The Anti-Federalists Were Right

Authored by Ilana Mercer via The Mises Institute,

On the eve of the federal convention, and following its adjournment in September of 1787, the Anti-Federalists made the case that the Constitution makers in Philadelphia had exceeded the mandate they were given to amend the Articles of Confederation, and nothing more.

The Federal Constitution augured ill for freedom, argued the Anti-Federalists. These unsung heroes had warned early Americans of the "ropes and chains of consolidation," in Patrick Henry's magnificent words, inherent in the new dispensation.

At the very least, and after 230 years of just such "consolidation," it’s safe to say that the original Constitution is a dead letter.

The natural- and common law traditions, once lodestars for lawmakers, have been buried under the rubble of legislation and statute. However much one shovels the muck of lawmaking aside, natural justice and the Founders' original intent remain buried too deep to exhume.

Consider: America’s Constitution makers bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. The Constitution gives Congress only some eighteen specific legislative powers. Nowhere among these powers is Social Security, civil rights (predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights), Medicare, Medicaid, and the elaborate public works sprung from the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses.

There is simply no warrant in the Constitution for most of what the Federal Frankenstein does.

The welfare clause stipulates that "Congress will have the power … to provide for the general welfare." And even though the general clause is followed by a detailed enumeration of the limited powers so delegated; our overlords, over decades of dirigisme, have taken Article I, Section 8 to mean that government can pick The People's pockets and proceed with force against them for any perceivable purpose and project.

Today, Federal courts are in the business of harmonizing law across the nation, rather than allowing communities to live under laws they author, as guaranteed by The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

In American federalism, the rights of the individual are secured through strict limits imposed on the power of the central government by a Bill of Rights and the division of authority between autonomous states and a federal government. States had been entrusted with the power to beat back the federal occupier and void unconstitutional federal laws. States' rights are "an essential Americanism,” wrote Old Rightist Frank Chodorov. The Founding Fathers as well as the opponents of the Constitution agreed on the principle of divided authority as a safeguard to the rights of the individual."

Duly, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison perfected a certain doctrine in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. "The Virginia Resolutions,” explains historian Thomas E. Woods, Jr., “spoke of the states' rights to 'interpose' between the federal government and the people of the states; the Kentucky Resolutions used the term nullification — the states, they said, could nullify federal laws that they believed to be unconstitutional." Jefferson," emphasizes Woods, "considered states' rights a much more important and effective safeguard of people's liberties than the 'checks and balances' among the three branches of the federal government."

And for good reason. While judicial review was intended to curb Congress and restrain the executive, in reality, the unholy judicial, legislative and executive federal trinity has simply colluded in an alliance that has helped to abolish the Tenth Amendment.

You know the drill, but are always surprised anew by it. Voters pass a law under which a plurality wishes to live. Along comes a U.S. district judge and voids the law, citing a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

For example: Voters might elect to prohibit government from sanctioning gay marriage. A U.S. district judge voids voter-approved law for violating the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. These periodical contretemps around gay marriage are perfectly proper judicial activism heralded by the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet not even conservative constitutional originalists are willing to cop to the propriety of it all. If the Bill of Rights was intended to place strict limits on federal power and protect individual and locality from the national government — the Fourteenth Amendment effectively defeated that purpose by placing the power to enforce the Bill of Rights in federal hands, where it was never intended to be. Put differently, matters previously subject to state jurisdiction have been pulled into the orbit of a judiciary.

The gist of it: Jeffersonian constitutional thought is no longer in the Constitution; its revival unlikely.

As ardent a defender of the Constitution as constitutional scholar James McClellan was — even he conceded, sadly, that the Constitution makers were mistaken to rely on the good faith of Congress and their observance of the requirements of liberty, to rein in an Über-Presidency in the making. Nor has Congress prevented the rise of a legislating bureaucracy (the Deep State?) and an overweening judiciary — a judiciary that has, of late, found in the Constitution a mandate to compel commerce by forcing individual Americans to purchase health insurance on pains of a fine.

