Ghosts of the Constitution, past, present, and future

Yesterday I posed this quote from someone:

The constitution is the conservative equivalent of a gun-free zone.

I followed up with this deliberately very open ended question:

Now, can we use that insight and turn it into what needs to be done next?

The comments indicated everyone took a much narrower view of things than I had. One even took bizarre break from reality saying that my post meant I, “decided to go full-on Brownshirt/Blackshirt/Silvershirt” regarding the election. What? I wasn’t even talking about the election. How did they get there? Did they think they were able to read my mind through the Internet? That was really weird.

Here is what actually happened.

When I read the quote it was like first few nanoseconds of the big bang. Out of nothing there exploded a whole universe. It was like how some people describe their first LSD experience. I’ve never used LSD so I wouldn’t know for certain but that is my best analogy for how it affected me.

There were three comments (here, here, and here) which accurately touched an extremely small fraction of that universe that I saw unfold. And it was all about the past and the present. I was hoping for something more about the future as I was pretty sure I had explored enough of the past and present and satisfied myself that there wasn’t a whole lot more to be learned from those domains. I could be wrong about that so I present that part of my expanding universe for comments, corrections, and additional observations.

But what I really want is for people to think about and suggest a solution to the problem that can be implemented in the near future.

The Past

The authors of the constitution could have set up a separate branch of government which had the job of enforcing the adherence to the original intent. If not this then at least explicitly given the Federal courts some independent enforcement capability and protection from court packing. This may not have been practical or even possible but an attempt in this direction might have made some difference.

This attempts to address the issue, as McChuck, in the comments said, “The Constitution failed because it had no “OR ELSE” clause.”

At numerous critical times there were fairly clear cut issues before the courts which probably, at least a simple majority of people decided the Constitution was inadequate for the present circumstances. And rather than go the long route and get an amendment to the constitution through the process the courts allowed a short cut. This short cut was then used for things not nearly so clear cut. The short cut became a super highway with no restrictions.

I haven’t done the research but a couple very early, reasonably well known examples of such “clear cut issues” were the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase. Where does the constitution allow that in it’s enumerated powers?

There are probably hundreds if not thousands of case where little short cuts were taken over the centuries and they enabled all kinds of criminal trespass on the constitution.

What if, instead of politicians and judges instead of giving these short cuts a blind eye, they had handled it differently? What if they had said, “I think this is a good idea. I think this is within to domain of proper government power. BUT, it is also outside of the powers granted to the government”? Let’s, as rapidly as is practical, push through a narrowly scoped constitutional amendment to address this “clear cut issue”. This would have at least attempted to prevent the short cut from becoming a superhighway.

But the politicians of the time didn’t see, didn’t care, or wanted the superhighway and neither of those things happened.

The Present

The U.S. government debt is almost $28 trillion with $159 trillion in unfunded liabilities and constantly going up. Had the original intent of the U.S. constitution been adhered to that could not have happened. The superhighway of criminal trespass on the constitution is is a superhighway to disaster.

The criminal trespass on our personal liberties are just as gargantuan as the economic disaster. The First, Second, and Fourth enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights may have the most lanes of the superhighway over them but all of them, with the possible exception of the Third Amendment, have been paved over with at least a bike path clearly marked where there was once a tall fence with no gate and a NO TRESPASSING sign on it.

People who believe the constitution should be respected according to original intent started talking with each other. The Internet made it far easier to connect with others of a similar mindset. They realize, “Not only is the government infringing upon our rights, the courts aren’t coming to our aid.”

The criminals see the Internet chatter and see erosion of their voting base as more people come up to speed on the situation. The criminals shadow ban people. They freeze their accounts for a day or a week. Then they start completely banning people.

This couple was completely banned by Facebook and they have little* to no idea what it was about. A few weeks later they were both banned within minutes of each other from Instagram. All they posted on Instagram were family pictures. No explain was given. No appeal was possible.

Other people have received some clues. And it’s over the tiniest of stuff:

They are making every post of mine with #DontCaliforniaMyTexas as hate speech and deleting it. I got one day in jail for it

In the last week it was the President of the United States who permanently banned from Twitter. Shortly after POTUS moved to Parler, Apple, Google, and Amazon in a matter of just a few days deplatformed their apps and then the entire site. Poof! Gone! The company is possibly permanently destroyed.

