Dare Call it Treason!
Every person holding public office – in a State or the United States – is required to swear an oath to “support” the Constitution. Let us consider which – if any – of them have so done.
The Constitution was adopted to secure for the States domestic tranquility: why, then, is it today the cause of dispute and dissent? The answer is easy to see: certain States, such as Nevada, have accepted the decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court as precedents in their own courts, thus rejecting the common law – discovered by a number of courts reconciling their decisions – which revealed to the civilized world that all men [that is to say, all actors] are equal.
It is easy to see also why Nevada did this: the State had seen domestic tranquility dispelled by the avid desire to disturb the decision of the Supreme Court in Scott v. Sanford, and to put an end to the institution of slavery. However, what Nevada meant to say was, that the courts of Nevada should follow the decisions of the U. S. Supreme Court where the latter had jurisdiction. Even if the counties were unanimous in laying that mandate on their courts in 1865, they could not bequeath to their heirs any commitment other than one to the advantage of those heirs; one can bequeath one’s assets, but not one’s liabilities.
And the jurisdiction of the U. S. Supreme Court is not seriously objectionable. “The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases . . . arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States . . . .” seemingly gives the Supreme Court carte blanche. However, the Congress does not have carte blanche to enact statutes: the enumeration of a power “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” does not mean that Congress can enact any law that [it imagines] is necessary and proper; it means that even if a law is both necessary and proper, no body other than the Congress can enact it. It is true that Congress is allowed to punish crimes that violate the rights of the citizens of all the States, such as counterfeiting the current coin, but the trial must be in the State where the act took place – meaning, obviously, that such crimes are to be prosecuted in State, not U. S., courts.
The power known as “judicial review” is nevertheless necessary. The Congress can only deliberate and agree: the fact that 435, or even 535, persons have agreed does not guarantee truth – until the agreement has been put to the test. And the power that tests the law against the facts is the judiciary: they have the test of coherence, is the decision in the case of defendant D consistent with those of all prior defendants?
However, we see that this power of judicial review has been spurned by the many other nations that have constituted themselves as republics. Why is this? Is it because they intend to legislate injustice, to convict innocent and guilty indifferently? Possibly – very plausibly – it is because it is so blatantly absurd for a tiny handful of unelected justices to review the statutes of the Congress if they proceed by majority. If all [reasonable] men understand the law, then all paid judges should be able to understand it.
Did the States indeed agree that the Supreme Court should proceed by mere majority? Read both the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, and you find that the majority necessary to proceed is invariably specified – two thirds to expel a member of Congress, three fourths to submit an amendment – except in three instances. The three are, for the jury in the trial of all crimes, for the States in convention, and for the judges of the Supreme Court. However, everyone knows how the criminal jury proceeds – unanimously: otherwise, one could not hold every juror responsible for the verdict. And we know how the States proceed: “Done in Convention, by the Unanimous Consent of the States present . . . .” So we need have no doubt how the Supreme Court is to proceed: the idea that a tiny handful of unelected U. S. officers can, by mere majority, over-rule a Congress representing all the States is the grossest of solecisms.
Thus it is not the case – as popularly supposed nowadays – that just one wrong-headed judge can endanger the republic. (Incidentally, it appears that the justices themselves grasp this fact: when they rule against the president, who de facto appoints judges and chooses one to be chief justice, they succeed in reaching an unanimous decision. See U. S. v. Nixon, U. S. v. Clinton.) In the 2000 case of Bush v. Gore, the Court announced that its 5-to-4 ruling did not constitute a precedent: the States should determine to treat all divided decisions in the same manner. If a majority, or even the whole, of the justices demur, they are guilty of treason.
Once the Bill of Rights (ten of the twelve amendments proposed by James Madison, Jr., and submitted by the First Congress) had been adopted, the very next amendment submitted, and promptly ratified, was to curtail the jurisdiction of the U. S. courts: it abolished jurisdiction when a citizen sued a State other than his own. If a citizen cannot sue in the U. S. courts when he has been wronged by a State not his own, how much less can he sue in the U. S. courts when he has been wronged by a State which is his own?
The assertion by U. S. judges that they are allowed to pass upon intra-state causes is the most transparent of fictions: none of the amendments subsequent to the Eleventh have even mentioned the judiciary.
The Congress is indeed empowered to define and even punish crimes – but counterfeiting the current coin, and piracy, and treason, are crimes against the citizens of every State. If crimes are committed in only some portion of the States – e.g. kidnapping – then the U. S. courts have no jurisdiction.
