Reply To: Gun Control Debate and the Constitution


As this guy wrote, sardonically:

But as we all know by now, there is nothing in the Bill of Rights that can’t be circumvented, either by appeals to the Commerce Clause or by calling something a tax — even when it wasn’t introduced as one and had magically to be transformed into one by a powerful judicial wizard.

He (and SmartMuffin) forgot to mention the 14th Amendment. They throw that out there a lot, too; equal protection clause + “incorporation” doctrine/jurisprudence in practical terms means that the federal government can do whatever it feels it needs to limit states & individuals (basically it amounted to inverting the original limits; now the Federal Government has unlimited power to limit any institution and individual under its jurisdiction).

Also, don’t forget that your real constitution is Footnote Four, which gives the Federal Government “plenary” (literally) power over the economy – which in practice is practically everything, because as Austrians know, economic means just are the means to pursue any goal/end you might have.

(See Also: West Coast Hotel & Wickard v Filburn).

As another man wrote:

These precedents establish the Fourth Republic as a universal and absolute government, subject only to a few isolated limitations, which in practice do not matter at all. For example, no European country has any clear equivalent of our First Amendment, either in its original meaning or in its Footnote Four restatement. If dissidents are being lined up and shot in stadiums in Europe, I have somehow remained ignorant of it. ‘Constitutional law’ in the Fourth Republic is a very real and very substantial body of law, but its connection to the original charter of the Second Republic is entirely nominal.

No, the US government is the 800-pound gorilla. It sits wherever it wants. But ‘it’ is not one entity. It is, again, a network of competing power centers.

(P.S. this also applies to foreign governments – such as, say, Iran. Which is why – and I’m sorry to say this, but it needs to be said – I always lulz whenever a libertarian says something that suggests they see the government of Iran as a rational unitary actor. The USG isn’t, so why should foreign governments be? Is ours somehow unique in its absurdity? Have you looked at the EU lately – another relatively “civilized” superstructure, but hardly a “rational unitary actor in world affairs.” Meanwhile, Iran has a political structure that would make the government of my namesake look absolutely simple and coherent. Sorry; I don’t mean to dump on “libertarians” since for all practical purposes I am one. But that doesn’t mean we’re above criticism. End of digression; back to the USG, which certainly does bear close analysis.)