Rise of Constitutional Realities
By Daily Bell Staff - January 15, 2016

President Obama's amazingly emotional speech on gun control … President Obama delivered a deeply personal and emotional appeal to the country to help curb gun violence on Tuesday at the White House. For Obama, who is often criticized for his overly clinical approach to heated issues, his tone – sad and mad in relatively equal measure – was remarkable. Toward the end of his remarks, remembering the first graders who were the victims of a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Obama even wept briefly – a remarkable concession to emotion from this president. – Washington Post/AP

Dominant Social Theme: Because he is grieving, he can do what he wants.

Free-Market Analysis: Much has been made of President Barack Obama's speech in early January on gun control.

The mainstream media consensus is that the president probably connected in this speech in a way that he hasn't in previous speeches.

In fact, the Washington Post carried an AP article on the speech praising its "amazing emotion" and calling it "deeply emotional."

It seems that Obama's final period in office is in some sense his strongest. He reconfigured one-sixth of the US economy with his Affordable Health Care Act and now he has set his sights on stripping criminals of guns while ensuring that everyone else still has the right to hunt with guns and carry them around in the wilderness.

While the consensus is that presidents in their second term lose a great deal of their clout, Obama still seems potent and this speech shows how committed he is, according to the mainstream media, to the agenda he has attempted to implement throughout his years in office.

Here's more:

I believe in the Second Amendment. It is there, written on the paper. It guarantees a right to bear arms. No matter how many times people try to twist my words around – I taught constitutional law, I know a little bit about this – I get it. But I also believe we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment.

I mean, think about it – we all believe in the First Amendment, the guarantee of free speech. But we accept that you cannot yell "fire" in a theater. We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people.

We cherish our right to privacy, but we accept that you have to go through metal detectors before being allowed to board a plane. It's not because people like doing that, but we understand that is part of the price of living in a civilized society.

And what's often ignored in this debate is that the majority of gun owners actually agree – a majority of gun owners agree that we can respect the Second Amendment while keeping an irresponsible, lawbreaking feud from inflicting harm on a massive scale.

For Obama, as for the Washington Post, guns hurt people, which makes gun control necessary. If such hurt arouses significant emotion, then action becomes justified.

The whole Post article is a large exegesis on Obama's determination to act based on the sadness he feels. This also allows Obama to balance constitutional permissions with his own inclination to act.

"We understand there are some constraints on our freedom in order to protect innocent people," he maintains. These are part "of the price of living in a civilized society."

The arguments Obama cites and the emotion he showed seem to make his actions palatable in the eyes of the Washington Post. An article just published by libertarian author Eric Peters attempts to rebut this logic by explaining clearly what the Constitution allows and what it doesn't allow.

In "It Is 'Just a Piece of **** Paper'," Peters maintains that the US currently is "not ruled by the Constitution." He says the "rulers" of the US do not feel they are bound by it, either.

Some points:

Consider, for instance, this business of judicial review. The power claimed by the Supreme Court to "interpret" the Constitution. It is a power you will find nowhere in the Constitution itself, or even hinted at. It was simply asserted by the first chief justice, John Marshall (who was a cousin of but also – unsurprisingly – a great enemy of Thomas Jefferson's) in a kind of lawyerly Beer Hall Putsch.

The court, under Marshall, defined and decreed its own power. It has been the final arbiter of what the Constitution "really" means ever since. Even when the court's interpretation is obviously at odds with the plain meaning of what is actually written in the Constitution.

This is the mechanism by which we are halted and searched randomly – the very definition of unreasonable, which is the language you will find in the Constitution. But the Court has repeatedly asserted its own fluid definition, Humpty Dumpty-style, contrary to what is written and simply because it can. The Fourth (and other amendments) mean whatever the Court says they mean, which means they mean nothing at all.

This point is often left out of arguments regarding what is constitutional and what is not: The very method being used to determine constitutionality – court review – is itself illegitimate if one is to follow constitutional guidelines strictly.

The Constitution was written in such a way that the federal government's powers were supposed to be limited to what was affirmed in the document itself. Within this context the president is what Peters calls an "administrator."

This constitutional president cannot create jobs or start wars. He apparently has no lawful right to do either. Amazingly, presidents that are the most active and thus do many things that the Constitution does not allow are seen by mainstream political historians as the "greatest."

These would include, Peters points out, Lincoln, Wilson and FDR. "Whether you regard the actions of these men as meritorious is beside the point. Their actions were patently not constitutional."

Peters has a word for such men. He calls them "monarchs." He says that the executive order, which modern presidents are fond of using, is also unconstitutional in the sense that the Constitution doesn't mention it. "It is the American version of a Fuhrerbefehl. That is, an order issued from the leader."

The Constitution did give Congress certain powers, of course. Many of these had to do with declaring and prosecuting war and negotiating with foreign powers. This was a big reason why some believed the Constitution had to be written to begin with – the federal apparatus would speak and act for the nation in ways that many individual states could not.

