Ron Holland and I met at Freedom Fest 2010. He was the moderator in the debate I had with Dr. Daniel Walker Howe. He and I got on famously and found that we had a lot in common as far as our perspectives on liberty and freedom and notably both the First and Second American Revolutions. He penned an interesting and well-crafted essay on LewRockwell today called Back to the Articles!
Here is an excerpt:
Finally, two key points about this proposal need to be discussed. First, it isn’t necessary for all 50 states to go through the state convention process and obtain the necessary majority support to secede from the federal government and then join a restored Articles of Confederation. In fact, it may not be necessary for even one state to actually secede from the current Washington-led forced political union.
Just the birth of a strong “Back to the Articles” movement and the creation of state independence groups with the avowed intention of repudiating the massive national debts placed on this and future generations by political and monetary elites against the will of the people could solve the coming debt and dollar problems. The threat of state independence and debt repudiation together with a new debt-free Articles of Confederation national government could be enough to force Washington and Congress to control the debt and dramatically cut spending themselves.
The other alternative is our efforts will frighten foreign treasury debt holders enough to force Washington to behave responsibly or else they dump the dollar and the debt now rather than after our government has taken our wealth and savings to delay a run on the treasury debt.
Second, a Back to the Articles movement is not necessarily a move to the right or the left in American politics. For example, my friend Tom Naylor in Vermont is leading a Vermont independence movement which is a small is beautiful, progressive and left-leaning movement quite suited to the liberal views of Vermont, while next door, “Live Free Or Die” New Hampshire has the libertarian Free State Project.
He also went on to mention Tom Wood’s excellent book, Nullification, which I commend to everyone out there who is presently reading this. While Tom contends that this is well within the Constitutional framework to use nullification and makes a very compelling case for how it has been used in the past for very virtuous and meritorious reasons and not simply the Progressives’ contention for ensuring that slavery was in place and other such inanities. BTW, see Tom’s brilliant guerilla marketing for the book here.
I would submit to you that nullification works just as well in an extra-constitutional framework; a framework that dismisses the Constitution as the legal authority of these United States and evolves beyond the present constraints that favor the Leviathan state. I would like to discuss briefly a word that has no descriptive value whatsoever – unconstitutional. I would suggest that unconstitutional has no meaning whatsoever because as we have discovered under the Leviathan state in Mordor on the Potomac there is no limit on governance and the reach of the state. There is no limit on what the state can do to individual Americans. The Constitution was designed with this very notion in mind. The Constitution was designed under Hamilton’s machinations to give the central government, a national government, the ability to have unlimited extractive power of individuals living within the respective states. From the beginning, the document was designed to make all the states mere political subsidiaries of the central government. We see in the decade following the adoption of ratification of the Constitution in 1791 taxes levied on homes, land, slaves, stamps, documents and the list goes on and on. In 1794, the central government is pursuing tax invaders in Pennsylvania with military force. Later in that fetid decade, the Adams administration begins a vicious campaign against any criticisms of the Federalist hegemony in central government in a concerted effort to shut down through force newspapers unfavorable to the expanding tentacles of the Leviathan which had been created.
Again and again, and we hear the pathetic cries from the usual suspects that if we would only go back to the original Constitution all things would be set right. I have heard this worthless admonition at every Tea Party I attend or every convention I go to even those with a libertarian bent. I am here to tell you we have arrived at the very juncture which was designed in the original Constitution. Since that first decade, a number of Americans have become extremely concerned at the exponential expansion of the state and the concomitant shrinkage of freedom and liberty. The worst rhetorical disservice the freedom movement has done to itself is to embrace, enshrine and idolize a document which sought to yoke them in the first place.
All governments from time immemorial have had one purpose and one purpose only – to yoke the unfortunates caught within their geographical boundaries and farm them as if they were cattle through the forced proceeds of taxation and associated regulations to vertically and horizontally control atomistic human transactions at the most basic level. The only reason we don’t see an income tax in that first decade after the Constitution was established is because they did not have the sophisticated mechanism and compliance machinery in place to track what Americans earned at the time. Of course, we can fast forward to Lincoln during the War of Northern Aggression and the passage of the first income tax in American history. The rest, as they say, is history.
As long as we remain within the boxed confines of the Constitution as the only acceptable paradigm from which to divine our freedom and liberty to escape our current difficulties, we will always be trapped in the same system. It is time to set yourself free, Coppertop, because you have been lied to and manipulated by a government-media complex and indoctrinated by a government education system to work within constraints which would never allow you to free yourself of the shackles and fetters you find about your mind and body. It so, don’t take my word for it, start conducting your own research. The Internet has liberated memory hole and a search of Amazon will show you all of the forgotten texts and books that give a measure and guidance on what direction we can go. Lysander Spooner, the 19th century individualist anarchist, gave us a terrific vision of why the Constitution is fundamentally flawed and a recipe for big government.
In the end, the basic argument comes down to one simple transaction: is initiated aggression through force or fraud at any time a virtuous position for individuals or governments? I seek not only to abolish the Constitution, I seek to abolish the notion that one man without the consent of another can enslave, yoke, compel, tax or regulate another.
During my debate at Freedom Fest 2010, I contended that part of my affection for the Articles of Confederation was in its very ineffectiveness as an instrument of a state or states. What one finds in the Articles of Confederation, is a much truer representation of checks and balances than one would find in the much heralded Constitution in which I would submit there are no checks and balances. How can a government with three distinct branches not evolve over time to simply be a rubber stamp regardless of the branch for the expansion of their respective power at the expense of the individuals from whom they divine all of their succor and material support?
I am hoping that Ron Holland’s eloquent call to go back to the Articles of Confederation is simply the beginning of a new movement in these united States. One that doesn’t seek to fix an institutionalized system that is forever broken, but one which seeks to liberate all the subsidiary political entities back to their rightful position as masters of their own destiny and captains of their own fate. Ultimately, I favor human devolution in which the state withers away to paraphrase the dreaded Marxism: Philosophy and Economics
, one of the most ignoble and devilish slavers in world history.
Notes on the Margin. I have always been a careful student of language and its influence on how we behave. I used to employ the terms left and right and found them non-descriptive over time. I went on to use the terms collectivist and individualist, interventionist and non-interventionist and employ the concomitant matrices from these descriptions. I’m not satisfied with their descriptive power any longer. I have a better word to describe who the collectivists are and that word is slavers. In the history of yore, the slavers were the people responsible for removing human beings from one place and shipping them to another and putting them in the hands of another human being as the property of that person. That is how government is rationalized today. Simply call them what they are and join me in a new abolitionist crusade. -BB