International Ignore the Constitution Day

So, it turns out that today is the 218th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. In honor of this formal declaration of intent to impose a centralized government over the people of the Americas, some gang of jerks in Washington have decided to declare today Constitution Day, and to celebrate the occasion with the following charming Spontaneous Demonstration:

Americans around the world will unite on Friday, September 16, 2005, in the simultaneous recitation of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. General Tommy Franks will lead the Preamble which has previously been led by President George Bush Sr., U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, Chief Justice of Alabama Roy Moore, and Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell. The celebration will begin at 11 AM Pacific/12 PM Mountain/1 PM Central/2 PM Eastern time.

Hawaii television and radio stations are urged to do a simultaneous broadcast and to reflect and discuss the significance of the Preamble. Newspapers are also urged to promote Constitution Day and to print the Preamble on September 16, 2005, and on September 17, 2005.

President George W. Bush signed a bill on December 8th, 2004 (public law 108-447) which designated every September 17th as Constitution Day.

— Hawaii Reporter 2005-09-15: Celebrating Constitution Day — September 17, 2005

Incidentally, thanks to Senator Robert Byrd, students and teachers in government-run schools will be forced to participate in this joyous nation-wide celebration of the federal government.

Therefore, the Ministry of Culture of this secessionist republic of one calls upon all sovereign individuals to celebrate International Ignore the Constitution Day on September 17th.

The Constitution, in its origins, was an act of naked usurpation: the imposition of a government on millions of sovereign individuals and all of their descendents. Many of those who were asked did not consent to it, and the vast majority of the population of the Americas at the time (who were by turns unpropertied, Black, Indian, and/or female) never were asked whether they wanted it or not. Certainly you have not, 218 years on, and neither do I. If I got together with a group of my buddies at the coffee-shop, wrote We are your Grand High Poo-bahs, and you must do as we say on a napkin, signed it at the bottom, and then (just to be sure you understood) scrawled This is a Constitution for the United States across the top, you would consider me a lunatic if I went around insisting that the napkin I was holding obligated you to do as I say. Yet in what relevant respect are the obligations imposed on us by the U. S. Constitution any different? Did a self-selected gang of ambitious delegates somehow gain the prerogative to impose a novel, centralized, invasive government on other people against their will—the same prerogative you would think I was crazy for asserting? If so, how did they get it? If they had some kind of right, under natural law, to impose a new order of government when they saw fit, then why don’t I have the authority to do the same, for myself, whenever I decide I don’t like what they set up? (Is it because they wore powdered wigs?) If neither they nor I have the right, under natural law, to impose a new order of government, then why do their written commands have any authority than the orders of a mafioso (which may be quite consistently enforced, but which few would consider themselves morally bound to obey)? If they did have the right to do so but only with the consent of the governed, then what obligation has the Constitution ever had over those who voted against ratification, or those who never were asked for their consent? (Which, today, means everybody.)

You might say that, however dubious the notion of the consent of the governed may be, in connection with the authority of the Constitution, still, the Constitution was a wise act of statecraft and it would be wise for us to go along with it no matter how much the moralists might scowl. But is it? Hardly. The Constitution today is read, by the powers that be, to authorize the monster State that today senselessly lies and murders tens or hundreds of thousands of people around the world, pushes starvation Drug War policies and murderous patent monopolies (the latter under the mantle of Free Trade!) at home and throughout the Third World, that now continually threatens women’s basic human rights over their own bodies, and much more — and, by the way, steals trillions of your hard-earned dollars to do it all. The highest legal authorities have ruled (and thus, made it the effective policy of the State) that the Constitution authorizes federal policies such as military tribunals, the military draft, and Japanese internment. Either the Constitution does authorize these abominations and more (in which case it is the handbook for a monster State) or else it failed to prevent them (in which case it is utterly useless even for its stated purpose of securing the blessings of liberty). In either case, it ought morally to be treated like a dead letter.

You might say, O.K., fine. I realize that the current federal government isn’t much to cheer for. But isn’t Constitution Day all about celebrating how it was in its origins? But that move will certainly not get you any further. In its origins the Constitution was a pro-slavery document, which authorized (indeed, demanded) federal laws for the capture and re-enslavement of fugitive slaves; it protected Southern slavery also by authorizing the the use of the federal military against slave uprisings — supporting Southern slavery with Northern bayonets. The Northern whites compromised with the Southern slave power: support for an invasive central State in return for the protection that such a central State could offer for slavery. It was, as William Lloyd Garrison declared it, a covenant with Death and an agreement with Hell, and he knew how to celebrate its achievements:

The [4th of July 1851] rally began with a prayer and a hymn. Then Garrison launched into one of the most controversial performances of his career. To-day, we are called to celebrate the seventy-eighth anniversary of American Independence. In what spirit? he asked, with what purpose? to what end? The Declaration of Independence had declared that all men are created equal … It is not a declaration of equality of property, bodily strength or beauty, intellectually or moral development, industrial or inventive powers, but equality of RIGHTS—not of one race, but of all races.

