On the Constitution as a “Counter-Revolutionary” Act
A reader writes.
...Second, Billy called the Constitution a “counter revolutionary act”. I’ve been digesting that for the last week or so.
I believe I understand his contention and I agree with it.
Going back to Thoreau and “Government is best which governs least” I’m begining to think the time in which The Articles of Confederation were the law of the land might have been ideal. The federal government was completely ineffective. How was that a bad thing?
Having said that my friends redacted and redacted attended and pushed the Restore the Constitution Rally this last 4/19. And I am now genuinely conflicted. If I believe that the constitution was a counterrevolutionary act why would I want to restore it?
A little guidance would be much appreciated. (bold by ed.)
The reader refers to the statement in bold, above, from Billy Beck’s interview with Scott Ott, which I referenced here. I cannot, and more importantly, will not presume to speak for Billy Beck in this post. What follows are my extemporaneous thoughts, ideas, on the subject, with which individuals must then guide themselves.
Throughout history, individuals have suffered under the yoke of the State, in all of its various manifestations. From time to time during this history, individuals have come to the conclusion that enough is enough, and have rebelled against whatever various manifestation of the State they have suffered under, and revolutions result. Unfortunately, history empirically proves that every revolution has only temporarily relieved individuals’ suffering under the yoke of the State, as the “new” State achieves full awareness of its ability to force its will on individuals.
The individuals who were responsible for the writing of The Constitution of the United States of America, the founding fathers, admirable men all, did indeed perform a counter-revolutionary act, which still binds all American individuals today.
The founding of America was an exceptional event, a breaking away from a State, England, which, at the time, was the preeminent power in the world. But instead of simply creating a new era of freedom, liberty and opportunity for individuals, on a voluntary basis, the founding fathers brought into existence, through the Constitution, another form of a State, the “more perfect union.”
Now, this more perfect union did indeed provide relief to individuals from the State, the state of England, initially, but as with all manifestations of States, the relief was only temporary, as is evidenced by what individuals suffer under today in regards to the loss of individual freedom here in America. Incremental obesiance to the State.
This counter-revolutionary trend to found new States, control over individuals via force, immediately upon overthrowing individuals’ prior State masters, as I mentioned, is proved historically, both in secular and religious societies. The founding of America, is a prime example of this in secular society, and it can be seen in religious society, also, as I have touched on in posts such as this and this.
One can also consider this subject in an evolutionary light, I think. There is no doubt that man has evolved over time. Individuals are bigger, stronger, faster, healthier, etcetera, today, than they were thousands of years ago, but what of our minds? Our brains, which give us the ability to think, and reason, can also be considered to have been shackled by each manifestation of the various States which have come into and faded from existence over history.
Now, some may read these extempraneous musings and say, Venlet is nuts, what is hinted at, in these words, is anarchy, when in actuality they mean chaos. Indeed, voluntary cooperation between individuals can at times be chaotic, but woud not you rather have a bit of chaos to contend with, rather than the State’s force and threats?
Additionally, readers of these words may wonder at how this voluntary cooperation between individuals could actually work scaled up to the size of America. I cannot answer that question, definitively, as I wonder myself, but I can tell you this, it is only when I am assailed by the group, the State, am I threatened, because I am then denied the ability to only voluntarily participate, and my freedom has been qualified by the alleged majority.
I do not know if the above musings have provided any guidance, but I should think that they would give individuals something to think about.
One of my best friends is from Costa Rica.
An ex-girlfriend lives in Colombia.
I’ve been to both of these places.
From my experience CR’s government is so weak that streets don’t have a numbering system, or if try do it isn’t widely used. Also the roads are a mess. But people don’t reallly concern themselves with what the national government does on a regular basis.
In Colombia, the concept of a “state” seems to be strong with various prescriptions on individuals behavior (with many of them seemingly having an American influence, if not commanded by our state, War on Drugs I’m looking at you).
Having said that; corruption seems to be rampant and the state is too busy fighting a multiple party low grade civil war for the last 40 years to really get involved in anyone but the most serious offender’s business.
With the net effect of people in the US, “the freeest country in the world” having more regular interaction with the state on a daily basis than in either of these two places.
John: Great topic. I’ll link and then reply with my two cents at WRSA later tonight.Posted by concerned american on 05/16 at 02:29 PM
Part 1 of my reply. Ran out of time and gas tonight.Posted by concerned american on 05/17 at 06:33 PM
A while back I listened to a lecture by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel called The Constitution as Counter-Revolution. You might be interested in checking it out, as his thesis is that nationalists (Hamilton, Morris, etc.) basically betrayed the ideals of the revolution as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Pushing through the Constitution was their way of acquiring central commercial authority.
Here’s a link to the audio:
http://www.fee.org/audio/ysc/final ysc - jeffrey rogers hummel - the constitution as counter-revolution.mp3
Here’s a link to the PDF:
http://www.la-articles.org.uk/FL-5-4-3.pdfPosted by Longshot on 05/18 at 07:45 AM
“Individuals are bigger, stronger, faster, healthier, etcetera, today, than they were thousands of years ago”
I guess the question becomes which is more important, theoretical freedom (USA), or actual practical freedom?
Give me practical freedom, rather than theoretical.
Thanks for posting a link to your post, I’ve done a quick read, but need to spend some more time with the links you provided. After I do that, I’ll comment over at WRSA. Thanks again, as the topic is of interest.
Enjoyed Hummel’s essay, and the information presented. Thank you for providing the links.
It’s been awhile, nice to see a comment from you.
After reading the post you linked to, I don’t know if “absolutely not true” are words I would utilize to describe the limited data presented from the works mentioned. Empirically, humans are faster, and though our diets today may cause health issues, our advances in medical science allow a defeat of those issues resulting in longer lives. Like I state in my brief description of myself on the main page, I want to live to be 103, and I do have a chance. Thanks for linking to the piece.
...the Constitution and identify tenets that could have been written better, clearer, and even different. It is not perfect because it was not written by perfect men. None of us are.
I agree that none of us are perfect, but that does not prevent myself from striving to improve.
I think questioning it’s weaknesses is a phase that one needs to go through, kind of like Churchill’s feelings on developing…“Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” Once one gets through this phase, I think it is more important to realize that the Constitution, with all of its flaws, must be put up as a Standard.
I never went through the phases described by Churchill as I was raised very conservatively, and, more importantly, as I read more and more, from a young age, I thoroughly understood the fallacy of the ideology presented by individuals whose minds rejected reason in favor of utopian flights of fancy.
In regards to putting up the Constitution as “the Standard,” I think such a statement leads to a dogmatic acceptance, rather than a contemplative and reasoned analysis of how individuals can interact without the coercion of the State. You yourself allude to this, I think, when you state “It (the Constitution) was a courageous and noble experiment...”Posted by John Venlet on 05/20 at 10:24 AM
It may be possible that the Articles of Confederation were too weak (biased against a central controlling gov’t.) to allow us to survive as an independent nation in the early years, but the Constitution is too strong (biased for a central controlling Federal gov’t.) to allow us to survive as a coherent nation over the long haul.
Who or what is “the State”?
It is only those persons who believe they have some right to rule others. Coming to terms with that fact reveals no omnipotent/omnipresent/omniscient state, only would be tyrants, who are known by their actions.
There are many who believe “anarchy” (no ruler)to be synonymous with “chaos” (lack of order). The words have entirely different meanings; those who wish to remain in power attempt to maintain that power by corrupting the language and thought of others.
One question - how does the Constitution bind me?
“Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals; that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government; that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen’s protection against the government.”
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