Was Liberty the Real End? Not Hardly!

by Al Benson Jr.

Gary M. Galles has been a professor of economics at Pepperdine University. Awhile back he wrote an article for http://www.freedomforallseasons.org which was entitled The Anti-Federalists Were Right. Galles noted in his article that: “Anti-Federalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that its checks on federal power would be undermined by expansive interpretations of promoting the ‘general welfare’ (which could be claimed with every law) and the ‘all laws necessary and proper’ clause (which could be used to override limits on delegated federal powers), creating a federal government with unwarranted and undefeated powers that were bound to be abused.” In the light of subsequent history it’s hard to argue with that analysis. Can anyone say “Obamacare”?

Gary North, in an article on mises.ca/ wrote quite plainly that: “The Constitution was deliberately designed to centralize power vastly beyond what the legitimate constitution–the Articles of Confederation–allowed. The Federal government in 1787 was weak. In 1788 it was vastly stronger. The newly created Federal government immediately did two things. It accepted responsibility to pay off state debts. This was Alexander Hamilton’s proposal. He proposed it specifically to centralize the government by granting enormous profits to the investment class that had bought state debts for practically nothing. The Wikipedia article on this consolidation of federal debt is accurate in its discussion of Hamilton’s motives.” Sounds as if Hamilton had more than real liberty as the “direct end” of his agenda.

It was noted that: “Hamilton’s economic plan had multiple goals. First, the debts and honor of the nation would be secured…By selling bonds to pay the debt, bondholders would have a direct financial interest to help the new United States government survive and thrive…The plan would also create a bureaucracy of agents across the country who would be tied to the Federal government instead of the individual states. Assuming the debts of the states would likewise couple financial elites in those states to the national government and less to state governments, thereby reducing the risk of secession. Hamilton’s plan was called the ‘debt assumption plan,’ and it was a radical idea in 1790.” You can see from this one paragraph that Hamilton, from the beginning, was always the consummate collectivist and centralist, trying to tie everyone’s interests to the Federal government instead of to the states. And he sought to reduce the risk of secession, so he must have felt that secession was a legitimate option which he wanted to steer the states away from.

Madison and Jefferson initially opposed this, but, as Gary North observed: “When Madison and Jefferson opposed the plan, Hamilton bought them off by promising to support the swamp today known as Washington D.C. as the nation’s capitol. This was done at a private dinner with only the three in attendance. Jefferson later wrote about it.” I read one account that noted that, while Madison was still opposed to the idea, and might speak out against it, he would not do such very strenuously. How little has changed in Washington since 1790! Covert “dinners,” midnight voice votes in Congress, it was and is always the same game, and the public is always on the receiving end of the shaft.

Gary North noted the outcome of this grand bargain. “The Treasury Department quickly grew in stature and personnel, encompassing the United States Customs Service, the United States Revenue Cutter Service, and the network of Treasury agents Hamilton had foreseen. Hamilton immediately followed up his success with the Second Report on Public Credit, containing his plan for the Bank of the United States–a national, privately-operated bank owned in part by the government, which became the forerunner of the Federal Reserve System.” Do you begin to see where Hamilton was going now? The Bank of the United States–privately operated, owned “in part” by the government. One with a suspicious mind might be led to ask who owned the part the government didn’t. And since much of this is not included in the “history” books, are we forced to conclude that this is a question some would prefer not to be asked? After all, if you can’t trust your government… But you can see from this that our problems with bankers did not begin in 1913. That was chapter two.

