Why the Constitution was an Enormous Mistake
by I, AnCap
Happy Constitution Day! Whether you’re celebrating with a family feast, or with a simple moment of silence for our dear nation, today thousands, if not millions, of red-blooded Americans are celebrating their love for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On a day like today, I too find myself celebrating these great natural rights we all cherish. However, I do not credit the Constitution, the Founding Fathers, nor the government for granting me these rights. In fact, I deem the Constitution, its Articles, Amendments, rules, and regulations to be antithetical to the cause of libertarianism and freedom.
While many conservative/right-leaning readers are no doubt gathering their pitchforks and torches, I would also like to remind any left-leaning individuals reading that I too oppose the existence of the United States federal government as well as any other form of organized government, and believe the existence of any form of state to be detrimental to the aforementioned rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
First and foremost, for any society to become free and prosperous it must respect the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and property. While the entire US government is a demonstrable example of a force that can routinely violate each of these rights without consequence, the Constitution provides not only a framework for how to do so, but guidelines on how to do it.
The Constitution’s violation of the right to life begins with its dependence on right delegation. In order to delegate something, you must first have it. I, for instance, cannot delegate the use of a car I do not possess. The same must be said about rights. If citizens do not have the right to initiate force against other citizens who have not violated anyone’s rights, they therefore cannot delegate those rights to another citizen. Additionally, multiple individuals cannot delegate a right to a single individual (i.e. my brother and I cannot delegate the right to use of a home we do not own).
However, the Constitution does depend on the latter scenario of multiple individuals delegating power to a single individual. For instance, prior to the 17th amendment, the Senate was elected by state legislatures, who were elected by those able to vote. After the 17th amendment, the middleman of state legislatures were removed from the equation and replaced with the general public. Regardless, it allows for many to elect some to rule over all. Article 3, section 1 states:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
There were many founding figures of the United States who opposed not only this provision, but the entirety of the Constitution. One was none other than Patrick Henry, who had this to say about the electoral process as outlined by the Constitution:
Your president may easily become king. Your Senate is so imperfectly constructed that your dearest rights may be sacrificed to what may be a small minority; and a very small minority may continue for ever unchangeably this government, altho horridly defective. Where are your checks in this government? Your strongholds will be in the hands of your enemies. It is on a supposition that your American governors shall be honest that all the good qualities of this government are founded; but its defective and imperfect construction puts it in their power to perpetrate the worst of mischiefs should they be bad men; and, sir, would not all the world, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad? Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.
Henry is right. The Constitution depends on the nature of men to whom it grants power to be virtuous when the revolution was fought hard against the belief in absolute power.
When one receives absolute power over parties that do not consent, it violates the non-consenting party’s rights to life. It applies a limit on their bodily autonomy and therefore puts at risk their ability to pursue happiness and obtain property. This is not to say all who seek office are attempting to violate the rights of others; they aren’t. What is the problem is the idea this individual was delegated the right to initiate force, even indirectly, against other citizens even if they haven’t violated anyone’s rights. The problem is not the king, but the throne he sits on.
The Constitution also violates the right to liberty on frequent occasion. The biggest and most prevalent examples arose when it was first drafted upon the unsuspecting populace. In most cases, in order for a contract to be valid, it must be agreed upon by both parties. Both (hopefully) read and understand it, agree to it, and abide by it or face the consequences should one party violate it. However, very few people have read the Constitution, drafted it, or understood it. Despite this, millions upon millions of people have since been required to accept its authority and limitations and deal with whatever it lets the government get away with. For example, prior to the 14th amendment, state governments could totally violate the rights of individuals and receive protection for doing so! What an awesome example of protecting liberty, right?
But the 14th amendment was no cure-all. Now, instead of your state government taking your liberties away without repercussions, only the Federal government can. This of course doesn’t sound like much of an improvement.
Perhaps the right most often violated by the Constitution is the right to property. Despite many libertarian constitutionalists claiming to hate taxation, the Constitution allows Congress, carte blanche, to deprive you of your earnings.
Article 1, section 8, clause 1 allows the Federal government to raise and levy taxes. The authors try to provide solace by claiming it is only to “to pay the debts of the United States, and to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.” This sounds okay if the debt isn’t 20 trillion dollars and the general welfare doesn’t include a multi-billion dollar entitlement state.