Whenever the U. S. judges try criminal cases that do not affront all of these United States, they are committing treason.
What remedy do you have when you are wronged by your own State? To find out, look in your State constitution. But no State can oppress its citizens very seriously, because it is always the right of citizens to vote with their feet, to move across the State line. The one instance in which the U. S. must rectify wrongdoing in a State is if the republican form of government (ballots, not bullets) is violated – if there are police officers or prison guards who are not regularly elected.
And with the Advice and Consent . . .
But is it true that the framers of the Constitution considered that it mattered little whether or not the appointees of the national government – holding office for only a short four years – were well chosen? And that in such minor matters aristocracy was tolerable – the president could be allowed the first word? This question has an answer. In the convention, Alexander Hamilton, an unashamed aristocrat, proposed that, in the lesser matter of appointments (as distinct from treaties) the president should be allowed the initiative, “subject to the approbation or rejection of the Senate.” And the delegates of the States disagreed: appointments, even as treaties, are to be made “by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”
When we see the conjunction and twice over, we are not reading about one act. Indeed, presidents have conceded the principle: we now see the “fast track” procedure to make a treaty, the president consults the Senate before he meets a foreign power, and again when he has reached agreement.
It may be true that the new chief justice was the best lawyer in Washington, D.C.: but if the Senate had advised a few candidates to the president, we should have seen a lawyer well-known in California, and a lawyer well-known in Texas, and a lawyer well-known in New York, and others with reputations outside Washington, considered for the vacancy.
We are, then, in no doubt that the Constitution is, here as everywhere, democratic: the first word belongs to State officers. All that is necessary is to demand that our senators do what we pay them to do, and reduce the president to the status proper to an executive officer. The very purpose of the Senate is to represent the States versus their creature, the U. S.; those senators who fail to proclaim that they will consent to no nominee whom the Senate has not first advised are committing treason.
Taxation and Representation
The Sixteenth Article of Amendment is short and simple:
. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Congress has only the powers delegated to it by the States: hence the amendment. However, we recall that the powers delegated hitherto were “necessary” or “proper;” presumably this power also is proper. If so, it can only authorize an equal tax: no majority, even three fourths, can claim the power to tax the minority more than it taxes itself. “No taxation without representation” must mean no more taxation without more representation! A progressive tax, such as we have seen since this amendment was ratified, prevents young, strong, bright persons racing up the social order and displacing the elderly has-beens.
This limitation to equal taxes is, plainly, very sound indeed: most of the people disapprove of high taxes, and we can expect that they will always do so. Any taxes on transactions, such as incomes or sales, are exceedingly damaging: they discourage people from trading together, from becoming specialists in one or another expertise, from joining together in profit-making ventures.
But the States united especially for their common defense: they must have intended the Congress to have ample revenues. Indeed, Article I, Section 8 starts with the words “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises . . . .” But even earlier, in Sec. 2, we saw “Representatives and direct Taxation shall be apportioned among the several States . . . according to their respective Numbers . . . of . . . Persons.”
What does “apportioned” mean? The courts have made it clear; if there is one [horseless] carriage per person in, say, Nevada, but only one carriage for every two persons in Rhode Island, then the carriage tax in Nevada must be half what it is in Rhode Island.
A tax on property is very different from a tax on transactions. Obviously, it drives the proprietor to make the most use of his property – use it or lose it! Instead of discouraging trade and business, a property tax encourages them. And it is inherently equal; whether a piece of property is owned by General Motors or by the Widow Jones, it still pays the same tax. (There is, admittedly, an objection; if the tax were on fur coats, then Alaska and the contiguous States would be taxed but Hawaii might escape.)
Immigration is a subject of great importance; almost all of us are either immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. And, appropriately, it is prominent in the Constitution: Art. IX opens: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight . . . .” Said year being now long gone, we conclude that the Congress does have the power to prohibit immigration. But the power to admit immigrants has never been delegated to Congress; it is today, as it has always been, in the States.
Nor should there be any doubt that that is where it belongs. Californians know whether there is a demand for farm workers who can labor in the hot sun: Washingtonians know whether there is a need for lumberjacks who can stand up to frigid chill: New Yorkers know whether there is a shortage of editors and proof-readers who can spell in English. And Floridians may feel that people who can cross the infamous Gulf Stream in improvised boats deserve to live in the Land of the Free: Texans may have similar ideas about people who dare to traverse the torrid deserts on foot. But anyone taking the tax-payers’ money for “serving” in the U. S. Border Patrol is guilty of treason.
