Goodbye 1776, 1789, Tom

Trumbull Signing of DeclarationJefferson PealeWhen I started practicing law in 1992 I had framed some nice prints of the Trumbull painting of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence; a facsimile of the Declaration itself; and the famous Rembrandt Peale portrait of Thomas Jefferson. In the years since I’ve become more and more disgusted and cynical about constitutional sentimentalism and have become much more critical of America’s baleful effect on world history and my rosy view of its founding. Contrary to Randian mythology, America was not some minarchist paradise at its founding (and even if it was, minarchism is just another form of statism; see my What It Means To Be an Anarcho-Capitalist): it was a flawed utopian experiment resulting from an illegal coup d’etat (see my The Institute for Justice on our Munificent Constitution). It was a society that condoned slavery, one of the worst evils ever, while establishing a constructivist new order based on a “rational, scientific” paper document and rejecting traditional, superior, unwritten, monarchist limits on state power, thus setting the world on the path of democracy and democratic tyranny, and all the evils of the 20th Century–WWI, WWII, the Holocaust, the Cold War, Communism, Naziism, Fascism, Great Depressions I and II–not to mention the illegal, immoral, murderous, centralizing War to Prevent Southern Independence (which some “libertarian” centralists for some reason support!) (see my When Did the Trouble Start?; Hoppe’s Murray N. Rothbard and the Ethics of Liberty; also my post Supreme Court: Innocence is No Defense; also Manuel Lora, Constitution Worship Undermines the Cause for Freedom).

DeclarationAnd while I still admire many things about Jefferson, let’s face it, he was a slaveowner, probably a slave-raper; he violated the Constitution while in office; and he helped foist on the world this utopian experiment that has led to the present state of the world.

So, I can no longer bear to look at these icons in my office, and am giving them away (maybe to Gil Guillory).

Updates: Paul Aubert writes:

Man, you’ve got to chill.  Don’t you know that you live in the greatest country ever even thought about, and aren’t you grateful to all of the soldiers who died for you to be able to spew your bile?
Obviously, that was a little bit of my sarcasm, but isn’t it tiring how every single non-Christian holiday turns to military-worship?  There is even some military-worship creep in the Christian holidays, like Easter and Christmas.  We have (in order):
1.  Memorial Day in May, a day to memorialize dead soldiers (and to cheer on our current wars);
2.  July 4th, a day originally meant to commemorate the signing of the document of secession from Great Britain, now designed to spew disgusting sayings like, “Remember those soldiers who died so you could be free” (and to cheer on our current wars);
3.  Labor Day (in September), a holiday with Communist origins that we somehow link to remembering soldiers who died for our freedom (and to cheer on our current wars); and
4.  Veterans Day (in November)…insert everything I just said for Nos. 1-3 above.
Starting in May, there is a day every other month until November to make sure we’re all still on board with the military and killing.  We even interject a little military-worship into Thanksgiving (don’t forget to thank those soldiers who are killing, maiming and being killed in places like Afghanistan and Iraq so you can be free).
The absolute worst is when you go to church on the weekend closest to these days; the church is draped in flags, and we sing disgusting songs of murder, like “Glory, Glory, Halleluiah.” We pray for our soldiers to kill foreign civilians before they kill us because we’re free.  Mark Twain’s War Prayer is priceless for getting this point across.
It’s gotten to the point where I dread even going to church on those weekends (like the weekend coming up).

Jim Garrison wrote:

Just read your 6/29/09, 10:26 AM post on the LRC Blog. Also used the included link to re-read your “When Did the Trouble Start?” As had happened before, it reminded me of this closing speech from one of my favorite movies, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).*

You probably know about it, but if not . . .

Klaatu: “I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure. Now, this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression, we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first sign of violence, they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is, we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war. Free to pursue more… profitable enterprises. Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.”

Now I ask you, how could anyone not love that movie? And let me suggest that you replace those discarded office icons with a nice big beautiful picture of Gort.

*Actress Patricia Neal thought in 1951 this was one of the silliest films ever and, in scene after scene, could barely keep a straight face while delivering her lines. In later years she changed her mind, calling it a marvelous movie that she was very proud to have been in.

Another wrote:

The Catoites rejoice: “This ruling is the latest in a series of steps the Court has taken to strike down race-conscious actions that violate individual rights…” What individual right is Shapiro referring to? The right to get promoted by a government agency?

Update: See this fantastic piece by Jeff Hummel, “The Constitution as a Counter-Revolution” (pdf). You’ll never think about our sordid Constitution or founding the same again.


10:26 am on June 29, 2009