Where Can I Get 535 Copies of the Constitution

Cheap? I want to mail a copy to each member of Congress with a note:

Dear Sir or Madam:

Please find attached a copy of the U.S. Constitution and its 27 Amendments.





Thank you for your attention.

UPDATE: On second thought, perhaps I should send them each a roll of this.

They’d be more likely to actually open it.

So the Evil Party Has a Near-Pyrrhic Victory

And the Stupid Party is gleefully rubbing their hands together, expecting to benefit from it.

Nazzofast, Guido.

As Randy Barnett noted,

If John McCain had been elected, we would have had something like this bill enacted last year in a bipartisan fashion – as was Social Security and Medicare. Such a bill would have been irreversible.

I’m not sure this one isn’t. Not by a long shot.

On the news all evening (as my wife kept flipping channels) there was story after story of how people had been denied care by insurance companies, or had lost their insurance and then come down with cancer or other disease, and this law was going to end all that! It’s a full-court press – the Media is selling this as the greatest thing since, well, MEDICARE! (Never mind that Medicare is insolvent.)

So, what happens if the Stupid Party wins a solid majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate?

I’m betting on “not much.” Because if the last twenty years has taught us anything, it’s that the Republicans’ only response to the Progressive Left is to offer half of whatever it is they want. In this, the Republicans seem much like they did in the fight against gun control – half again, half again, half again onward!

Eric Scheie of Classical Values said today:

I was born in 1954, and ever since my brain began laying down memories of what was going on, I have watched the relentless, steady, constant growth of Big Government — regardless of which party was in power.

Yet in all that time, this country has never had an honest debate over socialism. The word has been avoided for decades, but now that it is upon us, there is no avoiding it.

We need to have this debate. Badly. It’s so long overdue that I could scream.

With gun control we’ve stopped that, and rolled it back, and we’ve done it by taking the initiative rather than rolling with the punches. We had the debate, and we educated people. Now when an anti-gun editorial hits the web, the comments are overwhelmed by people countering with facts – at least until “Reasoned Discourse™” prevails.

Bill Whittle today made the point we all need to keep in mind – in real estate it’s location, location, location. In politics it’s the message, the message, the message. The Left dominates the legacy media, but they hold no such stranglehold over the New media, and the message must be something other than “half again, onward!” Bill said this:

What’s in a Big Mac? Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun! That’s what’s in a Big Mac. We have got to understand that saying NO! to this socialism is admirable and essential, but that from now on there has to be a counter-narrative to what these Marxists are selling, because like it or not the human brain is wired for stories — that’s how we learn (and why the real fight is not for Washington but rather Hollywood — but that’s a story for another time.)

If we want to win on health care, or any other issue, we need to have an answer to what they are selling and that answer needs to be as simple and comprehensive as the Big Mac slogan.

Our position on health care? Two tax incentives, health accounts, crossing state lines, tort reform, competition on an auto insurance bun. And if we don’t learn how to do this we will lose.

I think he’s right. And it will be our job to ensure that whoever gets elected does so either on this message, or they pick it up and run with it once in office.

No compromises, no half-measures. Repeal the damned thing, deal with the damage it caused, and pass something useful.

But with the Stupid Party?

I’m not holding my breath. I’m not being cynical, I’m being a realist.

A Republic, If We Can Keep It

I saw something at a discussion board the other day that literally terrified me. I should have saved a link, but I didn’t and can’t find it now, but the gist of it was this: In 2009, 35 state legislatures passed “nullification” resolutions, referencing the powers of the States over that of the Federal government as enumerated in the 10th Amendment, which states:

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

The author of the thread pointed out that Article V of the Constitution provides for two ways to alter or amend the founding legal document of our nation:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Thirty-five states exceeds the two-thirds requirement.

So, hey! Let’s call a Constitutional Convention! Then we can fix what’s wrong!

Ah, no.

Here’s where my pragmatic side conflicts with my idealistic side.

Now, if you’ve read this blog for very long, you know that I deeply admire Bill Whittle for his ability to express things so simply, vividly and eloquently when it comes to this nation, its people and our political system. Just recently (elsewhere) I was given cause to cite from his essay Freedom:

This, to my mind, is the fundamental difference between the Europeans and the U.S.: We trust the people. We fought wars and lost untold husbands and brothers and sons because of this single most basic belief: Trust the people. Trust them with freedom. Trust them to spend their own money. Trust them to do the right thing. Trust them to defend themselves. To the degree that government can help, great – but TRUST THE PEOPLE.

Stirring words.

But trust them with what? Trust them to run their own lives. Trust them to take care of themselves.

Trust them to not muck up their own system of government? Not so much.

The original form of our tripartite government is a paean to humanity’s lack of trustworthiness when it comes to wielding power over others. Our Founders recognized this characteristic of humankind and made provisions against abuse that worked pretty well for about a hundred years, give or take. But just as you can’t make anything idiot-proof because they keep making better idiots, the safeguards in our Constitution eventually failed because the power-hungry just can’t stop tinkering. If there’s a barrier, they will find a way over, under, around, or if need be through – and if they are not slapped down, hard, every time they get caught, they will keep trying until they eventually succeed. We know this.

