Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

Separate Money and the State – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on March 18, 2023

In other words, Roosevelt and the Congress changed the Constitution without ever getting the Constitution amended. What they did was classic dictatorial conduct, the type of conduct one finds in totalitarian regimes.

by Jacob G. Hornberger

The United States once had the finest monetary system in history. It was a system that the U.S. Constitution established. It was a system in which the official money of the United States consisted of gold coins and silver coins.

We often hear that the “gold standard” was a system in which paper money was “backed by gold.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There was no paper money in the United States. That’s because the Constitution did not empower the federal government to issue paper money. It also expressly prohibited the states from issuing paper money.

The Constitution used the term “bills of credit.” That was the term people at that time used for paper money. The Constitution expressly forbade the states from issuing “bills of credit” or paper money. It also did not delegate the power to issue “bills of credit” or paper money to the federal government.

Instead, the Constitution empowered the federal government to “coin” money. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, one does not “coin” money out of paper. One “coins” money out of such metallic commodities as gold and silver.

The Constitution also expressly forbade the states from making anything but gold and silver coins “legal tender,” or official money, which further established the intent of the Framers.

The Constitution also empowered the federal government to borrow money. That’s what U.S. debt instruments — bills, notes, and bonds — are all about. But even though these debt instruments oftentimes circulated as “semi-money” in economic transactions, everyone understood that they were not money itself. Instead, they were promises to pay money, which meant promises to pay gold coins and silver coins. 

Soon after the enactment of the Constitution, the U.S. government began minting gold coins and silver coins. Gold coins and silver coins remained the official money of the American people for more than a century. Those coins ranked among the most honest coins in history.

The gold-coin-silver-coin standard — and the monetary stability that came with it — was a major contributing factor to the enormous rise in the standard of living of the American people in the 19th century and early 20th centuries, especially in the period from around 1880 to 1915. 

Of particular importance was that the American people did not have to worry about inflation reducing the value of their assets, investments, and income. That’s because the federal government lacked the means to inflate the quantity of gold coins and silver coins in the economy. 

All that changed in the 1930s. Using the Great Depression as an excuse, President Roosevelt and his Congress abandoned the monetary system established by the Constitution and that had been in place for more than a century. In its place, they installed a paper-money standard. Possession of gold coins was deemed to be a felony. Anyone who was caught possessing what had been the official money of the nation for more than a century, faced a criminal prosecution, a 10-year jail sentence, a $10,000 fine, and forfeiture of his gold to the government.

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Why the 1787 Constitution Did Not Bring Republican Government to America | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on February 20, 2023

They new thing that they were trying to do was carry out a counterrevolution and superimpose a large and expensive national state apparatus over the American republics that already existed. This new government would impose taxes at higher rates than the old monarchy ever had. Unfortunately, the counterrevolutionaries succeeded.

Ryan McMaken

One of the many myths that schoolchildren are taught in the name of American exceptionalism is the idea that the Americans finally embraced a republican form of government at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. This, we are told, was revolutionary.

The usual narrative goes something like this: In ancient times, the world saw the rise of republics in Italy and Greece. The Roman Republic was notable for its virtue and its status as a government of the people. But the Roman Republic, like the small Greek republics, was but short lived and was destroyed by the temptations of empire and despotism.

But then came the so-called American experiment. This new, noble experiment sprang up when America’s great men met at Philadelphia in 1787 to hand down to Americans a new republic—something revolutionary and innovative in the face of a world ruled by crowned heads.

This story is often accompanied by a well-worn anecdote about Benjamin Franklin. It usually goes like this:

Philadelphia, 1787. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention are just leaving Independence Hall, having decided on the general structure for the new United States. A crowd had gathered on the steps of Independence Hall, eager to hear the news. A sturdy old woman (sometimes referred to as “an anxious lady”), wearing a shawl, approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him, “well, Doctor, what do we have, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied sagely, “a republic, if you can keep it.”

