What Libertarians Don’t Tell You About the Constitution

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Libertarians talk about the constitution with a confidence that intimidates many ordinary Americans into withdrawing from public debate about America’s founding principles. Many Americans are bewildered when libertarians quote a clause in the constitution that prohibits something as essential as the CIA or Social Security. They instinctively know that these absurd claims cannot be right; but they lack the knowledge to confront libertarians about the constitutionality of our government’s activities. This article is intended to give ordinary Americans an understanding of some of the clauses that libertarians will selectively fail to mention, so that they can argue with confidence in support of the government institutions and policies that they hold dear.

The Interstate Commerce Clause

This states that the Federal government has a duty to “regulate interstate commerce”. This explicitly authorizes the Federal Government to control the activities of people and organisations operating across multiple states. This also includes people who engage in interstate activities via virtual networks, which include making phone calls and purchasing products online. If an individual or organisation is engaging in any interstate activity whatsoever, the Federal government is authorized to create laws regulating their activities.

The General Welfare Clause

This states that the Federal Government has a duty to “promote the general welfare” of its citizens. This clause allows our democratically elected congress to write legislation benefiting selected citizens and organisations. The welfare state and legislation such as the affordable healthcare act is explicitly authorized by this clause. The general welfare clause also authorizes congress to purchase products and services from selected private contractors, and in addition provide financial and legal assistance to private companies that play a key role in the American economy.

Conclusion

These two omissions from the libertarian constitutional repertoire demonstrate how libertarians intentionally deceive their fellow Americans and promote their childish nihilistic vision of the world. Ordinary Americans are starting to stand up for progressive principles that they believe in such as gun control and universal healthcare, despite the desperate attempts of right wing fanatics to silence any discourse. Thanks to the efforts of many constitutional scholars and our supreme court, America is rapidly progressing and becoming a truly liberal constitutional democracy.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’d rate it a zero, but that does not appear to be an option. Your arguments for the state to control all activities across stats’ borders or between states wholly ignores the meaning and definition of the “Interstate Commerce Clause”. Interstate means between states, and commerce means business activities, which does not mean all activities. There are similar (glaring) fallacies with your argument for the “General Welfare Clause.”

  2. The whole article is a fallacy. The word democracy didnt even make it into the constitution. Our nation was founded on the ideas of a Republic which respects the rights of individuals not groups. A constitutional democracy is a misnomer, and why, if it was the intent of the framers, did it take 240 years to progress into this form of government, if it was what they intended in the first place? Perhaps its because it took that long to demolish their original intent.

    • Gelton, I am afraid you have been misled by Justice Scalia and a handful of reactionary scholars into thinking that the “original intent” of the founding fathers is meaningful in the art of constitutional interpretation. Our leading legal academics and most properly-educated people understand that the Constitution is a “living document” that the wise women and men of the Supreme Court must interpret in the context of the times in which we live.

  3. Finally someone is taking on the constitutionalist sociopaths who can always find a loophole and prevent the authorities deal with important issues; like raw milk, or “Liberty” Dollars.

    • Yes indeed. The government has decided raw milk is bad for us. They have every right to prohibit it and send armed agents to deal with people who refuse to obey the law.

      It is for our own good. We should always obey the government.

  4. Funny how this guy cites the TWO BIGGEST fake lying loopholes that congress uses to justify everything.

    Look.. if those two things granted the federal government unlimited powers like you seem to think it does, then tell me WHY did they bother writing anything else and just say “The federal government can regulate anything and do anything it wants”?!

    Besides, those things do NOT supercede the enumerated powers. At the MOST generous reading you might use these to justify something that IS listed in the enumerated powers, but outside of those listed everything else STILL BELONGS to the states and the people and not the federal government not matter how many loopholes you think there are…the Constitution clearly states what the federal government can and not participate in.

    Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the seventeen powers specifically enumerated to the Constitution and this supercedes any of what you have given.

    – The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common -Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    – To borrow on the credit of the United States;

    – To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    – To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    – To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    – To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    – To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    – To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    – To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    – To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

    – To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    – To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    – To provide and maintain a Navy;

    – To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    – To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    – To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    – To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

    – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Unless there is a constitutional amendment granting more powers, then only these things listed are in the domain of the federal government.

    Funny how you seem to want to ignore that clear fact.

    • Nixfu, I think you accidentally might have left some powers out. The part you quote says the government can have armies and a navy, but doesn’t say anything about the Air Force. (I’m pretty sure the Marines are part of the Army, right? So they would be OK.)

  5. Our government is wise and better educated than the people. If the government decides that guns should be prohibited and that our private conversations monitored to keep us safe then we should obey the government.

  6. One need only actually do a little research to learn that this post is wholly false:

    Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11, 22 (1905) (“Although that Preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution, it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments.”).

    The Supreme Court kinda blew a hole in the General Welfare argument. But hey, why let a few things like the truth and some facts get in the way of the point you want to make.

  7. This blog is the worst garbage I’ve ever read. Ever. I’ve seen five articles, each astounding me more than the last. Someone called it “The Twilight Zone” which is I suppose the best I can summarize. It just makes me feel so dirty that people like this are running our government. I don’t know whether to puke or cry.

    • Puking and crying, as a result of reading a blog post, are hardly the product of a stable and happy psyche. I highly suggest that you visit a certified psychiatrist with impeccable credentials.
      We elect these officials that govern us. They are therefore, the most qualified, smartest, wisest and most just among us. They also come from the most illustrious schools in the world that have a proven track record, reputable studies say, of producing peerless leaders and innovators. We can count on them to always do the right thing because we are Americans and we elect them. They are government employees who sacrifice their time so that we can all be happy. They wouldn’t DARE abuse our trust.

  8. And didn’t that Interstate Commerce Commission work out just so well? And you might want to take a gander at Jefferson’s comments about the general welfare clause, in case you were curious about the original intent. But I don’t get that you are very curious.