Forget The Constitution
By John Keller

Ron Paul is frequently, and correctly, praised as the lone constitutionalist in Congress. But he is truly the exception that proves the rule: our government is no longer bound by anything resembling the written limitations of the Constitution.
I used to share the minarchist view. A small, limited government seemed possible and pragmatic. Even that's changed since September 11th. Instead of rethinking the foreign policy that contributed to the attacks, the government piled on more of the same. Instead of firing the chiefs of the FAA, CIA, and FBI, those agencies get more funding. The attacks on September 11th have given the federal government an excuse to shear all but the ghostly forms of any remaining constitutionally guaranteed liberties from a sheep-like people. Torture, constant surveillance, seizure upon suspicion, suspension of habeas corpus, abolishment of Posse Comitatus, and warrant-less searches of your person and property are either in effect or under serious debate. Imagine, torture in the United States! The United States has become a police state, all with our precious, written Constitution still moldering under glass in Washington, D.C.
In the span of less than 100 years communism peaked and collapsed in the Soviet Union. Communism failed because it was based on severely flawed assumptions about people, and what motivates them. I think itís time to admit that the idea of a Constitutionally limited government has failed as well. It, too, is based on flawed assumptions about people. Perhaps not as spectacularly wrong as communism, but wrong, nonetheless. Since it has taken over 200 years to produce our American "Stalinism-lite", and it has not yet collapsed, perhaps we can say constitutionally limited republicanism is at least three times better than communism. Or, to paraphrase Churchill the worst government yet invented, but better than all the rest tried so far.
We can always feel better about our revolutionaries than the Russians do about the Bolsheviks; ours didn't purges millions after winning the war. Our patriots fought for individual, God given rights, instead of aetheistic utopian groups rights. Still, the men who founded our current Republic by writing and ratifying the Constitution understood the dangerous path they were taking. Students of antiquity, they tried to avoid following the Roman path of Kingdom, then Republic, then Empire, by writing everything down. It turns out in practice that the "social contract" cannot bind the politician or the entrenched bureaucrat, any more than the Soviet Union could make the New Soviet Man. In hindsight we can see that a piece of paper is no match for the linguistic gymnastics of our permanent caste of lawyer kings.
When things do change in this country, it will not be because the bureaucrats, professional liars, and assorted utopians come to work one day and say "Gee, we failed in our job. The private market would be so much better at this." It will be because the people have finally figured out that Ben Franklin was right all along, liberty canít be traded for security, and it looks like Rothbard, Spooner, and Patrick Henry were right about the Constitution.
It's time for we the people to let go of our sentimental attachment to the Constitution; our politicians broke their allegiance to it long ago. Like communism, it may sound like a good idea on paper, but it hasnít worked in practice. It just took longer to fail. Iíve made the journey from skeptical Republican to minarchist Libertarian to anarcho-capitalist in a few short years. Thankfully, I had the Internet to help me stand on the libertarian shoulders of free-market and freedom minder thinkers. Forget the Constitution. It didnít work. It's time to start thinking about a government-free future.
John Keller owns an Internet consulting firm specializing in small businesses.
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