Most of my readers will surely have heard this little anecdote many times. The subtext here is that the United States had invented something altogether new with the constitution of 1787. The story suggests that in the late 1780s, Americans were not yet sure if they had the fortitude for a republic or if they would return to being a monarchy. Fortunately, the sagacious Founding Fathers decided “we” would be republicans after all.1

As propaganda, this story has been remarkably effective. For many Americans—at least for those who received some sort of education—the propaganda seems quite plausible. After all, weren’t the French and the English ruled by despotic kings in the late eighteenth century? Wasn’t George Washington offered a position as king of America? Apparently, whether or not the United States would be a republic remained an open question.

It’s a nice tale, but it is fundamentally wrong in light of the political realities of the 1780s. This is obvious when we consider two facts: the first is that by the time the 1787 convention took place, the lands of the former British colonies were already a thoroughly republican place. All of the US states, plus the neighboring Republic of Vermont, had already adopted republican constitutions. The Philadelphia convention had nothing to do with it.

The second problem for the myth is that in 1787 the United States overall already had a republican constitution. The so-called Articles of Confederation had been adopted in 1776, and thus there was nothing revolutionary or innovative about adopting a second republican constitution in 1787.

In other words, all Americans in 1787 already lived in a constitutional republic at both the state level and the federal level. So, no, the Founding Fathers most certainly did not invent or create a new “experiment” of republicanism in any way. They new thing that they were trying to do was carry out a counterrevolution and superimpose a large and expensive national state apparatus over the American republics that already existed. This new government would impose taxes at higher rates than the old monarchy ever had. Unfortunately, the counterrevolutionaries succeeded.

But why invent a myth in which the new constitution was somehow responsible for making the United States a republic? At least part of the motivation here surely stems from the fact that the myth minimizes the states’ role in creating the republic. By ignoring the fact that the states laid the groundwork for republican government, the myth can instead push the narrative that the Federalists and their strong new central government “gave” America a republican system of government. This top-down creation myth erases the bottom-up reality. Moreover, the myth helps to obscure the fact that the United States was originally intended to be a voluntary confederation of republics, and not simply “a republic.”

Yet the myth endures.

The States Were Already Republican before the New Constitution

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Freedom’s Extinction – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 9, 2023

The Constitution expressly prohibits the government from taking property without just compensation. When the government spends more than it collects in revenue, it borrows — often Fed-created money — in order to pay its bills, and that causes more inflation and it pushes the obligation to repay the borrowing with interest on to generations of Americans as yet unborn.

Stated differently, without raising taxes, the government takes your money.

So, today we have a federal government existing on fake money and borrowed time.

By Andrew P. Napolitano

“Freedom is always just one generation away from extinction.”
— Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

In December 1776, just six months after the Declaration of Independence had been signed and a year and a half into the Revolutionary War, Thomas Paine sensed a desperation throughout the colonies. It prompted him to write a candid and now iconic essay entitled “The American Crisis,” which began with the famous line “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He made a similar argument as Ronald Reagan would 188 years later.

The essence of that argument is that our personal liberties are fragile. Since government is essentially the negation of liberty, government is liberty’s greatest threat. So, we must exercise our freedoms with prudence and courage. We must also do so skeptical of what the government says and does.

Paine and Reagan, and those who risked all to sign the Declaration and fight against England, recognized that our freedoms are natural to us.

Freedom is the right to make personal choices — about religion, speech, association, self-defense, travel, privacy, money, property — without a government permission slip or anyone’s approval. A right is an indefeasible claim against the whole world that all humans possess. Our rights can only be extinguished or denied when we have been convicted by a jury of violating someone else’s rights.

That is, at least, the theory of the Declaration, the theory upon which the colonies seceded from England and the theory upon which the states created the American republic.

Today, our rights can be extinguished or denied and our liberty and property can be taken by politicians and bureaucrats, without a jury trial.

