Axiom 3: Back to the Articles of Confederation as America's Central Government
Americans demanding a return to limited government, a balanced budget and an end to spiraling sovereign debt have been voting for the GOP for decades and the result has been total failure on all counts. To accomplish these goals we really must turn the government structure back to our first government model, the Articles of Confederation, so the centers of real power are at the state rather than the federal level. Since 1913, it has been very easy, between maintaining the two-party monopoly and buying off Congress, for the power elite to control leviathan from the top down. This would be far more difficult if power, authority and programs were decentralized and returned to control of the individual states.
Changing the government does not mean voting in another president or changing whether the Democrats or GOP control the House or Senate. Both parties are equally guilty and responsible for the downfall of America. Yes, I would certainly prefer Rand Paul to another Democrat president following the second term of Barak Obama. And of course more liberty-oriented state house representatives as well as senators and congress members at the federal level would help to get the liberty message out.
But national politics today is like "window dressing" on the Titanic and electing a "few more good politicians" will never create a majority on most important issues. The political leadership knows we are sinking and have reserved the lifeboats for themselves. All of the electioneering and mindless political chatter is about as relevant as deciding who would pay the final bar tab on the Titanic. Politics is just a subterfuge to keep you in the bar while the elites rush aboard the lifeboats.
A Short History of the Articles
If we really want to restore the original republic of our founding fathers and a modern day version of liberty and limited government back to these united States, the current all powerful federal government must be relegated to the trash heap of failed ideals of history – and soon. The formerly sovereign states of the US must return again to our first federal government, the one our founding fathers created and our patriot armies shed their treasure, blood and lives to establish, the Articles of Confederation.
Before the Constitution was drafted, the nearly 2.5 million citizens of the 13 sovereign states were governed under the Articles of Confederation, established by the Second Continental Congress. The limited confederation government formed by the Articles began on May 10, 1775 and lasted until September 15, 1787. Please note the population statistics at the time did not include Africans or Indians, according to the US Bureau of the Census, so the real population was substantially higher than the official figures.
According to US Office of Personnel Management, the 2011 civilian federal workforce, excluding postal service employees, was 2.15 million. Adding in the 500,000 postal workers means there are more civilian parasites employed by the federal government living off of productive taxpayers in the private sector than there were citizens back in 1776. I believe the Constitution and Bill of Rights have failed our nation because of the actions of a few.
The Constitutional or Philadelphia Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 through September 17, 1787 supposedly to address problems with the Articles of Confederation. Slow methods of communication had made it difficult to govern a decentralized confederation of sovereign states, both at the executive and legislative levels, one of the reasons a more centralized government structure was suggested.
So although the announced public intention was to revise the Articles, powerful interests represented by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton conspired to create a new government instead of improving the lawful and legitimate government of the Articles of Confederation. The result was the Constitution that America operated under for better and sometimes for worse until the coup of Lincoln in 1861 and the total overthrow by Money Power in 1913. Note most of the participants supported the Constitution because of communication inadequacies of the Articles and had the best of intentions but there was a hidden element consisting of those out to emulate the powerful central governments of Europe.
The extreme opposition to the Constitution has been covered up and downplayed in the establishment's directed history propaganda about the period but, in fact, men like Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee (great uncle to Robert E. Lee) and many others strongly opposed ratification. The Anti-Federalist opposition was strong and existed across the nation. For instance, in North Carolina and Rhode Island, the new government was not ratified until forced to do so. In Rhode Island, resistance was so strong that civil war almost took place but with the passage of the Bill of Rights, the opposition collapsed, the Articles of Confederation was ended and the new, more powerful government structure took over the federal government.
A Sampling of Coup D'états and Black-Flag Operations In US History
"Propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship." – William Blum
Of course, the truth of many such actions was effectively covered up until historical accuracy was revealed through the Internet Reformation. This is why the history books and public school texts teach only the authorized propaganda version.
The first was the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 in which armed resistance by citizens against a new whiskey tax took place in opposition to Treasury secretary Alexander Hamilton's federalist program to increase central government power and revenue. George Washington and an army were used to successfully quell the rebellion.
Second was the Fort Sumter incident in Charleston harbor in which a horse was killed but the "battle" was used to coerce Northern newspapers to begin to oppose Southern independence as strongly as they had earlier urged a peaceful solution to state secession. The real reason for the about-face was that the Southern states generated most of the government revenue at the time because of import duties and the Union could not survive without the Southern revenues.
