Welcome to Liberrants, a blog dedicated to editorials, discussions, and studies of all things libertarian. Don't let the title mislead you; it's merely my attempt to be creative in describing myself as a "hopeful curmudgeon" who embraces the goal of the free, peaceful, economically vibrant society envisioned by America's founding fathers. Jump in! Contribute! Enjoy!

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Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

A critically thinking curmudgeon whose goal, in addition to creatively venting about the imperfect world in which we live, is to induce critical thinking in others. The ultimate goal is to help bring about a peaceful world in which we can all live in freedom.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Amended Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

The original text reads:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

I propose that the amended text read:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to establish Justice, provide for the common defence, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Note that three changes have been made here, all of them deletions. These are the deletions of the phrases “to form a more perfect Union”, “insure domestic tranquility” and the dreadful “general welfare” clause, that much-abused two-word phrase that has abetted the issuance of so many destructive amendments to the document.

From a purely libertarian perspective I can see no benefit in “forming a more perfect union.” This is exactly what “Honest [sic] Abe” Lincoln was so sure he was doing by invading the southern states after they exercised their absolutely legal and constitutional right to secede from a union that was more than a little oppressive and unjust. The union of states has so far, in this libertarian’s mind, brought about nothing other than increased centralization and oppression. In all honesty, the nation as it existed under the Articles of the Confederation was "the more perfect union."

Next I ask: How the heck does one define “domestic tranquility?” Even in eighteenth-century prose this was an ill-defined and vague term. Again, we’ve seen what ill-defined and vague language has wrought in our legal system and this is no exception. “Domestic tranquility” can be construed to mean whatever a conniving politician wants it to mean (or, more ominously, an entire body of conniving politicians). “Insuring domestic tranquility” is apparently what the Smirking Chimp now occupying the oval office had in mind when he urged congress and the courts to pass and uphold the USA Patriot [sic] act that is slowly but steadily stripping away our unalienable rights. Get vague drivel such as this phrase out of our governing document!

Finally, there is the dreaded “general welfare” clause that Thomas Jefferson so vociferously complained about before the ink on the original document was even dry. I won’t waste time explaining why I think this abomination needs to be removed. Refer to The Federalist Papers for more details.

Well, that concludes installment one of the rewrite. Much more to follow, comments and criticisms are most welcome.

Amending the Constitution

The title of this post does not imply what it seems to imply. This is not a call for legislative amendment of the founding document. God knows we’ve had more than enough of those over the last two centuries, most of them unnecessary or counterproductive. No, the title describes a little experiment that yours truly has wanted to conduct for a long time, one that my readership may consider sacrilegious but one that I consider long overdue.

My experiment is a careful rewriting of selected portions of the Constitution that I consider either too friendly to the State or vague enough to allow the State to assume powers not intended by the founders (or so we hope). In other words, I think the Constitution a flawed document in many respects, too “statist” for a real libertarian’s taste. Don’t worry, though; I’m doing this only to satisfy my own curiosity, not to start a new political movement. I’m sure others have undertaken a similar experiment in the past, though I’ve never seen or heard of them. Regardless, I would like to see what the Constitution would look like as a document fully supporting individual rights on all levels. I’ll be posting changes in small stages, starting with Article One, Section One on this blog. Please feel free to comment.