Inflation and Deflation
Money is always a problem in a civilized society; it is almost the definition of civilization that people keep accounts and know whether they are gaining or losing. This is how Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” keeps innumerable individuals working in harmony. But accounting is only possible if there is some standard of value which does not fluctuate from time to time . . . .
The framers of the Constitution were well aware of the problem; the money of many of the States had depreciated rapidly and deeply during the recent war. Hence Governor Randolph, in his Virginia Plan, proposed that the States make “no thing but specie a tender in payment of debts.” (A specie coin is one worth no more than the metal it contains: typically, several mints will be striking coins as metal comes out of the ground.)
However, the delegates did not agree with this radical proposal; they chose instead to accept no “Thing but gold and silver Coin . . . .” This was, possibly, because in England there had been two standards, the guinea of gold and the pound of silver. Thus, if some States – perhaps, the “staple” States that traded largely with England – had opted for gold, and some – perhaps, the “navigating” States that traded with China and India – had adopted silver, there would have been an eminently safe system: unless both metals went up, or down, in value at the same rate, each State would have been able to see whether its money was gaining or losing value.
Needless to say, the Congress could not content itself with its delegated power to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof . . . .” Congress not only defined the standard silver dollar of 371-1/2 grains of silver and gold coins with [originally] one-fifteenth or [later] –sixteenth as much metal: it also ordained that the Treasury exchange the one metal for the other at its decreed ratio. The result was that traders occupied themselves dragging silver, at first, and gold, later, into the United States. And the States did not act to adopt one or the other metal as their money of account (Missouri adopted gold coin, but explicitly allowed silver to be substituted at par.)
It is obvious, except to those who do not suffer the consequences of their decisions, that gold and silver are not found mixed in some fixed proportions: at least in this country, silver is many times more plentiful than gold. The Congress acted decisively to prevent the currency becoming all-silver: it prohibited all mints other than its own from striking U. S. coins. And today, instead of an ounce of gold being worth $20.67, it is worth $500 or more,
Does this matter? Or is it necessary for human action to be adapted to a fluctuating money? We remarked at the outset that civilized societies keep accounts of profits and losses: if the money becomes less valuable from January 1 to December 31, the effect is that inventories are over-estimated and depreciation is under-estimated – profits are inflated, businesses that should have been shut down are kept running. And, if there are taxes on sales, or on incomes, more than the proper amount of taxes is paid.
Inflation has the effect of robbing creditors, such as banks: once upon a time, bankers were important citizens, but today, apparently, the soundness of the banking system is less important than that of the political parties.
Today, there is no doubt but that the citizens are suffering the consequences of having no stable standard of value: those States (all except Missouri, Colorado, and Nevada) that have not adopted gold or silver coin as their legal money are, at least by default, guilty of treason.
Although Congress is so decidedly averse to regulating the value “of foreign Coin,” it is passionately devoted to setting “the Standard of Weights and Measures” – or, at least, what it chooses to call standards.
Just as it is convenient for every State to use the same coins, so it is convenient for every State to use the same weights and the same chains and the same clocks (even if the clocks are set to different times in different places.)
And, apparently, because every State has over-loaded highways, it is convenient for every State to have some measure of how well the vehicles fare in the low-speed collisions that are common at busy times: hence the U. S. buys typical new vehicles and drives them straight into immovable objects. It then gives each vehicle some number, less than five, of stars as a ranking.
Are the five-star cars better? You have heard the criticism of American cars that “at 40 you steer it, at 80 you aim it.” This is because the designer puts the passengers in the middle of the wheelbase, where the ride is best; as a result, the heavy engine and transmission are in the front of the car, and therefore the car is stable, it tends to keep going straight. When the speed of the car goes up, the tire forces needed to maneuver become larger, and bigger steering inputs are required. This characteristic of front-end-heavy vehicles is called “understeer;” it does not matter if you only trundle along expressways, but it makes the vehicle unhappily slow on corners.
The measure of this effect is the “characteristic speed.” If, at a crawl, a given steering input results in a turning circle of 100 feet, then the characteristic speed is the speed at which the same input gives a circle of 200 feet (or twice as much input is needed for 100 feet.) If you drive on fast, straight roads, you can use a car with a low characteristic speed, but if you often encounter slow, twisty roads, you need a high characteristic speed.
Characteristic speed, then, would have been a useful standard; all Congress would have had to do would be to define a method of measuring it (what load to carry, what size circle to use, etc.) Users could then judge which vehicles were good enough for their purposes.
