I am so over the Constitution

The people of the United States are mostly proud of its Constitution. Of the Constitution’s (somewhat) democratic processes, equality under the law, and Bill of Rights. We pride ourselves for abandoning monarchy and separating Church and State.

I, too, was proud of it for most of my life. I was still proud even when the policies in place didn’t match what I thought was the Constitutional requirements. I studied history and saw Congress was by-passed and Presidents started going to war at their own discretion, beginning with Korea. I was increasingly concerned about Bill of Rights violations in the War on Drugs. I thought the Commerce Clause was absurdly interpreted and the Tenth Amendment was ignored by politicians and courts. Then 9/11 ramped up the Surveillance State. Torture was redefined, and indefinite detention and targeted assassinations of American citizens were legalized.

Finally, I started to wonder if the Constitution was worth anything. As Lysander Spooner wrote in 1870, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain — that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

We judge people by what they do, not by the agreeable things they say. Likewise, we must judge a regime for what it does, not by what its constitution says.

Imagine a world of nation-states, like ours. One country is almost always at war and has military bases all over the world. Its large neighbors never invaded it, but it has invaded them, and has occupied and overthrown the governments of smaller nearby countries. The one war it fought that appeared “just” involved defending ill-gotten colonies from an aspiring power, but its mainland and way of life were never threatened. For much of its history it sanctioned, blockaded, bombed, and invaded countless countries, and engineered coup d’etats in many others. And it violated treaties with and stole land from several “stateless” nations.

What would you think of such a country? Of its laws? Of its constitution?

Americans would harshly judge a country that behaved like this. We would think its regime is evil and should be overthrown. We would think there’s a character defect in the citizens of that country for supporting endless slaughter.

But the country I described is the United States.

For even back in the days when Congress declared war before the battles began, the wars were non-defensive in nature and inherently unjust. War is and always was a policy instrument of the United States government, never a matter of survival.

For that, and that alone, I see no reason for faith in or loyalty to the institutions established by the Constitution. All it really established was the criminal enterprise called war, and war is the worst of crimes because it enables every other crime, from bribery to rape.

I may comply with the federal government as a matter of survival, but emotionally I am divorced from it. I don’t think it can be “reformed.” The system is built for war, and can only be transformed into something better when the people choose peace.


James Leroy Wilson writes from Nebraska. He is the author of Ron Paul is a Nut (And So am I). Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Support through Paypal is greatly appreciated.