Massachussets Historical Society, July 2005

We have proved recreant to our own faith, false to our own standard, treacherous to the trust committed to our hands; so that, instead of helping to extend the blessings of freedom, we have mightily served the cause of tyranny throughout the world. Garrison then spoke about the prospects for the success of the revolutionary spirit within the nation, prospects he regarded as dismal because of the insatiable greed, boundless rapacity, and profligate disregard of justice prevalent at the time. He concluded his speech by asserting, Such is our condition, such are our prospects, as a people, on the 4th of July, 1854! Setting aside his manuscript, he told the assembly that he should now proceed to perform an action which would be the testimony of his own soul to all present, of the estimation in which he held the pro-slavery laws and deeds of the nation

— from Thoreau: Lecture 43, 4 July, 1854

Producing a copy of the Fugitive Slave Law, he set fire to it, and it burst to ashes. Using an old and well-known phrase, he said, And let all the people say, Amen; and a unanimous cheer and shout of Amen burst from the vast audience. In like manner, Mr. Garrison burned the decision of Edward G. Loring in the case of Anthony Burns, and the late charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the United States Grand Jury in reference to the treasonable assault upon the Court House for the rescue of the fugitive—the multitude ratifying the fiery immolation with shouts of applause. Then holding up the U.S. Constitution, he branded it as the source and parent of all the other atrocities,—“a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell,”—and consumed it to ashes on the spot, exclaiming, So perish all compromises with tyranny! And let all the people say, Amen! A tremendous shout of Amen! went up to heaven in ratification of the deed, mingled with a few hisses and wrathful exclamations from some who were evidently in a rowdyish state of mind, but who were at once cowed by the popular feeling.

— from The Liberator, 7 July 1854 (boldface added)

You, too, can celebrate Ignore the Constitution Day! Today, completely ignore all claims to authority granted in the Constitution. Live your life as if the Constitution had no more claim on you than the decrees of Emperor Norton. Enjoy your rights under natural law; you have them whether or not the Constitution says one mumbling word for them. While you’re at it, treat the Constitution as completely irrelevant in political arguments too; instead of complaining that unbridled war powers for the President are unconstitutional, for example, complain that they are evil; instead of reciting that damn Davy Crocket bed-time story again and complaining that government-controlled disaster relief is unconstitutional, complain that government-controlled disaster relief is foolish and deadly. (If the Constitution clearly authorized unilateral war powers for the President, or abusive and incompetant government-controlled disaster relief, would that make it okay?) And, hell, while you’re at it, quit complaining that forced Constitution Day celebrations may be unconstitutional; complain instead that they force children to participate in cultish praise for the written record of a naked usurpation.

Just go ahead. Ignore the Constitution for a day. See what happens. Who’s it gonna hurt? And if your political reasoning becomes sharper, your discourse no longer bogs down in a bunch of pseudo-legal mummeries, and you have a pleasant day without having to ask anybody’s permission for it, then I suggest you continue the celebration, tomorrow, and every day thereafter.

Further reading

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8 replies to International Ignore the Constitution Day Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Discussed at rousseau.blogspot.com

    Democracy Vs. The Constitution:

    Cool

    I’m always amused at the people who evince the clearest case of survivor’s bias I’ve ever seen, that the Constitution must be great because it’s served us so well for over two hundred years. You know, despite arguably being a force for evil the first…

· December 2005 ·

  1. A Alexander Stella

    Likely enough, you rad geeks,

    you’d like to know how come you’ve received this missive. Well, here’s it all started. I revised the Pledge of Allegiance, titling the revision “Pledge for Constitutional Allegiance”. I was so proud of my revision that I sought a way to call the attention of prestigious academics such as yourself to this new pledge.

    Through GOOGLE, I found the e.mail addresses of about 200 law professors, who had participated in the federally mandated Constitution Day. It would be a gross exaggeration to call the response “tepid”.

    When I groused about such indifference, I was advised to try a different tack. I was assured that the overwhelming majority of law professors are trying to make sense of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on eminent domain. Maybe, the average law professor might welcome an opinion by a layman, who tries to understand the way this country works.

    Just so happens that on my blog, there’s a piece that draws out a bone-rattling implication of that decision, which I believe makes hash of the Fifth Amendment.

    To get to it, all you need do is click on the mauve U.R.L.

    toodles
    ……
    .he who is known as sefton

  2. Rad Geek

    Dude. Who cares whether the Kelo decision does or doesn’t make hash of the Fifth Amendment? What I care about is that it licenses rampant government theft.

    Here’s a quick puzzler for you: the Constitution includes a provision for amendments. Suppose that both houses of Congress, the President, and the legislatures of the several states duly passed an amendment to repeal the Fifth Amendment and explicitly authorized the federal government to collectivize, transfer, steal, and destroy private property for any reason whatsoever, at its own discretion and with or without compensation.

    Would that make it O.K. by you if the government went ahead and did so? If so, good God, why? If not, then what has the Fifth Amendment got to do with anything?

    (You might note that this was part of the point of observing International Ignore the Constitution Day. You might also note that I’m not a law professor, either.)

— 2007 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-11-29 – Res ipsa loquitur:

    […] positions espoused by the rest of the pack, are not libertarian; they’re Constitutionalist, which is something different. He can’t even always be counted on to mount principled, non-legalistic arguments against the […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2006-07-03 – Independence Day:

    […] of America. The regime under which we live today was not proclaimed until almost a decade later, on September 17, 1787. What was proclaimed on July 4th was not the establishment of a new government, but the dissolution […]

— 2008 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2006-09-17 – International Ignore the Constitution Day festivities:

    […] Today is the 219th annual International Ignore the Constitution Day. […]

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2008-07-04 – Revolution Day:

    […] create it. The regime under which we live today was not proclaimed until almost a decade later, on September 17, 1787. What was proclaimed on July 4th was not the establishment of a new government, but the dissolution […]

— 2009 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2009-10-07 – Welcome, FreeTalkers:

    […] 2008-09-17: The statist We don’t, GT 2005-09-17: International Ignore the Constitution Day, and GT 2007-12-28: A Higher Law Than the Constitution explain why I’m not a Constitutionalist, […]

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