Just done this podcast. I don’t feel that I gave my best, but it does cover a lot of ground.
©2018 By ILANA MERCER
Not a day goes by when the liberal media don’t telegraph to the world that a “Trumpocracy” is destroying American democracy. Conspicuous by its absence is a pesky fact: Ours was never a country conceived as a democracy.
To arrive at a democracy, we Americans destroyed a republic.
One of the ways in which the republic was destroyed was through the slow sundering of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. The 10th was meant to guarantee constitutional devolution of power.
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The de facto demise of the 10th has resulted in “constitutional” consolidation.
Fair enough, but is that enough? A perceptive Townhall.com reader was having none of it.
In response to “Whodunit? Who ‘Meddled’ With Our American Democracy” (Part 1), the reader upbraided this writer:
“Anyone who quotes the 10th Amendment, but not the 14th Amendment that supplanted it cannot be taken seriously.”
In other words, to advance the erosion of the 10th in explaining who did our republic in, without mentioning the 14th: this was an omission on the writer’s part.
The reader is admirably correct about Incorporation-Doctrine centralization.
Not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to concede that the 14th Amendment and the attendant Incorporation Doctrine have obliterated the Constitution’s federal scheme, as expressed in the once-impregnable 10th Amendment.
What does this mean?
You know the drill but are always surprised anew by it. Voters pass a law under which a plurality wishes to live in a locality. Along comes a U.S. district judge and voids the law, citing a violation of the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.
For example: Voters elect to prohibit local government from sanctioning gay marriage. A U.S. district judge voids voter-approved law for violating the 14th’s Equal Protection Clause.
These periodical contretemps around gay marriage, or the legal duty of private property owners to cater these events, are perfectly proper judicial activism. It flows from the 14th Amendment.
If the Bill of Rights was intended to place strict limits on federal power and protect individual and locality from the national government—the 14th Amendment effectively defeated that purpose by placing the power to enforce the Bill of Rights in federal hands, where it was never intended to be.
Put differently, matters previously subject to state jurisdiction have been pulled into the orbit of a judiciary. Yet not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to cop to this constitutional fait accompli.
The gist of it: Jeffersonian constitutional thought is no longer in the Constitution; its revival unlikely.
A Court System Centralized
For another example of the endemic usurpation of The People, rendering the original Constitutional scheme obsolete, take the work of the generic jury. With his description of the relationship between jury and people, American scholar of liberty Lysander Spooner conjures evocative imagery.
A jury is akin to the “body of the people.” Trial by jury is the closest thing to a trial by the whole country. Yet courts in the nation’s centralized court system, the Supreme Court included, are in the business of harmonizing law across the nation, rather than allowing communities to live under laws they author, as guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.
States’ Rights All But Obliterated
Like juries, states had been entrusted with the power to beat back the federal government and void unconstitutional federal laws.
States’ rights are “an essential Americanism,” wrote Old Rightist Frank Chodorov. The Founding Fathers as well as the opponents of the Constitution, the Anti-Federalists, agreed on the principle of divided authority as a safeguard to the rights of the individual.
Duly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison perfected a certain doctrine in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. “The Virginia Resolutions,” explains historian Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “spoke of the states’ rights to ‘interpose’ between the federal government and the people of the states; the Kentucky Resolutions used the term nullification—the states, they said, could nullify federal laws that they believed to be unconstitutional.”
“Jefferson,” emphasized Woods, “considered states’ rights a much more important and effective safeguard of people’s liberties than the ‘checks and balances’ among the three branches of the federal government.”
And for good reason. While judicial review was intended to curb Congress and restrain the Executive, in reality, the judicial, legislative and executive unholy federal trinity has simply colluded, over time, in an alliance that has helped abolish the 10th Amendment.
Founding Faith Expunged
And how well has First Amendment jurisprudence served constitutionalists?
Establishment-clause cases are a confusing and capricious legal penumbra. Sometimes displays of the Hebraic Decalogue or manger scene are taken to constitute the establishment of a state religion. Other times not.
This body of law forever teeters on conflating the injunction against the establishment of a state religion with an injunction against the expression of faith—especially discriminating against the founding faith in taxpayer-supported spaces.
The end result has been the expulsion of religion from the public square and the suppression therein of freedom of religion.
On the topic of religious freedom, Jefferson was prolific, too. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was a crowning achievement for which he wished to be remembered, along with the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the University of Virginia.
Jefferson interpreted “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof”—as confirms by David N. Meyer, author of Jefferson’s Constitutional Thought—to guarantee both “an absolute free exercise of religion and an absolute prohibition of an establishment of religion.”
Yet somehow, the kind of constitutional thought that carries legal sway today prohibits expressions of faith or displays of a civilizing moral code in government-controlled spheres. Given my libertarian view of government’s immoral modus operandi, I find this amusingly apropos. Still, this is not what Jefferson had in mind for early Americans.
Indeed, why would anyone, bar Nancy Pelosi and her party, object to “thou shall not kill” or “thou shall not commit adultery, steal or covet?” The Ten Commandments can hardly be perceived as an instrument for state proselytization.
Nevertheless, the law often takes displays of the Decalogue or the nativity scene on tax-payer funded property as an establishment of a state religion.
“I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercise,” Jefferson expatiated.
He then gets to the soul of the subject: “This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment, or free exercise of religion but also from the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states [or to the people] the powers not delegated to the U.S.”
So, dear reader, if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the Russians didn’t deep-six our republic of private property rights and radical decentralization; we did.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed“ (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube
By ilana mercer
“This is just a truly astonishing moment coming from the White House podium,” tweeted MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. Like the rest of the media pack-animals she hunts with, Ms. Hunt had been fuming over President Trump’s telephone call to Vladimir Putin, congratulating him on winning another term as president.
Reliably opposed to a truce were party heavies on both sides. Sen. John McCain joined the chorus: “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” he intoned.
Another Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley, told a reporter testily that he “wouldn’t have a conversation with a criminal. I think Putin’s a criminal. What he did in” Iraq, what he did in Libya … Wait a sec? Remind me; was it Putin or our guys who wrecked those countries? So many evil-doers on the world-stage, it’s hard for me to keep track.
“When I look at a Russian election, what I see is a lack of credibility in tallying the results,” sermonized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “I’m always reminded of the elections they have in almost every communist country.”
Actually, what the International Election Observation Mission found in Russia’s presidential election of March 18 was far more nuanced. Why, in some ways the Russian elections were very American: In the difficulty dissident candidates have in getting on the ballot, for example.
Ask Ron Paul or all those anonymous, aspiring, independent, third-party candidates about the US’s “restrictive ballot access laws and the other barriers erected” by the duopoly to protect their “de facto monopoly in America,” to paraphrase Forbes.com.
As for jailing journalists, frequently for life: Not Russia, but an American ally, Turkey, is the world’s biggest offender. But hold on. Isn’t Trump turning on the Kurds to pacify the Turks? Maybe it’s something the Saudi’s said. Go figure.
What doesn’t change is the interchangeability—with respect to any peaceful overtures made by President Trump toward Russia—of the Stupid Party (Republicans) and the Evil Party (Democrats). And yet, the same self-interested individuals protest, periodically, that Trump’s recklessness risks plunging the country into war.
The president wants to cooperate with the Russians. International confrontation being their stock-in-trade, the UniParty won’t countenance it. Politicians in both parties have not stopped egging Mr. Trump on, rejecting the détente he seeks with Russia, and urging American aggression against a potential partner. Yet, incongruously, in October of 2017, a Republican Senator, Bob Corker, saw fit to complain that the president was “reckless enough to stumble [sic] the country into a nuclear war.”
To please and curry favor with an establishment that detests him and is vested in the geopolitical status quo—POTUS even signed sanctions into law against Russia.
Cui bono, pray tell? Who benefits from this standoff?
General Barry R. McCaffrey has The Answer. The Trump congratulatory courtesy call to Mr. Putin shows the president’s refusal to protect US interests, tweeted the general.
“US interests” or your interests, sir? Who benefits here? Ordinary Americans, or the media-military-industrial-complex; the swamp organism Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address: “The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – … felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government … [of] an immense military establishment and a large arms industry.”
Not to mention the attendant barnacles who suction onto the ship of state: professional TV talkers, think tank sorts, self-anointed intellectuals (who’re not very intelligent). All are vested in an American-led order, so long as they get to dictate what that (martial) order looks like.
The same political flotsam “argues” against President Trump’s desired détente with Russia using the following logic: If the “master of the political insult,” Donald Trump, “declines to chide Putin,” to quote NBC and CNN standard issue “analysts”—something is off. Ergo, Trump is beholden to Putin and to Russia. The Russians have something on him.
Such a line of “reasoning” fails basic logic, simply because it’s inexhaustive. In other words, there are other, highly plausible explanations as to why the president is not warring with Russia, not least that diplomacy is a good thing; that POTUS ran on a promise of peace with Putin; that he had articulated, as a campaigner, an idea entertained by most Deplorables. Namely that Russians are at odds with Islam and ISIS; that Putin is a Russia First, nationalist, whereas our Anglo-Europeans “allies” are Islam-friendly globalists.
Had POTUS kept pressing the perfectly proper positions he ran on, he might have retarded the Russia political wildfire, now raging out of control. Philosophical consistency would’ve served him well as an antidote to the political opportunism around him.
Instead, President Trump has surrounded himself with appointees who deliver a message discordant to his. What comes out of the White House is an ideological cacophony.
