Patterico's Pontifications


A Constitutional Crisis, And the American Response

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:55 pm

There is a constitutional crisis in the land. The rulers are ignoring the written constitution, contend many, and are oppressing the people in a manner that deprives citizens of their long-held constitutional rights — rights that the citizens consider innate and God-given.

And so, the people take the only action that seems to make any sense: they revolt. Violently.

And today, we celebrate their revolution.

This is Kevin Gutzman’s interesting take on the American Revolution: that it was actually a “constitutional crisis.” You can hear Gutzman offering the thesis here, on Tom Woods’s podcast:

Gutzman is the best-selling author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, which I have read and found excellent, as well as Who Killed the Constitution?, which he co-wrote with Tom Woods, and which I also found invaluable.

Gutzman is teaching a new class on the American Revolution at Tom Woods’s Liberty Classroom. The class is called “The American Revolution, A Constitutional Conflict.” It is the newest class at Liberty Classroom, an adult education effort that concentrates on teaching people about liberty in areas of history, economics, and even logic. I’m a member. Gutzman is my second favorite lecturer at the site; only Woods himself is better. I have already downloaded and begun the American Revolution class and find it engaging and interesting, just as I expected.

Woods is currently offering 50% off if you use coupon code “KEVIN” in all capital letters. If you join through this link, you’re helping me out. (Same goes for you, if you become a member and get your friends to join.) Check out their free stuff here.

Even if you don’t join, it’s worth thinking about and discussing the concept of the American Revolution as a constitutional crisis precipitated by the actions of an out-of-control government — and what that means for us today. Remember: you owe your allegiance to American principles . . . not the corrupt American government that fails to enforce them. Happy 4th!

51 Responses to “A Constitutional Crisis, And the American Response”

  1. Food for thought.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  2. I would think that there is large agreement across the political spectrum that the government is ignoring the Constitution. The only quibbles are over which parts.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  3. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

    Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  4. The only problem with this is that the most likely method of radical change — an Article V Convention — would be dominated by the same sh1theels that run things now.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  5. America isn’t a country what values human freedom

    it’s very sad, but that’s the long and the short of it

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  6. If a Mere Humble Innocent Brit may offer an observation …

    A significant part of current problems is the lack of understanding of *who* is actually doing this stuff … I keep hearing/reading “The government did this …” when, in fact, it is specifically the Executive Branch aka the Obama Administration who is doing it …

    The more that people realise that it isn’t their elected Congressional Representatives doing this stuff, but rather the appointed cronies of the current Obama Administration, the more people will want to throw out those who are actually doing it, rather than throwing out all elected politicians (while leaving the appointed cronies where they can continue to do damage …

    And, yes, some elected Congressional Representatives fully deserve to be thrown out of office for reasons of their own actions (or lack thereof), but the ones we *need* rid of right now are the unelected crony-appointed bureaucrats all the way to the White House … and, for those appointed cronies who are there until Pres’ent Obama leaves office, the best we can do is defund them – and, to do that, conservatives have to re-take the Senate …

    So – don’t let the other side define the terms of discussions …

    When someone says “The Government is regulating full-time jobs out of existence !”, correct that impression by pointing out that “Unelected crony-appointed bureaucrats are regulating full-time jobs out of existence by following orders from the Obama Administration !” …

    When someone says “The Government is regulating coal miners out of their jobs !”, correct that impression by pointing out that “Unelected crony-appointed bureaucrats are regulating coal miners out of their jobs by following orders from the Obama Administration !” …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  7. mr feets #5 – Actually, America still is “a country what values human freedom” …

    The current Obama Administration and its Democrat Party is trying to transform America away from being “a country what values human freedom” …

    Alastor (2e7f9f)

  8. The true constitutional crisis was actually in 1786 and 1787 to 1789.

    The Articles of Confederation said they could be amended only with the agreement of the legislatures of every state.