This raises several questions: If stealing 100% of someone’s earnings is slavery and immoral, at what point does it not become immoral? If I don’t have the right to steal, and my friends and I don’t have the right to steal, how did the IRS get the right to steal? There are many, many others.
In some ways, the era before the Constitution held greater potential for prosperity than the future beyond it ever could. An example of this is taxes. Even under King George, taxes were much, much lower than they would come to be under the United States that followed. There were taxes on tea, paper, sugar, and certain imports prior to the Constitutional Republic we have now. I challenge anyone to list all the taxes we have now completely.
Undoubtedly, the rebuttal against the injustices I’ve listed from constitutionalists will be “You don’t understand the Constitution. It’s not a restriction on the individuals, it’s a limit for what the government can and cannot do to you!” If the Constitution is merely designed to limit the government, then it is still limiting my rights because I do not consent to its limitations. What if I want my government to have a Constitutional amendment allowing the right to smoke weed, but a majority is against me and therefore I am unable to obtain that amendment? I am therefore forced to live under a government that is not restricted in conducting a drug war by the Constitution. The regulations and limitations are absolutely affecting me at this point.
Putting that aside, I am willing to entertain a scenario where the Constitution is viewed as a document that was drafted with the best of intentions. In my opinion, this absolves it of no responsibility for the government’s unethical behavior.
How well of a job has it done? It is amazing to no end how the same crowd parading against the government’s Patriot Act, the NDAA indefinite detention, eminent domain, and the endless wars refuse to come to terms with the fact that the Constitution is but a paper shield in the way of the government’s hammer of force.
As the great Lysander Spooner once said:
But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.
It’s no surprise the Constitution hasn’t prevented our government from committing such atrocities either. What incentive does the government have to obey the Constitution? Who’s going to punish them if they violate it? Themselves? Look at how they handled Hillary Clinton. She’s routinely in hot water with the law and still the government prosecuting her has yielded nothing. I’d argue, as well as many others, this is because of her wealth and powerful connections within the government. There are many, many more examples of those who have very obviously committed wrongs from positions of power and the Constitution has done little or nothing to bring them to justice.
This is perhaps why Communist China, the Soviet Union, and North Korea were all at least partially modeled by the US Constitution, and effectively so. To this day, many of those living in these countries admire unquestioningly their past dictators the same way those in the US unquestioningly admire the Constitution. Both parties have a false sense that these entities are responsible for their current liberty and freedom, and both are incorrect in that assumption.
I believe in freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms, and the right to own property. However, I believe in the right to keep 100% of your earnings, the right to complete autonomy, and I oppose the practice of abortion and do not believe you have a protected right to terminate a pregnancy. For these, and many other reasons, I firmly believe that the Constitution was a major step backwards for liberty in America and the single worst mistake we’ve deluded ourselves into accepting. I do love America, which is precisely why I don’t believe we should limit our protection from monopoly of force to some words on a paper. We deserve so much more than that.
Voluntaryist Blogger and Rapper Jared Howe posed the following challenge to his audience in the past, and I would like to pose it here as well:
“Do you have any factual evidence that the constitution apply to me because of my physical location?” is a practical question of fact. It would not be appropriate to respond to the this question with a legal citation. To claim that the constitution applies to me because of something written in the constitution or a statute to which it gives rise would be circular logic, which is a logical fallacy. It would first need to be factually demonstrated that the constitution applies in the first place before it could be demonstrated that anything written within it or any of its subsequent statutes is applicable to me. In order for someone to prove that the constitution applies to me or anyone else, they’d have to demonstrate factual evidence that:
1. I was presented with an offer.
2. A meeting of the minds occurred.
3. There was was valuable consideration.
4. My consent was freely given.
Absent factual evidence of all four elements of a contract, there is no way to prove that the constitution or any of the statutes, codes or regulations to which it gives rise apply to me or anyone else. I was never presented with an offer, there was never a meeting of the minds, there is no valuable consideration, and everything the people calling themselves “government” do is precipitated by theft and death threats, meaning it is literally impossible to freely give consent.
If you think you have factual evidence to the contrary, put it on the table. If what you put forth doesn’t satisfy all four of the elements listed above, it isn’t evidence of applicability. That’s why argumentum ad baculum, appeals to popularity, appeals to authority, appeals to antiquity, special pleading, ad hominems, and circular logic can’t prove that the constitution applies to me or anyone else.”