As to Hamilton’s motives, North observed: “By 1791 Hamilton had created a vast Federal debt and the nation’s first central bank, owned privately. He had planned it from the beginning. That was why he promoted the Constitution. This is why he wrote most of The Federalist Papers. The anti-Federalists predicted accurately what was coming in 1787. It came. There was a conspiracy in Philadelphia in 1787. It was successful…To understand the expansion of Federal power in 1788, consider this. In 1786, the Federal government’s total army was 1,200 men. It was too small to come to the rescue of the state of Massachusetts in putting down Shay’s rebellion. This was a rebellion by rural counties against the state government’s decision in 1786 to pay off state debts in silver, collected from the counties. The governor and most of the members of the legislature had bought these debts for pennies in fiat currency. Now they were about to get very rich at the expense of rural taxpayers, who had little silver. A lot of counties revolted. That was the trigger that got George Washington to attend the (Constitutional) Convention, which he had previously refused to agree to attend. He had been completely misinformed about the motives of the protest. A former general of his sent him letters that concealed the politics of the revolt.” So Washington had no idea that the real reason for the rebellion was that the state government was stealing from its citizens. North continued: “In 1794, Washington personally led an army of 13,000 to crush a tax revolt in Western Pennsylvania…Because so few men volunteered, the Federal government imposed a draft. This was the whiskey rebellion. The revolt was against Hamilton’s 1791 tax on whiskey–a tax used to raise revenue to pay off Federal debts at face value–debts that the holders had purchased for pennies…Do you begin to see a pattern here? Centralized power? I guess you could say that. Seems the new Federal power was being used to help make the big money boys even richer at the expense of the rural farmers. I suppose you could label that as the 1794 version of redistribution of the wealth. And Hamilton was in on the ground floor. Beginning to connect the dots here?

And North has told us that what Hamilton could not accomplish on his own, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, who was also a Federalist, did manage. Among his other “accomplishments” he managed to find time to squeeze in the writing of the opinion for McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. This was an authorization for the privately-owned Second Bank of the United States to exercise a government-granted monopoly over our monetary system. The last half of chapter one!

North began the conclusion of his article with this: “The Constitution was from day one an instrument to consolidate Federal power and expand it. The Constitution has proven to be a weak reed in every attempt to slow down the expansion of Federal power. It has proven utterly impotent to roll Federal power back as little as a decade, ever.” Mr. North is pointing out the exact same thing I have been saying in regard to the fact that the checks and balances in the Constitution that are supposed to keep one branch of the government from overreaching and acting in the affairs of another branch just simply do not work. They are not effective and, given North’s analysis, you have to wonder if they were ever meant to be effective, or if they were only ever meant to be a cover seeming to do what they are not really doing.

Obama is now threatening Congress that if they refuse to legalize millions of illegal immigrants then he will just take executive action and do it himself. After all, he has a pen and a phone. It’s up to Congress to deal with this, not the dictator, (excuse me, I meant president–a slip of the fingers on the keyboard). For him to usurp the power of Congress goes against the vaunted “checks and balances” between branches of government that are supposed to be there for our protection. Suppose Obama just unilaterally decides to go and do this “because he can?” Do you know what Congress will do? Nothing!!! Oh, they’ll make a little fuss, a little political bloviation to try to save face, and that will be the end of it. Obama will do what he wants to do because, in the end, the Constitution won’t stop him.

Folks, we’ve been had since way back in 1787 and it’s about time we woke and and realized it. Do I think that will happen? Maybe in a couple hundred years, if we can rear up enough Christian-schooled and home schooled kids with the truth. Maybe.

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Centralism Trumps “Checks and Balances”

by Al Benson

Well, we’ve just had an election and it looks to most people like the good guys won for a change. However, voters need to be discerning enough to realize that not all those who appear to be good guys (Republicans) really are. Some of them are no better than the Democratic socialists, the only difference being the party label. Remember that the first two Republican candidates for president in this country, John C. Fremont and Abraham Lincoln, were both socialists in their worldviews even if they may not have officially belonged to any socialist ” Party.” You can check out the backgrounds of both of these individuals in the book Lincoln’s Marxists.

Now that we have a Republican majority in both houses Comrade Obama has stated that he will just take “executive action” in regard to making illegal immigrants part of the national culture. Will the checks and balances that are supposed to operate with our current Constitution be enough to stop him. Will Congress do what it should do or will Obama just continue to get away with his lawlessness? Most of us know the answer and it’s not pretty. Congress will fume and fuss and make great pontifications about who should do what and that will be it.

The checks and balances that one branch of government is supposed to employ under the Constitution to check the usurpations of another branch will amount to nothing. It’s all, as one Christian pastor once said–“meaningless drivel.” Always has been.