    But the Constitional convention of 1787 went outside that, saying it would become effective after rtatification by conventions of nine states, resting its authority on “We the people.”

    (The same “people”, BTW, mentioned in the 10th and 2nd amendments)

    Article XIII clause 1:

    Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

    Sammy Finkelman (cd2969)

  9. The only problem with this is that the most likely method of radical change — an Article V Convention — would be dominated by the same sh1theels that run things now.

    Yup. As many wise people have observed, politics follows culture. We have a culture of dependence on government, and we can’t get radical reform in favor of smaller government unless the culture wants it. And it doesn’t.

    I don’t know what to do about that. I can preach the benefits of smaller government, and try to change hearts and minds, but ultimately it feels like pushing a boulder uphill forever.

    Patterico (9c670f)

  10. the american people twice elected an autocratic fascist Mr. Alastor

    whilst Team R nominated Meghan’s coward daddy – the brainwashed loser with the bizarre obsession with banning nutritional supplements, and weirdo willard who invented the oppressive farce known as obamacare

    what the american people value is food stamps

    yummylicious food stamps

    not freedom

    it’s just who they are anymore

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  11. It’s more practical to view the American Revolution as a management failure in an international conglomerate. Middle managers and workers of a regional subsidiary organized a hostile takeover of the subsidiary; replaced its board of directors and CEO; rewrote the by-laws; and issued new stock in the enterprise.

    the capitalist revisionist nk (dbc370)

  12. If a Mere Humble Innocent Brit may offer an observation …

    A significant part of current problems is the lack of understanding of *who* is actually doing this stuff … I keep hearing/reading “The government did this …” when, in fact, it is specifically the Executive Branch aka the Obama Administration who is doing it …

    Actually, the “government” is the executive branch. In the UK the term refers collectively to the cabinet, which is why it takes plural verbs. The prime minister is merely the head of government, the first among equals. But the USA constitution explicitly vests the executive power in one person, the president. In the USA, the government is the president; all the assistants he hires to do the actual work of governing act in his name.

    That’s why the USA doesn’t really have a cabinet, as such. There is something called the cabinet, but they hardly ever meet; since their only role is advising the president, there’s no reason for him to see them all at once, except for a photo op. Otherwise he meets whichever secretaries he wants advice from on a given topic. And when the cabinet do meet, they never vote, again because they are not the government, they’re just his advisors and assistants. By contrast, it would be impossible to govern the UK without the cabinet meeting at least weekly, because they are the government, and they have to vote on every decision or it’s not an official government decision at all.

    Milhouse (b95258)

  13. it feels like pushing a boulder uphill forever.

    If only the boulder were going up.

    Kevin M (b357ee)

  14. We have a culture of dependence on government, and we can’t get radical reform in favor of smaller government unless the culture wants it. And it doesn’t.

    A growing segment of the population likes its government freebies. They don’t care who pays for it as long as it isn’t them. And if the government paid for more things, people would be happier yet.

    It’s difficult to compete with free things. Convincing people of the extreme advantage to them individually, their families and the country at large that a smaller government is more effective and will in the end, bring them more freedoms, isn’t neat, like a government provided cellphone. You can hold that and make important phone calls about jobs… you simply can’t hold a smaller government and do things with it. This is what we’ve devolved to.

    btw, just listened to the Woods/Gutzman talk linked to in the post. Really enjoyed it. In looking over the course selections, it would be difficult to choose just one.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  15. 5. America isn’t a country what values human freedom

    it’s very sad, but that’s the long and the short of it

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/4/2014 @ 1:29 pm

    But I do value freedom, mr. feets. That’s why I spent 20 years in he Nay. So I could enjoy it when I got out. So my kids and my nieces and nephews would have i.

