Response by Bill Walker to Goldwater Institute Report...
Re: Response by Bill Walker to Goldwater Institute Report...
Thank you, Bill, for beginning this discussion.
Sorry, but I’ve looked at the Natelson papers and your rebuttal, and I have to agree with Natelson. The Constitution is a contract for agency, and fiduciary principles do apply. A constitution is a contract made between sovereign citizens, who are the principals, to establish a governmental agent who is obligated to exercise defined powers for the mutual benefit of the principals. The principals in turn incur obligations to support the agent so the agent can meet those obligations.
That is what an American style of Constitution is. That is what makes it such an important document in world history. The Framers threw off the old style of government by birth, which is aristocracy, and replaced it with a new style of government which is government by contract. In doing that they broke the established system of aristocracy which is inherently oppressive. While no manmade law, fiduciary or otherwise, can apply to a national constitution, fiduciary principles can and do.
I have the firmest agreement with Natelson in that I recognize that we citizens must have the ability to bring our out of control agent under control in specific necessary ways when the agent is unable to do so itself. We must be able to prescribe specific remedies. If we leave it up to our out of control agent to fix itself, it will not. It will just do more out of control and oppressive things, and it will not properly address its own overreach. That is its nature. The Federal government has had ample opportunities to curb its madness for power. It has not exercised that potential ability. In your rebuttal you gave me no reason to believe it will do so in the future, even if the States apply to Congress for open ended amendments and Congress follows the amendment process.
Many of your arguments against Natelson are based on statements from the out of control agent. You refer to Supreme Court discussions and Legislative discussions. Of course they lean in favor of denying the people their right to bring their agent to heel. The Court and the Legislature are the government. They are the out of control agent. I cannot hear the arguments of that agent. If a member of government says something reasonable as a fellow citizen, fine. But as government officials their words are void of authority and have no meaning. Asking the organs of government to judge whether they are violating the contract is no different than asking robbers to judge whether or not they have violated the law after breaking into a house and stealing from it. Their claims have no value in this context.
Demanding government to reform itself is no different than demanding the robbers improve our home security system after they have broken in and stolen our goods. That will never work.
To argue as you have that the power mad, out of control agent speaks lucidly, with neutrality, and with authority when stating that only the agent has the power to bring itself under control, is to argue in favor of oppression. You seem to argue in favor of tyranny-by-contract. I do not understand your position on this at all.
What will cause the out of control agent to choose to bring itself under control today, when it has not done so to date, and it has had ample opportunity to do so in the past? Nothing, because nothing substantive has changed. No flaws in the structure of government have been corrected.
The Legislature ignores the States’ pleas for an Article V Convention because it can. There is no neutral third party forcing them to obey the Constitution. In effect, there is no cop on the street to arrest and charge the robber for breaking the law, and no court to try him. Until that problem is addressed, nothing will change in government. Most new amendments will eventually lead nowhere because there is no effective enforcement officer who requires the government to follow the terms of the contract, just as the government already ignores the Constitution seemingly at will today. There is nothing being tried today that has not been tried in the past and proven ineffective over the long run, except perhaps what I would like to propose here in your forum, which is to create that cop and judge and bring them into play.
We have every natural and moral right to change our form of government. We do not need to not beg for change from a wannabe oppressor. We would be fools to hope that all will turn out for the best when we ask the robbers to reform themselves of their own volition. There is nothing in it for them to do so. They would never give up that power.
Let me bring this into context a little more. The Constitution is our contract with each other. The Constitution is founded in the freedom of our personal sovereignty. It is not the government’s contract with us telling us what freedoms it will allow us to have with respect to its agency. We have the God given right to do whatever we want with our contract for government. If we want to void it completely, we may. If we want to change it, we may. If we want to leave it untouched, we may. If we want to do nothing and sit passively while the government steals all of our property, we may do so, which is what most Americans are doing today. If we want to repeat failed approaches to reforming government, we may do so, and unfortunately that is exactly what most so-called reformers are doing today; repeating ineffectiveness.
Hamilton pointed out in the last of the Federalist Papers, No. 85, that the Constitution was known to be flawed. It was a new thing, and the Framers had no way of knowing what problems would eventually present themselves. They needed to implement something useable and get it in place quickly. They left it up to a future generation to make reparations when those flaws became apparent. When we look at the condition of our government today, the trillions of dollars in national debt, the hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt that every child is born with today, the almost unchecked abuse of the Constitution by the government, the embarassingly open bribery of public officers (crony capitalism) , etc., etc., etc., we recognize that repair is necessary today, not tomorrow. We are the generation that must correct those flaws in the Constitution. If those flaws include an unworkable process for making necessary corrections, we must bypass those flaws, and use a workable process instead.