Interestingly, one of the most insightful of the Anti-Federalists in the beginning was Robert Yates, a judge from New York who was also a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. At some point Judge Yates withdrew because he felt the convention was exceeding the instructions it had been given. Yates later wrote as “Brutus” about the debates over the Constitution. Given that he had expertise as a judge he claimed that the Supreme Court was destined to become a source of almost unlimited federal over-reaching, and his insight in this area has proven correct.

As “Brutus,” he observed that the Supreme Court, as envisioned under the Constitution, would end up becoming a source of growing abuse because they were beyond the control of both legislatures and ordinary citizens and they were in no way subject to being “corrected by any power above them.” Who is there out there that will correct them regarding their farcial ruling that Obamacare is constitutional? Where are the checks and balances in this situation? If any are present they are hidden under the political rug, never to be seen. Yates thought that the power the Court would command would be so irresistible that the judiciary would use it to make law. Gee, when has that ever happened? (Let us count the times).

That being the case, the Court could then proceed to interpret the Constitution according to the “spirit” of the law rather than the letter of the law. Looking at some of the “decisions” the Court has handed down in our lifetime, can anyone seriously doubt the concerns that Robert Yates had? In fact, if anything, his concerns could have been labeled as optimistic, because in his day, he could have had no possible concept of just how far the Court would go in promoting the agendas of radical, activist judges who would shamelessly promote their version of what they wished the Constitution had really said.

I can recall author and columnist, the late Joseph Sobran, writing on this subject years ago when he noted that the Court had found many “enumerated penumbras” in the Constitution that justified abortion, the murder of unborn babies. Many folks will ask “what’s a penumbra?” Good question. For want of being able to explain it legally, I will note that it is nothing more than the judicial version of “seeing through a glass darkly.” The lawyers see “rights” there that are never spelled out anywhere, except in their own minds. So there are no real checks and balances in play regarding the Supreme Court. It is truly a law unto itself.

Back in 2008, Dr. Clyde Wilson wrote an article called Nathaniel Macon and The Way Things Should Be in which he dealt with the career of Nathaniel Macon, the man that Macon, Georgia was named after. Macon and others in his family were quite discerning. He served with North Carolina troops in the War for Independence. Dr. Wilson noted of him that: “He was offered but refused a commission and he refused also the bounty that was paid for enlisting…In the next few years he was offered a place in the North Carolina delegation to the Continental Congress which he declined. It is noteworthy that his brother, John, voted against ratification of the new U.S. Constitution in both conventions of the sovereign people of North Carolina to consider that question; and that our State did not ratify until the first ten amendments, especially the 9th and 10th, were in place to limit the federal government.” And he commented on the new government, saying “As soon as the U.S. government went into operation, Hamilton and his Yankee friends, claiming that they were acting in behalf of ‘good government’ began to turn the government into a centralized power and a money-making machine for themselves by banks, tariffs, government bonds, and other paper swindles that would be paid for out of the pockets of the farmers who produced the tangible wealth of the country. To oppose this Macon accepted election to the U.S. House of Representatives for the Second Congress.” However, Dr. Wilson noted that “By the end of his life Macon had realized that the cause of republicanism was lost at the federal level, and also that the North was determined to exploit and rule the South. South Carolina tried in 1832 to use ‘nullification,’ state interposition, to force the federal government back within the limits of the Constitution. After he read Andrew Jackson’s proclamation against South Carolina, Macon told his friends that it was too late for nullification. The Constitution was dead. The only recourse was secession–…” These folks had it figured out by the 1830s that the Constitution was not going to work because no one was staying within the sphere of authority that was delegated to them. The checks and balances that were supposed to keep everyone where they belonged were just not being practiced. Each branch of the new government was doing what it wanted to do with no resistance from the other branches save a little breast-beating. It was only to get worse during the Lincoln administration, and worse yet during the “reconstruction” period, when Congress basically just did whatever they wanted. Johnson vetoed their indiscretions but they overrode that while the Supreme Court did little. Now we have a president (a would-be dictator for life if he could get away with it) who doesn’t even bother to consult Congress anymore. He just issues “executive orders” and rules like a Muslim potentate, so where are the checks and balances?

