S. Constitution is one of the most misunderstood documents
in history. Even though it is filled with contradictions, it is
accepted and revered by most all in America. As I have said many
times in the past, it is literally worshiped in this country. This
attitude has obviously gone unrewarded, but it is also telling of
the success of the indoctrination process that has been going on
for the past 200 plus years.
The most prevalent
belief it seems is that the constitution somehow miraculously limits
the power of government. One reading of Article 1, Section 8, should
dispel such nonsensical thinking. The first three clauses of that
article alone should scare the living daylights out of any who believe
in such a thing as limited government.
Clause 1: The
Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts
and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence
and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts
and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
alone negates any notion of limited government. This gives Congress
an unlimited power to tax, something that was not possible before
the drafting of the constitution. It gives Congress an unlimited
power to provide for the common defense. It gives Congress an unlimited
power to provide for the general welfare. With no limits mentioned,
and language this broad and sweeping, it is no wonder that the massive
abuse of power in this country has been evident for so long.
Clause 2: To
borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
there are no limits whatsoever mentioned concerning the borrowing
of money by the federal government, and that borrowed money is a
direct obligation on the tax-paying citizen.
Clause 3: To
regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States,
and with the Indian Tribes;
there has been much heated controversy concerning the Commerce Clause,
but is it any wonder? Given this broad language allowing for the
federal government to regulate all commerce, and without limits,
why is it surprising that the control over commerce has been centrally
monopolized? Why should the government be able to regulate any commerce,
let alone all commerce?
"experts" will generally argue that the founders' intent
was to limit government power. This is an empty argument. Had any
real intent been to limit power, the language would have been extremely
restrictive, and all powers and terms thoroughly defined. Article
1, Section 8, could never have existed if limiting power was sought.
Instead, no limits, regardless of what those drafters of the constitution
said in public or in other papers, are obvious, because they spelled
out few if any restrictions on power in the actual governing document
Many of these
same experts look to the Bill of Rights for answers, but have those
amendments ever protected us, and are they protecting us today?
The answer to this question should be clear.
The other troubling
clauses of Article 1, Section 8, are the war powers. Again, these
powers are unlimited in nature. While the supporters of the constitution
rant about restrictions on war making and standing armies, none
are present, including the toothless two-year spending restriction.
(Clause 12) And when war and standing armies are present, freedom
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules
concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that
Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of
the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia,
and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service
of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the
Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia
according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
In case all
these unlimited powers were not enough to allow the federal government
complete control over the entire country and its citizenry, and
all military forces and actions, Clause 18 was added to put the
final nail in the coffin of freedom. It states:
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.
clause solidified the idea of unlimited government. It is in stark
contrast to any notion of the confinement of governmental power.
worshipers once argued that only Congress could declare war, but
given Clause 18, and its meaning is clear to me, Congress can "make
any law necessary" so as to execute any power. I take this
to mean that Congress can transfer its authority to any other department
of government at its discretion. Obviously this has happened many
times in the past, as no Congressional declaration of war has occurred
since World War II, but perpetual war has been the rule. Today,
Congress simply authorizes the executive branch the power to go
to war, and when Bush attacked Iraq in 2003, most every conservative
supported that position, as did the courts. The question now is
not whether or not Congress has to declare war, but can a president
launch a war without congressional approval. Oh what a tangled
web they weave.
Many of the
so-called founders spoke eloquently about the importance of not
allowing standing armies. They said they feared that possibility,
but were they being honest?
a government wishes to deprive its citizens of freedom, and reduce
them to slavery, it generally makes use of a standing army."
~ Luther Martin, Maryland delegate to the Constitutional
standing army is one of the greatest mischief that can possibly
happen." ~ James Madison
also warned in Federalist Paper no. 8 of the danger to civil society
and liberty from a standing army, but there is no restriction mentioned
in the constitution concerning standing armies. There are no specific
rules or exceptions listed concerning the use of standing armies.
Why is this, if freedom and limited government were the goals? There
is however, specific language allowing standing armies. The real
intent of the founders is clear. It is not hidden, and it is not
secret; it is there for all to see.
No, the constitution
did not grant any rights. It does not protect our natural rights.
It was never meant to do so, and the drafting and implementation
of that document did little other than vastly increase the power
of the federal government over the states and the people. As I stated
in a past writing:
allowed for the usurpation of power by the executive branch, it
allowed federal courts to approve and sanction authoritarianism
by the government over the people, it allowed for legalized forcible
theft by the federal government in the form of taxation, and it
allowed the federal government both the ability to collect taxes
for war, and to also prosecute those wars. These egregious powers
given by the constitution to the central government are completely
antithetical to liberty, and should never have been considered by
any men of character.
freedom and liberty must look to themselves for answers, not to
a very flawed piece of parchment. Individual sovereignty is key
if liberty is desired. It is apparent that those who came before
us, those called the "Founders," especially the federalists
led by Hamilton, were simple men, nothing more. They were not saints,
and they were not givers of rights, as our natural rights pre-exist
all men. Until this is understood, most will continue to rely on
those they mistakenly call "leaders" for answers. For
freedom to truly exist, the only leader necessary is self.
D. Barnett [send him mail]
has been a financial advisor for 25 years, and now resides and works
in Lewistown, Montana.