Yesterday morning was booted from GoDaddy (see also here). They are now back up on AWS Amazon. I wonder how long that will last as AWS Amazon was the host for Parler.

The political left is saying, “It’s time..” and “Cleansing the movement…” is next.

“Maybe they are being hyper sensitive to people of any political persuasion”, you suggest. It doesn’t look like that to me and others:

Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.

This week, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”

Yet he refused to speak in those terms when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Instead, he condemned Trump for holding up a Bible at a church — without mentioning the fact that that very church had been set on fire the night before.

What makes you think it will end with social media? What if the political left pulls your Internet connection for some flimsy excuse, or none at all? You think that would be going too far because Internet is essentially a requirement of life these days? Really? You think that would stop them? Do you think I am extrapolating way out into never-never land? “That can’t happen here?”

What if banks refused to do business with you. Wouldn’t that be worse than pulling your Internet connection? Guess what…The Obama administration was telling banks, “If you do business with risky customers, such as gun manufactures or dealers, you will suffer the consequences.” It was called Operation Choke Point.

What about other services such as FedEx, UPS, USPS, your water, waste disposal, and electricity? They didn’t “censor” you, you can still print a newsletter or hold a sign up on the street corner, right? And as long as it wasn’t a government entity refusing you service it’s entirely legit, right?

It used to be motels, restaurants, gasoline stations, etc. could, and did, refuse service to people based on their own criteria. There was a Federal law passed which prohibited such discrimination when it was based on the grounds of “race, color, religion, or national origin.” But it doesn’t protect you if you happen to be one of those nasty people who believe the constitution means what it says.

Do not be surprised if there aren’t soon “blacklists” that result in a surprising number of restrictions on what we normally consider public services. Don’t think so? Today Senator Chuck Schumer called for authorities to add the Capitol rioters to a national no-fly list.

The net result of this? Individual constitutionalists are, metaphorically, standing on some random street corner holding up homemade signs saying, “Repent! The End is Near!” Thousands of criminals occasionally glance at the “Gun-free zone” sign as they zoom by on the nearby superhighway at 100+ MPH and snicker.

The comparisons to the early days of what is described in Gulag Archipelago are eerie. Have a chat with someone with Venezuela, or East Germany sometime.

The Future

This is where I was/am hoping to get some discussion. How can we regain a limited government and our personal liberties?

An armed rebellion? Maybe. But I’m not seeing that as a high probability path. I could see that bringing down the government. But I don’t see that as necessarily building a consensus for the resurrections of limited government rising from the ashes. And your going to start your own cancel culture with a scoped rifle? And how does that work out? You shoot every politician with a ‘D’ beside their name? Then what? Hold another election with the same people voting (and/or cheating) as last time?

And at what point to you start shooting? Are you justified in shooting if you get booted off Facebook or Twitter? And who would you shoot if you somehow managed to convince yourself it was justified? Who do you shoot if some anonymous bureaucrat told your bank to stop doing business with you?

What’s the path to victory here? I am a details oriented guy and as I dig into the details I’m not seeing a viable path.

There is the Lyle option, as I like to think of it. A (supposed) return to Protestant values. This is, perhaps, due to the Second Coming—this isn’t entirely clear to me. I largely dismiss this, not just because I don’t believe in the existence of god(s) but because if the constitution was originally divinely inspired then why did it go so terrible wrong and how can we expect to be better the second time around?

The best I have been able to come up with is that we are probably headed for a Minsky Moment and/or a currency crisis in the somewhat near future. This could be a worldwide event and it could involve the collapse of our currency and perhaps our government. Perhaps out of the ashes of the collapse a more constrained government will have more appeal and will rise.

I see this second option as more probable of success, but still improbable, because the government size proved to be its own downfall rather than being brought down by individualist rebels. Clear and positive proof of big government failure is probably required to convince a majority of people to try small government again.

What I don’t see is a high probability of success path that can be traversed by a few people on the street corners with their handmade signs.

Please discuss.

* Barron recently told me, “I may have been tagged because I didn’t use the complete spelling of my last name.” Yet I know people who have been using completely, and pretty obviously, fake names for their Facebook accounts for years.