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding. – Justice Louis Brandeis, dissenting, Olmsted v U.S.

Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before. – Rahm Emanuel

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants, it is the creed of slaves. – William Pitt the younger.

This is, after all, why human beings – small, weak, with no sharp teeth or claws to depend on, no natural venom or other physiological advantage – have become the dominant predator on the planet. We’re clever (though generally shortsighted) little apes, and we don’t give up.

This works both for and against us. Currently, “against” is winning.

At this point I urge you to read (or hopefully re-read) my essay The United Federation of Planets. Its topic is, essentially, philosophy as applied to American Politics. Then (re)read Restoring the Lost Constitution. (Those two ought to tie up the remainder of your weekend.)

There is nothing wrong with our current Constitution. Sure, I could see a couple of changes that would help with the “slapping down – hard” bit, but the problem isn’t with the document – it’s with US, the populace. Maybe it’s the side-effect of affluence, maybe it’s the clever plan of Rousseau’s followers, but this nation is no longer populated with a culture “born to freedom.” We’re now born to a cult of material well-being. Freedom is dangerous. Freedom is scary. Freedom is hard. We’re too comfortable to want that anymore, so we’re giving it up. Our culture has become the equivalent of the 35 year-old still living in his parent’s basement – we’re getting a Nanny State because that’s what too many of us want for the rest of us to be able to stop them.

It isn’t the Constitution that needs to be restored, it’s our desire to be free that we’ve lost.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hZ79RHOmeI&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&w=640&h=385]

And those of us who still have part, most, or all of that desire are only Albert Jay Nock’s “Remnant.” We can’t stop what’s happening. We are too few and too unpopular.

Quote of the Weekend

From Dr. Sanity:

This weekend is clearly going to be make or break for those of us who value freedom and don’t want to see America take a giant leap forward toward socialism and Big Government.

Like Charles Krauthammer, I believe that–by hook or crook(and undoubtedly it will be mostly crook), this terrible thing is going to be foisted on the American public, who clearly do not want it. But we will get it nonetheless, because we were so careless about who we elected; so mesmerized by empty rhetoric and so zombified by the promises of hopenchange.

I am pessimistic, but willing to be pleasantly surprised that there are still people of conscience and integrity who will stand against this health care tyranny.

If there aren’t, then this will truly be the beginning of a pathetic end for the American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I’ve seen this sentiment echoed all over the web the last couple of days. For the previous couple of weeks, there have been numerous references to the Declaration of Independence, specifically this passage:

. . . when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But I am reminded again of the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn:

In a state of psychological weakness, weapons become a burden for the capitulating side. To defend oneself, one must also be ready to die; there is little such readiness in a society raised in the cult of material well-being. Nothing is left, then, but concessions, attempts to gain time and betrayal.

and of the timeline apocryphally attributed to Alexander Tytler:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.

And, of course, de Tocqueville’s warning:

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.

Finally Heinlein’s observation:

The worst thing about living in the declining era of a great civilization . . . is knowing that you are.

It Happens Every Friday

This was first published in 2007, according to KnoxNews, and Michael Yon published it last November, but it’s the first I’ve seen it, and copyright be damned, I’m going to archive it here, too:

Fridays at the Pentagon

McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force
personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands
more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or
years in military hospitals.

This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate,
Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year long tour of
duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills
the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and
many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog
of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the “Media Matters for America”

“It is 110 yards from the “E” ring to the “A” ring of the Pentagon. This
section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is
broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the
corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all
crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands

“This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3 offices
line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate
conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other
for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

“Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air
conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

“The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. 10:36 hours: The
clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of
the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This
clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion
behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

“A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier
in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the
first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are
still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a
private first class.

“Captains, Majors, Lieutenant Colonels and full Colonels meet his gaze and
nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described
one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The
applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in
the burden … yet.

“Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the
wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think
deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is
pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

“Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his
peers: each private, corporal, or sergeant is assisted as need be, by a
field-grade officer.

“11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I
laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head: my hands
hurt…Please ! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after
soldier has come down this hallway- 20, 25, 30… Fifty-three legs come with
them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid

“They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a
private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the
generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their
chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this
hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and
smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of
them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

“There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing
her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her
husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had
never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have,
perhaps more than their wounded mid-20’s daughter, an appreciation for the
emotion given on their child’s behalf. No man or woman in that hallway,
walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few
cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of
the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the

“These are our men & women, broken in body they may be, but they are our
brothers & sisters, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every
single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

“Did you know that?

“The media haven’t yet told the story.”

Just . . . damn.

Quote of the Day – Whodathunkit Edition

This one comes from David Hardy:

I do know Jerry Brown. We went to law school together though we were not big buddies. And when I contacted him about supporting the pro-Second Amendment position in the McDonald case, he filed an influential pro-Second Amendment brief with the US Supreme Court. I know that he personally made the decision to do this, overruling his staff; and he wrote the brief himself. (He is an able lawyer.) When he was assailed by anti-gun forces, his response was that the 2d Amendment is a “civil rights issue.”Don Kates on the California gubernatorial race

Color me shocked.