Ron Paul’s False Founding Narrative

Exclusive: Rep. Ron Paul and other right-wingers have lured many average Americans into their camp by creating a false narrative about America’s Founding, claiming that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a weak central government. But that’s not the real history, Robert Parry writes.

By Robert Parry

Ron Paul, the libertarian congressman from Texas who has topped 20 percent in the first two Republican contests, is fond of claiming that the U.S. Constitution was written “to protect your liberty and to restrain the federal government,” thus making modern laws — from Social Security, to civil rights statutes, to health-care reform – unconstitutional. But that isn’t really true.

While the framers of the Constitution in 1787 undeniably cared about liberty – at least for white men – they were also practical individuals who wanted a vibrant central government that would enable the new nation to protect itself both militarily and economically, especially against European rivals.

Rep. Ron Paul speaking to a crowd of supporters

The broad powers that the Constitution granted Congress were designed to let this central government address national problems that existed then as well as others that would arise in the future. For instance, the Constitution gave control over interstate commerce to Congress in order to counter economic advantages enjoyed by foreign competitors.

Far from Paul’s assertions that the Founders wanted a weak central government, the Founders – at least those at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia – understood that a great danger came from having a national authority that was too weak, what they had experienced under the Articles of Confederation, which governed the nation from 1777 to 1787.

The Articles of Confederation embraced the concept of state “sovereignty” and called the United States not a government or even a nation, but “a firm league of friendship” among the states. The Confederation’s Article II declared: “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated.” And very few powers were delegated to the federal government.

The result had been severe problems for the young country, ranging from the failure of states to make voluntary contributions in support of the Continental Army to opening regional divisions that foreign rivals could exploit.

So, in 1787, the framers of the Constitution – led by Gen. George Washington, James Madison and others in the Virginia delegation – scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

The Commerce Clause wasn’t some afterthought, either. It was part of the original proposal outlined on the Constitutional Convention’s first day of substantive business on May 29, 1787. The Virginia delegation had one of its members, Edmund Randolph, include it in his opening presentation.

Virginia’s plan laid out the framework that would later become the U.S. Constitution, transferring sovereignty from the 13 original states to “we the people of the United States” as represented by a new national Republic.

Economic Strategies

Beyond giving the central government authority over the common defense, foreign policy and currency — as well as its own taxing power – the Founders also recognized the need to coordinate American commerce so it could compete effectively with Europe and other nations around the world.

James Madison’s convention notes on Randolph’s presentation recount him saying that “there were many advantages, which the U. S. might acquire, which were not attainable under the confederation – such as a productive impost [or tax] – counteraction of the commercial regulations of other nations – pushing of commerce ad libitum – &c &c.”

In other words, the Founders – at their most “originalist” moment – understood the value of the federal government taking action to negate the commercial advantages of other countries and taking steps for “pushing of [American] commerce.” The “ad libitum – &c &c” notation suggests that Randolph provided other examples off the top of his head.

Historian Bill Chapman summarized Randolph’s point in his teaching materials as saying “we needed a government that could co-ordinate commerce in order to compete effectively with other nations.” So, from that first day of substantive debate at the Constitutional Convention, the Founders recognized that a legitimate role of Congress was to ensure that the nation could match up against other countries economically.

Though the likes of Ron Paul have worked hard in recent decades at constructing an alternative narrative – claiming that the Founders envisioned a weak national government and were big supporters of states’ rights – that storyline is simply not supported by the history. Key framers of the Constitution even objected to adding a Bill of Rights to the original document, accepting the first 10 amendments only later as part of negotiations over ratification.

Yet, on Tuesday, celebrating his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary, Paul told his cheering supporters that “the Constitution was written for a very precise manner. It was not designed to restrain the individual — not to restrain you — it was to protect your liberties and to restrain the federal government.”

But that simply is a distortion of what the framers were up to. And for right-wingers who cite the Tenth Amendment as supposed support for their position, they should read the amendment’s weak language on states’ rights compared to what it replaced, Article II of the Articles of Confederation, which established the supremacy of the states.

After the Constitution wiped away the sovereignty of the states and established the supremacy of the federal government, the Tenth Amendment amounted to a minor concession to the anti-federalists, giving the states only ill-defined leftover powers.

Endorsing Obamacare

The Right’s revisionist version of the nation’s Founding isn’t even accepted by serious conservative legal scholars, including one of the most right-wing members of the U.S. judiciary, senior Judge Laurence Silberman who was appointed to the influential U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington by President Ronald Reagan.

On Nov. 8, 2011, Silberman issued a ruling supporting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” In it, Silberman explained how the law – and even its most controversial feature, the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance coverage – fit within the language of the Commerce Clause and within prior legal precedents.

“We look first to the text of the Constitution,” Silberman wrote in his opinion. “Article I, § 8, cl. 3, states: ‘The Congress shall have Power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.’ (Emphasis added by Silberman).

“At the time the Constitution was fashioned, to ‘regulate’ meant, as it does now, ‘[t]o adjust by rule or method,’ as well as ‘[t]o direct.’ To ‘direct,’ in turn, included ‘[t]o prescribe certain measure[s]; to mark out a certain course,’ and ‘[t]o order; to command.’

“In other words, to ‘regulate’ can mean to require action, and nothing in the definition appears to limit that power only to those already active in relation to an interstate market. Nor was the term ‘commerce’ limited to only existing commerce. There is therefore no textual support for appellants’ argument” that mandating the purchase of health insurance is unconstitutional.

Silberman’s opinion also examined decades of Supreme Court precedents that affirmed the power of Congress to establish regulations over various national markets.

“Today, the only recognized limitations are that (1) Congress may not regulate non-economic behavior based solely on an attenuated link to interstate commerce, and (2) Congress may not regulate intrastate economic behavior if its aggregate impact on interstate commerce is negligible,” Silberman wrote.

Neither limitation applied to the health-care law, Silberman noted, because medical insurance was clearly an economic activity and surely had sizable interstate implications.

As for the claim that people had a constitutional right not to participate in the purchase of health insurance, Silberman was not persuaded. For instance, he cited a Supreme Court precedent that a farmer who wished to raise wheat for his own consumption could still face federal restrictions because his production (and that of other likeminded farmers) could affect the overall supply of wheat and thus undermine federal policy regarding the wheat market.

Addressing National Problems

Silberman also recognized Congress’s power to address difficult national problems, like the tens of millions of Americans who lack health insurance but whose eventual use of medical services would inevitably shift billions of dollars in costs onto Americans who must pay higher insurance rates as a result, what courts have described as “substantial effects.”

“The shift to the ‘substantial effects’ doctrine in the early twentieth century recognized the reality that national economic problems are often the result of millions of individuals engaging in behavior that, in isolation, is seemingly unrelated to interstate commerce,” Silberman wrote.

“Its very premise is that the magnitude of any one individual’s actions is irrelevant; the only thing that matters is whether the national problem Congress has identified is one that substantially affects interstate commerce. …

“It is irrelevant that an indeterminate number of healthy, uninsured persons will never consume health care, and will therefore never affect the interstate market. Broad regulation is an inherent feature of Congress’s constitutional authority in this area; to regulate complex, nationwide economic problems is to necessarily deal in generalities.

“Congress reasonably determined that as a class, the uninsured create market failures; thus, the lack of harm attributable to any particular uninsured individual, like their lack of overt participation in a market, is of no consequence.”

