Freedom Fest Report 2010 or How I Trashed the Constitution in 50 Minutes and Received Wild Approval

For those interested, the debate has disappeared from the internet.

I just returned from Freedom Fest 2010 in Las Vegas from 8-10 July.  Well over 2000 attendees were there and I debated Dr. Daniel Walker Howe on the Articles of Confederation versus the Constitution on FRI afternoon.  The debate was quite cordial and I do not think that Dr. Howe had a good weather gauge of the audience or the focus of the entire conference.  He is an erudite and gentle man but he clearly thought that a conventional rendering of the benefits of Constitutional government and the usual bigger is better pep speech on the joys of Federal living would suffice.  Au contraire.  I get the sense now that libertarians and liberty-loving conservatives (what few there are) are losing patience with the usual arguments and rationales for better living through bigger government.

There were about two hundred folks in the audience and my arguments seemed to be well received.  I was asking for a complete change of perspective.  Not only was I actively criticizing a document that has an almost mythical reverence rendered to it across the political spectrum but I was plumbing parts of our history that have been willfully and actively been ignored and distorted.  Not only was I questioning the very legitimacy of THE Founding Document but asking people to examine its real effects over the span of time since its ignoble creation and adoption.  The Founding myth has so permeated our consciousness that it has created a practically indestructible meme that has penetrated from right to left.  Whether collectivist or individualist, all the usual suspects have been able to bend the document to their will whether to advance war, social programs or freedom.  This should have set off warning alarums long ago to show that the document is so flexible and malleable that it may have no substance which can actually liberate folks from government control.

I had the joy of seeing Tom Woods give what was the best speech of the conference on new book, Nullification, and bring the house down.  I have stated before that the Supremes and the entire fetid Federal judiciary serve only to rubber stamp the tyranny production emanating from every facet of the Executive Branch.  Woods opined that he discovered that between the years 1937 and 1995, the Federal Courts had not overturned a single US regulation.  Good God!  No surprise to the readers of this blog.

I got to see Thomas DiLorenzo give a great speech on the Lincolnian nightmare we presently live in and what got us here.  I also saw Larry Reed of the Foundation for Economic Education dismember and devour an unfortunate PhD Keynesian apologist who had deigned to defend the socialist policies of the RedDR machine in the 1930s and 1940s.  One almost needed an apron because of the intellectual blood spatter.

My wife and adult children had come with me but the wife and daughter had little interest in the conference.  I had strategically booked the Mandalay Bay to ensure my beloved bride would be amused while I was otherwise engaged at the festivities.   I had the fortune of both my adult children meeting us in Vegas and my son, Kyle, was really excited by the opportunity to get the intellectual shot in the arm that the conference always delivers on.  My favorite Congressional candidate, Brian Miller, was there and he got to meet some important folks like the future Presidential contender for the Grand Old Politburo, Gary Johnson, former two term libertarian governor of New Mexico.   Both are that rara avis in the political candidacy of early 21st century America – genuine lovers of freedom and liberty.  I am hoping that by 2012 their respective races will be confined to the west where they will run on new national tickets after America breaks apart and finally divides into its natural constituent parts.

All in all, a very satisfying opportunity to see the superstars of the liberty movement in America.  The show booths were a great time to see new books on the market and meet some of the authors.

I am now a confirmed speaker at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix, AZ 4-6 December 2010 helmed by the energizer bunny of libertarianism, Ernie Hancock.  My speech is entitled, “Secession and the End of America:  The Coming deSovietization of the West”.  This is the same weekend as the Small Arms Review Gun Show so the weekend will be the best combination of guns and freedom.

I will be posting the debate in audio as soon as I work through the technical issues of getting it posted for this very techie-challenged blogger.

3 thoughts on “Freedom Fest Report 2010 or How I Trashed the Constitution in 50 Minutes and Received Wild Approval”

  1. Mr. Buppert,

    I had the pleasure of attending your debate with Howe. From my vantage point in the back rows, I agree that the audience responded positively to your points. Although your assertion that the Constitution has functioned precisely as designed was, for some, a bitter pill to swallow, I didn’t get the sense that anyone dismissed your points out of hand.

    Another interesting exchange between the two of you dealt with the use of federal power in creating the transcontinental nation we have today. Being so conditioned to recognize the outline of the contiguous 48 states, I had not considered what America might look like today if we were still under the Articles. One wonders how many lives and liberties were consumed in the name of Manifest Destiny.

    Finally, a question, if you have the time. Howe rebutted at one point that the states also meddled in their respective economies. Is he correct, and to what degree did they do so? Can you recommend any easily accessed sources?

    Kind regards,

    1. AE,

      Yes, indeed, the respective states economically meddled with the citizens of their respective states. I do wish I could point to an online source but most of my research was conducted with real live books. They are certainly my preference but I am no stranger to online research. The paucity and sheer absence of plenty of the primary source documentation on the ‘net begs for a transcription project to get this out of the memory hole and into the minds of the netizens. Spooner is here but Storing’s complete Antifederalist papers and the 3000 plus pages from “The Emerging Nation” on foreign relations of the US from 1780-89 are not. The Articles have not been taken seriously because most scholars and laymen alike have the notion that they failed. Well, why? Well, because the government supremacist mandarins that dominate the profession of history have deemed it unworthy of further inquiry.

      The beauty of the meddling is that it could literally make people leave if it became too oppressive because the Articles provided for a “marketplace” of polities to choose from in the several states to include the”lawless” west as an escape valve for those of us who would find any presence of government offensive. That safety valve was shut off when the US government officialy arrived on the Pacific coast and all escape was sealed off. Both the state and Western movement option put a subtle pressure on states to ease their tax and regulatory burdens.

      You have not inferred this but I am no utopian, I am more dystopian than anything else but I know from my studies and observation of the founding era that the urban concentrations were the fount of government supremacism and oppression so most libertarian thinking folk headed into rural areas or the West. I also made the point that an income tax was not imposed out of government largesse but there simply was zero architecture in place to track money transactions and tremendous barter markets that permeated the colonies.

      Thanks for your kind words and keen questions.

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