It’s all rhetoric, folks, that’s all it is. We have been lied to by so many for so long about so much, we wouldn’t recognize the truth if we saw it floating amongst all the political swill out there.

Three years ago, Mike Crane of Morganton, Georgia did a series in six parts called What Is States Rights? which you can still find on the Internet. Check out the website for the Southern Party of Georgia and read his comments. If that one is gone you can still find these articles on the League of the South website, probably in their archive. He observed: “In the very early days of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the delegates, the framers of the Constitution, made a deliberate and conscious decision to discontinue a federated form of government and to replace it…let me emphasize…REPLACE IT…with a national form of government in their deliberations. Let me emphasize what this means for the concept of States Rights…By the votes of May 30, 1787 the framers of the Constitution began debating the ultimate elimination of States Rights.”

There’s a lot more to all this and I would encourage everyone to check out Mike’s articles and see what he has to say. You can bet the farm that you will never get this material from what passes for history books today.

Part 2–More About Secession the “History” Books Haven’t Told Us

by Al Benson Jr.

It has been accurately asserted by author Gene H. Kizer Jr. that: “The arguments for the right of secession are unequivocal. There is the constitutional right based on the Compact Theory, and the revolutionary right based on the idea that a free people have a right to change their government anytime they see fit. The Compact Theory views the Constitution as a legal agreement between the states–a compact–and if any one state violates the compact, then the entire agreement becomes null and void. Northern states unquestionably violated the Constitution on a number of grounds including Personal Liberty Laws on their books, as well as by deliberately harboring fugitives from justice by protecting the sons of John Brown who were wanted by Virginia for murder at Harpers Ferry. Northern states also made a mockery of the Constitution’s Preamble which states clearly that the Constitution was established to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ and ‘promote the general Welfare.’ Certain prominent Northern leaders with the acquiescence of states like Massachusetts were utterly at war with the South and doing everything they could to destroy the domestic tranquility of the Southern states by encouraging slaves to murder white people, poison wells, destroy property and commit other acts of rapine. John Brown himself had been encouraged and financed by the North.”

I have, in the past, written about a group called The Secret Six, which financed Brown’s terrorist activities in both Kansas and Virginia. Of this group all, save one, was from New England and that one was from New York. An excellent book to read regarding this dismal period in our history is Otto Scott’s The Secret Six–The Fool as Martyr which is a biography of John Brown, and therefore deals with those that financed him in some detail. Another good work in this area worth reading, if you can find it is The Road to Harpers Ferry by J. C. Furnas. A couple years ago in my little newsletter The Copperhead Chronicle I did a series of biographical sketches on the Secret Six. Quite an interesting little group. One of them, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a Unitarian minister made the statement “I am always ready to invest money in treason…” I mention all this to demonstrate that the North had indeed broken the Constitutional Compact.

Walter Williams, a distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University has written on the secession question on a number of occasions. In his understanding secession is indeed legal. He noted at one point that before the War Between the States a constitutional amendment was proposed by some Northern congressman that would prohibit secession. He then points out that there would have been no point in offering such an amendment if secession had already been unconstitutional. You do have to admit that he has a point.

A few years ago the late Joe Sobran, (whom I assume that most people who read have heard of), wrote an article that appeared on http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org in which he noted that: “Our ultimate defense against the federal government is the right of secession. Yes, most people assume that the Civil War settled that. But superior force proves nothing. If there was a right of secession before that war, it should be just as valid now. It wasn’t negated become Northern munitions factories were more efficient than Southern ones.” And Sobran further observed, and I have to agree with him, that: “The original 13 states formed a ‘Confederation’ under which each state retained its ‘sovereignty, freedom and independence’.” The Constitution didn’t change this; each sovereign state was free to reject the Constitution. The new powers of the federal government were ‘granted’ and ‘delegated’ by the states, which implies that the states were prior and superior to the federal government. Even in The Federalist, the brilliant propaganda papers for ratification of the Constitution…the United States are constantly referred to as ‘the Confederacy’ and a ‘confederate republic,’ as opposed to a single ‘consolidated’ or monolithic state. Members of ‘a confederacy’ are by definition free to withdraw from it.”