Silberman wrote that “Congress, which would, in our minds, clearly have the power to impose insurance purchase conditions on persons who appeared at a hospital for medical services – as rather useless as that would be – is merely imposing the mandate in reasonable anticipation of virtually inevitable future transactions in interstate commerce.”

He noted that since those challenging the health-care law “cannot find real support for their proposed rule in either the text of the Constitution or Supreme Court precedent, they emphasize both the novelty of the [individual] mandate and the lack of a limiting principle,” i.e. some example of when the government could not require citizens to purchase a specific product.

Silberman acknowledged that “the Supreme Court occasionally has treated a particular legislative device’s lack of historical pedigree as evidence that the device may exceed Congress’s constitutional bounds,” but added that “we are obliged – and this might well be our most important consideration – to presume that acts of Congress are constitutional” absent “a clear showing to the contrary.”

Silberman also addressed the core political objection to the health-reform law, its supposed intrusion on individual liberty. He wrote: “That a direct requirement for most Americans to purchase any product or service seems an intrusive exercise of legislative power surely explains why Congress has not used this authority before – but that seems to us a political judgment rather than a recognition of constitutional limitations.”

He added: “It certainly is an encroachment on individual liberty, but it is no more so than a command that restaurants or hotels are obliged to serve all customers regardless of race, that gravely ill individuals cannot use a substance their doctors described as the only effective palliative for excruciating pain, or that a farmer cannot grow enough wheat to support his own family.

“The right to be free from federal regulation is not absolute, and yields to the imperative that Congress be free to forge national solutions to national problems, no matter how local – or seemingly passive – their individual origins.”

Politicized Rulings

So, even a very conservative legal scholar examining the Constitution and precedents could not find a convincing argument to overturn “Obamacare” – and that is because the Founders intentionally empowered Congress to address national economic problems. It was, as the Virginian delegation understood, one of the key reasons for the Constitutional Convention.

That does not mean, of course, that the partisan Republicans who currently control the U.S. Supreme Court might not overturn health-care reform anyway, to deal a blow to Obama right before Election 2012.

Some of the Republican justices have shown before that they would twist the law for partisan ends, such as in December 2000 when they invoked the 14th Amendment to stop the counting of votes in Florida and thus hand the White House to their political favorite, George W. Bush.

It didn’t matter that these Republican justices were turning their backs on their prior support for states’ rights and their insistence on only following the “originalist” intent of those who wrote the Constitution and the amendments. What was at stake in Election 2000 was more important to them – who would get to fill vacancies on the federal courts.

Thus, Republican justices William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor suddenly saw in the “equal protection clause” of the 14th Amendment an “originalist” intent by its post-Civil War authors to shield a white plutocrat like George W. Bush from variations in ballot standards in Florida.

That was especially odd for Scalia, who has argued forcefully that the 14th Amendment – despite its language that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” – does not protect the rights of women or gays because it was originally written to guarantee only the rights of black males.

However, when the power of the presidency was at stake – and the possibility loomed that a Democratic president might make appointments that would leave the court’s right-wing faction in the minority – Scalia had a remarkable change of heart. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Justice Scalia’s ‘Originalist’ Hypocrisy.”]

It is one of the dirty secrets of the U.S. system that ultimately the Constitution means whatever a majority of the current justices on the Supreme Court says it means. Ideally, the court would be filled with honorable people who would put the law ahead of partisan interests, but that does not appear to be the current makeup of the court’s majority.

So, it would not be surprising if the court’s right-wing majority would overturn Judge Silberman’s opinion even though it is based on a fair reading of the Constitution and the powers that the Founders granted to Congress. A chance to damage Obama’s reelection hopes might prove too tempting.

After all, the larger goal of the American Right is not to uphold the ideals of the Founders, who wanted a vibrant central government, but to reverse government policies dating back to President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The plan is to return the United States to a pre-Depression “gilded age” of a society divided into a few haves and many have-nots.

The Right is engaged in an ideological war with the intent of making the rich richer and marginalizing the rest of us. Creating a false narrative about the American Founding is just a convenient way to get some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.

[For more on related topics, see Robert Parry’s Lost History, Secrecy & Privilege and Neck Deep, now available in a three-book set for the discount price of only $29. For details, click here.]

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’ are also available there.

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67 comments on “Ron Paul’s False Founding Narrative

  1. sovereign on said:

    The founders wanted a federal government limited by the constitution. Spinning it to an interpretation that the federal government can do anything claiming it is for the greater good turns the reason for the constitution on it’s head.

    • I’m calculating that I will NEVER need police or fire rescue, so I don’t want to pay to support those institutions!

      Police, fire, military AND medical rescue and defense are vital to keeping our state and national economies running. (For obvious example, fail to intervene in one deadly epidemic; fail to treat insured or uninsured; and see how your economy fares. And for another example, even if the medical system never treats YOU, it does treat other people upon whom you depend for your sustenance.)

      So, if you don’t want to pay for police, fire, military or medical defense and rescue, then please think again, or please leave.

      Commerce Clause to the rescue.

      • National defense plus Commerce Clause, that is.

        • That is, medical rescue and defense is a huge component of national defense, and a huge component of interstate commerce.

      • mona arizona on said:

        The Constitution protects everyone – even Robert Parry.

        An “article” (is that what we call this?) beginning with “Rep. Ron Paul and other right-wingers….” – I was bored with his opinion in the first 7 words. Ending his nonsense with, “The Right is engaged in an ideological war with the intent of making the rich richer and marginalizing the rest of us. Creating a false narrative about the American Founding is just a convenient way to get some ill-informed Tea Party types to vote against their own interests.”

        Unfortunately for Mr. Parry, Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, and one of my favorites, John Taylor of Caroline, left us VOLUMES of their writings, proving Mr. Parry to be nothing more than his WIKIPEDIA description (didn’t his mom write this?)- really??? an “investigative journalist”??????

        In fact, Mr. Parry is just another “investigative journalist” who hasn’t “investigated” anything; instead, he’s fed us his opinion to capitalize on capitalisim with a silly article trashing the very thing he is capitalizing on. This is just another silly “article”. I believe Mr. Eastman is giving Parry WAY more credit than he is due; “Robert Parry’s narrative is from the perspective of the Adams-Hamilton coalition, not the Founders as a group.” Mr. Parry has no idea what the Adams-Hamilton coalition represents – this type of research can only be found when you Google “stuff” to support your opinion.

  2. Bob Taft on said:

    Don’t be envious that readers prefer Ron Paul books to …..Robert Parry? Ron Paul 2012!

    • Larry Downing on said:

      Bob, didn’t you read the article? And, there is that word “envious” again. Seems like Romney used something like that to describe 70+% of the american people who question economic facts.

    • Who said anything about envy? I think you’re projecting your own insecurities about the brittleness of Mr. Paul’s arguments rather than making a rational argument about any feelings Mr. Parry might have.

  3. Nbobby on said:

    Paul describes cutting our military’s budget to only 2005 levels where we will still be spending 4 times that of China…Weak Government? Not at all just no longer excessive.

  4. As a sometimes-Paul believer, I don’t think the L’s will ever accept that the constitution was written in the 1700′s and a lot has changed since then. Our founders were not expert predictors and never would have imagined how corporate greed would attempt to supplant, as just one example, health care. We’ve had 20-some amendments because these guys — good as they were — couldn’t predict things like Citizens United.