54 thoughts on “Ghosts of the Constitution, past, present, and future

  1. First, the low hanging fruit, because it’s currently on many of our minds: voting reform (old time religion style), by which I mean take all US voting by Constitutional amendment back to 1900. You may only vote if: you appear in person. No mail in, phone in, absentee or internet, etc based voting at all. If you’re not on the voting roll at the polling place on the one and only election day (no weeks or months long voting periods) and present valid government issued photo ID, no voting for you this election! Oh yes, as a bonus you get a thumb dipped in indelible ink. I suppose a inking on the chin would work for double arm amputees.
    NO ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES!!! This is overkill, but it will get the job done. Old fashioned mechanical machines or pen and paper only. All votes must result in an auditable paper ballot.

    • No mechanical machines. How can Joe Sixpack have any idea whether what’s recorded in the little gears behind the curtain has any connection to what he voted?
      Paper ballots are the only valid answer. They can be machine-scanned for efficiency, but the human-visible markings are the ones that control, the ones that can be recounted by any competent person with functioning eyeballs.
      Agreed on all the rest.

    • The U. S. did not have universal secret ballots for voting until 1892; criminal penalties for paying a person to vote did not exist until 1925. Poll taxes were allowed until 1964 and prohibitions against racial discrimination in voting were toothless until 1965. And, of course, women were not allowed to vote until 1920.

      “Take it back to 1900?” That’s just a fancy way to say you’re out to disenfranchise women and people of color.

      And yet Joe cannot see why I perceive he is carrying water for fascists….

      • Yawn. Joe is being kind. I would restrict the vote solely to those who paid one penny (or more) in taxes against any subsidies or government benefits they received.

        Skin in the game. Otherwise, you get people getting elected by promising free stuff.

      • This complaint is disingenuous: Armageddon Rex made it clear he was talking only about the technology of voting, based on his description of what he meant by it. Furthermore, one of your own complaints — concerns about the secret ballot — was indeed available by 1900, so it doesn’t make a lick of sense that you bring it up at all as a criticism.

      • Absolutely disenfranchise some people! Would you let the village idiot perform surgery on you or would you prefer an individual who studied and learned the appropriate skills?
        Back in the day you had to pass certain classes to graduate. One of those was US Government. Or Civics, or a similar name.
        Maybe have part of the voter registration process be a multiple guess test about basic constitution and governmental processes…
        After all, drivers ed and brain surgery classes exist for a reason.
        Why let the village idiots and fringe lunatics have an outsize impact on society? That’s what got us where we are. Bad voting decisions…

      • Monica has privately told me she won’t be coming back:

        You’ve got yourself a mess of people with the QAnon mind virus and they are leading you down a garden path. I can’t dissuade you; I think you will eventually break with them, but you’ll have to do so in your own time, perhaps when their fantasies become too divorced from reality to remain tenable.

        I wish you good luck and I hope you are not drawn into criminal acts by your companions.

        She ignores the challenges I have made to people she disagrees with and claims I’m in agreement with them. She claims my tolerance of different opinions is support for them. She ignores the challenges I have made to her. She creates strawman arguments then ignores my questioning of them. And she thinks I’m divorced from reality?

        I’m seeing way too many people I respected act more and more crazy in this last crazy year. I’m hoping a return to a more normal social life in the next year will result in more normal behavior and better mental health.

  2. 2nd: Stare decisis must die! That is courts ruling based upon legal president as opposed to what the law on the matter actually says. Stare decisis has always been an abomination. In the beginning of our republic people of substance took each other to court regularly when they felt someone had wronged them. The entire LAW, that is all laws pertaining to 99% of cases, would easily fit in a single generously sized four shelf bookcase. The law was much simpler and easier to understand for most common legal disputes. Many lawyers worked their entire careers with a copy of Blackstone’s Common Law and a few books of state and local statutes. Men “read” to become attorneys. No college required! A combination of self teaching and apprenticeship. The law must be cut down, by about 90% I should think, so that it can be comprehensible to “normal” working people.

  3. 3rd Clean up the voter roles! And here I’m not talking about the piddly crap that would disenfranchise Chicago,. I’m talking about going back to the eeeeaaaarly days of the republic, full on Robert A. Heinlein stuff. In some states in the early republic the tax roll was the voter role. I’m not saying this is the way we should do it now, but it would certainly be an improvement. At that time there was no income tax and a “sales tax” had just been used as one of several excuses to stage a real inserection. No, only property was taxed: land, buildings, ships, wagons, horses, goods you were going to sell, raw materials, etc. The only folks who voted were the ones who paid taxes. Maybe Robert Heinlein had it right and only honorably discharged veterans should have the franchise. I don’t have the definite answer on this one, but I know that universal suffrage has been a disaster! The one I’m most inclined toward is cancelling all New Deal / Great Society gubermint programs and then not allowing anyone to vote who collects a check directly from the gubermint.