The third was Lincoln's call for troops from the different states to invade and conquer the seceding Southern states. This demand for troops and states to wage war on other states caused the states in the upper South to vote in secession conventions to withdraw from the union. Southerners rightly considered their actions a second American Revolution against tyranny.
Fourth was the secretive and deliberate aid to support both the communist takeover of the Soviet Union as well as later support for the Nazi regime in Germany by Wall Street interests.
Fifth was Roosevelt's prior knowledge of a certain Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor after the US had cut off all oil and steel imports to Japan. Many in Washington felt this was necessary to stop Hitler and aid our communist Soviet ally against the will of a majority of US citizens.
The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution by Lyndon Johnson, based on a falsified incident, was introduced to get the US into a ground war in Vietnam. This harkened back to both the Charleston Harbor incident as well as the 1898 sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana Harbor, starting the Spanish American War.
Then there were the political assassinations of John and Bobby Kennedy as well as Dr. Martin Luther King and the attempted assassination of George C. Wallace. During those days the elites didn't fear truth because without the Internet Reformation and alternative media of today there really were few outlets available to circumvent the establishment news and opinion monopoly. Therefore, political leaders could say and even act often without restraint as long as they didn't have the mass popularity to threaten the monopoly control. When this happened, there was usually a warning first that some heeded, like Ross Perot. Others were eliminated or badly wounded, like Wallace.
In hindsight now, 220-plus years later, it is clear that the concerns expressed by the Anti-Federalists were correct. They strongly opposed the central government having more power than the state governments, were concerned about the federal judiciary and rightly feared the presidency could morph into a monarchy.
Actually, the recent presidential election, inauguration and the related entertainment provided proof we have the presidential trappings of monarchy, the centralized power structure of fascism and the immorality of Rome's Caligula. America has come a long way DOWN from the original government established by our founding fathers, The Articles of Confederation.
Next, Axiom 4 will show how to organize and structure the restoration of our individual states back to the Articles.
Posted by Bischoff on 01/31/13 10:29 PM
TAXES: "That leaves it up to state governments. Since this process has not even been started, it would probably take several years to even get enough states to start it. By then even more states will be financial derelicts. I can not believe that we could ever get thirty-eight to ratify fairly."
BISCHOFF: There are only 32 states required to make application to the Congress for a convention of state delegates to propose and to ratify. It takes 38 state delegations to ratify at the convention. Most states could put their financial house in order. Wisconsin is proof.
The states which will not are first and foremost California, Illinois, New York and Michigan. These states now only exist due to the ability of the fderal government to spread the debt needed to keep 4 states alive over the wealth and good credit of the other 46 states.
It will not take long for 32 or 38 out of those 46 states to realize that they have to get rid of the 17th Amendment. The repeal of the 16th Amendment will follow. In the meantime, those 46 states could demand the removal of the "legal tender" protection from the FRN. This would make possible an alternative redeemable currency system to circulate parallel with the FRNs.
Once the 16th Amendment is gone, the tax policies of the individual states will be a major factor in the competition for labor, investment and intellectual talent among the 50 states. California, Illinois, New York and Michigan will likely have to default on their obligation, but then they had it coming. They'll just have to convince the bond markets to lend them money again.
The other 46 states, using a redeemable currency and tax policy which does not hurt Labor or Capital, can go ahead and create an atmosphere for a superior living standard for their citizens.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/30/13 10:35 PM
I would not advise you to stop pushing but that is only because I do not have a better solution. I can not see our society coming out of this mess intact, let alone our country. I only hope we can educate enough, well enough, that they can rebuild without a long dark age on the other side. There was and still is alot of good in Western Civilization. It would be pity, to be unable, to even save a sliver.
We destroyed the madness in Germany and Japan but then helped rebuild them. No one will help to rebuild us. If things go as badly as they might, no will be able to.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/30/13 10:18 PM
More and more state governments are obviously fed up with the mandates and other stupidity of the federal government. Yet more of them become dependent on federal money by the year, just like the citizens. Surely more people all the time can see the inevitable end of the insane spending. Yet they return the worse offenders, election after election. The people will never champion this anti-democratic measure, because they will never see that it will be to their own benefit.
That leaves it up to state governments. Since this process has not even been started, it would probably take several years to even get enough states to start it. By then even more states will be financial derelicts. I can not believe that we could ever get thirty-eight to ratify fairly. And fairly, is nothing like what we have to contend with now. Surely it will be worse by then.
Posted by Bischoff on 01/30/13 09:54 PM
TAXES: "As much as you, and, believe it or not I, would like to see the 16th and 17th repealed, I think there is about as much chance of that happening as there is a return to the Articles of Confederation, namely nil."
