Today is the anniversary of the September 17, 1787 ratification of the Constitution of the United States. While the federal government no longer even pretends to follow the Constitution, I would like to write for a moment on the second-most important safeguard the founders tried to leave us. (The most important safeguard being sound money, which by itself greatly inhibits rash war-making, as beautifully illustrated in this clip.)
“The Congress shall have Power… to declare War.” – The Constitution of the United States, 1787-present. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11.
The founders feared more than anything a strong executive branch, a President that would loom as powerful and as tyrannical as a King George. While the Constitution bound the sovereign States closer together for the purposes of national defense, Congress was given this grave responsibility for a reason: as the House of Representatives was directly elected by the people, it was viewed as the safest place to entrust a declaration of war, and people unhappy with Representatives could remove them fairly quickly – within two years.
Two Americans who long foresaw the day when America would ring the world with military bases – over 750 bases in 150 of the world’s 194 countries – were General Smedley Butler, WWI hero with two congressional Medals of Honor, the highest decorated Marine in US history and Garet Garret, who wrote the long-lost text of “The People’s Pottage” in 1953.
These men both understood the clip above – the consequences of the federal government’s actions is the ceding of America’s sovereignty to those who control the debt that endless wars and the military-industrial complex create. The greatest threat to our national security is the national debt, not malevolent boogeymen living in caves in Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden and his ilk will never destroy America – it will be the Congress who first destroy the country financially by looting our blood and treasure. This is the true threat to our way of life.
Smedley Butler in 1933 wrote “War is a Racket,” which neatly summarizes the true definition of war. I’ll leave it to the reader to read Butler’s powerful essay. However, I’d like to partially paraphrase Garret and due to time constraints just weave in some of my own thoughts in what Garret listed way back in 1953 as the five heights that need to be regained in the coming years to restore America and the rule of law, to restore the Constitution:
The first height is a state of mind. To recover the habit of decision the people must learn again to think for themselves; and this requires a kind of self-awakening. This is so because thinking has been laid under a spell. The hypnotic powers are entrenched, combative and dangerous. But once the self-liberated mind had regained that first height, it would see not only that there is an alternative course but that above the noxious emanations of fear and the fog of propaganda the view is fairly clear as to the next steps.
The second height to be regained is intelligent, public debate of foreign policy. No longer can the President blindly frog-march the American people to war without a constitutional declaration of war from Congress. Let foreign policy be debated once more by those who may have to die for it, and let the wind be cold and merciless. Let those responsible be nakedly exposed to the horrors of war, who so misunderstand the nature of what they have done that they can find no respite, no solace in the abdication of their human responsibilities.
If they can justify themselves to the free and disenthralled intelligence of the people, so that the people knowingly choose to go on with them, then there will be nothing more to say, or to do, but to perform the death rattle of the Republic. Until this is settled it will be useless to discuss domestic policies because what is at stake is the fate of the republican form of constitutional government.
On the next height lies control of the public purse and the national debt. Until the people have recovered the public purse, they cannot tame Executive Government. Passing laws to control or restrain it is of no avail whatever. The only way to reason with it is to cut it off at the pockets. When it came to setting up the American government, the Constitution said that control of the purse should be in the hands of the House of Representatives because that was the popular side of Congress. While the people have not always managed the purse well, there is a difference; no matter how badly Congress may manage the public purse, it cannot control the people, whereas in the hands of the government control of the purse becomes the single most powerful instrument of executive policy touching the lives of the people.
The next foe is one of insatiable evil, located right inside the public purse. It is the fourth branch of the government known as the Federal Reserve. This monstrous evil’s chief weapon is inflation by the printing press. Its weapon of defense is an invisible vapor, the effect of which is to cause people to become economic alcoholics, afflicted with the delusion that they can get rich by destroying the value of money.
It is no good to think of cutting off the head of this serpent. It has millions of heads, all in the likeness of human heads, and as fast as they are chopped off others appear in place of them. Moreover, at this point, even in the ranks of the dragon hunters, dissensions will break forth, people saying: “Don’t kill him. If he dies chaos and deflation will come, and this is worse. Only chain him down.” At that every one of the heads begins to grin in a most sardonic manner. The serpent knows its life is safe and wiggling out of its chains is a light morning exercise. (Photo courtesy KamaInv, license)
There is only one thing to do with this monster. It can be sickened and starved, not to death, because the life in it is immortal, but to a harmless shadow. Its food is irredeemable paper money. Sound money is its poison. Victory here will never be complete. A guardian will need to be left, then a watchman to guard the guardian, and then the people must keep going back to ensure the serpent always remains bound and starved.
These heights in the lost terrain that have been named are vital. To save the constitutional republic they must all be stormed and captured. Others are important, but if these are taken the others can wait; but there is still one more, the last and highest of all, and as you approach it you may understand the serpent’s sardonic grin. The slopes are steep and barren. No enemy is visible. The enemy is within yourself. For, you see, the only way to conquer this peak is with your own fortitude.
The cost of saving the country will be extremely high. It could be as high as the cost of setting it up in the first place, 223 years ago, when the love of political liberty was a mighty passion, and people were willing to die for it.
When the economy has for a long time been moving by jet propulsion, the higher the faster, on the rocket fuel of perpetual war, endless debt, and planned inflation, a time comes when you have to choose whether to go on and on and dissolve your very being in the stratosphere, or decelerate.
However, deceleration will cause a terrific shock. Who is willing to face the grim and dangerous realities of the economic depression, of wars without end, that have already begun?
For the good of our children, the answer must be yourself. No doubt the people know they can have their constitutional republic and democratic elections back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price. The only problem is that not enough leaders have yet stepped up to the plate with the courage to ask you to choose liberty instead of tyranny.
For the Constitution,