    • No taxation without representation, and also no representation without taxation.

      Oddly, this isn’t thought as being politically viable, probably since Romny’s “57%” comment is described as sinking his candidacy similar to Hillary’s “deplorable”.

    • I’m convinced that the rolls should be jettisoned every year or two, and everyone should have to re-register for that period of time every time they wanted to vote.

      And you can register to vote at any time you wanted to, so long as you registered a month before the election you wanted to participate in.

  4. The trouble with all proposals for reform and revitalization of the Constitution is there is no plausible way to get there from where we are. In the earlier thread, Lyle posted the Adams quote which I will repost since it is the core of the problem.

    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — John Adams

    While my religious beliefs are closer to yours rather than Lyle’s, he and Adams are right about this. Clearly, the others and all too many of us have fallen away from this wisdom.

    If we continue down the path we are on, violence is certain. Against us first, then by us and eventually this:
    “The condition of man… is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.”
    ― Thomas Hobbes
    Which of course leads to life being nasty, brutish and short.

    Whatever emerges at the exhaustion level of the conflict won’t be the restoration of limited government even if we win. The things we will have to do to win will preclude this. If they win, it will be worse but we won’t care because we will be dead.

    The only thing I can see that might get us out of this without violence or surrender, is the National Divorce. It will take a lot of work and sacrifice but without the millstone of half of the population being opposed to the very idea of the limitations on government, it might be doable. I don’t use the concept of secession because that it a state level solution and the problem is cities. Get the map of the Clinton Archipelago to see what I mean. Haven’t seen the Biden Archipelago yet but based on some numbers I have seen, it should be smaller yet. I have seen more interest among conservatives for this solution than I saw before the election but the time to do it was then. The saddest words in the English language are “Too late”.

    • The question is, how realistic is a national divorce, and what is the path to get there?

      And most importantly, how do we win the hearts and minds that we would need for such a path?

      • Not easy but what is the alternative at this point? The only two I can come up with are civil war or surrender. Both would be disastrous.

        • Which leads back to the hearts and minds question. In our current world, I don’t think we can win hearts in minds if we cannot reach them. So, can we do this by rebuilding in person connections and institutions, or is that insufficient in today’s virtual world? If the latter, we cannot allow ourselves to be silenced or marginalized on the internet, or we will never reach the people we need, much less convince them.

  5. I agree with what you are saying. I have given the “who do you shoot” a lot of thought. I believe the state has gotten too big for the people to ever win it back. Unfortunately the days of tar and feathers are gone.

    The only possible path to success I see is splitting the country. At the state level, some states say enough, we are leaving. But this time with no driving moral issue like slavery the federal government has no popular reason to bring those states back. There would be a lot of negotiation and what not similar to Brexit only worse (what is your share of the national debt? borders?…) But it is the only path I see as possible other than going full socialist, collapsing the world economically, mass starvation, local areas run by warlords and eventually a military take over by a strong general.

  6. ” if the constitution was originally divinely inspired then why did it go so terrible wrong”

    inspiration is separate from implementation, requires separate skill sets.

    So is implementation distinct from sustainment.

    Our failure is in the sustainment of the Constitution.

  7. I don’t like this answer, but I don’t think that there is a way to stop this madness – it will have to play itself out and that could take generations in the worst case. I certainty can’t think of an example where mass hysteria has been cured in either financial or political hysteria before it has played itself out.

    It is more akin to an avalanche – it is difficult to prevent and impossible to stop once it has started. It has to complete its run. I think that our founding fathers understood this and made a valiant attempt at prevention, but as has been pointed out, their mechanism did not have an Or Else clause.

    • Spot on, Chet. But I will add that the power of government is derived of the consent of the governed.
      Therefor the 2A gives the governed the power over the government.
      The right or wrong of it will be explained to the future by the winners. And our thoughts will be as lost to the matter as last weeks bowel movement.

