Thomas Jefferson on “implied powers” of the Congress

Constitutional Convention

Thomas Jefferson gave his opinion on the Constitutionality of a national bank on February 15, 1791. In that testament, he not only provided a brilliant legal argument against the institution of a national bank; he also explained the intent of the Constitution’s two most controversial phrases. Today’s political analysts exchange differing opinions on the “general welfare” and “necessary and proper” clauses, but Jefferson’s explanations of them are more than a matter of opinion; they reveal the true intent of the American republic’s framers. Here is Jefferson’s historic opinion (verbatim, even the italics were added by Jefferson–not me–for emphasis):

1. To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose.

To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.

It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.

2. The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase. It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are “necessary,” not those which are merely “convenient” for effecting the enumerated powers.

Jefferson makes it clear that much of what the Congress does today is not allowed by the Constitution.

Advertisements

Sifting through the crap

Crap

99.9% of everything you will ever hear from a U.S. politician or media pundit is total crap. I present to you five widely discussed issues that do not matter, so that next time you hear them on the radio or television, you can say to yourself “this is pointless conversation”:

  1. Energy policy: The energy industry is part of the economic market. It operates most efficiently on its own and requires no help from the government (unless there is a monopoly in the market). Anyone who thinks limiting our choices on energy is a good thing is delusional. Stay away from them. It is remarkable how many believe that people can be made better off by the imposition of limitations on their choices. Here’s how it works, honestly and simply: when (and only when) gas prices become too high, an alternative energy source will become dominant.
  2. Environmental issues: If your property is being damaged by another person’s (or group’s) pollution, sue them. If you can prove your case, you will win. Chances are, you’ll be one of many, and those who choose to pollute will soon stop because of the amount of expenses they are incurring from mounting lawsuits. There are no regulations necessary–just the simple legal protection of property.
  3. Illegal immigration: The leaderships of both parties have decided nothing will ever be done to stop this. In fact, they hope to someday unify Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. under a multinational government.
  4. Racism, sexism, feminism, anti-religious sentiments, and other prejudices: You are easier to control if you think along these lines at all. Whether you are practicing these or blaming others for doing so, you are falling right in line with what the status quo wants. You are focusing on an issue that does not matter, which works out perfectly for the people trying to make sure they can continue to steal money from you without your noticing.
  5. Islamofascism: This is a huge myth. If you think radical Muslims are about to take over the United States, you are wacko. You need to see a mental health professional and talk about your irrational fears.

From now on, if you hear one of these issues mentioned on the news or anywhere else, remember that someone is trying to entertain or bewilder you, and that nothing they say can swindle you out of a wise and well-reasoned vote. The list above is far from exhaustive.

Now that you know what sorts of issues don’t matter, here’s some that do: The Constitution, Bill of Rights, fiscal restraint, and sound monetary policy (the elimination of fiat currency). If your legislators are focusing more on the first list than this one, they need to be replaced.

You’re welcome.

The Iraq War, in the tradition of Jonathan Swift

Iraqi prisoners

Before reading:

Read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. This will help you understand the title and the tone.
http://www.uoregon.edu/~rbear/modest.html
Watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFptybbietQ
Intellectuals will understand the nature of this piece without explanation, and those readers who do not will find themselves inspired to defend the Iraqi people, which the media has taught them are subhuman.
It is satirical.  It is supposed to be disgusting.  My aim is to help the disgusted American reader, by forcing the reader to view Iraqis as humans, which is what they are.

The fundamentalist factions of Islam and Christianity have such similar social goals regarding women, substances, arts, sciences, and sex, that I have often wondered why the two don’t join forces against socially liberal ideas. These factions are almost invariably better armed and more passionate than liberals, and could together defeat and rule their pusillanimous counterparts within weeks. Instead of joining forces, however, they have become brothers at arms, and because the Christian faction “represents” my nation, I submit a modest proposal, hoping it will teach U.S. rulers how to maximize the economic productivity of their otherwise wasteful war (beyond the apparent strategy of stealing oil).

