A Letter to The Wall Street Journal,
"Happy Constitution Day,
if You Can Keep It"

about a column by Judge Don Willett,
September 13, 2018, page A19

"Letters to the Editor"
The Wall Street Journal

Dear Sirs:

Judge Don Willett addressed the caution of Benjamin Franklin, that we have a Republic, “if you can keep it.” I would assert that we already have not kept it. In fact, we have disastrously lost it.

The New Deal Supreme Court ruled that the “general welfare” clause [of the Constitution] means that the federal government can spend money on anything, and that the “interstate commerce” clause means that the federal government can regulate anything that “affects” interstate commerce.

As it happens, this interpretation of “general welfare” was proposed to President Washington by Alexander Hamilton. Both Jefferson and Madison sharply disputed it. Madison said that such an interpretation “would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” While Jefferson said that the interpretation would render the Constitution “nugatory.” This is what has happened.

The New Deal interpretation of the “commerce clause,” of course, would give the federal government the power to do anything, as was candidly admitted not long ago by Democratic Congressman Pete Stark of California. It has been suggested, without much argument, that the federal government could require all Americans to eat broccoli.

In sum, then, the New Deal rulings created a government of absolute and unlimited power, not the Constitutional government of limited and enumerated powers. As Jefferson said, and would say, “This is not the government we fought for.”

But our modern judges, like Judge Willett, literally do not seem aware that something has gone wrong, even with the evidence of corruption, feudal patronage, and arbitrary and irresponsible authority that are now practiced in the United States, under the complacent toleration of both major political parties, not to mention academia and the press.

It is a sad Constitution Day in 2018.

Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.

Other matters which the federal government has diverged from Constitutional government are:

  1. Starting in 1850, the federal government retained ownership of public lands in new States admitted to the Union. This violated the principle that all States be admitted to the Union under the same terms as the original 13 Colonies. But Texas was the last State admitted to the Union while retaining its own public lands -- which, of course, had never been under the jurisdiction of the federal government, since Texas had been an independent nation (1835-1846). Public lands under federal ownership or jurisdiction today include Indian Reservations, National Parks and Monuments, National Forests, Military reservations, and other lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

    Only Military reservations have anything to do with the Constitutional powers and duties of the federal government, with the provision that Indian Reservations correlate to the residual sovereignty of the Indian Nations, whose ownship is claimed by the Nations themselves, despite the power and control of the federal government over them. Otherwise, federal ownership is spurious, especially including National Forests and BLM lands, which were created on the false prinicple that their productive economic management required the control by the federal government. This Sovietizing nonsense has now been suplemented by the ideology and the practice of removing such lands from economic use, both for ostensibly environmental reasons but also often for reasons of vindicative political punishment, mainly directed against Republican Utah by Democratic Presidents (both Clinton and Obama).

    The unconstitutional and often malicious nature of federal ownership of public lands, almost exclusively in the West, has been a matter of occasional complaint by Western States and by local landowners, who sometimes are persecuted in attempts to get them to cede their own lands to federal reservations, along with denial of traditional use permits on public lands. Complaints about federal ownership were briefly conspicuous as the "Sagebrush Rebellion" in the 1980's, but this has died down; and today nothing seems to be done by the victimized States to recover their lands, even notionally. The Senators who might be expected to promote the rights and interests of their States in Congress are curiously quiet. Yet it is a blatant and vicious misuse of federal power.

  2. Since 1903 and the creation of the National Guard, the federal government has failed in its responsibility to provide for "a well regulated militia." This is discussed in relation to the recommendations of Machiavelli about armed citizens. The National Guard, of course, was created for purely racist reasons, to disarm Southern blacks, so that they could be terrorized by the Segregationist regimes of the Southern States. This was the origin of all "gun control," whose goals now are the peonage and defenselessness of all citizens, not just Southern black people. The response to the federal outrages and murders at Ruby Ridge and Waco was the attempt by citizens to restore the militias mandated by the Constitution; but Congress did nothing to legitimize and govern this movement, and the militias were regularly demonized by press and politicians as no more than racist hate-mongers. The irony of this is rich, since properly regulated militias were (unconstitutionally) discontinued in the first place for no more than racist reasons. Yet the people who accuse all and sundry of racism, every day, are curiously blind and silent when it comes to the origin of the National Guard. This reveals the origin of their project, which is tyranny with no real concern about racism.

Political Economy


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