Meanwhile, John G. Roberts Jr., a “conservative,” rewrote Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and then proceeded to provide the fifth vote to uphold the individual mandate undergirding the law, thereby undeniably and obscenely extending Congress's taxing power.

“[B]uried in the constitutional thickets” are “huge presidential powers,” conceded historian Paul Johnson, in his History of the American People. The American president “was much stronger than most kings of the day, rivaled or exceeded only by the ‘Great Autocrat,’ the Tsar of Russia (and in practice stronger than most tsars). These powers were not explored until Andrew Jackson’s time, half a century on, when they astonished and frightened many people.”

These days, the toss-up in any given election is between submitting to the Democrats’ war on whites, the wealthy, and Wal-Mart, or being bedeviled by the Republicans’ wars on the world: Russia, China, Assad and The Ayatollahs. Or, suffering all the indignities listed — and more — in the case of candidates like Hillary Clinton.

The words of Republican office seekers notwithstanding — for most promise constitutionalism — a liberty-lover’s best hope is to see the legacy of the strongman who went before overturned for a period of time. In the age of unconstitutional government — Democratic and Republican — the best liberty lovers can look to is action and counteraction, force and counterforce in the service of liberty.

Having prophesied that Philadelphia was the beginning of the end of the freedoms won in the American Revolution, our Anti-Federalist philosophical fathers fought to forestall the inevitable. For that we must salute them.


Cognitive Dissonance ACP Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:08 Permalink

There was a limit imposed. Income was not, and is not, supposed to be taxed at the Federal level. But then they jammed thru the Federal Income Tax, along with the Fed, and it has been all down hill since.Now because they are so firmly entrenched, to remove those laws would be considered a national security issue and even the Supreme Court would prevent it, regardless of the fact it is unconstitutional.The beast has grown so large it cannot be restrained from within. Period.

In reply to by ACP

Tallest Skil ACP Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:50 Permalink

How's this for fixing that?Federal Spending AmendmentThe Sixteenth Amendment is hereby repealed. Congress shall adopt a preliminary fiscal year budget no later than the first Monday in May for the following fiscal year, and submit said budget to the President for consideration. Shall Congress fail to adopt a final fiscal year budget prior to the start of each fiscal year, which shall commence on October 1 of each year, and shall the President fail to sign said budget into law, an automatic, across-the-board, 5 percent reduction in expenditures from the prior year’s fiscal budget, as well as the revocation of the wages of all Congressmen, shall be imposed for the fiscal year in which a budget has not been adopted.Total outlays of the federal government for any fiscal year shall not exceed its receipts for the fiscal year. Total outlays of the federal government for each fiscal year shall not exceed 17.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product for the previous calendar year. Congress may provide for a one-year suspension of one or more of the preceding sections in this Article by a three-fifths vote of both Houses of Congress, provided the vote is conducted by roll call, in the full body of the Congress. In the event that a member is indisposed, a proxy must be sent. The vote sets forth the specific excess of outlays over receipts or outlays over 17.5 percent of the Nation’s gross domestic product. The limit on the debt of the United States held by the public shall not be increased unless three-fifths of both Houses of Congress shall provide for such an increase by roll call vote, in the full body of the Congress. In the event that a member is indisposed, a proxy must be sent. This Amendment shall take effect in the fourth fiscal year after its ratification.

In reply to by ACP

shoWTHyme ACP Wed, 08/09/2017 - 22:37 Permalink

"None of this amendmend shit matters because the government can't oppress without MONEY."Nah, the government can't oppress without a standing army and a milita stripped of its teeth.It's not the welfare state that has destroyed the USA, it's the military. As predicted.This should sound familiar: "He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures."

In reply to by ACP

Common_Law The Wizard Wed, 08/09/2017 - 20:53 Permalink

If anyone wants more info on this very important topic, I've found to be the best.Interesting factoid, your right to freely contract can trump all your other rights. Because you always read those terms and conditions right? They don't even have to be presented to you. You're just legaly "presumed" to know them. Like shrink wrap and click wrap contracts in tech.