By some counts, our war has extinguished more than one million souls in Iraq, many of them young and–aside from bullet and/or blast wounds–relatively healthy. A show of hands reveals that many of the million dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) have suffered severed limbs or crushed skulls, but that a large percentage of their torsos remain intact.

Let us modestly assume that–subtracting infants, the aged, and the unusable–we have produced 300,000 employable human torsos in Iraq, and we have let them all decay to waste. This is tragic when we consider that many die on transplant waiting lists in the United States each year, and that there are only 107,213 Americans on all such lists today. To the list registrants and their families, there can be no sufficient reason why the bodies of our enemies should not have been harvested for useful organs. We know our enemies are evil, but we are well aware that the corruption resides in their minds–not in their hearts, livers, lungs or kidneys–so let us use their organs productively.

We know that many of those who die waiting for transplants are waiting for new livers. This is where our habit of killing Islamofascists in defense of freedom will be uniquely helpful. The backward people of the Islamic world are discouraged from consuming alcohol, and have outlawed its use in many places, which makes their livers pristine replacements for those of good, freedom-loving, beer-drinking Americans.

Many liberals–and even some weak-hearted conservative Americans–are saddened by the innocent-looking eyes of Iraqi children, but I assure you, we should feel no remorse for the children we have incidentally killed. First, we must face the reality that the people we are fighting are peculiarly wicked and–even as children–believe that freedom-loving people deserve death. Moreover, I understand that the children will be very useful to us (given that they are dead). There are certain areas of the body in which a transplant from a child is preferable to one from an adult. Corneal transplants are a perfect example.

Given that our toll of useful corpses nearly triples our conventional need for them, and that we have been assured, “my friends, there will be more wars,” it is only appropriate–for the sake of production–that some unconventional uses for dead terrorists (or terrorist sympathizers) be explored.

For example: intestine. Of the 107,213 on the organ transplant waiting list, only 236 are waiting for intestine, which naturally brings us to wonder what is to be done with all of the extra gut. Gut has a variety of productive uses, and its excess promises to be of great use to American society. It can be fashioned into a tough string for musical instruments or tennis racquets. It is a source of rennet, which is used for the production of cheese. It can be used to case sausages. With all the possible uses of gut employed, we will be able to minimize the waste of Islamic intestine.

The use of human remains is not my area of expertise, and I hope and trust it never will be, but I am sure our government’s scientists will find a number of uses–known and yet unknown–for leftover Iraqi flesh. This new resource will be undoubtedly welcomed by the struggling United States economy.

The management of the war has also given us overseas prisons filled with terrorists. Of such prisons and their occupants, we are told, “my friends, there are some bad people down there,” and this is undoubtedly true. If the people in our government’s secret prisons were not obviously guilty terrorists, they would never have been arrested and detained by our benevolent military forces.

Currently, the scoundrels in our overseas prisons are a drain on the American economy, but this effect can be reversed. Because we know that their cases will never be formally tried, and that they will remain in these prisons indefinitely, we are fools to let them age wastefully. They are terrorists. They are guilty. They are fanatics. They cannot be rehabilitated. They are not getting out, ever. They are, for all intents and purposes, already dead. It is torturous beyond measure for a person to live endlessly in confinement this way, so it is with the utmost mercy that we should kill them humanely, and harvest their remains. This is the only way for them to become productive members (or–pardoning the pun–dismembers) of society. Because of their religious beliefs, a number of them are begging for death, so I am merely suggesting that we fulfill their requests.

Given our economic strife, and the necessity for our war despite its hefty price tag (not to mention the irrefutable sense of what I have proposed), there can be little doubt that these suggestions will be taken into serious consideration by our elected deciders in Washington. I believe, through sincere reason and revelation, that the measures I have proposed will help the United States win its war against evil, and thus they will help ensure that good people always prevail.