    • William Eastman on said:

      Mr. Lohman, I understand your dissatisfaction with the current healthcare system. It is a by-product of government intervention in the market and a consequence of Johnson’s Great Society. Medicare was intended to provide healthcare to the old and poor, not a healthcare system for everyone over 65. Starting with a clean sheet of paper, who would create this system? Answer – government and corporations engaged in rent seeking – using crony capitalism to gain unfair advantage.

      • If we were smart (note that I said IF) we’d expand Medicare to 100% of the American people and SAVE the taxpayers and workers of the US $400 billion in the process. It’s called “universal” healthcare and would be the best “jobs creator” ever. And whether we pay in terms of Medicare or welfare, we ALL pay nonetheless. Even if only in the product prices at the cash register. So because we have politicians taking campaign bribes, our country must withhold this common good and the jobs it would create???

      • Frances in California on said:

        No, Mr. Eastman, you have it exactly backwards.

        • Medicare was originally started for disabled persons under age 65 and those with end-stage renal disease, then expanded later to include old and poor. Ex-president Truman was the first to enroll in Medicare, for those over 65. Look it up. Jack Lohman is right, you’re wrong, and you got it backwards. If Harry Truman had had his way America would have had a national insurance plan – as it stands now only the politicians, government workers, and the military have socialized medicine.

    • The gravity part of the constitution still applies. As soon as we put forth a constitution the people in government spent their lives trying to get around it, over it, under it, etc. The original concepts were right.

  5. The 10th amendment seems to establish the limits of the Federal government quite clearly. The interstate commerce clause and the general welfare clause have been used to usurp the People and the States in amending the Constitution in a method set forth by the Founding Fathers.

  6. Anonymous on said:

    The Founders made their intentions clear on the matter. Limiting federal government appears twice in the U.S. Constitution: the 9th AND 10th amendments. Please do some research and critical thinking before you post conjectured opinions.

  7. William Eastman on said:

    Robert Parry’s narrative is from the perspective of the Adams-Hamilton coalition, not the Founders as a group. His selectivity is pervasive throughout the document. An example is the Articles of Confederation. It was the wrong form of government when centralization was required to win the war. Something that Founders like Patrick Henry and John Randolf understood and the source of their opposition to the new constitution. Another example is the Commerce Cause. They knew the constitution couldn’t cover every contingency so it gave Congress some latitude interpreting its reach. However, if Mr. Parry’s premise is correct, why was the 10th Amendment necessary? Any impartial reading of the Federal Papers destroys items offered as facts sophistry.

  8. George H on said:

    Of course the commerce clause has been grossly misinterpreted over the years. That is the point, we got away from the intentions of our founders.

  9. Servant on said:

    The Federalist papers warn as well as the very founders of our country warn us over and over again about our government getting to big and to powerful… gee not to mention to NEVER allowing a central bank to have power over the country’s monies.

    I believe Mr. Parry needs to read the COMPLETE history of our nation and not just tweak it to his liking.

  10. Former Consortium News Supporter on said:

    I’m very disappointed in Robert Parry, especially having just donated to his publication, something I will reconsider in future!

    Robert: What’s wrong with your brain?
    did you somehow miss that President Obama signed the NDAA law,
    permitting indefinite detention of American citizens? Did you miss the
    part where President Obama had an American citizen assassinated abroad
    without judge/jury/trial ? Did you miss the part that ONLY RON PAUL has
    gone public (in a big way!) to attack the NDAA as a complete dismantling
    of the rights of US citizens…. the end of the Bill of Rights!?!

    Did you miss the part where President Obama swore to close down
    Guantanimo, Baghram and other hell holes of secret American torture
    but instead extended their existence indefinitely? Did you miss the fact
    that President Obama has extended the state secrecy laws far beyond anything
    George Bush Jr. ever did? Are you not paying attention to how the US is
    being manipulated into another war (Iran) which will kill millions of innocent
    people for the sake of the military industrial complex…. and how we are being
    manipulated into that war by a ‘democratic’ President (and likely some false
    flag event which will be manufactured to trigger it)?

    Robert, what don’t you get about all this?
    Ron Paul is the ONLY HONEST guy running for President
    and the ONLY candidate who rails against these attacks
    against our (former) liberties in the United States.
    I can’t believe you wasted so much energy attacking
    Ron Paul for being historically inaccurate in his
    promotional sound bite campaign statements that
    sometimes manage to make it through the electronic
    Berlin wall of the US media (many don’t mention his
    true standing in polls nor election results when he
    places in the top 3 !). Why don’t you rather attack
    the biased coverage of Ron Paul and how the debates
    have been timed and shown that Ron always gets
    short changed in speaking time, as compared to
    other ‘mainstream candidates’?

    I’m really shocked Robert by your stance here and deeply disappointed.
    You are missing the most important aspects of Ron Paul’s candidacy
    (NDAA etc.) and instead attack the historical accuracy of his campaign
    catch phrases. Such a waste of time and so badly misguided!
    Wake up before we all end up rendered to some foreign country
    by the NDAA !!!!!

    • Matthew on said:

      Very well said. The problem in this hopeless nation is that most talk about the way things ought to be, and few talk about the way things are.

      The fact of the matter is that, at the present time, we have an insane criminal contingent in government that is apparently intent on overturning our beloved constitutional republic and replacing it with a system in which elected officials no longer have to observe or obey the rule of law. This is a very, very grave situation; an encroachment on our sovereignty unprecedented in American history.

      Congressman Ron Paul, despite any flaws he may have or political viewpoints of his with which we might disagree, is the foremost political figure in the U.S. currently who represents the resistance to this monstrosity. His so-called opponents in the Republican party are all dedicated to continuing our decline, politically and economically, as we should be able to discern from their various public policy positions. On no substantive issues relating to constitutional government and the continuation of freedom is there any difference between any of the corporate-communist puppet candidates, who are running for office solely for the purpose of protecting the special interests.

      By supporting Ron Paul, we can send a message to the Washington establishment that we are aware of their transgressions, and that we want our Republic restored.

  11. Mark Smith on said:

    This seems like a strawman argument. I don’t recall Ron Paul saying the federal government should be WEAK – he argues that the constitution was written to restrain/define the federal government’s powers and protect individual rights. Ron Paul supports the federal government’s proper exercise of its enumerated powers in Art. 1, Sect. 8.

    • Matthew on said:

      In fact, when Ron Paul was running in 2008, he told Tim Russert that he was actually okay with the size of the government even in the 1990s. It’s the dramatic and unlawful post-9/11 expansion of government and encroachment upon our civil liberties that Ron Paul’s supporters are primarily objecting to.

      Furthermore, so-called centrist and liberals are seemingly quite intent on painting Ron Paul as some kind of radical, when in fact he’s very traditional, straightforward and genteel. Let’s help the Ron Paul faction take over the Republican party from the likes of Mitt Romney (Wall Street waterboy and duplicitous weasel) and Newt Gingrich (hard Leftist, hypocrite and utter psychotic), and then we can have a broader debate about methods and modes of constitutional interpretation.