But Congress was never supposed to create a quasi-independent Federal Reserve. Congress was never supposed to pass a graduated income tax. And courts were never supposed to rule on whether such actions were constitutional. As these actions are not mentioned in the Constitution, they clearly are not constitutional.

For Peters, as we can see, it doesn't matter what the Supreme Court concludes is correct because the ability of the Supreme Court to rule on constitutionality is, to begin with, illegitimate.

While fascinating, all of the above might be seen as just so much palaver in an era of hard realities and even harder men. But of late – consider the now publicly noted burgeoning militia movement – people's exposure to these issues through the filter of the Internet is increasingly creating an atmosphere in which such questions are being asked.

There are questions, of course, about the latest flurry of militia activism. Federal officials, it is said, are not so worried about militia activity as they are concerned with the prospect of civil unrest. This is the crux of the matter: The more citizens examine the underlying constitutional justifications for the way their country works, the more questions arise and begin to be asked, and debated, in public settings.

Peters asks the most subversive – or logical – question: Why should individuals follow the "law" when leaders do not? It would be our perception that this is a question that is going to be asked repeatedly in the coming months and years as people continue to rediscover their past.

After Thoughts

We predicted this evolution long ago. "The Internet is a process, not an episode," we often write. Understand this, or fail to prepare for what is to come.

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  • Donna

    WaPo just reconfirms it’s stupidity to think ObamASS was showing real emotion during his gun diatribe. It was quite obvious he had to wipe “something” along his lower lid that would produce tears BEFORE he started bawling and then he had to wait and pause several times until the manufactured tears appeared.
    Maybe they should report on how weak our top military leader looked to our enemies when he wept over guns, a weapon essential for self-defense and aggressive winning on the battlefield.

  • A truly civilised society does not require coercive means to conform its members and the usage of forms of civilisation as trojan horses through which to subvert or mask such loveless agenda is lip service or indeed the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  • aliceinwonder Our original constitution was destroyed quite some time ago. We will not ever be without war. “We the people” are citizens of the U.S.= slaves. You own nothing and are considered a terrorist. This video is very well put together and while I knew most of this information, it was great seeing someone had put it all together in a flowing format. It is a must see for all.

    • He makes his points clearly, and many of them are buttressed by original sources. Thanks.

  • Injun Holbrook

    DB, this is an interesting article that leads me to ask, Why don’t you present an article on administrative Law in the U.S. Most people have no idea how administrative law affects their lives and how government functions. Rules, regulations and the likes are implemented and managed by people they don’t know are there. They are not hidden, it’s more, that people have no idea how their government functions. All government is micro managed by people in this administrative/judicial being and citizens have no understanding of their power, their function or how they directly implement and manage regulations that affect our daily lives.

    • Thanks, interesting point.

    • Haywood Jablome

      Phillip Dru: Adminisrator. Horrible book loved by Woodrow Wilson. Wilson doesn’t get the “credit” he deserves for being one of the first big progressives that started to dismantle the Constitution. With the Code of Federal Regulations, the nightmare bureaucracy just continues to grow!

      • Injun Holbrook

        Yes, my exact thoughts! Thank you, Haywood Jablome

  • Bruce C.

    Fortunately I don’t think many people saw Obama’s speech on gun control. I only saw the clip showing his tears. That’s classic “liberal propaganda” in that it’s not what you do but what you try to do and your intention, your feeling, your concern. I’m not saying that Obama wasn’t genuinely moved but that’s beside the point. Whether it was genuine or fake doesn’t matter – politically. Does everyone understand that?

    One of the few benefits of the Obama regime is that the first “black presidency” is now history. Hopefully the “white guilt” of US slavery has been atoned.

    I truly hope that the ideas and spirit of the US Constitution are being resurrected via the internet. It may be mankinds’ last hope.

  • Samarami

    Words, words, endless words. All pointing to the premise that there is such a thing as a legitimate ruling class. As Larken Rose would say:

    “…most people are stuck in a paradigm of who should ‘we
    elect to office, what form should ‘our’ government
    take, what should ‘it’ do, what should ‘it’ control, what should ‘it’
    fund — the entire discussion rests upon the paradigm that there
    is such thing as a legitimate government (and then they dicker
    over the details)…”

    Pointing to the idea that a “constitution”, if followed rigorously by the psychopaths who have grouped themselves into that brainless abstraction called “the state“, might make it all better.

    There isn’t. And it won’t.

    Abstain from beans. Sam

  • Doc

    Fuhrerbefehl – I think it’s more to that comparison. If you were to find a new modern day puppet like the Fuhrer, would you have a screaming old white guy? No, that would not work well. I think even Goebbels would see that.

    No, you would need a puppet that is from a minority group, that can weep on TV, that can crack jokes with comedians, be relatively good looking, that has already been awarded peace prizes for making wars, that can claim moral and intellectual authority without backing, but still of course lie with a straight face.

    Such a person would be really scary, a new potential Fuhrer.

    Like Obama.

  • NonYo Business

    Yes, our useless president wept about all the hoaxes that his administration brought upon us. What a sociopath.