Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”     Thomas Jefferson

August 15, 2007

All the “other” ones…

by Chris

I was inspried by comments from a friend yesterday, to think up a couple of “bumpersticker” type slogans in support of the second amendment.

Which do you think would make the better bumper sticker or t-shirt:

The Second Amendment: In case they “forget” the other ones

Or…

The Second Amendment: Defending the other ones since 1791

I had originally written “the other nine”, and I still think it sounds better, but it’s technically inaccurate since there are 27 amendments; even if most of those not in the bill of rights are essentially procedural in nature, not necessarily related to fundamental rights and liberties…

…Well that, and the fact that I’m fundamentally opposed to a lot of the amendments outside of the bill or rights, either in principle, in detail, in structure, or in language… including some amendments that a minarchist like myself might be expected to support

Why?

Well, let’s go though them. I oppose:

  • the 15th, 19th, and 24th amendments: Because they were unnecessary.

    Once slavery was made unconstitutional by the 13th amendment, then all citizens who were of age (21 at the time), of all races, sexes, backgrounds, prior conditions of servitude etc… should have automatically and clearly been allowed to vote under the 14th amendment, without any requirement for literacy or taxes.

    Any construal of the 14th amendment to the contrary, or any state laws to the contrary, should have been struck down by the supreme court under the 14th (and in fact they have been ever since. The 15th and 19th are generally ignored, and the 24th is usually invoked with dubious justification).

  • the 16th Amendment: Because it establishes a de-facto slavery to the government.

    Some taxes are of course necessary, however taxes on incomes, earnings, wages, and assets are fundamentally theft or slavery.

    Additionally, the 16th amendment was never properly ratified, and was enacted fraudulently; and has since its enactment been enforced fraudulently as well, because it authorizes taxes on income not on wages.

    Income, earnings, and wages are three different things by law and by centuries of precedent, but our government has chosen to treat the 16th amendment as if it authorizes all three. A tax on wages is involuntary servitude without compensation, the very definition of slavery.

  • the 17th amendment: Because it fundamentally unbalanced our federated system of checks and balances between state and federal power, in favor of the federal government to the harm of the interests and powers of the states and the people.

    The house of representatives was meant to represent the interests of the people as individuals, and the senate was meant to represent the interests of each state. This is why representatives are apportioned by population, but senators are apportioned two per state; and why senators were meant to be selected by the government of each state as they saw fit.

    We were founded as a representative federated republic; and direct election of senators has essentially removed the middle out of those three; much to the detriment of our nation; moving us closer and closer to a simple republic (which in a nation of our size, with such diverse interests geographically, would be an unmitigated disaster)

  • the 18th and 21st amendments: Because they address an issue that is not properly a matter of law, but of morality. Passing the 18th amendment was against the principles we founded our government on, and should never have happened. The 21st therefore shouldn’t have happened either.

    Additionally, the 21st established in blackletter law the ability for the states to make their own prohibitions, which shouldn’t have been a matter for the federal constitution to address, unless it was to prohibit such state laws to be made.

  • the 22nd amendment: Because term limits are also fundamentally wrong under our system of government.

    If the people are stupid enough to elect a scumbag over and over again; so long as that scumbag hasn’t been disqualified by unlawful actions, then they should be able to run as often as they like.

    In engineering (and in the military, which share a similar mindset towards problem solving), this type of law has a saying about it: this is a technical solution to a non-technical problem (also called a hardware solution to a software problem and other variations)

    The problem is that the people are electing people they “shouldn’t.” The solution is not to make electing those people illegal; it’s to educate the electorate better so they won’t want to elect people they shouldn’t.

  • the 23rd amendment: Because the District of Columbia either IS a state, or it is not; you can’t have it half way.

    Giving DC representation in congress, electors in presidential elections, or any kind of position on the national stage is ridiculous. We don’t allow New York City to have electors separate from it’s state government, why would we allow Washington to do so.