    • There is an ‘or else’ clause. It’s called the 2nd Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
      And it’s fixing to be implemented. There’s too many ‘Gilligan’s’ on both sides. Sooner or later, somebody that should have been guarding the water cooler is gonna be in the wrong place at the wrong time and light the fuse.
      It may be some asshole teenager that gets crosswise with a Federal LEO and next thing you know there’s a firefight on Main Street, Small-town USA.
      Or the wrong government goober pushes the wrong old man too far. Some old fart that killed communists in Korea, just found out he’s stage 4 and his wife died 5 years ago…
      Somebody with nothing to lose and a statement to make.
      Could be anybody on either side….
      But it’s coming, and when it starts it’s going to escalate rapidly and violently.
      Stay alive and you can help rebuild.

  8. The written remedy in the constitution is the 2A. As all of the problems in government always grow to that level. Sooner or later. There will never be a time when government is, “for the people” completely.. It will always be used by the criminal class as cover.
    Our framers understood that. But could find no way to codify it as law. As indeed, there is no way. As very learned men. They argued for 11 years.
    In place of law. They gave us their arguments, (Federalist papers, etc.). And a series of quotes to live one’s life by. And inspire others to.
    Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of tyrants and patriots.
    This government is suited only to a moral and religious people.
    One could go on. But the point is that the law will never cover every situation. (That’s why god only gave us 10 to start with. Which were almost immediately ignored, twisted, and used to build a criminal enterprise with.)
    As law constrains freedom.
    If I ask you which is better. A 3,000 page contract? Or a hand shake? You would tell me it depends on the situation. And that is where our forefathers had to hand the future to those who showed up. It’s the human conditions that are ever evolving. Except human nature. Which never evolves.
    And the nature of man is wicked beyond belief. Sometimes.
    From the days of Adam to present. The right to defend one’s self has never been condemned by anyone but tyrants. That is the ground our fathers bled on. As should we.
    Those who would disarm you will show you no mercy. And should be shown none. The argument for the right or wrong of it be damned! And anyone speaking of government being used to deprive it’s people of them. Knows not law, history, freedom, or humanity. Nor the love of those worthy instruments.
    Our lord Jesus thrust the law into hell. And told us that law must be replaced with discernment, honesty, humility, mercy, justice, strength.
    How we get these back and instill them in society as pillars to live by?
    Only god knows ,as it takes something extra-human to build and sustain them.

  9. I have wondered is there a point were a country/empire is too large to govern by representation. That the differences in people and ideas are too large to find common ground. Would it be better to split into different countries than using force and concretion to keep it intact?

    If you are willing to go full Joe Stalin or Mao it’s never a problem.

  10. Presume unconstitutionality, unless demonstrated otherwise.

    Fewer people per representative.

    Instead of elections, choose people at random from the community & limit to 1 term.

    No external compensation for public service.

    Major legislation subject to referendum requiring supermajority.

    Any/all politicians subject to recall (simple majority to recall)

    Term limited to 4 years for all bureaucrats

    Limit size, scope, power of bureaucracy

    Bureaucrats subject to recall vote

    • Pattern here is I’m trying to take additional power & money for public servants off the table. At least neutralize the incentive. Ideas to incentivize protection of liberty?

      • While I don’t think public servants should become rich in the course of their duties, no compensation limits it to the independently wealthy, does it not?

        • I meant they can receive their government salary and no more–no money, no jobs afterwards, nothing for their relatives, no expensive vacations or other “perks.”

      • I’ve had a couple ideas:

        – No voting while employed at public expense and for thirty days after. Yes, that does mean the military, too, and I’m saying that as a veteran that knows that kind of principle cannot afford any exceptions.

        – Maximum employment at public expense in a safe position (i.e. one where the duties of the job, that day, do not involve willingly going into danger) is limited to 3653 days, total for a lifetime. Yes, includes military duties (REMF).

        – No welfare system, but local governments are encouraged to operate a day-labor system for tasks of public service, within a defined yearly/monthly budget. “Don’t cause trouble today” can be a day job at half local unskilled labor rates… yes it counts against total public safe employment limits, and no voting, unless you take a dangerous job.

        – Funds expended (or services donated) for a political campaign purpose must be raised in the district from citizens eligible to vote in that election, and no more than three months before the vote in question. Since the electoral college system involved the local/state election of electors, there will be no place for national parties except as debate societies.

        – Every elected legislative term is followed by an equal period of not holding any public office or position of trust. Get a real job.

        – While in office, no fund raising for anyone else, no speaking on political issues outside the enumerated powers of the position (except as a private citizen). Any constituent has the power to make suit alleging violation of this, and if found willfully guilty, removed from office. Accidentally guilty, three lifetime strikes.

        – No taxpayer funded pensions, anywhere. Public funding into a private pension system, or 401K or similar, as a pre-arranged component of compensation is allowed. No ‘entitlements’ that obligate a future legislative body.

        – Total compensation for an elected legislative position is defined as two times the median income of the represented district. Median, not average. Just because you have a few billionaires in your district doesn’t mean you get to share in that. US Representatives will be allocated government housing equivalent to O-5 quarters, with matching BAS and similar adjustments, while senators get O-6 quarters equivalent. It’s not yours, you’re just visiting during your term, don’t get attached to it because you’re going home afterwards

        – No public health care, even in the military. It can be included as part of total compensation. For the possibility of long term disability/healthcare, the government can pay a private health insurer that can properly adjust for the long term risks. Government doesn’t do this well. It should be done by someone with real skin in the game.

        • I like it. You are speaking to some of my other goals, I’m just not clear on the process.

          I would like to limit 2 things:

          Limit the amount of tax

          Limit the ability to redistribute wealth

          Limit the amount that is available for a person to get from the public treasury. I don’t want people starving in the gutter, but I think it’s important that there should always be an incentive to get a job and work for oneself if one can do so.

          • I had some ideas about expanding the majorities required to pass laws, like, if the law is to take effect before the last day of the session of congress (+1), and the resulting expenditure is greater than collected revenue (+1, at least), and you’re overriding a veto (+1), that’s (base 1+1+1+1)/(base 2+1+1+1) = 4/5 majority required to pass.

            The other way is to make the taxes automatically equal to expenditure. Simple incentive process: if you vote to expend, you vote to tax. On Jan 1, whatever the lawfully authorized expenditure is, that determines the following years income tax rates. Simplify that with a flat tax with one manipulatable number: the portion of an individual’s income protected from taxation. The percentage of income taxed is then directly driven by how much Congress wants to expend. When they vote to fund gender studies in shrimp, that becomes a direct tax on the people. If the people are good with that… well, I guess the people get what they deserve. Maybe if the people understood what it cost them, theyd be motivated to investigate what bureaucratic regulations like the Federal Acquisition Regulations add to the cost of buying fighter planes and tanks. YES, there is a purpose to such regulation, but do the costs of enforcing them exceed the costs of the wastage avoided?

          • Tirno,

            I like it!

            Despite best efforts there may be a mismatch between income & expenses–actual spending can be controlled but the economy can’t–add overage/underage to this year’s budget–i.e. effectively no (actually very small) debt/surplus each year.

        • I might also suggest removing any and all ability to ban possession, transport, peaceful use of inanimate objects, or technology.

          Only able to ban misuse/rights violations.

  11. Neil Smith has a bunch of good ideas in his novel (with Aaron Zelman) “Hope”.

    On abuses, I like to point to St. George Tucker’s “View of the Constitution” (free online download available). Published in 1803 (!) it gives many examples of politicians walking roughshod over the clear letter of the Constitution. It is not, unfortunately, a new phenomenon at all. It has gradually gotten worse, the first wave coming in the mid 1800s, another during TR and Wilson, more still under FDR, and the avalanche really picked up in the 1960 and never stopped. Only a handful of politicians in any of the three branches ever push back. Some, like Rep. Clyburn, have openly boasted about the fact that “most of what [they] do has nothing to do with the Constitution”.

    I’m not sure what solutions to offer. For example, while fraud-proofing the election system is a valid and worthy activity, it doesn’t solve the problem. Nor does restricting the franchise. You can see this clearly from Tucker’s work; all those things were in effect during his time and they did not stop political dishonesty.

    Perhaps universal term limits (one term for any office, period) would help.

  12. Something that may actually be doable is to mandate that election day in any given year must be 1 to 7 days after Federal Income Taxes are due.
    Make employer payroll deduction for taxes illegal. Make taxpayers save the money to pay the taxes themselves and write out that big fat check (or incur that credit card debt) just before each Federal election.

    • Abolish the personal income tax. Institute a national sales tax (capped at 15%) and fund the rest with tariffs and duties.

  13. I see a lot of great ideas here. And when I’ve taken over some country and am looking for contributors to the constitution I’ll be sure to invite all of you to the constitution convention. 😉

    But, other than some sort of economic-collapse/currency-crisis/giant-asteroid/super-volcano/whatever wiping out the country and we have almost clean slate to start from, how do we get from here to there?

    • I think that once Trump has consolidated his win, we will find the following things are true
      1. Lots of current government employees in jail or executed.
      2. Lots more fired or quitting in fear.
      3. Significant cutbacks in overseas military spending
      4. Significant cutbacks in foreign aid
      A. He’s a business man, he understands debts, liabilities, cash-flow, etc. He’s aiming as some MAJOR debt restructuring
      B. Abolish the FED possibly return to gold standard
      C. Major restructuring of the welfare system
      D. Major restructuring of the retirement system (SS)
      E. Major overhaul of tax code
      F. Major regulatory reform
      G. Better international trade structure to promote domestic production.
      I. MAJOR overhaul of the election process (may need Con Amendment)
      II. Clarification of citizenship (no more anchor babies, and other issues) (may need Con Amendment)
      III. More efficient deportations of undesirable non-citizens

      I’m pretty sure he’s not going to fight this hard to win a second term and not have a plan, and the people to do it. The first term is just setting the stage. Historic time, mysterious ways.

      • You’re delusional that there will be a second consecutive Trump term. Mr. Trump is going to Mar-a-Lago on 20 January, and won’t be returning to Washington D.C. as President for at least 4 years, if ever.

        This is not what I WANT, but what I KNOW to be happening. There ARE NO legal paths which enable him to remain, or to return before another election in 4 years.

        Mr. Biden did not win legally, but he has legally won.

    • We cannot cede the education and media fronts. We’ve done so for far too long. It may already be too late, but we cannot get from here to there without those.

    • The more I think about it, the more important it becomes too rebuild in person networks and institutions. If the goal is a divorce, focus on building those institutions in the desired areas.

      Regardless of the goal, getting there will, one way or another, require SSS-friends. Those are easier to make in person.

  14. Nothing proposed will work inside the current governmental system. It is already rigged against you. You cannot vote your way out of this. Laws? What laws? Enforced by whom?

    There is no law, only Zuul.

    The Enemy currently controls all avenues of soft power. Government, media, finance, communications, education, entertainment – all of it. What we have on our side is hard power. It’s all they have left to us. The soap box, ballot box, and jury box are all gone, burned on a heap with the Bible and the Constitution.

    We need to discuss what sort of future we want to have for ourselves, but we need to do it quickly. The time for discussion and debate is nearly at an end. You MUST understand this – opposing the king and his court is always illegal. The king has harsh views about that sort of thing.

    Men of action impose their will upon those who passively wait. The organized beat the unorganized 99.44% of the time.

    If we win, your grandchildren can ask you about the Terrible Twenties. If we lose, well, there won’t be any grandchildren.

  15. Bring back dueling, but only against politicians and government employees, to be held every Fourth of July. No seconds allowed. Limit three. If there are more than three claims against an individual, a lottery shall be held. Claimants must be from the politician’s district, or subject to the power of the bureaucrat.

  16. Elect one half of all Representatives by lottery of eligible voters. Representatives shall serve a single four year term. Elections to be held every two years for half the membership.

    Increase the Senate to three per state. One Senator shall be selected by the governor, one by the legislature, and one by the citizens of the state. Senators to serve a single twelve year term. Selection to be be made every four years for one third the membership.

    The President shall serve a single eight year term. The President shall be selected by lottery from among the governors of the various states. To be eligible, a governor must be US citizen (only), a child of two natural born citizens, an honorably discharged veteran of at least three years of military service to the United States, and no less than forty but no more than 65 years of age.

  17. Like Joe was saying, there are lots of great ideas presented here if some benevolent dictator could ram the reforms through. But first, we all know no one should have that kind of power or be allowed to exercise it for hopefully obvious reasons. Second, the declaration and constitution are indeed just pieces of paper but they spell out the enumerated powers of the federal government and limits on all government in order that the people can easily recognize when government has stepped out of line. It assumes a properly informed and virtuous electorate. By allowing incremental transgressions to go unchecked for centuries, the government has grown exponentially. We have had generations of deliberate and incremental miseducation that has created a positive feedback loop. The people literally do have the power to fix it but lack the knowledge and will to do so. I honestly see no way out unless a massive movement of grass roots education on the principals of liberty, virtue and limited government were to rise, which would be nothing short of a miracle. If and when it all collapses, I have zero confidence in anything good rising from the ashes.

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