  12. William Eastman on said:

    In response to the Ron Paul comments, he advocates returning to the core functions of government: Defense, State, Justice, and Treasury. The remaining programs are outside the scope of the authorized federal government and are better handled at the state level. Consider this example: the federal government regulates healthcare, it doesn’t administer it. The fed’s collect the money, subtract their overhead, attach strings and send it back with a one size fits all restriction. The average Federal Agency has an overhead of 35%, if we follow the money, the Fed’s collect a $1.00, spend .35 making rules, and then send .65 back with strings. The state has it’s overhead, no wonder .50 or less is available to meet mission requirements. What if the states kept the $1.00 and spent.85 on programs that fit their unique needs? The taxpayers of that state can exercise their satisfaction with how the programs are administered through the ballot box.

  13. Steve Rogers on said:

    Lets take this completely insane article and put it on it’s head…

    “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
    ~Patrick Henry

  14. Servant on said:

    let us not forget Mr. Parry… the complete abolishment of ones privacy commited first by the Patriot Act and then this administrations continuance of it making it even broader and easier to call ANYONE an enemy of the state… the true enemy IS government.

    Mr. Parry I would LOVE to see a follow up article on just what liberties one has anymore that are protected. Let’s start from the bottom up for once instead of the status quo of “top down” or “trickle down” politics.

  15. Servant on said:

    People should not fear their government. Government should fear their people.

  16. Bill Spry on said:

    Okay. I should by now only expect stories like this to misrepresent Ron Paul. However, is the author not aware of the original Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution? Congress was prohibited from levying a direct tax upon the people. This is important to note because the original intent of the Constitution was to—yes—increase the size of government from that of the previous Confederation. However the limit on direct (or income) taxes was a check on the government’s power, knowing a government that can’t directly tax its own citizens can only grow so large.

    It’s not a surprise then that as government continued to grow in the era of Teddy Roosevelt, and we became keen on policing the world, that we had to amend the Constitution to take this restriction away. That is the key change that has allowed for the expansion of. If government, leading us to the situation we find ourselves in today.

    There were two camps at the Constitutional Convention: the fedrralists and the anti-fedrralists. Ron Paul is most certainly speaking from the anti-federalist camp. The same camp that Thomas Jefferson was a part of, and the same group that argued for the necessity of the Bill of Rights and 10th Amendment.

    • William Eastman on said:

      Amen Bill, don’t forget the true architect of the Constitution – James Madison. As someone who voted for Ron Paul in 1988 and 2008, I see the fire of Patrick Henry and Sam Adams with the intellect of Madison. Could the country do worse than a Paul Presidency? Just look at all the remaining candidates except Gary Johnson, with whom would you trust our legacy?

      • William Eastman on said:

        and the moral compass of Washington.

        • knowbuddhau on said:

          By that do you mean the complete absurdity of championing “liberty” and all that, while owning other humans as slaves?

          Do you mean how he forced members of an uprising among enlisted men to execute, by firing squad, their leaders?

          What we have always had is, at best, only an Athenian democracy. That is, a limited democracy for the very privileged few; for the rest of us, empire.

  17. Generally Mr. Parry’s articles are outstanding and have tremendous merit. This is the one exception. It seems a stretch to state the mandating the purchase of healthcare is legal because it is an economic activity, therefore, Congress has a right to mandate its purchase. Buying anything is an economic activity, therefore, does that mean Congress can mandate every citizen to buy whatever they deem as necessary?

    If the Congress moves in the direction of a police state is that Constitutional?

    Overall, Ron Paul is correct in asserting that the Congress of the United States has created an empire on the backs of the American people who appear to be sleepwalking through history oblivious to wars and warmongering that may well have the most adverse repercussions for us all.

    • knowbuddhau on said:

      Bullshit. We’ve always been an empire. Tell your fairy tale to my massacred-into-nonexistence native ancestors.

      As I just said (above), what we have always had is, at best, only an Athenian democracy. That is, a limited democracy for the very privileged few; for the rest of us, empire.

      Howard Zinn must be rolling over in his grave.

      • From a dominant tribe on said:

        So Indian tribes were not killing the men, raping the women, enslaving the children, and claiming land before the white man did it?

        Indian treaties were the 1st Fed Welfare program.

        Lot of good it did your people.

        How much was your BIA check this month?

  18. Al Alvarez on said:

    The 10th Amend. is trying to set a balance between states and the federal government. The Constitution was written because the Articles of Confederation created a very weak government that consisted of a single branch – the articles. It performed a limited set of tasks. Each state seated 2 to 7 members and no matter that states size, economic power, each state received only 1 vote – allowing small states to obstruct the passing of laws. The confederation congress had no executive authority to hold states to their decisions or obligations. Each state had its own money, there was to power to tax (could only ask to pay their share), taxes and debt stripped away farmers from their lands (Shays rebellion), Washinton was afraid that the country was verging to anarchy and confusion.

    The Constitution was written behind closed doors and shaded windows. The preamble answers the question of what the job of the national government is in the first place and if you look at the first 7 Articles you may note why some historians feel that they reflect a completely differrent moral idea than what we have today.

    Personally, I feel we find it so much more convenient to blame government for all our ills than to take responsibility for where we are today. It is all a balancing act. A democracy and republic is not the most effecient form of government, but it seems to be, when used as intended, one of the most equitable. People seem to interpret the Constitution (a legal document), the way they interpret the Bible (a religious book): to meet their own needs and ideas, and we know how many sects of just Christianity this has led to. Some argue that the Constitution can be changed while others say it has been changed through amendments. The document is 225 years old, even the founders expected it to receive major changes.

    What we have today is a document that was written before slavery was abolished, workers were organized, the world experienced incredible shrinking by our ability to communicate and travel, the government and the laws it passes would be partially controlled by lobbyists,and corporations evolved to where they now have the same rights as an individual citizen. Back then they formed a central federal government so the country could have well fed, clothed and armed militias – THEY ALSO WARNED AGAINST STANDING ARMIES – now we have over 700 bases protecting our (or corporate) interests around the world.

    So, who allowed this to happen? Where and when did the balancing act get out of whack…it’s happened a number of times before in our history. I still tend to put the politics aside and look at the preamble for the simplest explanation of what the Constitution was supposed to do, because I don’t believe it’s been doing it.

  19. 1776Liberty on said:

    Are you insane? your statement “scrapped the Articles and put forward a very different plan, eliminating state sovereignty and creating a strong central government with broad powers, including control over “interstate commerce.”

    I guess the this the result of a liberal education or the no child left behind program.

    Obviously you my friend were left way behind and for some reason have adopted a very strange historical view of the Founders and what they intended. To start with your quote belies Article 1 section 2 of the U.S. and all states constitutions reads ” to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several and with the indian tribes”.
    Regulation of trade is not the control or dictation of trade as the first is designed to guarantee the free flow of trade and later (control) is to inhibit and restrain thereof.

    Only a madman without much knowledge would interrupt this clause and the other 19 clauses as being a license for a big all powerful central governments. As it is very clear it was to keep the central governments sticky fingers out of the peoples pockets and to inhibit the elimination of personal liberty in the course of its services to the people and to the states.

    if one reads the Federalist and the anti federalists paper and also the history of the ninth amendment it can be discovered that there was huge concern over a large central government out growing its authority and become oppressive to the people. This is one of the reason the three branches of government were all designed to inhibit each other from over reach of power.