But what, in fact, has happened? The obvious way to excel on the collision test is, to move the heavy masses, such as the engine and transmission, forwards, and the passengers backward. Thus the useful interior space has diminished – and vehicles have become even more disposed to understeer, to lack maneuverability.
Nor is that the whole story. One way to cut down both weight and cost is to drive the wheels adjacent to the engine, i.e. the front wheels. So then the weight on the rear wheels is much lower than that on the front wheels. Whenever the brakes are applied, weight is transferred from the rear wheels to the front wheels. Consequently there is a disposition to lock up the rear brakes. But the Federal (sic) Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require the vehicle to make the test stops without locking any wheel: thus the designers put in pressure-limiting valves to reduce the proportion of rear braking as the driver brakes harder.
So what? So this! What you want is a progressive braking system, one with low effectiveness at low pedal forces, so that it is easy to make smooth, gentle stops, but high effectiveness at high pedal forces, so that a crash stop does not need a strong man. What the “Federal” government has given you is just the opposite – a generation of vicious vehicles.
“Oh no!” you may say. “In the Twenty-first Century, the vehicles have anti-lock braking and stability augmentation systems . . . .” Yes, they have these very expensive elaborations, but the fact still remains that half the wheels are being asked to do all the driving, all the steering, and most of the braking. You notice that there are now a great many four-wheel-drive cars – in all cases (except the fearsome Lamborghini and the fastest Porsches) because front-wheel-drive proved so disappointing,
Front- or four-wheel drive has the effect of causing the force on the steering wheel to fluctuate as the wheels turn. Result: even small cars today have power steering – and are EXPENSIVE. Four decades ago, a well-conceived car like the Chevrolet Corvair had no need for power steering, nor power braking, and gave good economy even with a two-speed transmission.
Too complicated for you? You don’t believe it? A simple example: the “Safety” standard for driving mirrors requires the driver’s mirror to be adjustable when you are seated behind the wheel. So what? So the designers moved the mirrors from the front fender to the driver’s door – and now all vehicles sold in these United States have a fearful blind spot alongside them, in which any overtaking vehicle disappears. To add difficulty to danger, the Standard requires all the mirrors to be plane, so that the field of view in the right-hand mirror is far too small to allow maneuvering in reverse.
Suppose now that safety had been a State function. Then we might have found that one could not register a vehicle in Alaska unless it had a 0° windshield defroster, but one could in Arizona. Or that one could not register a car in Florida unless the seats could be adjusted to suit the fifth-percentile female, but one could in Texas. Or that a vehicle which suffered from brake fade in 100-m.p.h stops could not be registered in Nevada, but could be in Rhode Island. And then we might have been able to judge how much we were paying – year after year, decade after decade – for the supposed “safety” systems. If we had really wanted safety, we could have had it for no cost at all: we could have replaced STOP signs by YIELD signs, replaced capricious “white” maximum speed limits by arbitrary “yellow” maxima, posted the minimum speeds (the speeds at which the flow is highest, below which the traffic jams) and done away with minimum driving ages. The Congress that imposed “Federal” Standards was guilty of the most blatant treason.
Invasion; and . . . Domestic Violence
The U. S. exists to protect each and every one of the States against Invasion and – if so commanded by a State – against domestic Violence: this explains why it has an army and a navy, and the power to collect taxes. However, it cannot plausibly be supposed that the army and the navy are intended to deter unarmed, defenseless civilians from crossing our borders, or to discover what is going on within locked doors and curtained windows.
The Congress is commanded to establish “an uniform rule of naturalization,” but the mere existence of an U. S. Immigration and Naturalization office and of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are perpetuating treason.
It is the duty of the U. S. to guarantee to each State a republican form of government. If this is so, then a fortiori the U. S. itself must have a republican government: there can be no U. S. officers holding office beyond the next election (except judges holding office during “good behavior”) nor can there be U. S. officers acting in one State rather than in other States. Every “U. S. Attorney” is guilty of treason.
How do I decide what to do? I feel like doing one thing: but can I be sure I am right? What I do is, ask someone who is a friend – better still, I ask two or three friends: many minds are better than a few.
This is not a new idea. For as long as we have records, there have been occasional conventions and even continuing parliaments. And these assemblies have certain common features: matters go from the many to the few. In Britain, the House of Lords cannot amend a bill passed by the Commons, the Crown can only veto one passed by Commons and Lords: in these United States, the president cannot even veto a bill favored by two thirds of the House and the Senate, the vice president can vote only when the Senate is evenly divided.