Hiring different perspectives in business could well be a strength. But it’s a weakness when politics and policy are in play. Needed to advance a political agenda is a team that shares the political philosophy underlying the agenda.
MSNBC’s Miss Hunt and her political clones were particularly galled by Sarah Sanders. The White House press secretary was asked whether the Russian election was free and fair. She replied: “We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate.”
What’s outraging our neoconservative-Jacobin establishment is that the White House is practicing, if only fleetingly, what another American president counseled in a bygone Independence-Day speech: detachment and diplomacy in foreign policy.
[America] goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
The man who’d be casting pearls before swine today was John Quincy Adams. The sixth president of the United States (1825-1829), son of John Adams, spoke truths eternal on that July 4, 1821.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube
By ilana mercer
Republicans have revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) treats Americans not as citizens, but as subjects to spy on. I’d expect nothing less from a Court created and perpetuated by George W. Bush and his Republicans.
But, what do you know? Following Barack Obama’s lead, President Donald Trump and his Republicans have renewed FISA Section 702, which, in fact, has facilitated the usurpations the same representatives are currently denouncing.
Also in contravention of a quaint constitutional relic called the Fourth Amendment is Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller has taken possession of “many tens of thousands of emails from President Donald Trump’s transition team.” There is no limit, seemingly, to the power of the special counsel.
Look, we’re living in a post-Constitutional America. Complaints about the damage done to our “democracy” by outsiders are worse than silly. Such damage pales compared to what we Americans have done to a compact rooted in the consent of the governed and the drastically limited and delimited powers of those who govern.
In other words, a republic. Ours was never a country conceived as a democracy.
To arrive at a democracy, we Americans destroyed a republic.
The destruction is on display daily.
Pray tell where-oh-where in the US Constitution does it say that anyone crossing over into the US may demand and get an abortion? But apparently, this is settled law—a universally upheld right, irrespective of whose property and territory it impinges.
The only aspect our clodhopper media—left and right—deign to debate in such abortion-tourism cases is the interloper’s global reproductive rights. So, if abortion is a service Americans must render to the world, why not the right to a colonoscopy or a facelift?
Cannabis: The reason it’s not in the Constitution is because letting states and individuals decide is in the Constitution. That thing of beauty is called the Tenth Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
That’s right. In American federalism, the rights of the individual were meant to be secured through strict limits imposed on the power of the central government by a Bill of Rights and the division of authority between autonomous states and a federal government. Yet on cannabis, the meager constitutional devolution of power away from the Federales and to states and individuals Republicans have reversed. Some are even prattling about a constitutional cannabis amendment, as if there’s a need for further “constitutional” centralization of authority.
After 230 years of just such “constitutional” consolidation, it’s safe to say that the original Constitution is a dead letter; that the natural- and common law traditions, once lodestars for lawmakers, have been buried under the rubble of legislation and statute that would fill an entire building floor. However much one shovels the muck of lawmaking aside, natural justice and the Founders’ original intent remain buried too deep to exhume.
Consider: America’s Constitution makers bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. The Constitution gives Congress only some eighteen specific legislative powers. Nowhere among these powers is Social Security, civil rights (predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights), Medicare, Medicaid, and the elaborate public works sprung from the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses.
The welfare clause stipulates that “Congress will have the power … to provide for the general welfare.” And even though the general clause is followed by a detailed enumeration of the limited powers so delegated; our overlords, over decades of dirigisme, have taken Article I, Section 8 to mean that government can pick The People’s pockets for any perceivable purpose and project. Witness a judiciary of scurrilous statists that had even found in the Constitution a mandate to compel commerce by forcing individual Americans to purchase health insurance on pains of a fine, an act of force President Trump has mercifully repealed.
So you see, Rachel Maddow, it’s not the Republicans who’ve ruined our system. Sean Hannity, it’s not the Democrats. It’s not even “the Russians.”
At root, they all did. It happened over time and is a fait accompli. The reality today is that there’s simply no warrant in the Constitution for most of what the Federal Frankenstein does.
Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed” (June, 2016) & “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa” (2011). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.
Speech to the Mises UK Conference
at the Charing Cross Hotel in London
27th January 2018
Though ultimately about the future, this will also be a speech that dwells on the past. The first past event that I wish to discuss is what happened in June 2017. When I stood down as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, I was asked if I had taken leave of my senses. I was not visibly broken down by age and ill health. I had evidently not run out of things to say. Why, then, was I steeping aside in favour of a young man who was nearly forty years my junior?