    As even this was not considered good enough the bill of rights was added (1st through 10th amendments) and as personal liberty was deemed still endanger and after two years the ratification of the constitution in jeopardy and in danger of being scaped when Madison wrote the ninth and tenth amendments to secure and insure the peoples rights beyond those enumerated stated and the tenth to insure the peoples and states powers for all those not allocated to the central government by the constitution in Article 1 section 8. In addition section 9 clearly nine things the central government can not do and Article 10 states what states can not do.
    Hint” there is no article restricting the people or their power only ones that guarantee and protect them.

    So you argument is plainly stupid as it the framers had intend a kutzoo over bearing type government and displacing the states the 1st the 10th amendments would not have existed.

    in closing it is astonishing what some people parade as knowledge and are willing to place their credibility in question by attempting to espouse poorly constructed ideas displaying their ignorance in history for all to see.

    My advice by a copy of the constitution or go to a Ron Paul Rally and get one for free, secondly Read the it before you open your pie hole and end up looking like an idiot as you do now.

  20. Frances in California on said:

    Where are all you yahoos going to be when the tar-sands pipeline – which Paul supports – destroys America’s midwest farmland? Lamely asking “Who knew?” The Founders had no experience with oil spills, but they knew something about Corporate Non-Accountability. How well some of you must be getting paid to carry water for the Oligarchy. Too bad someday no one will be able to drink it.

  21. Coleen Rowley on said:

    There IS much hypocrisy, not only on the Right with respect to states’ rights but amongst nearly all politicians due to the corruption of governance in the U.S. by both major parties by big money, corporate interests (http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20111229/OPINION01/312290032/Guest-columnists-Ron-Paul-gives-hope-people-weary-U-S-s-war-record)

    Democrats are now just as corrupted as the Republicans so it’s curious that Mr. Parry is picking out Ron Paul in kind of a partisan way. Paul is more of a libertarian, an ideology that transcends traditional right and left ideologies and he’s got a solid track record of consistently and honestly opposing wars, bail-outs, government corruption, government secrecy and subversion of civil liberties. No one amongst presidential candidates is more in sync than Ron Paul is with (Father of the Constitution) James Madison’s warning about the dangers of continual war to citizens’ freedoms and well-being.

    The Left tends to see big business and private corporations as the problem and thinks Government is the answer. The Right generally sees Government and its growing power over individuals as the problem and sees private business/corporations as the answer. (Only the Right is very hypocritical as they are the ones who have grown the federal government and the national debt as much as the Left has.)

    I think both sides are partially right and both sides are partially wrong. But what both sides should agree on (as well as the people of this country) is that the marriage of a powerful central government and powerful private business/corporations IS the worst of all possible situations! Mussolini’s dream is being made possible in the U.S. as much by “the Left” as “the Right”.

  22. Hmmm…Simply reading the Constitution corroborates Paul’s perspective. Every American citizen should take an hour and do just that.

  23. I agree with author Robert Parry that replacing the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution was actually a step *away* from freedom, and that the drafters of the Constitution wanted a *stronger* central government than what was in place at the time. Many people in the libertarian movement are aware of this, and I suspect that Ron Paul has been around long enough and read enough history that he’s aware of it too, but that he glosses over that history because it would be too confusing to members of the public who associate the Constitution and its framers with freedom and limited government.

    In defense of the abridged version of history that Ron Paul presents, the Constitution, while not as libertarian as the Articles of Confederation, was still far more libertarian than British rule had been, and far more libertarian than what we have today. And although it was the brainchild of those wanting stronger central government, in order to get buy-in from their compatriots to agree to as much national government as it allowed, it was also designed to strictly prevent that national government from taking on any additional powers or violating the rights of the people. So portraying the Constitution as a libertarian document designed to limit the role of government, as Ron Paul does, is in an important sense true.

    Parry undermines his credibility somewhat by referring to Ron Paul as a “right-winger”. Paul’s philosophy is clearly libertarian, not right-wing, even if he sometimes muddies the water about it himself by using the term “conservative”.

  24. Roger Thomas on said:

    Worry about the constitution when you have taken back control of the government by American patriots. Although British, I feel embarrassed at the extent by which your policies are determined by Zionist lobby groups. Most of the Presidents’ advisers are Zionist/Americans whose first loyalty is to that brutal, oppressive and apartheid state of Israel. You Americans of the greatest power in the World are little puppets to a ruthless regime that has carried out more attacks on the USA than any other organisation.

    Although not an adviser, Stephen Steinlight’s admission reveals the extent of Zionist subterfuge and the traitors to America that they brainwash. He served for five years as the Director of National Affairs for the largest and most powerful Jewish organization in the United States, the American Jewish Committee. He made the following remarks in an article on immigration in a national Jewish magazine in October of 2001:
    “I’ll confess it, at least, like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months for 10 formative years during my childhood and adolescence I attended Jewish summer camp. There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colors, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland. Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue, and, like many other Jewish teens of my generation, I spent two summers working in Israel on a collective farm while I contemplated that possibility. More tacitly and subconsciously, I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one.”

    About time you Americans woke up!

    • F. G. Sanford on said:

      Wow! I loved this letter! Wasn’t there a documentary a while back about those Christian camps brainwashing kids? There were accusations of psychological and perhaps even physical abuse. Syria is a terrible place now, but didn’t we rendition a couple of folks there once upon a time? Not anymore, they’re just too user unfriendly nowadays. But Bahrain is OK…that’s why we keep our ships there. Yes, youth camp-that’s the ticket. Just good, clean fresh air and healthy living. Glen Beck made fun of that while wearing lederhosen, didn’t he? Selling missile defense systems to UAE is OK. They would never dare to compromise our security by selling that technology to an unfriendly government. Like, say. Iran. We would never sell missiles to a bad place like Iran, because someone in our government might use the money to bribe drug cartels in some awful place like…Nicaragua. And we certainly never would sell chemical weapons to some bad guy like Saddam Hussein. America is asleep. We watched the Beebee, Zippy and Viggy show, and now we’re all tucked in for a nice, cozy war. Just like the one after the Addie, Hermie and Gerbie show. The show is the same, but they changed the name. But not the sponsors-and the opening episode got standing ovations in congress. Beebe mentioned that reference to the UN about a single candle in the dark being visible at a great distance. That wasn’t a racist comment about excluding Arabs, was it? That ‘blood and soil’ stuff was just to get ratings. Oops-that was the Addie, Hermie and Gerbie show. Beebe, Zippy andViggy is the ‘chosen people’ stuff. Look, we just can’t say anything bad about Israel. If we do, Alan Dershowitz will tell Mommy and Daddy we’re antisemites, and they’ll make us go to bed without watching Zippy and Beebe. Then Mommy will say, “I’m not speaking to you”. Daddy won’t interfere, because he’s afraid of Mommy. Everybody’s afraid of being rejected by Mommy. She can’t do anything wrong. Oi vey, You’d think she had a vagina, or something. So it’s in our vital interests do do whatever that shitty little country-oops-I mean-Mommy wants.

  25. Kathy Walsh on said:

    This article is truly disappointing, and I am happy that so many folks have refuted Mr. Parry’s conclusions. I, too, believe that the commerce clause is used too often to justify federal authority in areas reserved to the states. It is true that the participants in the constitutional convention believed that the Articles of Confederation did not give the national government sufficient power to properly function, but none, except perhaps for Alexander Hamilton, wanted to weaken state governments to the point of irrelevance.