We citizens have the right to reform our government in any manner we see fit through whatever process suits us. That is the beauty and essence of the American form of government. That is the true meaning of liberalism. No person, government, agent of our creation, or any other power on Earth may rightfully deny us our freedom to do as we wish with our contract for government. No mere scratches on parchment can alienate us from our rights.
We prefer to reform government in keeping with our traditions. We prefer a structured, controlled and rational process of reform. We want to prevent poorly thought out change, and change made for “light and transient causes” such as Prohibition. We prefer peaceful change over violent and tumultuous revolution. The Constitution is our contract with each other to enjoy the benefits of a national government. It is not a permission slip for the Federal government to declare an unconscionable power, telling us that we the principals in the contract may not make specific and necessary changes to our contract with each other when the government lacks the ability to do so itself. That would be the very essence of despotism.
In your rebuttal you claim that having Congress amend the Constitution at will is preferable to the citizens reforming the government themselves through our States. You argue that putting the robbers in charge of creating a better security system with feedback from the residents (snicker) is preferable to letting the residents set up a security system of their own design without the manipulations of the robbers. Really, it's like the guy said. Government is not the answer to the problem. Government is the problem.
You claim incorrectly that Natleson wants to prevent open debate and discussion. Natelson made no such argument, directly or indirectly. He argued that the States have the power to require Congress to write specific changes. How would the 50 States come to a point of agreement except by open debate and discussion?
You claim incorrectly that Natelson wants to put just a few people in charge of making amendments, when he makes no such claim or supposition. Do you imagine some hidden power made of a just a few corrupt people with the ability to force an overwhelming majority of the States' governments to act according to its malicious will?
There is no such hidden power, Bill. What are you thinking? I do not follow you at all here.
We both envision a process in which the citizens are involved in the process of change. That is the correct way to approach this, certainly. But you ask that the citizens work with an openly abusive and corrupt agent to try to get the agent to change itself, with no effective leverage applied to the agent. As you of all people know, they are experts at avoiding the requirements of the citizens and abusing the terms of the contract. How do you come to believe that requiring Congress to do something non-specific will cause Congress to accomplish something specific and necessary, when they have not done so already? Do you seriously believe that the same organization that created some of the recent acts of absurdity and abuse will suddenly become wise and moral just because the States told them to write an amendment, any amendment? I’m not seeing it.
A firm requirement for effective change, coming directly from the citizens (through their States) will carry weight and leverage to force the employees of the governmental agent to act appropriately. They dare not say no if the citizens address this correctly.
Before government will act on change, the change must have firm support from the citizens. Will the citizens give firm support for vague and non-specific change? Not in your lifetime.
For change to be supported by the people it must be reasonable, and it must address the needs of the people while calming fears. Nothing creates fear more than the unknown. To minimize fears, the details of the change must be known before being pressed forward. The reform amendment, or amendments, must be spelled out in specific terms with arguments for and against those reforms clearly stated and understood before being presented to the States so they can make their Article V application to Congress. All of the dark places must be well lit and all the doors must be opened so the people can see that no “Gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire” are hiding there. The enemies of reform will use the natural fears of the people to try to prevent reform.
Serious consequences for members of Congress for failure to comply with the terms of the contract, the Constitution, must also be included in the application, otherwise they may refuse to act, just as they have refused to act to date.
To bring about specific and necessary reforms to government, Natelson’s process fits the bill nicely. It allows the citizens to drive the process of creating specific reforms to specific problems of the Federal government when the Federal government is incapable of making those changes itself. It filters the citizens' requirements for change through a second party, the State governments, for reasonableness and practicality. It applies a formal process to minimize Federal hanky-panky and to help things change smoothly. It robs the fear mongers of their power by keeping the character and content of the reform apparent and exposed from its beginning.
A prescribed application for amendment from the States is in keeping with the writing of the Constitution, and it is certainly in keeping with the dominant law, which is the natural right of the citizens to make and have a more perfect Union. If we wish to ensure further propriety, we may expand the formal process by adding to the amendment application a requirement of a public referendum vote before the amendment is made to the Constitution.
I hope I have given you another perspective on this, one you have not considered before.
The Constitution is ours to do with as we wish. Pray that we never surrender this right.
(I have cross posted this on my blog Amorian.org)