In reply to by The Wizard

The Wizard Common_Law Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:27 Permalink

Breaking the government presumption of being a 14th amendment citizen is almost impossible. When it is brought up to a judge, they look at you like a deer looking into headlights or don't want to hear it and skip right over it. Many have heard it but don't have the intellect to process or debate it.This is a great article and a topic I have been speaking of for years. Centralized govt. and FED have made us debt slaves.

In reply to by Common_Law

detached.amusement The Wizard Thu, 08/10/2017 - 11:01 Permalink

The illegitimate 14th amendment did not quite so much create citizenship status for slaves so much as created a whole entire new underclass of citizen subject that all unconnected citizens were implicitly subjected to, where none truly agreed to such.By virtue of this new underclass and the position in the structure of the corporations that are the "Unites States," this is where the 16th took its power from - since you, the underclass, have "no standing" to challenge any of the corporate rules and regulations.

In reply to by The Wizard

rejected The Wizard Wed, 08/09/2017 - 22:11 Permalink

The 14th amendment was not ratified. All the Southern States were forced to ratify the amendment at gun point with Union Army troops in the capitol building before being forced to rejoin the now mandatory union. Since they weren't in the union when the vote occurred then their ratification doesn't count.

In reply to by The Wizard

The Wizard Wed, 08/09/2017 - 19:49 Permalink

The educational system gives little to no recognition of the anti-Federalist Papers. Assuming it provides a bit of American history it will promote The Federalist Papers.The true founders of this country were the anti-Federalists and its original Constitution, The Articles of Confederation.

New_Meat The Wizard Wed, 08/09/2017 - 20:07 Permalink

Wiz, I'm with you on some parts of this.  So, let's review the bidding:Articles of Confederation were mighty weak.  They couldn't even keep farmers here in the Commowealth from paying taxes when turning corn into wiskey so it would have a) value added and b) be easier to transport to c) a much more demaning market.  That demonstrable weakness, plus the Continental Debt (hmmmm) lead to the rather vigorous discussion in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers.Articles of Confederation were essentially DOA, took a while to find the dead body.  Of course, the alternative was ... what??? at that time it was dissolution of all the things that had just been settled....Fast forward to today's education system, piece of shit that it is, just another reason to hate on Billy and ol' Bern.  It doesn't recognize anything earlier than after TR Progressive and WW Progressive and blanks out Calvin Coolidge (among the top five Presidents of the USA--Bring it On Bitchez)....Above, is btw, basically what I learned in 8th Grade History.  Mr. Fitz allowed me to get away with using also "whiskey" in a test.So, yes, the True Founders did do the Articles of Confederation, but those proved to be unworkable.Current system is proving to be as workable as the people (using the Constitution) wish it to be.  Especially v. the "Deep State", the "Entrenched Burezucracy", etc. wish it to be.  The '16 election was a bit surprising to the entrenched crowd.  Mighty glad about that--life in the Capital District has been way too easy.Shazam!- Ned

In reply to by The Wizard

The Wizard New_Meat Wed, 08/09/2017 - 20:37 Permalink

If the history prof discussed the Articles of Confederation, the common theme was they were weak because they were an obstacle to trade between the states. The states were countries unto themselves under the Articles. There is nothing wrong with such a concept and many wish it is where we should be today.The argument of AoC being weak holds water if one is a centrist and was for the removal of states being an ultimate authority. We have discovered why the anti-Federalists were right based on an observation of DC becoming the out of control central authority. As DC became more powerful and aggressive the states and the people lose their hold on politicians and any power the people may have had is gone.For example, immigration should not be determined by some agency in DC who doesn't live with the immigrants on a daily basis. Immigration should be determined by the local communities. People who live with them. If the people fit in an assimilate, the community will gladly welcome them.Today some have said that we may end up going back to having states or regions succeed from the central govt. IMO, California is welcome to leave.

