Constitutional fetishism

Remember the great and glorious Third Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
I am going out on a limb and saying that this Amendment has never been invoked against the US government since its founding, or maybe somebody can point me to some case from the extremely episodic War Between The States.

We forget that the Constitution, an admittedly cogent Enlightenment-era document, really was a creature of its times. Having a bunch of drunken soldiers sprawled in your living room, leering at your daughter and barking commands at your wife would loom large in a colonist's mind. In 2016, the notion seems very quaint. Besides, if the US military rolled into town to put down a tax protest, the government would just exercise its eminent domain powers to kick you out of your house, with the blessing of federal judges and the Constitution. Actually, the Amendment just means Congress has to pass a law to quarter soldiers in your house.

Remember Art. I, Sec. 8 under Congress's enumerated powers?

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

Which, as we all know, gives businesses the right to hire the US Pension, er, Postal Service to distribute their corporate marketing materials at subsidized rates.

In a nation of 320 million with satellite communications and any number of competing delivery services the USPS could surely be shut down, and FedEx or UPS would tell the few households living away out in the sticks that they and not their more sensibly located neighbors will bear the cost of a 10-mile trek into town for their deliveries. The broke, busted USPS could be decommissioned by reading Sec. 8 as a list of permissive powers, not as a mandate, which was surely the original intent, but the men who wrote the document are no longer around to tell us that was the original intent. Therefore, the Constitution means whatever nine government lawyers say it means.

This odd dynamic turns elections into winner-take-all contests over existential issues. Once the winners can seize the levers of State power and install their own judges to say what the Constitution means, they can do whatever the hell they want, same as any old despot. The Constitution is just words on paper; it's not a talisman and doesn't actually conserve anything.

Conservatives need to get over their fetish with the Constitution. It's become a ghost shirt they put on and dance around in, hoping the old gods will come back and drive the evil Liberals back into the sea. They would be better served by just being honest and saying they want that old America that was 85% Anglo-European.


patrick kelly said…
I'm not sure I want a certain % of white people, but I do want white people in charge. As ethnic Irish I'd prefer serving white masters.

Jeffrey S. said…
The problem with your theory about an 85% Anglo/Northern European America (which would be nice, I agree) is that this same America (the once 85% Anglo/Northern European America) that let is all go to hell. They were the ones who gave us the Progressives and decided to ditch the original meaning of the Constitution in the first place (not to mention let in the first wave of non-Northern European immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century.) They also let a country like Great Britain become Socialist -- before it was transformed by immigration over the past 20 years. So having lots of Anglo people is no guarantee those people will be fans of capitalism, traditional morality, individual liberties, etc.
Twarog said…
"Therefore, the Constitution means whatever nine government lawyers say it means."

If "Constitutional Conservatives" were really serious about the constitution and conservatism, they'd be talking about nullification and court-stripping. (Just as the Bible never mandates Sola Scriptura as an exigetical method, judicial review is nowhere explicitly enumerated in the constitution as a power of the Supreme Court, except as an interpolation from Article III, Section 2. There was at least as much opposition to the idea as support for it in the early years.) Current conditions have pretty clearly vindicated the fears of the Anti-Federalists, so the refusal of contemporary "conservatives" to consider reviving their ideas is proof-positive that, like Boromir, they only object to centralized power because it's being used against them rather than by them. Anyway, there's no way a nuclear-armed globe-spanning Empire is going to allow itself to be once-again bound by the restrictions of an 18th-century farmers' Republic, at least not before bankruptcy intervenes.

"Which, as we all know, gives businesses the right to hire the US Pension, er, Postal Service to distribute their corporate marketing materials at subsidized rates."

Not long ago, a friend of mine got a job with the USPS after leaving the Army. He quit after just three days of making deliveries, because the behind-the-scenes atmosphere was more hostile and depressing than Afghanistan. It was a hive of nepotism, favoritism, laziness, bitter resentment, and openly-tolerated negligence. Other than a brief driving lesson, he was basically thrown into delivering mail with zero training or instruction. As I no longer live in that town, I also discovered from him that my old mail carrier, who was notoriously incompetent even by USPS standards*, not only had NOT been terminated over dozens of complaints from people all over her route, but that she recently passed her trial period or whatever it is, and she is now basically impossible to fire. And yes, about 90% of everything he delivered was junk from advertisers.

One possible obstacle to killing USPS is that certain types of documents legally still need to be sent by postal mail, in order to be officially-official. Presumably the relevant statutes and regulations could be modified by legislation, but I don't know how much of a project that would be. Presumably the public-employee unions and their pet politicians would stonewall every step of the way.