    You on the other hand value government

    172. when the judges look at the constitution and say hey goofballs you can’t ban the gay marriages

    they are making us more free as a people not less

    this is a rare and special thing – like Blue Bell White Chocolate Almond, which you can only get seasonally at best anymore

    but anyways

    yay freedom say me

    happyfeet (8ce051) — 7/3/2014 @ 8:12 am

    Yay freedom sez me. I have a right to my own mind. I will make up my own mind. Not your gub’mint functionaries, mr. fascist. And no I’m not more free when you fascists tell me what to think. Got it?

    Have a happy 4th.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  16. Have a 5th of something; it’s a free country.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  17. No Mr. 57 the Democratic Party is fascist to the core and the Republican Party says it’s racist to oppose the transition to a food stamp economy

    food stamps equal dependence, which is a lot the opposite of the putative independence we supposed to celebrate today

    it’s a hard knock life for us it’s a hard knock life for us

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  18. Perhaps defining the terms would help because “freedom” seems to mean different things to different people. We have an increasing population who view a bloated government that gives them things the same as providing them freedom of some sort. They are blinded by their own need and greed and cannot see that they are essentially being held hostage by their own sense of entitlement coupled with the strong – yet giving – arm of government.

    Dana (4dbf62)

  19. Dana, Nancy Pelosi et al think that freedom is being told what to do, say, and think by the right people.

    I on the other hand think freedom means living by your own lights.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  20. I don’t know a what the rest of you did but I celebrated the 4th in my traditional manner. I woke up early and watched “Run Silent Run Deep.”

    A movie about the virtues of going bow on to the threat.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  21. Let’s hope the sequel does better than the first run.

    Whether one calls a timeout or a suspension or a vacay, martial law closes the book, IMO.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  22. We should all be on the border- arm in arm keeping theses diseased free loaders out of our country.
    What’s ole lackluster going to do? – shoot us.

    mg (31009b)

  23. The problem is not the “theses diseased free loaders.” The issue is our freely elected politicians presenting a new problem to the citizens of the United States. They, the Democrats, know what they are doing. Don’t blame the victims. Blame the criminals.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  24. Because the white honks are no longer the voting majority they are upset when no one listens to their honking except other honks. Its called dehonkafacation!

    vota (b510ac)

  25. you made that up

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  26. Exactly, vota. The honking honkers honk and then they just honk some more. How can we tell Hillary and Harry to shut up? The nation’s eyes are upon you. You did make that up, you adorable racist you. You are kind of like a horrible, hood-wearing racist panda. Who can’t just hug you?

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  27. ok fine, Ag8o- then lets go to d.c. and kick some fascist ass.

    mg (31009b)

  28. Remember: you owe your allegiance to American principles

    Those principles are only as good as the people in charge of them, the people who are the gatekeepers and overseers of such principles, referring to leading politicians and the electorate.

    The following is merely the tip of the iceberg related to the type of politician and the type of an electorate that will shred and pummel honorable, decent principles., July 31, 2013: Barack Obama served as the president of the Harvard Law Review while in law school there, and during his tenure in that position, he was allegedly accused of sexual harassment. Two editors at the law review filed complaints with the university administration alleging that Obama had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior. The university allegedly settled the cases and offered them agreements that allegedly included financial compensation and required them to remain silent about the nature of the settlements.

    The story, based on one reported in The Kansas Citian, is reported here. The claim is that Barack Obama, while president of the Harvard Law Review, engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with two male editors of the review.

    THE KANSAS CITIAN has confirmed the identities of the two male journal editors who complained about Obama but, for privacy concerns, is not publishing their names.

    Additionally, there is also a third accuser, from 1991 when Obama was an instructor at the University of Chicago. Sodahead quotes an AP story as reporting, “A third former editor says he considered filing a workplace complaint over what he considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by Barack Obama when he worked under the president in the 1991 at the University of Chicago. He says the behavior included a private invitation to his apartment.”, September 2011: “The danger to America is not Barack Obama but a citizenry capable of entrusting an inexperienced man like him with the Presidency. It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama Presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their President.