In reply to by New_Meat

New_Meat The Wizard Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:05 Permalink

Wiz, you're on a right track, except for a couple of things.  First, Mr. Fitz was my Eighth Grade History Teacher.  Billy Ayers is vomiting (I hope) at this.The argument that the AofC is weak is evident.  Gitcher' head outta' ur ass.  That was 200 years ago and it is "settled".  Baked into the cake.  Carved into stone.  Question is, what do we do into the future.One might hope that the "states or regions succeed."  I certainly do.  I do for every one of them.Whether they seceed?Another question.- Ned

In reply to by The Wizard

sk0r9y0s The Wizard Thu, 08/10/2017 - 00:21 Permalink

We all learned of Shays Rebellion yes?! Federal govt was neccessary for defence, tranquility, and welfare  "As DC became more powerful and aggressive the states and the people lose their hold on politicians and any power the people may have had is gone."..and yet..states can still sue the federal govt and stop  unjust religious based travel bans

In reply to by The Wizard

rejected New_Meat Wed, 08/09/2017 - 22:00 Permalink

They couldn't even keep farmers here in the Commowealth from paying taxes when turning corn into wiskey so it would have a) value added and b) be easier to transport to c) a much more demaning market. Well the great Constitution and its first President fixed that problem... President Washington sent the Military up to put down that Whiskey Rebellion.  Those farmers, after fighting for years to keep from paying excessive taxes to a government 4000 miles away now paid excessive taxes to a government 400 miles away.Then that fine constitution burned down half the country in 1860. After that it replaced the States Militia with a standing army reserve. Then the 16th amendment to tax Americans any way it wanted. Then it removed States control of the Senate and sovereignty with the 17th. Then it destroyed Americas real money system with the Federal Reserve System. Then it again sent the army to put down the Bonus Protesters wanting the bonus money congress promised them for joining the service. Then confiscated our gold. Then started eating away at our right to own firearms. Then took us off the gold system to a pure worthless fiat system. Then finished off all the Bill of Rights when Digital came on line by spying on everything we do. And today the Constitutional Republic under the NDAA can incarcerate anyone for any reason,,, Under the Justice System the Coppers can kill us at will and rob us blind without any charges.Yes,,, I'd say looking at it from your perspective the Constitution was a bell ringer for liberty.

In reply to by New_Meat

sk0r9y0s The Wizard Thu, 08/10/2017 - 00:14 Permalink

James Madison heard out the #AntiFederalists concerns. That's why we have the Bill Of Rights. So you don't support a united federal military?!..because I think that was the main driver of federalism Its kind of hypocritical for a conservative to say they hate large govt...yet support the largest military complex in the world don't you think?

In reply to by The Wizard

LindseyNarrate… (not verified) Wed, 08/09/2017 - 19:50 Permalink

So, "everyone" knows, and ADMITS, that our nation has succumbed to an out-of-control bureaucracy, so what can be done about this untenable situation, at-this-point, since "everyone" STILL WANTS THE BENEFITS OF SAID OUT-OF-CONTROL BUREAUCRACY? What a fucking conundrum, isn't it? ... Lindsey

Beowulf55 LindseyNarrate… (not verified) Wed, 08/09/2017 - 21:07 Permalink

Personally........the only way out of this mess now, short of a bloody civil war, is a total global economic collapse.  Not going to be pretty but it will give us a chance to start over again and correct our mistakes.It will weed out the weak, incompetent, lazy, entitled, and dindus for sure and make it easier to spot the sociopaths through my rifle scope.

In reply to by LindseyNarrate… (not verified)

detached.amusement LindseyNarrate… (not verified) Thu, 08/10/2017 - 11:22 Permalink

You dont appear to understand.  This only gets resolved by the dissolution of the "United States" because what exists will not ever change itself substantially enough by this point in the game - the blocks have been erected and the rotten core well guarded.Only the economic collapse and secession of various states will correct the abuses foisted upon the American people by the central banks, MIC, and other various monied interests.

In reply to by LindseyNarrate… (not verified)