A Bill of Rights with no teeth

A century before seven old white men in black robes declared that government popularizing and subsidizing the murder of the children of the poor is a constitutional right, Lysander Spooner wrote of a Constitution of No Authority–one that has no inherent authority or obligation unless as a contract between and among people; that it is a constitution that does not even purport to be a contract between persons now existing, but rather, at most, to be only a contract between persons living long ago. At the time of Spooner’s critique, the constitution had been dead for only several decades.

Yet echoes about its corpse remain even until today, especially in the form of appeals to the first ten amendments to that constitution — ten checks against government power that anti-federalists insisted upon before agreeing to abide by the constitution. However, gone are the days (if they ever came, which they did not) when any but blinks among oligarchies could meaningfully insist upon anything regarding governance in the United States. Rather, just as countless Jews, Muslims, and Christians are, these days, only members of such tribes in a cultural sense — having been “born into” them — so too there are countless United States’ citizens who beg iron fists for lenience, while pledging their allegiance to the constitution in only the most flaccid, formal sense; having no real appreciation for (nor, typically, even awareness of) the constitution’s uniqueness, for better or worse.

One hundred and forty-nine years ago, Lysander Spooner reminded that constitutions have no inherent authority–certainly not generations after their adoption. Today, Spooner would have nothing appreciably new to say: “Theirs is a Bill of Rights with no teeth.” After all, what fruit can there ever be in “freedoms” that must be pled and plucked, and often enough left on the ground to rot, to the liking of those same overgrown branches which first threatened the tree of liberty during its inception, whose refreshment depends now not on the blood of patriots and tyrants but rather on their mutual pretense of reverence for the tree’s burnt and hollowed trunk?

And as pedants reheat and rehash the ash, enough glutted Neros will fiddle on about dystopian disallowance of genetic-suicide, pornography, and murder-simulators–and everything else but life, which was the point of the constitution, its amending, and all other cooperation that, now, comes by only compulsion and death among all but everyone under its jurisdiction–which is everyone.

Meanwhile, tyrants–and their sniveling pawns–are necessarily and always cannibals. Thus, this too shall pass–whether subtly and steadily or else suddenly and spectacularly.

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