    I completely agree with Colleen Rowley’s points.

  26. Gregory L Kruse on said:

    All this vitriol because Parry criticized Ron Paul? I’m not the brightest light on the Christmas tree, but I was under the impression that the Boston Tea Party was meant to protest against corporate power. Whatever barriers the founders put up to limit corporate power have long since collapsed. Wrangling over what those idiot fathers intended is a futile exercise. What we need is a new constitution. Yes, scrap the whole thing and write a new one. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    • Your idea goes along with mine, Gregory. If all across the nation, people could meet in small groups within counties, precincts or some way that only a few hundred volunteers for each assembly to comb through The U.S. Constitution. I suggest first forming into workshops then back to the general assembly to present the best plans for a panel of the most articulate members to move on to state level. We’ve all heard it said by some that “God is in the details” and others that “the Devil is in the details.”

      Both are correct!

  27. Mouser on said:

    Mr. Parry,
    Ron Paul is the only candidate that I have seen that has makes sense in everything he has said. FIX AMERICA by returning to the Constitution! Our Constitution was something that had never before been done before in Any country so it was a trial and error in the beginning, but from the beginning the one thing they said was Give Power To The People! From the sentence ‘All Men Are Created Equal’ where do you get ‘White Men Only’? Why are You not called a racist? All Men are black, white, pink, yellow, red or purple are Equal. Our Founding Fathers weren’t blind. They knew what needed done and were on the right track from the beginning, but as I said before. New concepts, New ideas and New Protocols. All things new sometimes need time to work. They warned multiple times, Do Not Let Central Banks Control (Federal Reserve). Do Not Let the Government get so big it takes the People’s Rights away from them. The Peoples hands are tied today. If they speak out against this Government under the Patriot Act the Government can hold A True American without cause or representation for any unlimited time. This is attacking many Veterans who have come home after fighting hard for Our Country! And this development is thank you to that administration for broadening the Patriot Act. Obama has taken our rights away! Ron Paul wants to hand America BACK to America!
    The Constitution was a goal. A goal we have never reached because of narrow minded big businesses that includes the Federal Reserve, which is privately owned banks. They want that control for themselves. We cannot even know Who owns these banks? Why is that? Because they are private business owners and They KNOW They Are WRONG! It has NOTHING to do with the Federal Government yet they are in Control of OUR Money and Economy. I want control of MY Money and Life. Not some Yahoo that only has their interest in More Power.
    Why is it the Parents have NO rights to what their children are taught in public schools? Because The Government thinks they can raise them better and change their way of thinking as you are attempting to change American’s way of thinking by changing history with your narrow views of what truly happened? IT’S NOT THEIR JOB OR YOURS! GET OUT AND GIVE IT BACK TO THE PEOPLE!
    I believe in backing Israel, but I don’t believe we should be spending a certain amount to fund Israel and four times that amount being given to Israel’s Enemies!? How does that help Israel? Get Out Of Iran, Iraq and all those other countries. Quit funding them! My understanding is that Ron Paul isn’t saying he’s Against Israel. He’s against FUNDING THE WORLD when We (America) are going Bankrupt! Fix America FIRST! And if it isn’t ok to protect the Sovereignty of America, Why are we over there trying to protect the Sovereignty of Israel? And I say this because of your attempts, this administration attempts and the attempts of the administration before to try to destroy the Constitution of America. It’s what the Constitution is. The Protection of the Peoples Rights and America’s Sovereignty.

  28. Normally I have been a fan of Mr. Parry’s articles. This one misses the mark by a large margin. Ron Paul, while he is not perfect, is in my opinion anyway, the best candidate from either party out there.

  29. knowbuddhau on said:

    My objection to the insurance mandate is simple: I’m already bankrupt and underemployed. As for that old school racist who’s wrapped himself in the flag, I got tired of his schtick way back in the 80s, when I was researching white supremacy.

    Ron Paul’s America has been tried. If he were president, instead of Lincoln, we’d still have slavery. He’d've protected the South’s peculiar institution on libertarian grounds.

    About that mandate. Not long ago, I got a very expensive ticket for driving to work (as a pt/on-call janitor for a local community college) without car insurance. How is fining me an outrageous amount and degrading my driving record supposed to help? Poverty truly is criminalized in this country.

    Soon, I’ll have the dubious pleasure of being likewise criminalized if I happen to need medical care but haven’t been able to pay for crappy insurance designed never to pay out benefits.

    I don’t want crappy “coverage!” And I certainly don’t want to be penalized for not paying for my oppression. Partly because the exorbitant premiums mostly enrich my political adversaries. Mostly because what we all really need is universal access to single-payer health care.

    Fuck the mandate. Fuck Obama for selling us downriver to his donors. Fuck Ron Paul for hiding his racism behind the flag. And I s’pose I must add: Fuck me for being too broke to afford liberty.

    • From a dominant tribe on said:

      From a dominant tribe on January 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

      RP racist? Ever go to a reservation or look at a casino governing board? All Indians. Not one white person there.

      You should be on your knees thanking baby Jesus that RP supports a Gov that allows you to declare bankruptcy.

      “I got tired of his schtick way back in the 80s, when I was researching white supremacy.”

      If you’re a “pt/on-call janitor” now, I find it hard to believe that 22+ years ago you had the wherewithal to research anything.

      How can you afford a computer and internet connection, but don’t want to pay for car insurance. Per your comments, you have a rusty POS. Insurance for those models are $20 a month.

  30. Pingback: Miscellaneous articles for – Articles divers pour 01-15-2011 | Lys-d'Or

  31. rodney on said:

    Ron Paul is a kook!

    • From a dominant tribe on said:

      Rodney. Your mom is calling. She ain’t gonna wait in the car any longer to drop you off at your mall job.

  32. From a dominant tribe on said:

    RP racist? Ever go to a reservation or look at a casino governing board? All Indians. Not one white person there.

    You should be on your knees thanking baby Jesus that RP supports a Gov that allows you to declare bankruptcy.

    “I got tired of his schtick way back in the 80s, when I was researching white supremacy.”

    If you’re a “pt/on-call janitor” now, I find it hard to believe that 22+ years ago you had the wherewithal to research anything.

    How can you afford a computer and internet connection, but don’t want to pay for car insurance. Per your comments, you have a rusty POS. Insurance for those models are $20 a month.