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Freedom of Conscience – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on February 3, 2023

The libertarian position on discrimination has nothing to do with racism, sexism, prejudice, bigotry, or hate; it has everything to do with property rights, freedom of contract, freedom of association, and, most importantly, freedom of conscience.

by Laurence M. Vance

Libertarian philosopher and historian George H. Smith (1949–2022), in his collection of essays titled Freethought and Freedom, incisively remarked that “without freedom of conscience no other freedoms are possible.” It is my contention that freedom of conscience is under attack right now — in the third decade of the twenty-first century — more so than at any other time in history.

Freedom of conscience is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The closest thing to it is found in the First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The “establishment” and “free exercise” clauses of the First Amendment are generally thought of as protecting the freedom of religion, which is sometimes identified with the freedom of conscience. Related to this is the prohibition of religious tests for federal office found in the third clause of the Constitution’s article VI.

But freedom of conscience cannot be limited to just religion. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, “sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.” Articles 18 and 19 relate to freedom of conscience:

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
  2. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1966, and effective in 1976, expanded these two articles and added a caveat to each one:

18.1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

18.2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

18.3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

19.1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

19.2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

19.3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

We may thus define freedom of conscience as the freedom of an individual to hold a viewpoint, belief, or thought — religious or otherwise — without state interference, coercion, or molestation.


Freedom of religion is certainly a major part of freedom of conscience. Americans generally take religious freedom for granted because it is so ingrained in American culture. Such was not always the case, however, especially in colonial New England. The story of the banishment of Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams from the Massachusetts Bay Colony is well known. Even for several years after the adoption of the Constitution, the new states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire had established churches.

But in many countries of the world, even in the twenty-first century, freedom of religion is precarious. 

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How Much Better Society Would Be If Government Followed The Constitution

Posted by M. C. on January 26, 2023

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The FBI and Personal Liberty – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 19, 2023

The FBI admission that it uses the CIA and the NSA to spy for it came in the form of a 906-page FBI rulebook written during the Trump administration, disseminated to federal agents in 2021 and made known to Congress last week.

Needless to say, the CIA and the NSA cannot be pleased. The CIA charter prohibits its employees from engaging in domestic surveillance and law enforcement. Yet, we know the CIA is present physically or virtually in all of the 50 U.S. statehouses.

By Andrew P. Napolitano

Among the lesser-known holes in the Constitution cut by the Patriot Act of 2001 was the destruction of the “wall” between federal law enforcement and federal spies. The wall was erected in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which statutorily limited all federal domestic spying to that which was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The wall was intended to prevent law enforcement from accessing and using data gathered by America’s domestic spying agencies.

Those of us who monitor the government’s destruction of personal liberties have been warning for a generation that government spying is rampant in the U.S., and the feds regularly engage in it as part of law enforcement’s well-known antipathy to the Fourth Amendment. Last week, the FBI admitted as much.

Here is the backstory.

After President Richard Nixon resigned the presidency, Congress investigated his abuse of the FBI and CIA as domestic spying agencies. Some of the spying was on political dissenters and some on political opponents. None of it was lawful.

What is lawful spying? The modern Supreme Court has made it clear that domestic spying is a “search” and the acquisition of data from a search is a “seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That amendment requires a warrant issued by a judge based on probable cause of crime presented under oath to the judge for a search or seizure to be lawful. The amendment also requires that all search warrants specifically describe the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.

The language in the Fourth Amendment is the most precise in the Constitution because of the colonial disgust with British general warrants. A general warrant was issued to British agents by a secret court in London. General warrants did not require probable cause, only “governmental needs.” That, of course, was no standard whatsoever, as whatever the government wants it will claim that it needs.

General warrants, as well, did not specify what was to be searched or seized. Rather, they authorized government agents to search wherever they wished and to seize whatever they found; stated differently, to engage in fishing expeditions.

When Congress learned of Nixon’s excesses, it enacted FISA, which required that all domestic spying be authorized by the new and secret FISA Court. Congress then lowered the probable cause of crime standard for the FISA Court to probable cause of being a foreign agent, and it permitted the FISA Court to issue general warrants.

