We’re the last hope of mankind. If
America falls, civilization falls.
History and Paper
by A.X. Perez
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
Two bits of Post-Civil War history.
In reaction to the Jim Crow Laws passed to essentially re-enslave Black Americans in all but name the Radical Republican Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, at least according to the official version of history, Andrew Johnson vetoed it on the grounds that it was unconstitutional, again the official version. Congress overrode the veto and then had an attack of IQ (rare for Congress), realized he was right, and wrote the 14th Amendment to guarantee Black citizenship and civil rights, stripping the states of the power to determine citizenship and civil rights. They also stuck language in it punishing the South for the Civil War, which led to President Johnson advising the Southern Stares not to ratify the 14th Amendment. Again, all this is the official version. The real version is that the Radical Republicans got a chance to strengthen the power of Yankee industrialists as America’s ruling class and went for it.
The important point for this essay is that officially the Constitution was amended to achieve the desirable effect of guaranteeing all Americans their rights under the law ( one of the examples used when I studied and started to teach US History was the individual right to keep and bear arms, but that’s another story.).
Second lesson, derived from Texas history. The government established in Texas during Reconstruction was extremely activist. Whether or not any of its goals were desirable was less important to Texans than the fact that these goals were being imposed on them by a bunch of scalawags and carpetbaggers. One major result was that when Reconstruction was ended in Texas a new state constitution was passed that strictly limited the power of the state. As a result, 507 amendments have been made to the Texas Constitution to get anything done.
If desired, desirable, and laudable goals requiring the exercise of governmental power must be achieved by passing a law that is currently unconstitutional amend the Constitution.
When I heard President Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court being grilled on how she would rule in certain cases it dawned on me, if the Progressives are so convinced that Obamacare, for example, is necessary for the well-being of the American people and survival of the Republic, why don’t they pass the necessary amendment to the Constitution. Not a 1200 page long detailed bill . but maybe a 180 word long amendment authorizing legislation calling for government assured health care.
Why is the Progressive faction so opposed to trying to amend the Constitution to achieve what they believe are just goals that violate the Constitution? They weren’t during Reconstruction. They weren’t in the late 19th and early 20th Century. They weren’t in the 1960’s. But now they want to pass any law they please and have judges in place who will rule them constitutional, whether or not they really are.
Are they concerned their goals are not all that just? Are they concerned they don’t have the votes? Or are they simply power drunk despots who want to reduce the Constitution to just another piece of paper?
There’s a thing about pieces of paper. The difference between free love and adultery is a divorce decree. That’s just a piece of paper, but it can be the difference between just fucking with somebody or fucking them figuratively as well as literally.
Maybe the Modern Progressives intentions for us all are figurative.
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