    The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

    The Republic can survive a Barack Obama. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their President.” [And not just once, but twice!]

    Mark (cb6333)

  29. When are you going to realize you and me don’t make we! The voting majority don’t like you or care what your complaints are about President Obama as he is better then you. He looks out for us as best he can we voted for him not you and we will vote for Mrs Clinton in 2016 and then our first latina president and by then we will have cleared the fascist scum off of the supreme court. 61% of white voters is not enough any more as it is less the 45% of all voters and the other 39% of white voters hate you as much as the minorities do!

    vota (b510ac)

  30. 29. The Day of the Voting Majority is done. You ‘effed up, so sad.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

  31. Behold the mind of the leftist ideologue: #28 & 29.

    Serious allegations against Barack Obama (in law school and while teaching) charging overly aggressive homosexual predation have been reported in the legitimate press and the identities of Obama’s accusers have been confirmed. yet, rather than remove or prosecute the abuser to protect the innocent against reoccurrence, Harvard paid-off the victims to silence them and allowed Obama to remain in-place and to conceal his perverted obsessions behind a happy talking friendly grin, all the while fully expecting his black skin, minority privilege, and his wealthy Islamic patrons all combined to entitle him to be shielded from the bright light of exposure.

    Confronted with the evidence, the self-identified racist, vota, ignores the facts to angrily claim Obama is better than you, celebrates his vision of a future where tyrants like him can continue to deny non-idolators a voice in government, and then ends by spewing a little hatred around. It’s clear from vota’s tantrum that leftists really don’t care about the rights of political minorities, but they care a great deal about keeping Obama’s crimes under wraps so they can continue manipulating racial minorities and thus maintain a stranglehold on the institutions of government so they can sic the IRS on citizens who won’t knuckle under to their mindless lemming-like pursuit of a soviet style totalitarian regime.

    Seems like Mark’s comment landed a direct hit on one of vota’s sore spots.

    ropelight (a3361c)

  32. vota keeps honking about race. And dependency.

    He looks out for us as best he can we voted for him not you

    Aww! Isn’t that special. Every four years vota votes for a newest, bestest daddy or mommy. And you meanies just leave daddy or mommy alone! He or she is doing he best he or she can.

    As a wise man observed:

    The honking honkers honk and then they just honk some more.

    Don’t cry, vota. Daddy Pro Queen will be along to dry your eyes. And take part of your disability check.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  33. dependent vota
    so global

    mg (31009b)

  34. I wonder if vota has noticed that other than Asians, minorities are getting economically worse off.

    If he/she hasn’t noticed, he/she is really really stupid. Or, if it’s okay with him/her as long as it happens under a Democrat, then he/she is really really stupid. vota is the kind of voter the Democrats crave. Things Obama, Pelosi, Clinton, Reid etc. say sound logical to them.

    Gerald A (9e3e6a)

  35. I’m going to check out that site, Patrick. I need help in slogging through Toqueville and the Federalist Papers. The language of the day is daunting.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  36. vota is Perry. In his seventies, if not eighties, and in Depends in Delaware. He’s been banned here, and he was banned from adjective Dana’s site for doing dirt to another commenter there.

    the capitalist revisionist nk (dbc370)

  37. And I’ve got to remember cookies.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. I think Vota is joking.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  39. Over his life, Obama has been opening about his dislike of the Constitution because it doesn’t mandate what the government is supposed to do, i.e. provide welfare.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  40. Nancy Pelosi’s “leadership” is a good example of what this country has become. Thanks for bringing her up. I remember she touted Obamacare by saying it eliminates job lock, which she described:

    “They are following their aspirations to be a writer; to be self-employed; to start a business. This is the entrepreneurial piece. So it’s not going to cost jobs. It’s going to shift how people make a living and reach their aspirations.”

