Tag Archives: constitution

We’ve worked through all 5 stages of grief for the Republic. Now, on to The New America!

Summary:  As the Republic dies, its opponents become bolder.  They move from subtly working to undermine it, to outright advocacy of its overthrow.

“We’ve spawned a new race here … We’re a new nationality. We require a new nation.”
— Benjamin Franklin speaking at the Continental Congress, 7 June 1776 (in the film 1776)

20120618-constitution-coffin

Perhaps we’ve become a new race, so that the America-that-once-was no longer suits us.
Perhaps we require a New America.

Contents

  1. Five stages of grieving for the Republic
  2. A new Republic for a plutocracy
  3. A Marine speaks against the Constitution
  4. For More Information

(1)  Five stages of grieving for the Republic

Grief is the price we pay for love.  Kubler-Ross describes grief as psychological process of adjustment consisting of five stages (for more on the theories of Kuber-Ross see Changing Minds and Wikipedia):

  1. Shock & Denial:  Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news:  trying to avoid the inevitable.
  2. Anger:  Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion.
  3. Bargaining:  Seeking in vain for a way out.
  4. Depression:  Final realization of the inevitable.
  5. Testing and Acceptance:  Seeking realistic solutions; finally finding a way forward.

In March 2011 I wrote:

Our constitutional Republic has died (or details see this post of July 4, 2006), and each of us feels the loss in some way (this accounts for the low morale seen in public opinion polls).  We have moved with little fuss through stage one.  What comes next?  We’re sheep (the Republic died from our passivity and ignorance).  The ovine {of sheep} grief process differs from that of men and women.  Perhaps we will move directly to step five.

Less than a year has passed and we have evidence that my guess was correct.  It’s become routine to advocate overthrow of the Constitution and the Republic. Here are two examples.

(2) A new Republic for a plutocracy

Our first exhibit is a law professor who explains that the Constitution has died, as we’re too weak to amend it.  He’s less explicit about what comes next, but filling in those blanks takes little imagination.

Let’s Give Up on the Constitution“, Louis Michael Seidman, op-ed in the New York Times, 30 December 2012

As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

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Today’s open thread about the death of the Constitution. Tell us your story.

Summary:  A quick look at our government’s latest blows on the Constitution, kicking the corpse.  Please post your reactions to this news, and how the people you know see the Republic’s death.

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
— Attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Since 4 July 2006 I have warned that the Republic was dying, although I said we could still save it. Until this year the most common responses in comments were a combination of ridicule and disagreement. But the stream of grim news has eroded away people’s faith in the Republic’s strong foundations, and the comments have grown darker.

This year the evidence about the Constitution’s death has flowed in like the tide. Look at this week’s news, and despair for the Republic:

Our reaction to this news, like the many similar stories before these, provides the strongest evidence not just that the Republic lies near death — but that it dies of neglect.  Our neglect. We’ve abandoned it, as the love of liberty and self-government no longer resides in our hearts, minds, and souls.

Today let’s hear your testimony. If you have not yet done so, please read those two articles. Tell us your reaction. How did you feel after doing so?  What will you do now? How do those around you react to this news — friends, relatives, coworkers, fellow parishioners?

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The Founders talk to us about guns for a well-regulated militia

Summary:  The debate about the right to bear arms is a black comedy. It takes place amidst casualties like that of a war, the names of the annual crop of the dead endlessly scrolling by into the dustbin of history. The guns supposedly defending our liberty remain quiet while we throw away our rights. The arguments supporting an expansive interpretation are bolstered by an impressive array of fake quotes from our history. It’s a fine demonstration of American politics at the end of the Second Republic.

Assault deaths per 100k in US & our peers. Guess which line is the USA?

The graph is by Kieran Healy. Click to enlarge. The source is in section 4.

Contents

  1. About the Second Amendment
  2. Alexander Hamilton speaks to us
  3. Fake advice from Thomas Jefferson
  4. More information about guns in America – pro-gun control
  5. And for the other side of the debate …
  6. About our eroding rights. One by one we throw them away.

(1)  About the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

From the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School

The opposing theories, perhaps oversimplified, are an “individual rights” thesis whereby individuals are protected in ownership, possession, and transportation, and a “states’ rights” thesis whereby it is said the purpose of the clause is to protect the States in their authority to maintain formal, organized militia units.

Whatever the Amendment may mean, it is a bar only to federal action, not extending to state or private restraints.

(2)  Alexander Hamilton speaks to us

Alexander Hamilton clearly sides with with “states’ rights” theory in Federalist Paper No. 29: “Concerning the Militia“, published in The Daily Advertiser, 10 January 1788 — Capitals in the original. Excerpt:

The power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace of the Confederacy.

It requires no skill in the science of war to discern that uniformity in the organization and discipline of the militia would be attended with the most beneficial effects, whenever they were called into service for the public defense. It would enable them to discharge the duties of the camp and of the field with mutual intelligence and concert an advantage of peculiar moment in the operations of an army; and it would fit them much sooner to acquire the degree of proficiency in military functions which would be essential to their usefulness.

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We are alone in the defense of the Republic

Summary: One by one, our professions and institutions have failed us and the Republic. Under pressure their standards proved to be parchment barriers defending our liberty.  Rightly so, since the Constitution stands upon its people’s love. When that fades nothing can prevents citizens from becoming subjects.

Pretty sparks in the sky mean nothing.

Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the Constitution of the government, and to trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power? This is the security which appears to have been principally relied on by the compilers of most of the American constitutions.