Correspondingly, in an election the masses of voters choose small bodies of electors, 535 in all, who meet together in each State – even as parties meet in conventions – and vote for president and vice president. When the president of the Senate has opened the sealed State lists and counted the votes, then – unless one candidate has a majority – the 50 State delegations to the House choose the president. The procedure narrows down from multitudes, to 535 in 50 places, to 50 met together – democracy!
What do we see today? Exactly the opposite! Many of the States have mandated that their electors merely echo the choices of the masses – even (except in Maine and Nebraska) the great mass of all congressional districts lumped together! – so that there is no pretence of meeting and reasoning together. And, instead of members of Congress and U. S. office-holders being excluded from voting, as tax-spenders should properly be, they actually play a prominent part in the elections (in the earliest stages, the party conventions.) Several of the State legislatures have committed treason.
The United States
The States are formidable because they act as one. “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, . . . enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State . . . .” No few of them can form any company, perhaps to deal with the flooding of the Mississippi watershed.
If the States cannot agree to make any divisions within the Union, how much less can Congress impose any division! There can be no First, Second, . . . Ninth Judicial Circuits!
Nor can the president divide the Union, and appoint officers to one or another part of it. And presidents have implicitly admitted that they are wrong so to do; they have conceded “senatorial courtesy,” giving the senior senator from a State a veto on any appointment therein. But this is obviously a failed justification: if any officer’s concurrence could justify such an appointment, it would be that of the State governor, who is concerned with the internal economy of hir State – a senator is concerned with foreign relations. In this instance, both Congress and presidents have committed treason.
What is most conspicuous in this nation is the worship of waste. You see passenger and freight traffic – and even refuse trucks! – trundling along the highway at the same speed, even though the passengers are aging. You see extravagantly capital-intensive mass-transit systems that do not run 24/7. You see airliners standing on the taxi-ways with the engines running – or even stacked up in the sky. You see STOP signs instead of YIELD signs; traffic signals are stop-on-red instead of go-on-green. The air traffic control system prides itself on having kept all but one or two civilian flights out of the skies for days after 9/11 – instead of being ashamed of the fact. You wait five or ten or even more minutes to pay a toll – and find it is some trifling sum. The highway managements devote themselves to creating congestion, in order to waste heavily taxed fuel: in many States you still see highway patrols, even though all the vehicles – at least outside the cities – carry cell phones. You see few minimum speed limits, even though the minimum speed is easily measured, but you often see “yellow” maximum speed limits, which are arbitrary, and even “white” maxima, which are capricious.
Is this what the States envisioned when they commanded Congress “to regulate Commerce . . . among the several States”? Or to “make all needed Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States”? No, it is not: within a State, Congress may own only “Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful [for the common Defence] Buildings.”
But, of course, Congress is commanded to establish “post Roads” and, by analogy, airways (although “post Roads” are, presumably, only those that would not have existed unless to carry the mail.) We must concede that Congress may own roads and airways, even in or over the States.
Thus we ask, what are “Rules and Regulations”? The word ‘regular’ surely conveys approval; one likes to know just when the mail will be collected. It doesn’t make much difference whether you drive on the right or the left, but it is nice if everyone does the same. Sundials can be relied upon to tell sidereal time, but for everyday living, it is convenient if all the clocks in a State agree. These are not issues of right and wrong, but merely of convenience – they are political questions. If this is the nature of a regulation, it can very well be made by a body which acts by majority.
We reason, then, that the Congress was not expected to manage property, because management needs ability and attention, day in and day out, morning, noon and night, 24/7/52: for centuries, if not millennia, property owners have left management to specialists, and have made sure that the managers have an interest in managing judiciously – e.g. share-cropping, paying bonuses, giving stock options. In plain words, we would expect to find – either by reading the Constitution or by knowing our culture – that the properties of the U. S. would be managed by private parties.
We are confronted, then, with a contradiction between the United States de facto and the United States de jure. We seek an explanation.
The enquiry is not difficult. The de facto system is merely the one which all the other nations have. Where did they find it? This question too is not difficult. In the 1920s two European socialists grasped that socialism – public ownership and public management – could not work in a complex modern industrial society, and instead adopted as their policies private ownership and public management. Their system, Fascism, did not bring luster to the names of Mussolini and Hitler; but it has now been adopted in a nation which shed a great deal of blood on the pretext of overthrowing it.
This we could and should call treason!