    This is not disenfranchisement, this is clearly a structural issue. A single city should not be given the status of a state in any way. We should either leave DC without representation (including in elections), give it back to Maryland, or make it a state, with all the attendant rights and responsibilities of the people within.

  • the 27th amendment: Because it is not a structural issue, which is what the constitution and it’s amendments are intended to address.

    Congress has the power to set it’s own rules, and it’s own policies, procedures, and compensation under article one section six. There is nothing in the constitution which prevents them from changing those rules once established.

    This amendment was essentially grandstanding by politicians saying “see, we’re so committed to “good government” and “reform” that we can’t vote ourselves a pay raise without an election; and we’ve even passed a constitutional amendment to prove it”.

    I would have no issue with this amendment if it were simply a matter of law and congressional procedure. It should never have been proposed or passed as an amendment.

So, of the 17 amendments after the bill of rights, 10 of them are unnecessary, badly worded, badly written, or just plain wrong.

Man… all that from thinking about bumper stickers.

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6 Comments

  1. Gotta disagree with you on a couple of things here.

    The Fifteenth Amendment was necessary because of the Dred Scot decision, which made it questionable whether blacks could be citizens at all. Better to write it in stone than to leave the question dangling — and open to interpretation by an activist court.

    And as for the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, I remind you that it is written on the same parchment as the Bill of Rights. If the drafters of those ten amendments felt it to be important enough to include, I’m willing to defer to them (although I’ll concede that the contrary argument can be made, given that there was also one other amendment submitted but not ratified — one that would increase the size of congress by a factor of 10 or more were it to be ratified today).

    Comment by Rhymes With Right — August 15, 2007 @ 12:23 pm
  2. I like option one for the bumber sticker. It’s a little more…”forceful”?

    Great post!

    Comment by sadcox — August 15, 2007 @ 12:42 pm
  3. I like option one as well. It’s got that nice combination of attention-grabbing forcefulness and sarcasm.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 15, 2007 @ 12:46 pm
  4. I disagree about the term limits though, I think the problem with term limits is that they aren’t extended to Congress as well. One of the primary arguments against term limits is that it keeps us from having experienced and competent politicians in charge. Having politicians with competence and experience gives stupid people reason to trust them with more power (something our Constitution tried to prevent). And that leads to the growth of government power and the eventual abuse of that power, which is contrary to everything libertarians believe in.

    Term limits for the presidency after all were set up in response to the unconstitutional abuses of power by FDR.

    Comment by UCrawford — August 15, 2007 @ 12:59 pm
  5. One point about the 27th. If I remember my reading correctly, that was actually one of the amendments originally cut from the Bill of Rights. I agree that it was grandstanding that got it through Congress, but its original purpose was to prevent corruption, probably one reason why it required an amendment in the first place.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — August 15, 2007 @ 1:19 pm
  6. My choice for a bumper sticker would be:

    The second amendment
    A natural right and a civic duty

    The second amendment is a civic duty, and it will be threatened as long as the general public is not prepared to respond to local officials who call up the militia. I believe the Swiss model of national defense to be far more in line with our Constitution than is our huge standing federal army and national guard. A national standing army and a disarmed general public was dreaded and feared by our founding fathers because it was the favored method of European monarchs of that time to exercise tyranny.

    Our public schools should educate centering on constitutionally outlined civic duties, one of which is the militia. Our schools should teach gun safety and marksmanship as required courses. It would make our schools safer. Shooting should be the number one sport and all schools should have a shooting range. It is more important than football. After school hours the general public should be allowed to use the range and buy ammo there dirt cheap. To have our schools be gun free zones demonstrates how anti-Constitution they are.

    We need to reinstate the local militia under the control of the local government and require all men 18 to 45 be active in regular training. I think most of them would love it.

    My personal view is that the second amendment outlines both a natural right and a civic duty. Both need to be strongly developed for the second amendment to function properly.

    Comment by John Clark — August 15, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

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