But experience assures us, that the efficacy of the provision has been greatly overrated; and that some more adequate defense is indispensably necessary for the more feeble, against the more powerful, members of the government.

— James Madison, The Federalist Paper #48

We are alone, unorganized in the defense of the Republic. By now it’s obvious that both political parties have, in their different ways, been co-opted as agents of change by its enemies. Less recognized is that the professions — especially of police, military, law and medicine  — have shown that they’ll do nothing as groups to defend the Republic. They’ll do nothing against their members that violate their standards in the service of our ruling elites and their government.Their grand ethical standards are, like the Constitution itself, just parchment barriers that mean nothing without the love of liberty in their members.

A few doctors help with torture. Their fellows do not shun them; medical associations do nothing. See More symptoms of decay: professional associations abandoning their standards and obligation to protect us, 4 May 2011.

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Slowly more people see the “quiet coup” now in progress

Summary: Slowly the quite coup in motion becomes visible to Americans. One by one. Unfortunately we’re still early in the problem recognition stage, while the coup advances rapidly. Here are three articles, milestones along the road away from the Second Republic to our new political regime (not yet visible).

The revolution can be AGAINST us, not BY us.

Contents

These are scary articles.  But they have no impact because the essence of a democracy’s fall is that its people lose the capacity for self-government. We evolve from citizens to subjects (“consumers”).  The reins of power slip from our hands, but we don’t care. One by one our rights are re-interpreted into powerlessness, but we don’t care.

  1. “The Quiet Coup”, Simon Johnson, The Atlantic, May 2009
  2. “The Big-Lie Coup d’Etat”, Robert Reich, 5 June 2012
  3. “SCOTUS Update: La Loi, C’est Moi”, James Fallows, The Atlantic, 24 June 2012

Please read all of these in full!  Then do something.  The clock is running on the Constitution.

Excerpts

(1) The Quiet Coup“, Simon Johnson (former chief economist of the IMF), The Atlantic, May 2009 — Summary:

The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government — a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises.

If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

(2) The Big-Lie Coup d’Etat“, Robert Reich, 5 June 2012

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More death throes of the Constitution. Nothing remains in the ruins but politics.

Summary:  As the Constitution nears the time for its Last Rites, its enemies become bolder.  Reports of blows to the Constitution, even de facto repeal of specific provisions, become unremarkable blips in the daily news.  But some blows are larger than others. June 2012 might be a historic month for the Second Republic, worth marking with a black border on your calendar.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”
— Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority Leader), interview with the National Journal, 23 October 2010

What price is the GOP willing to pay? What will they sacrifice?  In the fourth year of Obama’s term we see the answers.  America.  The Constitution.

Contents

  1. Diluting the Sixth Amendment, a warm-up to the main event
  2. The main event: repealing ObamaCare
  3. For More Information

(1)  A warm-up to the main event

Diluting the Sixth Amendment“, Scott Lemieux (Asst Prof of political science at the College of Saint Rose), The American Prospect, 18 June 2012 — Excerpt:

The case today concerns the right to confront experts who produce forensic evidence. The Court has recently held — correctly, in my view — that the Confrontation Clause means that if states introduce forensic evidence compiled by experts it must make these experts available in court if the defense requests it. Today’s case represented Illinois trying to make an end-run around these precedents by having a state employee who was not involved in producing the forensic evidence — in this case, a DNA test of semen from a vaginal swab in a sexual assault trial — testify about the results. The defendant was not given the opportunity to cross-examine the private analysts who actually produced the evidence, and hence could not inquire in Court about whether proper procedures were followed. But the Court held that this did not violate the Sixth Amendment.

… As Justice Kagan says in a quite brilliant dissent, “Justice Thomas’s approach, if accepted, would turn the Confrontation Clause into a constitutional geegaw — nice for show, but of little value. The prosecution could avoid its demands by using the right kind of forms with the right kind of language.”

… Today, the Court preserves this {sixth amendment} in theory but guts it in practice.

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Our leaders explain that we’re sheep. Our role: to obey. Rebel sheep will be imprisoned or destroyed.

Summary:  Sharks often use the “bump and bite” attack:  The shark tests its prey by repeatedly bumping it.  If the prey gives no dangerous response, the shark begins its attack — biting the prey repeatedly and viciously.  It works for sharks, as it has worked for our leaders.  Now the bumping phase ends and the attack begins. Attorney General Eric Holder explains the new order.

Since 9-11 our ruling elites have repeatedly tested us.  The irrational indignities of the Transportation Safety Administration.  Illegal wars.  Illegal surveillance of Americans.  Illegal imprisonment of Americans, even torture, without charge or warrant.  Finally they took the ultimate step:  assassination of a citizen, without charge or trial.  At each step they watch for a reaction from us; we did nothing. Now begins the assault.

Showing a sense of fairness, like parents playing a game with children, the Obama Administration tells us the new rules.  On March 5 Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at Northwestern University’s School of Law (text here).  Please read it.  For the sake of yourself and your children.  In it Holder explained at length that the Constitution has died, centuries of progress towards liberty erased — and that our rulers need not explain why.  There are enemies out there.  Enemies trivial in strength by comparison with those our forefathers have fought and defeated, but sufficient danger to scare the sheep we have become.

Our rulers know us well.  Even Holder’s obvious contempt for us — for the dead Constitution — elicits no response from the whipped dogs of the American people.  His lies and evasions fool only children — and Americans.

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