*(I'm not kidding. She spent most of her time yakking on her mobile phone in Urdu, and routinely dropped our mail on our neighbors' front lawns, and vice-versa, often right before heavy rain. She also had a habit of delivering mail to completely wrong addresses, because her English reading skills weren't very good and street names with similar letters confused her. This problem got so bad that people on her route just started hand-delivering each others' mis-directed mail, even two miles away. She attained semi-legendary status in town- my friend worked part of her route, and when he informed a resident that she was on vacation, the man replied, "She's always on vacation". But it's a small price to pay- without lazy, semi-literate Pakistani mail-carriers mooching off of the taxpayers, we'd suffer a decline in Diversity, which is our greatest strength as a nation.)
Colonel Blimp said…
And as the world totters towards ruin, the signs of the times include blasphemy by the inheritor of Peter's throne:
T.A.WILSON said…
I'd rather see the comments you moderated, frankly.
Unknown said…

Only 3rd Amendment case I could find.
Ed said…
"Actually, the Amendment just means Congress has to pass a law to quarter soldiers in your house."

This is a good point. I don't think people realize at all how tissue thin the written rights in the US Constitution are.

Another one is the First Amendment, which quite clearly applies to federal laws -it says so right in the text- and not to executive branch actions or the states.

Actually, pretty much the only parts that apply to the states is that they have to have a "republican" government (no one is sure what that is supposed to mean, so its generally ignored), and everyone has to be treated equally under the law. But from the plain text, there is nothing to prevent, say, Iowa from instituting Shaira law as long as it equally applies to everyone in Iowa.

None of this means that I favor my state instituting a police state or the federal government passing a law quartering soldiers in my home! But what has happened is that since no one actually wants Iowa to institute Shaira law, people, and not just judges, pretend that the written rights are much stronger than they really are.

Compared to other countries' constitutions, the US Constitution is really vague and poorly drafted, after all it was the first attempt at such a document. The document is so flimsy that the US really operates under an unwritten Constitution, much like the UK, but no one just comes out and says it.
Anonymous said…
Wow,the Third is outdated, so let's throw out the First, Second, Fourth,Fifth,Sixth,Seventh,Eighth, Ninth,Tenth, and Fourteenth.
I'd throw out every one after 13. In any event, good job answering a question nobody asked. Please use a handle so I can track your contributions.
Thanks, J. said…
Hi Anti-Gnostic, so I am quite curious to know how you would answer Jeffrey S's concerns mentioned above. I thought the same as him. Really what I want to better understand is how the Northwest Europeans blew it. (I'm Southern Euro American primarily so I wish to better understand you people.) Thanks,J.
enlightdark said…
After the Texas abortion decision,the Ted Cruz constitution worshipers have 2 options, 1. start killing federal judges, 2. lose. Trump style authoritarianism is the only path forward for conservatives.

No question, NW Euros appear to have near fatal capacity for out-group altruism. The dynamic seems to be they build a great civilization and imagine they can share from their surplus. Then they find themselves in the same predicament as naive tourists who feed seagulls. Since we're the latest to the Empire game we'll just have to see how it turns out. Before the two Wars we were an awfully tough and often ruthless people. An alternate hypothesis is the last two centuries of mechanized war have done a real number on the gene pool.
Thanks, J. said…
Thanks. It's all really fascinating, and increasingly nightmarish. Well I wanted to say that I was being a little cheeky with the bit about me being genetically Southern European and that this makes it difficult for me to understand how NW Europeans turned into weird, self-defeating, p*ssies. When I hear White Nationalists speak of White people, their/our nature, the kinds of societies and local communities Whites create and desire to live in, I see myself. I'm horrified when I hear how many counties were majority White 30 years ago compared to now and that soon there will be nowhere to escape the "enrichment", not even the Whitest, remotest countryside, which I'm guessing will especially be targeted.

There's an understandable backlash against the ridiculous denial of genes in shaping human behavior and Whites doing an ostrich in the sand when increasingly faced with reality of race. But nurture and culture shouldn't be dismissed. On the other hand, I'm about 20% NW Euro so maybe that's why I'm cooler than a pure whop. Anyway there are a lot of people that want to assimilate, and now that they're taking over large swaths of former White America should we not encourage them to embrace and celebrate Western civilization and American citizenship (as best as they can)? No going back now. Fred Reed comes to mind here. I'm concerned that we avoid helping Globalists/Business elites by playing into divide and enslave situation in the USA. You've thought about all this and written about it no doubt, so enough of my humble rambling in the comments.
Your comments are appreciated. I think a multicultural polity can be maintained, but only in the absence of civil rights laws which prevent people from withdrawing into safe harbors from which they may interact or not as they choose. To deny people this seems to me to deny them a fundamental right.

Another problem is to imagine two such communities living side by side, one with median 100 IQ and one with median 85 (or lower) IQ. The latter would end up harboring awful resentment and envy, and who could blame them. But now the Internet and travel have made everybody in the world next door neighbors. The problem is especially bad for Aboriginal Australians, who never made it anywhere near the Neolithic. Their speciation is happening right in front of our eyes and they have awful, awful problems. I've heard them described as pathetic children.

And yes, I've written about it before: