The U.S. Constitution is the shortest on the American continents. All of the people’s states, caudillo juntas and banana republics have constitutions up to ten times as wordy as the U.S. Constitution. People face danger and expense in order to flee those countries and try to enter These United States, not each other’s countries. Is this coincidence? Is the number of words or pages in a country’s Constitution a negative indicator for individual freedom and prosperity? Continue reading
Does the Constitution allow men with guns to threaten physicians or coerce pregnant women? The Harrison Act enabled pseudoscience-addled politicians to have men with service pistols step between doctors and patients in 1914. See why missing an opportunity to vote Libertarian is tantamount to desertion under fire as mystical and collectivist reality control delegitimize individual claims to freedom of action.
Today’s guest repost is by Austin’s Constitutional Scholar Jon Roland, constitutionalism.blogspot.com.
The first issue is presented by the statement by
nominee appointee Brett Cavanaugh in his acceptance speech, that he would not find rights not explicitly recognized in the main Constitution.. This has been an issue since the nomination of Robert Bork, who considered the Ninth Amendment, which calls for the nondisparagement of rights that are not “enumerated” (made explicit) somewhere in the Constitution, as amended, to be an “ink blot”. There is strong opposition to Supreme Court judges doing that, especially from so-called “conservatives”, who don’t understand that constitutional rights are all “immunities”, restrictions on the powers of government. They are not “privileges” to receive a sufficient amount of public resources, such as for education, healthcare, elder support, or any other objects of public subsidies.
Interestingly, in the case of Roe v. Wade, the Fifth Circuit decided that a “right to an abortion” was a Ninth Amendment right of a woman “to choose whether to have children”, which by the 14th Amendment, was “incorporated” for the states. This presented the Supreme Court with an apparent problem, because there was opposition to funding unenumerated rights in the Senate. The Fifth Circuit found a Ninth Amendment “right to choose whether to have children”. So the SC tried to sustain the Fifth Circuit without embracing the Ninth Amendment. The result was an incoherent opinion. There was no way to avoid the Ninth Amendment.
It would perhaps too much to expect a nominee to venture into an extended discussion of what a “right” is, and what it is not. It is awkward to say “I will not find a ‘right’ to a sufficient amount of a public resource.” That is too complicated for most senators. So the candidate denies he will try to find any “unenumerated” rights. That is somewhat disingenuous, but the issue needs to be discussed.
When “life” begins
One of the potential nominees, Amy Barrett, has been reported to have stated that human “life” begins at conception. That is a misstatement of the issue in Roe v. Wade. which in its essence was not about “life” but about “personhood” because “Rights (immunities)” attach to “persons”, (roles in court), not to “life”, despite what the Declaration of Independence says. (That is why some activists have sought to move the commencement of “personhood” back to conception. That would be a mistake. We cannot allow each state to redefine “personhood”, because if we did, a state could define some people to be nonpersons, without rights. So there has to be a uniform definition across all states if the protections of the Constitution are not to be meaningless. That is the basis for finding the right to be incorporated under the Ninth Amendment, as the Fifth Circuit did.
So when does “life” begin?
Not at conception. Each individual is the latest in an unbroken chain of life that goes back to at least the point when the first single-celled organism became a multi-celled animal, which occurred about 650 million years ago, during the pre-Cambrian era, when the surface of the Earth was covered with ice (“snowball Earth”) and there was only one continent, Rodinia. We are all descended from that multi-celled organism. That is when “life” began.
So when does “personhood” begin?
This was declared by the jurist Edward Coke in the 15th century, and later restated by legal scholar William Blackstone, in the early 18th century, who provided most of the definitions for terms used in the U.S. Constitution. They held that “personhood” begins at natural birth, or induced natural birth (they had Cesarean sections in those days). Some of the states later found that personhood began with baptism, entry of a name in church records, or even later. Not at “conception”, the date of which could not have been defined with any precision in those days, or even now.
Consider what would happen if we defined “personhood” to begin at conception? It would make every fetus the ward of a court, with the court having power to supervise the pregnancy. It could order the woman to continue a pregnancy, and not terminate it, under penalty of law. That would be forced pregnancy. Do we want that? Every pregnant woman chained to a bed. Anyone see the play “A Handmaid’s Tale”. Good way to stop everyone from having sex.
Need for uniformity
Incorporation of a Ninth Amendment right is required by the need to have a uniform definition of “personhood” (legal role) across all jurisdiction, since constitutional rights attach to “persons” and not just to “citizens” or “life”. If states could define personhood, they could deprive anyone of rights by defining him to be a “nonperson”. Thus a state could find that Blacks are not persons as a way to deprive them of their liberty.
1. Roe v. Wade, 1221 (N.D. Tex. 1970) (“On the merits, plaintiffs argue as their principal contention that the Texas Abortion Laws must be declared unconstitutional because they deprive single women and married couple of their rights secured by the Ninth Amendment to choose whether to have children. We agree.”).
2. Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
3, A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood.
4. Robert Bork and the Inkblot, Kurt Lash.
See also: Ayn Rand (link)
Get the complete story on other prohibitions in Prohibition and The Crash on Amazon Kindle in either if two languages for the price of a craft pint. After this you’ll be able to explain to economists exactly how fanaticism and loss of freedom wrecked the U.S. economy in 1929 and 2008.
The Providence Evening Tribune also reported such amusing fare as Law Bites Lawmaker, above. This is a lot like today’s news, where a California global-warming activist politician resigns for slipping on the no-drug-orgies-with-interns rule that she herself voted in.
With eerie familiarity the same page tells of the unending reparations and war loans soap opera (link), nicknamed the League of Debtors (link), and of Syrian moslems exterminating Jews (link). Zeppelins now strike us as unusual, and 1929 constitutional debates were not over guns, which everyone freely owned, but whether the 18th Amendment could prohibit Stand-Your-Ground home brew for household consumption. Dry agents murdering motorists, homeowners and boaters were an almost daily occurrence. (link)
Our parents and grandparents couldn’t legally get beer, just as we are mostly prohibited from having plant leaves and guns. Government bureaucracies deliberately poisoned safe beverages with methanol–causing permanent blindness. As alcohol was driven underground it was quickly replaced by German heroin. As relatively safe drugs are banned today, fentanyl is replacing bulkier painkillers just as easily-concealable Everclear replaced beer in 1929, and FDR replaced Herbert Hoover in 1933.
Oddly, but not coincidentally, asset-forfeiture rampages by religious zealots with guns caused financial upheavals and banking problems in both eras. The illegal economy and stock market dividends were untaxed before 1927. Then, as of March 2, 1929, economic instability set in, increasing in oscillations.
Fast-forward to September 15, 1986, when a similar phenomenon set in, worsening abruptly on May 5, 1987, and tilting into an accelerating stock crash on September 16, much as in 1929.
When in June 2007 the mortgage-based derivatives market reacted like a punctured balloon, nobody mentioned the Financial Action Task Force report on Money Laundering through the Real Estate Sector and Laundering the Proceeds of Illegal Narcotics Trafficking. Just as pointedly did they ignore the March 7, 2006 Bush Jr. E.O. on the WHOFBCI and the Federal Equitable Sharing Fund set up in April of 2008. This was the green light for prohibitionism as an excuse for robbing money and property without so much as an accusation, much less a conviction of the victim.
The neighborhood effects from prohibitionist asset plundering were quickly noticed when Barack Obama got 365 electoral votes in November, and when Bush Jr a week later announced:
Well, I have obviously made a decision to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse. I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system. I think when people review what’s taken place in the last six months, uh, and put it all in one, in one, (sigh), you know, in one package, they’re realize how significantly we have moved. (link)
You do see the video, right? It’s not down a memory hole or anything like that, right?
Why not delve into the failure of Prohibitionism that caused the 1929 Crash? Prohibition and The Crash–Cause and Effect in 1929 does exactly that, matching newspaper accounts against stock market reactions and competing theories. It is live on Amazon Kindle for the price of a pint.
My other-language blog is amigra.us
POLAND, 1939, Ten people executed for tearing down the German flag. Radios confiscated, censorship imposed. But that was then and over there. Besides, even though under the National Socialist Program Germany was a Christian nation, it couldn’t happen here, right?
Not so fast… In Nixon’s America it was patriotic to burn women, kids, houses and villages the Political State had listed as infested with commie atheists. But all hell broke loose when Christian America’s equivalent of “Jews”–pot-smoking hippies who thought only of themselves–dared to desecrate the symbol of the monopoly on the use of coercive and deadly force as a protest against the exact same involuntary servitude listed in the Declaration of Independence as cause for its overthrow and replacement. This was the part that says:
“[The King] constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the Executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.”
To facilitate comprehension this passage was translated by HL Mencken:
“He grabbed our own people when he found them in ships on the ocean, and shoved guns into their hands, and made them fight against us, no matter how much they didn’t want to.”
Granted, conscripts are usually ordered to kill foreigners, but even to this day involuntary servitude as executioners of individuals in other jurisdictions is legal because the Supreme Court declared it so based on the laws of such exemplary icons of freedom as China, Bulgaria, Greece, Germany, Nicaragua, Peru, Russia, Serbia, and Turkey. In practically the same breath the elderly and exempt Bench-sitters declared it a felony to hand out pamphlets on which were written the Thirteenth Amendment. That decision from a century ago, unlike the prior Dred Scott decision upholding the sanctity of slavery, is the Law of the Land today. But surely the maniacal frenzy of collectivism that spawned it is gone, right?
Here is a quote from the President–not of National Socialist Germany–but of These United States, after failing to obtain a Constitutional Amendment to make burning a flag a felony:
The President: “I don’t view that as partisanship. I think respect for the flag transcends political party. And I think what I’ve said here is American. It isn’t Republican or Democrat; it isn’t liberal or conservative; and I just feel very, very strongly about it. And perhaps I haven’t been quite as emotional as I feel about it, but I want to take this opportunity to say protest should not extend to desecration of the unique symbol of America, and that is our flag.” This same father of another U.S. President then said: “It is an emotional issue, and I am firmly positioned in favor of overturn of Roe V Wade. And that’s my position, and I’m not going to change that position. But I don’t want to see the divisiveness that whole issue causes split this country. And yet the decision is going to be – I don’t know what they’re going to decide, but my position on it is very clear.” (GHW Bush Papers 1989 Vol. I 808)
The Republican Party, always an enemy of individual rights, wrecked the US economy through prohibitionist asset-forfeiture looting that turned its militarized police forces into roving gangs of predators. That is not fiscal conservatism, but rather, mystical vandalism of the nation’s economy and economies in all foreign countries to which such policies are exported.
The Libertarian Party platform calls for freeing the USA from the 1848 Manifesto income tax, from military conscription in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment and abolition of the venal and selective prohibitionism now crowding our prisons with individuals who have harmed no one. Every libertarian vote makes part of that platform a reality.