How can Congress, which is itself a creature of the Constitution, change standards established by the Constitution? Answer: It cannot legally or constitutionally do so. But it did so nevertheless.

Yet, the FISA compromise that was engineered in order to attract congressional votes was the wall. The wall consisted of regulatory language reflecting that whatever data was acquired from surveillance conducted pursuant to a FISA warrant could not be shared with law enforcement.

So, if a janitor in the Russian embassy was really a KGB agent who was distributing illegal drugs as lures to get Americans to spy for him, and all this was learned via a FISA warrant that authorized listening to phone calls from the embassy, the telephonic evidence of his drug dealing could not be given to the FBI.

The purpose of the wall was not to protect foreign agents from domestic criminal prosecutions; it was to prevent American law enforcement from violating personal privacy by spying on Americans without search warrants.

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The Constitution Is Largely Ignored — But It’s Still There If The People Really Want It

Posted by M. C. on January 12, 2023

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Bill of Rights: The Ignored History of Why it Exists | Tenth Amendment Center

Posted by M. C. on December 20, 2022

Why don’t they teach this history?  We can only guess, but I personally think it has plenty to do with the fact that the bill of rights wasn’t about granting rights to people – or having a central government to protect us – but instead – it was about opposition to centralized power.

By: Michael Boldin

Today is “Bill of Rights Day” – commemorating ratification on Dec. 15, 1791.

But what the government-run schools – and supporters of the monster state – “teach” about the Bill of Rights has almost nothing to do with the foundational principles which motivated the people who supported – and demanded it.

They want us to focus on inane trivia – and they definitely present things as if the Bill of Rights “granted” our rights, or were meant to create a nationwide liberty enforcement squad in the federal government.

No, it was – you guessed it – about the principles behind what was ratified as the 10th Amendment. Drawing a line in the sand, as Samuel Adams put it, “between the federal Powers vested in Congress, and the sovereign Authority belonging to the several States.”

Richard Henry Lee – who on Sept 27, 1787 in the Confederation Congress proposed adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution drafted by the Philadelphia Convention – BEFORE sending it to the states for ratification, agreed. He said that drawing that clear line between expressly delegated power – and those reserved is “the great use of a bill of rights.”

The same thing happened in a number of state ratification documents, starting with Massachusetts, then South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia – and New York.

I covered this in some detail in an episode of Path to Liberty, here:

In early 1788, ratification of the Constitution was almost certain to fail in Massachusetts – home of Samuel and John Adams, Theophilus Parsons, John Hancock – and so many others. A loss there – Federalists understood – would send them reeling in states where it was expected to be a very close call at best – like New York and Virginia. In other words, the entire proposal was close to being doomed.

But – as advised by Richard Henry Lee months earlier, Samuel Adams and John Hancock went along with a plan to ratify, but only with the option of including recommended amendments as well. On Feb 6, 1788 – they did just that, and the very first recommended amendment from the Sons of Liberty will probably look familiar to any reader of the Tenth Amendment Center:

First. That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

South Carolina followed their lead with this:

This Convention doth also declare that no Section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a Construction that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them and vested in the General Government of the Union.

And on June 21, 1788 – New Hampshire sealed the deal on ratification by also including as their first recommended amendment the same precursor to the 10th Amendment from Massachusetts.

But even after New York and Virginia followed with similar proposals, Federalists in the First Congress stonewalled – and did everything they could to prevent amendments from being considered and sent to the states for ratification.

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Biden’s Newfound Love of the Constitution – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2022

Of course, at the risk of stating the obvious, it’s not just Joe Biden and his leftwing Democratic cohorts who have long favored these open and flagrant violations of the Constitution. Republican rightwing statists, including Donald Trump, have long been in the same anti-Constitution camp.

by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Biden and other leftwing statists are up in arms over a comment made by former President Trump calling for “the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution” in order to declare him the winner of the 2020 presidential election, which he claims was stolen from him. As they condemn Trump for his comment, Biden and his leftwing statist cohorts have suddenly discovered a deep and profound love and respect for the Constitution.