BISCHOFF: I wouldn't be so sure. I became convinced about five years ago that it is the 17th Amendment which is a time bomb embedded inside the U.S. Constitution, ready to blow it up. When I started to voice my opinion about the danger of the 17th Amendment five years ago, there were half a dozen mentions on the internet about the need to repeal the amendment. Today there are in excess of 10,000 hits on the subject.
I agree with you that the U.S. Congress will never propose an amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment. However, the founders were well aware that it may come to a situation were the Congress won't act. Therefore, in their wisdom, the founders provided for a second avenue by which to amend the U.S. Constitution.
Granted, no amendment was ever proposed by the alternative way to amend. Every amendment ratified sofar has been first proposed by the U.S. Congress. The first ten amendments (aka the "Bill of Rights") were promised to be made part of the Constitution to get the states to ratify it, though they were actually not formally proposed by the U.S. Congress until its first session in 1789. They were ratified by the states in 1791.
If people understood that under Article V of the U.S. Constitution they can lobby their state governor and state legislators to have them make application to the U.S. Congress to call for a convention of state delegates to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, enough pressure can be put on Congress for a routine approval the application.
A denial of the application by the U.S. Congress would be extremely serious. It would actually portent the dissolution of the United States.
As to the repeal of the 16th Amendment, it is a foregone conclusion at the very minute the 17th Amendment is repealed. The "new" U.S. Senators, again selected by state legislators under the original U.S. Constitution, would in short order propose an amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment demanded by their states. A failure to heed the demand by the state legislators would render U.S. Senators again subject to recall.
With the 16th and 17th Amendments removed, the U.S. Constitution could again function as intended by the founders. The alternative is to keep going with the 16th and 17th Amendment in tact until the polity of the American Republic created with the U.S. Constitution is completely blown to smithereens.
Is that a desired outcome, or would it be better to do what you can now to work for the repeal of these two diabolical amendments... ??? Personally, I much rather meet my maker knowing that I acted, evenso the odds of success were minuscule.
Posted by 1776 on 01/30/13 12:17 PM
SCHOOL SUCKS: The American Way
Don't let the title fool you. This video is actually about how government-run schooling contributed to the rise of socialism, imperialism and eventually fascism in Germany between the 1890s and 1940s.
Click to view link
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/30/13 10:06 AM
While I agree with your assessment of the Articles of Confederation as unworkable, the constitution, even as amended by the Bill of Rights, is obviously easily manipulated for increase of federal power. As much as you, and, believe it or not I, would like to see the 16th and 17th repealed, I think there is about as much chance of that happening as there is a return to the Articles of Confederation, namely nil.
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/30/13 09:56 AM
Nearly any action that would cut spending/power in Washington would make our situation better. Yet very minimal cuts, even actions that would only slow the rate of increase of federal spending, are roundly derided by the MSM, politicians, and special interests of every stripe. Such a radical change as returning to the Articles of Confederation will just be ignored by almost everyone. Any action that reduces the power or oportunities for corruption of politicians will fail without profound changes first being forced upon them. The soundness of your logic in presenting such a proposal makes no difference whatsoever.
Posted by tao59nyc on 01/30/13 08:42 AM
"the Southern states generated most of the government revenue at the time because of import duties and the Union could not survive without the Southern revenues"
Minor correction: "the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT of the Union could not survive... "
The "union" of the people themselves could survive just fine without the government. The south at the time was - rightfully - trying to starve the beast.
I'm going to go back and read the other axioms - you've hooked my interest. It dawned on me that We the People can have a new "Confederation" any time we want. As a very public "workaround" to the present broken system. We just walk away from it. Instead of changing the "government" we have, we just form a new one that suits us better - right in the midst of (and completely ignoring) the original. That is sure to provoke a response, but that's a good thing.
Posted by WD on 01/30/13 12:36 AM
Thank you for one of the most erudite articles ever to appear on TDB. Perhaps doctrinaire anarchists will take heed to the lessons of history. I doubt it.
Posted by Bischoff on 01/30/13 12:15 AM
Return to the Articles of Confederation... !!! It's a quaint notion, mostly advanced by the libertarians. Utopians they are.
The Articles of Confederation didn't work. They were relatively effective while the War of Independence raged. However, no sooner was the Treaty of Paris concluded, disagreement among the states about paying for a continued common defense set in. With it came all sorts of other disputes and retaliations.
Yes, the states had much more autonomy under the Articles of Confederation, but this independence led to wide disagreements over contributions to a common defense, and it threatened in the survival of all of them.
