Political Asylum
Constitutional Farewell? Phooey!

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By DoctorBombay
June 19, 2002

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I arrived at the political asylum preaching a rather libertarian gospel. I wanted limited government. I wanted to a system where honest men of integrity lined our legislature and the Constitution was our highest principle. I sought the likeminded to share ideas with and I sought the intellectually less rigorous liberals who would here my wisdom and embrace the rationality of conservative thought.

What I would ultimately find by interacting with the famous and infamous of this board and NADA was the simplicity and complexity of cooperative behavior and the foibles of rule by the popular.

To the Bush Ashcroft detractors allow me to break a few things down so I may spare you time needed to exercise your second amendment right, buy a gun to prevent the tyranny of the government by invading the Justice Department.

In McCollough vs Maryland John Marshall cracked the constitution and began a very slow and gradual process of the elimination of enumerated powers. This breach was minimal until FDR opened up the flood gates by bullying the Supreme Court who had until then recognized Marshall's wisdom but knew a crack could become a chasm and guarded it jealously. LBJ's great society wiped away the last vestige of the doctrine of enumerated powers.

In doing so, we have created departments of education, energy and environmental protection. We set standards on food and saftey. We ensure children who have special needs have a comparable education and access to assistance whether they are in Idaho or Fairfax Virginia. We have cleaner air and water. We have saved endangered species and ...

We have done so in specific and uncompromising violation of the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. None of these activities have a constitutional warrant. All of these powers of government are expressly reserved to the state not the federal government.

Why then did we do it? Why did we throw out the Constitution? It seems to me through my studies that there are a few factors at work.

The first. Emerging results from Robert Axelrod's groundbreaking theories on cooperative behavior theory suggests that a cooperative endeavor cannot be sustained if one group gets to far ahead of the rest of the pack. The bucket of crabs analogy applies to civilization. Envy is alive and well and has the power to destroy civilizations and bring down governments. One may say that we violated the Constitution to save the nation.

The second. The Nobel prize winning theory "Public Choice Theory" states that politicians behave as rational actors who seek to maintain or increase their power. While this model does not apply to all politicians the model is sufficiently understandable to become predictive when applied to a body as large as our legislature. One may say we violated the constitution because politicians wanted to increase their power.

The third. Do good. Feeding children, cleaning the environment, pensioning the elderly, paying doctor bills, makes enough people who vote feel good about themselves that the constitution should not be a limiting factor on the power of government to help. One may say we violated the constitution because it as the right thing to do.

Perhaps the great society saved America. Personally, I think it's a better place than it would have been. I think there are many unintended consequences requiring rectification. What is observable is that the government can take your money for purposes not warranted by the Constitution and give it to someone else. The government violates your rights of property from a constitutional point of view for the good of the people and politicians. The executive, legislative and judicial branches all bear responsibility.

What checks this power?

Robert Axelrod's work makes it very clear. What goes around comes around. In a successful cooperative endeavor betrayal is punished. You can do only so much in the name of good before you have to pay the piper. This is why the interred Japanese were released and ultimately paid for the buffoonery of the wise. This is why we have welfare reform. This is why social security reform is on the table.

So how can we apply this to our most recent constitutional crisis.
1. Bush's action is also being done to "save the nation," and "it's the right thing to do" and perhaps increase his personal power (perhaps not).
2. The Supreme court cracked the Constitution earlier giving the government's legal team sufficient grounds to deny those rights and protections usually granted to criminals, to this man.

If it all sounds familiar, it's because it is the same old song.

The question is "what will check this power?"

The answer is that since it's the same old song, the same rules apply. Politicians can only go so far before they risk power. Likewise a betrayal of the body politic is always punished. Historical models show us that constitutional violations either become accepted practice if benign or are corrected if harmful.

Let's wrap it up shall we...

For the most hysterical, even simbob agrees with me that in the long run there is no threat to the republic but some short term damage can be done. Talks of gulags and secret police are just that talk. They reflect fear and ignorance.

However, let's by all means be consistent.

Support of the constitution should be equally applied. It is not a salad bar where you pick and choose the amendments you like. The tenth amendment has been legislatively, executively and judicially breached and ignored.

Likewise, the pro second amendment group ultimately stands on the only defensible ground. The second amendment is the ultimate check on a tyrannical government.

So what I want to know is, now that this likely terrorist is in the hoosegow being denied his rights, and you've actually read your constitution do you also support the second amendment and repudiate the great society?

<cricket..... cricket.....>

Thought so.

Is it bad? Yes. But at least I understand how and why it came about and my thoughts remain consistent. I accept the breach of the tenth and support many constitutionally unwarranted activities. That said, I would like a constitutional convention to restore the rule book. In cases such as these I scream and yell but never use the constitution as a shield, in this way I remain consistent. I know this is not the beginning of the dark ages but just another example, among many, of the foibles of rule by the popular. If you wanted rule by the just, too bad. You are ruled by the most popular, the one who can get the most people to vote for him.

If you only care about the rights of this gentleman in custody, and are willing to trample all over the Constitution when you feel that doing so will advance good and noble purposes then shut up. Whether we like it or not, we the people elected an executive and he represents all of us, and on our behalf he'll tell you what the executive branch and Justice Department deems noble and good. If he's betraying the body politic, then vote him out in a couple of years or petition for impeachment, but under no circumstance entertain the inane idea that this represents our gradual descent into Amerika.

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