The answer to this question it to look about you. I ran the Libertarian Alliance for several years on life support. I did so with considerable success. One thing I could never do, however, was to arrange a conference – certainly not of this quality nor on this scale. As I stand here, I am more convinced than ever that Keir Martland is the right person to give the British libertarian movement a new start. Continue reading
Reflections on the importance of the medieval English parliament
(Feast of Michael and All Angels, 2017)
What was the importance or significance of the mediaeval English parliament? This is a vast question and my thoughts on it are particularly difficult to articulate, but I think it requires a lengthy process of ‘setting the scene’ to begin with. To put the disputes between kings and representative institutions in their proper context, it is important to consider earlier mediaeval notions of law and kingship. The early mediaeval ‘customary law’ was not one of sovereignty, like the Roman law – whose famous maxim put it ‘whatever has pleased the ruler has the force of law’ – but one of compromises worked out according to a few immutable principles. In such an understanding, law – being the law of one’s fathers – was good because it was old, and old because it was good, and law was sovereign. The king was under the law, bound by it, and his very existence was predicated upon it. Indeed, the mediaeval Icelandic constitution functioned well without a king for centuries, with only one part-time ‘government employee’, a single lawspeaker. Furthermore, since ‘feudal’ relations were essentially personal ones of reciprocal rights and duties, territoriality, like sovereignty was alien to the mediaeval social and political order. As Frank van Dun has it in his essay Uprooted Liberalism and its Discontents, “…power rested on personal allegiances between freemen. Thus, the feudal lord-vassal relationship was not a transitive relation…” Tacitus’ words might well be applied to the early Germanic or barbarian societies, ‘Nec regibus infinita aut libera potestas’ (Their kings are not unlimited or free). Continue reading
By ilana mercer
No sooner do terrorists attack, than those who monopolize the conversation revert to abstractions: “terrorism returned,” “terror struck,” when, of course, not terrorism, but terrorists struck Barcelona, Spain, on August 17. Terrorists did the same days later, in Newcastle, England and in Turku, Finland.
The men who murdered 14 in Spain, maiming and injuring over 100, 15 of them critically, are flesh-and-blood. Young, Muslim, Moroccan men with murder on their minds. It is the duty of governments to bar such men from civilized society, or keep such barbarians at bay.
So, drop the Orwellian bafflegab when describing what elites have wrought through their policies. The Maghrebi Muhammadans—aged, 17, 18, 22 and 24—had been given free range and limitless access to their victims, in the name of those victims’ freedoms. The only lucky sorts living safely are the elites who grant the barbarians license to kill.
Thus were Theresa May, the Spanish royals and other leaders—well-protected courtesy of their taxpayers—able to flout the reality faced by the ordinary fellow and utter fatuities like, “These assassins, these criminals won’t terrorize us.” The truth is that these darling buds of May and Merkel do and will continue to terrorize ordinary men and women, but will spare invulnerable elites for reasons obvious.
Of Spain’s many millions, “only” 14 lives were lost in one day, in Barcelona. Similar numbers obtain in London, Manchester, Melbourne, Paris, Nice, Normandy, Stockholm, Saint Petersburg, Berlin, Hamburg, Columbus (Ohio): Only a few people were picked off in each attack, this year. In the grand scheme of things, the numbers are relatively small. Or, so we’re lectured by the contemptible aggregators who decide who will reside among us.
On TV, June 1, 2017, Alex Nowrasteh, immigration expert at the libertarian Cato Institute, argued that “foreign-born terrorism is a hazard,” but a “manageable” one, “given the huge economic benefits of immigration and the small costs of terrorism.”
Spoken like a collectivist, central planner and utilitarian rolled into one.
This is the Benthamite “utilitarian calculus” at its cruelest. It requires, first, for someone to play God. Whether she sits in Downing Street, D.C., Brussels, or Barcelona; the Godhead has determined that Muslims in our midst are a must in bringing “the greatest good to the greatest number of citizens.” Along the way, a few people will die. For the greater good.
In the words of “Stalin’s apologist” Walter Duranty, ”You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.”
However, a natural-rights libertarian values the life of the innocent individual. Only by protecting each individual’s rights—life, liberty and property—can the government legitimately enhance the wealth of the collective. Only through fulfilling its night watchman role can government legitimately safeguard the wealth of the nation. For each individual, secure in his person and property, is then free to pursue economic prosperity, which redounds to the rest.
See, statistics are silly unless given context. If you have one foot in fire, the other in ice, can we legitimately say that, on average, you’re warm? Hardly.
Probabilities, in this case the chance that any one of us will die-by-Muslim, are statistically insignificant—unless this happens to you or to yours, to me or mine.
It is this crude calculus that politicians and policy wonks like the Catoite mentioned peddle.
Were it possible to arrange for wonks, pols and their beloved to pay for the policies they promulgate—were these ugly aggregators told, “Yes, we like your idea of flooding western societies with Muslims at the price of a few lives—provided that those lives lost belong to you and yours. The John McCains and Jeff Flakes of the world would quickly retract their policy follies.
Ilana Mercer is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube channel.