    What it really means is that there is no stigma about not working. It is perfectly acceptable to sit on your ass and sponge off others. That is the big change is culture as I see it.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  41. USA is behind United Arab Emirates and CAMBODIA on the Freedom scale. Wrap your minds around that this July 4th weekend.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  42. Vota merely represents a large cross-section of people throughout this country, throughout the world, that are the reason that countries like a Venezuela are like a Venezuela, or a Mexico is like a Mexico, or a France (or Greece) is like a France (albeit a slight bobble to the right in its recent election). Or, for that matter, that a US city like Detroit is like, well, Detroit.

    When I see a society or community that is in very bad shape, socially and economically, I feel quite bad for them if they’re at least politically/ideologically as down-to-earth and sensible as possible. But if I observe such places being full of really foolish sentiments and voting trends, then I’m reminded of a person with lung cancer who happily smokes 5 packs of cigarettes a day, or a grotesquely obese person who happily spends and consumes $200 worth of food per day.

    BTW, I totally forgot about the sexual harassment complaints lodged against Obama at Harvard and the University of Chicago, which further backs up the heard-on-the-grapevine talk through the years about Obama’s lifestyle choices, in you will, including the blazing headline posted to the yesterday about a well-known comedienne stating (and in an apparently serious manner too) that Obama is “gay.”

    Mark (cb6333)

  43. Don’t forget Larry Sinclair’s first-hand accounts of hard drug fueled homosexual hijinks on the downlow with Barack Obama (which Hillary’s campaign surfaced during their primary campaign).

    ropelight (a3361c)

  44. 38. I think Vota is joking.
    AZ Bob (34bb80) — 7/5/2014 @ 8:23 am

    I think Vota is joking.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  45. off.

    Steve57 (c4c6a6)

  46. I maybe should say that I hope Vota isn’t serious.

    AZ Bob (34bb80)

  47. Don’t forget Larry Sinclair’s first-hand accounts

    I was even willing to give Obama some benefit of the doubt in regards to Sinclair’s claims since I understand he failed a lie detector test. But I’ve read other accounts about Obama’s behavior in private that appear to back up situations similar to what Sinclair was describing, even if he, at worse, was merely pretending to have done what he did with Obama. Nonetheless, if a million-dollar bet were on the line, and I had to choose between Sinclair telling the truth or not, I’d bet that he was.

    BTW, what I meant about forgetting the claims of sexual harassment, since I did post the snippets above, was that I had totally put them out of my mind until last night. Perhaps that’s because as much as I dislike Obama, I still can’t imagine that he, as US president, is truly as disreputable as he apparently is. And so I found myself wondering yesterday whether comedienne Joan Rivers was being serious or not.

    Mark (cb6333)

  48. once was a vota
    then guy from Minnesota
    made him eat chota

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  49. There’s a big difference between 1776 and 2014.

    The Americans of 1776 had no legal choice about being governed by King George and Britain. They had to declare revolution.

    The Americans of 2014 have such choice. Twice Americans have chosed to be governed by Obama. The election process has been corrupted by media crypto-partisanship, IRS intimidation, and other malpractice, but it exists.

    Until it is clear that the election process is irreparably corrupt, there is no justification for revolution.

    The effects of media distortion are particularly awkward. Can A and B justify a revolution against a government supported by C, D, and E, on the grounds that they (A and B) think C was fooled?

    That is the “false consciousness” doctrine beloved of Marxists: we know what the people should want and will force it on them.

    Rich Rostrom (b5a64e)

  50. 49. The Marxists are banking on their client classes being a big help against the middle class when the Bolsheviks no longer care to fund the masses, which eventuality obtains presently.

    A big reason for the Ministry of Truth’s recent admission that Q1 sucked hind teat was their ‘discovery’ that Obamaneycare, rather than goosing GDP $40 Billion cost the bottom line $7 Billion.

    The DHS processing of 250,000 undocumented citizens can’t be cheap. What a great time to lose our reserve currency.

    gary gulrud (46ca75)

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