Sobran noted that while Hamilton and Madison sincerely hoped secession would never happen, they didn’t deny that it was a possibility, and even if Madison didn’t like or agree with it, that doesn’t make it illegal.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1816: “If any state in the Union will declare that it prefers separation…to continuance in union…I have no hesitation in saying, ‘let us separate’.” Donald W. Livingston, a professor of philosophy at Emory University, and president of the Abbeville Institute, wrote in an article published in Chronicles magazine in October, 2010, that: “A state cannot retain sovereignty unless it has it, and in joining the Union no state renounced sovereignty. What motivates the nationalist theory is not an honest look at the historical founding of America, but political ambition legitimated by the philosophical theory of the modern unitary state. This ambition appears forcefully in Hamilton, who argued at the Philadelphia Convention for a president for life, a senate with members for life, appointed by the president, and state governors appointed by the president–in other words, monarchy by another name.” You have to wonder if any of those “you can’t get out of the Union no matter what” folks have something of this sort in mind. Those that seek to deny people their rights usually do have an agenda.

Secession–Not Just Southern and Not Just Secular

by Al Benson Jr.

Often when the issue of secession has been “historically” dealt with it has been done in such a manner as to give the impression that it was purely a Southern political phenomenon. Clearly our present establishment “historians” love to have it so. As usual, there is a little more to the story than what they are pleased to tell us.

Lots of people other than Southerners, in years gone by, admitted the right of secession in this country. Well-known anti-slavery American jurist Joseph Story admitted the right of a state to withdraw from the Union. Judge Story stated: “The obvious deductions which may be, and indeed have been drawn, from considering the Constitution as a Compact between the States, are, that it operates as a mere treaty, or convention between them, and has an obligatory force upon each State no longer that it suits its pleasures, or its consent continues;…and that each State retains the power to withdraw from the Confederacy, and to dissolve the connection, when such shall be its choice;…” So it would seem that Judge Story thus admitted the right of a state to secede.

Thomas Jefferson believed in the right of state secession, and, according to Alexander H. Stephens, the Kentucky Resolutions fully established this.

Even ultra-nationalist Alexander Hamilton was forced, by his own admission, to admit that the right of state secession existed. In regard to Hamilton, Alexander Stephens, who was named after him, wrote: “Even Mr. Hamilton must have believed that this right was incident to the systems; for in his urgent appeals to Mr. Jefferson, as early as 1790, for his influence with members of Congress, in aid of the bill for the assumption of the States debts, he presented the strong reason, that if the measure should not pass, there was great danger of a secession of the members from the creditor States, which would end in ‘a separation of the States.’…he was Secretary of the Treasury. Would he have urged such an argument if he had not believed that those States had a right to withdraw?” That’s an interesting question that those nationalists today of the Hamilton stripe might consider addressing themselves to–then again, maybe not.

And William Rawle, U.S. District Attorney under George Washington, said: “The Union is an association of the people of Republics; its preservation is calculated to depend on the preservation of those republics…It depends on the State itself, to retain or abolish the principle of representation; because it depends on itself, whether it will continue a member of the Union. To deny this right, would be inconsistent with the principles on which all our political systems are founded;…”

Even DeToqueville addressed the secession question. He had stated: “The Union was formed by the voluntary agreement of the States; and these, in uniting together, have not forfeited their Nationality, nor have they been reduced to the condition of one and the same people. If one of the States chose to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be difficult to disprove its right of doing so,…”

Even utopian socialist Horace Greeley, no real friend of the South, said that: “The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nonetheless;…We hope never to live in a Republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.” It could be that Mr. Greely didn’t really understand the motives of Abraham Lincoln, who had, himself, recognized the right of secession in early 1848–conveniently, just before the onslaught of the socialist revolts in Europe! Again, for more about that read Lincoln’s Marxists.

To be continued.