The Trouble with the Constitution

I had been meaning to start this conversation for awhile and Matt Cockerill’s post “Constitutionalism Can Mean Statism” spurred me on. 

The liberty movement sometimes finds itself saying “Restore the Republic” by “Respect[ing] the Constitution.”  Fair enough, but restore which elements of the Republic and respect which parts of the Constitution?  1787? 1789? 1870? 1913?

Those of us who believe in liberty ought to emancipate ourselves from the illusion that statist America was created without amending the Constitution.

Liberty will not prevail over a tyrannical government until the guiding document is empowered to limit government once again.  I contend liberty was undermined in America in small flourishes of statist dominance.  The Revolution of 1913 added the 16th Amendement which created a federal income tax, thereby giving the government a limitless stake in what a citizen earns before he even chooses to use it.  The Revolution of 1913 also amended the Constitution to include the 17th Amendment, which broke the check against majoritarian appetites in Senate elections by using the popular vote instead of state legislature.  1913 also saw the creation of other great institutions for liberty like the Federal Reserve.

The 14th Amendment has been manipulated to give federal authority supremacy over the states’ power as well.  Austin Bramwell in Taki’s Magazine has a lucid explanation and debate with Kevin Gutzman over the unlimited power granted to the federal government by the 14th Amendment.

For liberty to thrive again, the vines of statism must be removed from the Constitution.

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