  33. HusbandofMoonlight on said:

    Being a member of no less than three tribes of the continental USA—and having been born 60 years ago as a “Prisoner Of War”–in the USA –(see article 6 of the constitution that Mr. Paul and so many others so often speak of; “all treaties are supreme law—etc—-)and that the USA still stands in violation of all of the 223+ treaties (one of my own ancestors was a signator of the 1868 Medicine Lodge Creek Treaty) this means that simply stated: all Native Americans born after 1883 are “prisoners of war” of the USA and we are “still at war” with the “foreign occupiers”—”them Amurakuns”
    Mr. Paul and all of the other “libertarians” never speak of actual “change”—just a variation of the same old story—the USA, simply stated, is a “Plutocratic Oligarchy” from 1776—to this date.
    Until THAT changes, the USA will never know a “Democracy”—or even a “Republic”—and the USA will most likely be remembered by “history” as a terrible negative example; since time seems to be ‘runnig out’ for them.
    The “changes” that need to be made will require exceptional courage and integrity: the USA has never exhibited those traits—-and to expect them to now would be foolish. The USA is and always has been a “criminal nation” populated by mostly “criminals”—-with little or no accoutablility: until recently. Now the rest of the world (except for the allies who are criminals as well) has lost ALL respect along with most of the “fear” they had before, since the USA still cannot win the wars they start—-and they KNOW that the USA will not keep their treaties or promises (except to invade of course) and
    NOW; the USA owes the Chinese over a trillion dollars/after shipping most of their “industiral power” to the chinese—–the onle war the USA actually won, was WWII and the only reason for that was their industrial “might” which they kissed/pissed away long ago. That the USA has hungry and homeless children while they send 8 million dollars per day in “aid” to the illegal/criminal nation of Israel—is just ONE of many contradictions in logic and “reason”—-and that is just one of many more reason why the USA appears to be a massive failed experiment—-and most “Americans” should be ashamed: instead of so arrogant.
    The USA now has a former president who is a confessed war criminal, publicly and in writting and he enjoys $100K speaking fees and ‘secret service protection on the way “there”———-(only in America—since if he were the “same criminal” from any other country–the Americans would be “holding bake sales if needed to raise the money to send him to the Hague for sentencing (he confessed; no “trial is necessary”)—this could only take place in a “criminal nation”—populated by a majority of “criminals”.

    As for “Native America”; we have been on this continent for at least 15 thousand years;this was before the “Chinese were chinese” and long before the Jews and the “others, invented themselves”—. The USA, and the “Americans” are simply a “mark on the wall of our evolution”.

    “If the USA were any other “criminal nation” the ‘Americans’ would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justified”.

    Good Luck America, you will be needing much of it soon; and much of it.

    As for this Native American; you will not be missed.

  34. Well, the ink had not dried on that fabulous blueprint of checks and balances before those that let greed and lust for power rule their lives, began the process of disregarding and tampering. The Native Americans can tell you that.

    The founders knew that government is nothing but raw power and the INDIVIDUAL is defenseless from tyranny without the protection of inalienable rights, freedoms and property guaranteed by the Constitution.

    The checks and balances were placed in order to optimize freedom. A land of slaves cannot prosper. Our government/society virtually eliminated the Native Americans. Now it seems it’s our turn. Welcome to the reservation!

  35. People simmer down. Let’s run through the issues. First of all, the whole first half of the article is perfect balderdash. There isn’t an iota of sense or truth in it. It is perverse revisionism. Besides being historically false the whole first half of American history is one big repudiation of the author’s claims. There was clearly a lack of consensus on this bold claim about total federal supremacy in earlier times, to say the least, culminating in oh I don’t know, the civil war, in which the right moral side on slavery won, and the right moral side when it comes to government and the allowance of self determination for all peoples, lost. The founders it is true wanted to and indeed needed to reform aspects of the original AOC but just because you envision a more* robust federal government, doesn’t imply that any founder would be at all sympathetic to the imperialistic leviathan that is the US federal government today. More robust than a loose confederation does not equal robust, despite the author’s personal desires to the contrary. Paul does permit his libertarian views to sometimes taint his own rulings on constitutionality. He is still the best candidate, by miles, since he’s honest, wise, incorruptible and an enemy of the banks, the MIC, the power structure, the media and all other true enemies of the republic itself and the weal of its citizenry. I accept more or less the second part of the argument that the individual mandate is perhaps technically permissible according to the commerce clause, by some interpretations mind you, while rejecting the claim that certain social* laws like say bias crime laws or internal state commercial matters like the CRA are strictly constitutional at all (even if I may support similar laws or other quasi-liberal legislation on the state level). The rulings Silberman cites do nothing for his case either. Being wise however I recognized the need at the time for such legislation, to enfranchise a group of people who had been kept down by an ethnic monopoly on wealth and power. There is absolutely no need for such laws today however, and they undermine the integrity of the law itself, being as they are blatantly unconstitutional. At the end of the day, the reemergence of State’s rights grievances are very, very healthy democratic developments counter-balancing governmental power and to legitimate opposition to federal tyranny coming from the left and the right. The Marxist totalitarians in the media may want their way on everything and they may want everyone in the nation to have to live under that yoke, but both the constitution and Paul’s actions and views are welcome allies against the stupidity of these types and the horrid outcomes of their twisted ideologies.

  36. loup-bouc on said:

    Parry says Judge Silberman referenced “a Supreme Court precedent that a farmer who wished to raise wheat for his own consumption could still face federal restrictions because his production (and that of other likeminded farmers) could affect the overall supply of wheat and thus undermine federal policy regarding the wheat market.”

    The precedent was Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942). The precedent does NOT say what Parry says Silberman said it says; and it does not support the position Parry says Silberman took.

    In the Wickard case, the legislation designed to regulate commerce to support WWII economically (and otherwise) while protecting domestic economy and War supply by stabilizing, among else, food markets and food prices. So, the legislation sought to stabilize the wheat market and wheat prices by limiting the amount any farmer could grow, for sale or for on-farm consumption.

    The legislation did NOT require anyone to purchase anything. The Supreme Court has NEVER upheld Commerce Clause legislation that would require someone to purchase something.

    Silberman is a flagrantly GOP-partisan Reagan-type Republican. Romney is and has been a leading Reagan-type moderate and likely GOP presidency candidate (not just this year, but for some substantial time before).

    Romney imposed an insurance-purchase mandate on Massachusetts before Obama began running the first time (2008) for the presidency. So, Silberman supports the Obamacare federal mandate; for otherwise Romney would need to explain away the inexplicable (his wooing the Tea Party and libertarian anti-government/original-intent voters despite he imposed an insurance-purchase mandate even before Obama did).

    The Obamacare insurance-purchase mandate is patently unconstitutional, and so the Supreme Court will hold.

  37. Jacob Rempel on said:

    Being from Canada, I find that even “Obamacare” is a massively capitalist imposition costing twice as what we in Canada pay for government financed medical insurance paid for jointly by federal and provincial governments.

    A little insurance socialism never hurt anyone. You would have been much better off if Obama had introduced a single universally applied public insurance program or state administered but jointly financed program. +Employees of insurance companies could find nice secure public service employment in the new government insurance offices. For you the citizen clients, the cost would be much less and secured service more reliable.

    Some provinces also require a modest individual monthly premium from each citizen.

    Doctors in their privately owned practices happily collect their negotiated fees without any collection expenses. Doctors are also free to opt out and take only privately paying patients. Some do, and some citizens go to such doctors.

    As in the USA, sometimes certain services are delayed, but measures are then taken to remedy shortcomings, like ensuring more health care professionals get trained, or hospital facilities are improved.

    Our federal government now is as right wing as any GOPs in the USA. However, they hesitate to touch the health care government insurance, which was established here provincially first in Saskatchewan (less than one million population, by a social democratic party (socialist). I was there at the time.

    That model was then introduced federally, jointly with the provinces by democratically elected Progressives, Conservatives, Liberals and a few eccentric parties. We still have to introduce pre-paid coverage for prescribed medication, which we have only during hospital care. Correction — the Province of Quebec provides insurance for prescription medication.

    This is all human, therefore not perfect, but I know that in my large extended family living in several provinces we have all had very satisfactory service by doctors and by hospitals during the last fifty years. No one of us has had reason for complaint about loss of freedom to choose doctor or hospital. Good medical care of our health has ensured for us greatly expanded freedom to do whatever we want to do with our talents.—

    Just thought I would add a little perspective from the far north. I always enjoy your vibrant American debate and entertainment. I wish you well.