The British, the French and the Spaniards, all had their own designs on how to take advantage of the strive between the states. These thirteen North American States constituted a small sliver of land along the Atlantic Coast, barely a hundred miles deep. The British and the French were still in Canada and all along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, stirring up trouble among the Indians. The Spanish were in Florida and in Mexico claiming the South and the Southwest of what is today U.S. territory.
The U.S. Constitution was designed to bandy together a number of newly independent states which had their disagreements with each other, but which collectively had interests in, and a need for a common defense. The U.S. Constitution, in contrast to the Articles of Confederation, replaced the unanimity required among the states for agreements to pay a federal tax with a super majority needed to agree to bind all the states to pay a tax to the federal government. This was necessary to be able to successfully swart the designs of the European powers against the survival of the independence of the North American States.
To bring up Washington's squashing of the Whiskey rebellion as evidence that the U.S. Constitution was all about giving power to the federal government to exercise force against the population, portraits a lack of understanding why Washington was insistent on putting down the Whiskey rebellion. It has nothing to do with revelling in the power to exercise force, regardless of the propaganda put forth by the libertarians. This sentence alone will brand me as a statist in their eyes. So, let me explain why Washington acted against the moonshiners.
The U.S. Constitution placed responsibility for immigration and common defense in the hands of the federal government. The revenue to perform this function was to come from the states, but as a head tax or capitation tax apportioned equally among the states. The per capita tax was based on the premise that each man's life was as precious as that of the next man.
The only other revenue allowed for the federal government to collect was:
1. An Excise, which was a tax on domestic production. This was not to be merely a source of revenue for the federal government. It was primarily a means by which the federal government could control the production of goods which could lead to excesses, and which thereby would undermine the survival of a state as well, as the survival of its neighboring states.
The unhampered production of whiskey, and its unlimited consumption undermined the good order in a state. It was the intent of the Excise to control detrimental effects of the consumption of certain goods on good order. This is what Washington was after, the preservation of good order.
It wasn't the enjoyment gained by exercising force against sovereign individuals or sovereign states which prompted him to engage with the moonshiners. It was quite simply the preservation of good order which was the intent and for which a provision had been made in the original Constitution, regardless of what the libertarians want you to believe.
2. A cousin to the Excise is the Impost. It was another source of revenue for the federal government which as its primary purpose was to give power to control gambling in the several states which could undermine good order.
3. Duties on foreign goods to control foreign influence on domestic markets rounds out the list of sources of revenue to which the federal government had a right under the original U.S. Constitution.
Once the 16th Amendment (Income Tax) was ratified in 1913, all the original
sources of revenue became incidental, but much more importantly, the intent of maintaining good order by collecting these revenues was jeopardized.
On the heels of the ratification of the 16th Amendment came the ratification of the 17th Amendment (popular elections of U.S. Senators) in 1913. If you want to lament the loss of federalism, it is the ratification of the 17th Amendment with which the states resigned their voices in the legislature of the U.S. Congress which gets the blame.
Instead of clamoring for the restoration of the Articles of Confederation, work for the repeal of the 16th and 17th Amendments. It makes a heck of a lot more sense.
Posted by washingtongriz on 01/29/13 07:19 PM
This is such a relevant, well-written commentary. Why only a 4.4?
Posted by timoore on 01/29/13 05:25 PM
Well stated Mr. Holland. I am anxious for Axiom 4,
Posted by taxesbyanyothername on 01/29/13 03:22 PM
Yes, getting there is the hard part. We have the votes of the low end of the government trough, and the money of the high end to convince the undecided, against it. Whole professions, such as tax lawyer, will disappear. It will be the biggest political fight ever. That is, if it is just political.
Posted by Jeanna on 01/29/13 03:15 PM
If only Patrick Henry had accepted the invitation to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, he may have influenced those attending to head it off. Hamilton became upset, threw up his hands, and left when he didn't get his full agenda approved. It is possible Mr. Henry could have worked with the rest. But, he chose to stay home wanting nothing to do with it.
Posted by Martin B on 01/29/13 03:00 PM
Yes but I want to read the meat of the next Axiom, exactly what is the mechanism for states to withdraw from the union, form a modern day version of the Articles of Confederation. Then if interested states could reunite under a weak confederation central government like in Switzerland with currency competition and some national debt repudiation.
Posted by SoCal fellow on 01/29/13 12:20 PM
That is a concise, hard-hitting, and compelling summary, Mr. Holland. Thank you for it!