Responding to Trump’s statement, Biden’s White House spokesman Andrew Bates, stated:

The American Constitution is a sacrosanct document that for over 200 years has guaranteed that freedom and the rule of law prevail in our great country. The Constitution brings the American people together – regardless of party – and elected leaders swear to uphold it…. Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned.


Well, how about we review some of the positions that Biden and his leftwing Constitution-loving cohorts have long taken that contradict that lovely statement by White House spokesman Bates?

1. The declaration of war requirement. The Constitution states that the president is prohibited from waging war without a congressional declaration of war from Congress. Yet, that constitutional provision has been openly and flagrantly ignored and violated in every single foreign war since World War II, with the full support of leftwing statists.

2. Gold and silver. The Constitution gives the federal government the power to coin money. It does not give the federal government the power to print money. Moreover, the Constitution expressly states that no state shall make anything but gold and silver legal tender. Nonetheless, leftwing statists have openly and flagrantly ignored and violated these constitutional provisions since the 1930s, when leftwing Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt illegally nationalized gold and made it a felony offense to own it. 

3. Federal drug laws. Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government given the power to punish people for ingesting drugs that have not been approved by federal officials. In fact, in order to punish people for ingesting alcohol, statists had to secure a constitutional amendment (which they later repealed through another constitutional amendment). Leftwing statists have never done the same with respect to federal drug laws. Instead, they continue to openly and flagrantly support the federal arrests, prosecutions, incarcerations, and fines for people who are caught ingesting unapproved substances. 

4. Welfare, including Social Security and Medicare. One searches in vain for any grant of power in the Constitution to the federal government to grant welfare to anyone, including seniors. Nonetheless, the feds openly and flagrantly continue to operate their gigantic socialist welfare-state programs, with the full support of leftwing statists. 

5. The conversion to a national-security state. 

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There Is No Such Thing as Limited Government!

Posted by M. C. on September 29, 2022

By Gary D. Barnett

“The only idea they have ever manifested as to what is a government of consent, is this–that it is one to which everybody must consent, or be shot.”

Lysander Spooner

Certain idiocy should be put to rest, if any logic or understanding of real life is ever to be present in the minds of the mass herd. Yes, immediately this seems brutal, but sometimes, stark and unambiguous reality must be forthcoming in order to bring to light truths that are indisputable. The lie that there is such a thing as ‘limited government,’ is one of these bastardizations of ‘thought,’ that qualifies as absolute nonsense.

Even in its inception, this notion was presented and seeded in the minds of what are called citizens, by the very politicians and wealthy political backers of those politicians, whose singular goal was to create an unlimited federal (national) central governing system, that required all to participate whether they agreed to or not. In fact, not one average citizen from the beginning of this country until today, has ever signed and agreed to any contract (Constitution) requiring any government to exist. To accentuate the absurdity of such a claim that this or any government is limited, the only acceptance of any agreement to create a government was by the political criminals themselves who drew up the blueprint to obtain unlimited power.

I could site a thousand situations that refute the lie that any ‘limited government’ ever has or could exist, but only one is really necessary; and that is the state’s falsely claimed power to tax. All taxation is criminal and immoral, because it is forceable theft, and taxation is based on taxing all so-called ‘private’ property, and throughout all of society. The very first power given in the first Article of the heinous Constitution; Article 1, Section 8, the ‘Powers Clauses,’ is this:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

This initial power stated, written, and implemented by the political class, with the ‘assumed,’ not written, consent of the governed, gives unlimited taxing power to the federal government. In and of itself, such a pronouncement of power negates freedom entirely, and is overwhelming evidence that the first order of business of the founding tyrants was the unlimited ability to steal by force the property of ‘its’ citizens. There is no limit in this language, and even if there was, it would be worthless because the government retains the power to change it at will with only a majority vote by the few legislators holding power over everyone in the country, in what was ludicrously labeled, a ‘representative republic.’ What poppycock.

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