  38. ejmillerscd@gmail.com on said:

    Robert Perry is dead wrong in his claim that the states in ratifying the Federal constitution abrogated their individual sovereignty. The Articles of Confederation is explicit in acknowledging the states sovereignty but it is also so in acknowledging “perpetual Union”. The fact that the Constitution is silent on both of these issues does not deny their existence in that body of work.

    As to the issue of states sovereignty, a condition of ratification by the states was the adoption of the Bill of Rights inclusive of the 10th Amendment, which guarantees the states (and the people) sovereign powers “not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States.”

    No less an authority than Chief Justice John Marshall may be cited as counter to Perry’s attempt to trivialize the intent of the 10th Amendment as an argument against state sovereignty: “In America, the powers of sovereignty are divided between the government of the Union, and those of the States. They are each sovereign, with respect to the object committed to it, and neither sovereign with respect to the objects committed to the other.” This is found in the U.S. Supreme Court case of M’Culloch v. State (Maryland).

    I have not read Judge Silberman’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but I suspect Perry’s wheat farmer Silberman drew on was Filburn. Filburn, ruled on by Justice Jackson of World War II Nazi war criminal trial fame. was also cited by Justice Steven in his affirming opinion in Gonzales v. Raich. Raich, decided in 2005, denied Ms. Raich and her friend the use of medical marijuana grown on her property for her own use and as allowed by the California voter approved Compassionate Use Act of 1996.

    In essence, the ruling in Filburn denied the right to mill wheat or any other homegrown produce for personal consumption. Such denial obviously violates one of the basic tenets of land ownership, the historical use of which has always been in part if not largely for ones own consumption. To be more explicit, it would deny a fruit farmer the right to eat the fruit from his trees, a dairy farmer the right to drink the milk from his herd, and we can go on and on which brings us back to Raich not having the right to use her land to produce a commodity for her own consumption.

    Justice O’Connor’s dissenting opinion in Raich tells much: “We enforce the’ outer limits ‘of Congress’ Commerce Clauses authority not for their own sake, but to protect historic spheres of state sovereignty from excessive federal encroachment and thereby to maintain the distribution of power fundamental to our federalist system of government. One of federalism’s chief virtues, of course, is that it promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that ‘a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory, and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country…If the Court always defers to Congress as it does today, little may be left to the notion of enumerated powers.”

    But at least Farmer Filburn, in rational theory, could purchase wheat for his own purposes from the market place. Raich by law could not. In Raich, all that was left was illegality. Filburn took us into tyranny but at lest there was still some modicum of liberty. In Raich, there was not even a modicum of liberty left. This “evolution” of the Commerce Clause is, according to Justice Stevens (and it seems Justice Silberman too) is jurisprudence whereas according to Justice Thomas (and other rational beings) it is “not interpreting the Commerce Clause, but rewriting it.”

    • a reader on said:

      He doesn’t care a whit about any of that.

      All he cares about is that a (D)is wielding power.

      Imagine if a punk like Bush had mandated the Plebes to purchase a defective product from a for profit corporation without a government option. The little (D) Rats would be marching on DC. It’s as simple and as disgusting as that. I used to regard Perry as above this crap but he has devolved. It’s sad, but whatever…

  39. ejmillerscd@gmail.com on said:

    Ron Paul has many things right about the Constitution, certainly far more so than Mr. Perry, but not all. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to regulate the value of money. It is this power that overrides all else. Yet, Paul like all other members of Congress and most all previous Congresses since the inception of the nation believes that Congress is proper in either ignoring this charge, as it did during much of the antebellum period, or assigning it to a privileged private sector. Paul wants something different from the present Federal Reserve System but it would still be in the private sector and still controlled by a privileged elite.

    But it is as wrong for Congress to abrogate one power as it is to overreach another. Overreaching the commerce clause is what congress did in legislation affecting Filburn, Raich, and a host of others in a similar vein. Abrogating its power to regulate the value of money is what Congress has done since the inception of nation. One of the few members of Congress that seems to understand this is Dennis Kucinich.

    Although I find many faults with Kucinich’s bill that would have the Federal government create the nation’s money, it is a long overdue beginning in monetary reform and Mr. Kucinich should be greatly commended for his efforts in bringing this idea this far. A further point is that Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul cooperated before: most memorably against the on-going wars and are alone in seeking to change the Fed. Hopefully they will cooperate on bringing forth a monetary system that accord with the Constitution and that fairly serves the people and not the privileged few.

    A further note is that almost everything that Roosevelt did during the Great Depression that brought about the destruction of the Constitution through the abuse of the Commerce clause could have been avoided had the Federal government adopted the 100 % monetary system as proposed in 1933 by a group of economists from the University of Chicago. Irving Fisher, possibly the most respected American economist of that period, tried a few years later even harder to have the Administration to adopt the 100% reserve plan. But it was not to be. So what we have is this cobbled dysfunctional financial system and a depression to rival that of the Great Depression years that after four years even this greatly abused Commerce clause can do nothing to alleviate.

  40. Kimberly on said:

    WRONG!! Parry doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Clearly he has never read The Federalist, which is essentially the original intent of the Constitution. John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton, who wrote The Federalist (papers) had NO INTENTION of eliminating state sovereignty. In fact “state sovereignty” is ALL THROUGH The Federalist papers. The Constitution is a “contract” between the sovereign states to form a federal government with LIMITED power. The states and the people ceded a little power in order to form this contract. If at any time the federal government doesn’t honor the contract (Constitution), the states have the right get out the contract. The sad thing is that people who’ve never studied The Federalist or the writings of the Founding Fathers don’t understand that this man is wrong!

    Remember, the Preamble of the Constitution begins with “WE THE PEOPLE…”

    I urge everyone to read The Federalist. There, you will find the “mindset” of the Founders. The main reason was “national defense”. They knew the states needed to be united if they were ever invaded by a foreign country, etc. They would need a mechanism to pull together a standing army for defense and the means to fund it, among the other limited powers in Article 1, Sec. 8 regarding the powers of Congress.

  41. The author starts by misstating Ron Paul’s position on federal power and then proceeds to lie repeatedly about the constitutional boundary markers of the federal government’s delegated power. I’ve read and studied the US Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and hundreds and hundreds of federal statutes.

    Here is how the federal power con is played. Congress’s authority is limited and well defined and the meaning of those powers is fixed by rules of constitutional interpretation. Congress has very limited and narrow authority in relation to the 50 states of the Union and the citizens of those states. Congress has extremely broad and near plenary powers in relation to D.C., and territories and possessions of the United States. Congress writes statutes that are limited to the areas over which it exercises exclusive legislative jurisdiction and then those acts of Congress are mal-applied to the 50 states and the citizens of those states. This is true of every federal statute that I have ever looked at.

    Here is a simple test? Ask yourself, “Does Congress have subject matter jurisdiction regarding the issue in question?” If is is not spelled out specifically in the US Constitution then the answer is no and Congress’ powers must be territorial in nature.

    Then we get into the plain language of the statutes and we rarely see the “50 States” mentioned in any statute under the definitions of the legal terms for “State” and “United States”. If a particular statute does not mention the 50 states then its application is territorial in nature.