Is Anything Too Extreme For The WSJ To Print?
April 23, 2009, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Ian | Tags: , , ,

Insane Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett doesn’t like the federal government.  In fact, he doesn’t like it so much that he wants to enact this constitutional amendment (feel free to gloss over the blockquote, I explain it below):

Section 1: Congress shall have power to regulate or prohibit any activity between one state and another, or with foreign nations, provided that no regulation or prohibition shall infringe any enumerated or unenumerated right, privilege or immunity recognized by this Constitution.

Section 2: Nothing in this article, or the eighth section of article I, shall be construed to authorize Congress to regulate or prohibit any activity that takes place wholly within a single state, regardless of its effects outside the state or whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom; but Congress may define and punish offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States.

Section 3: The power of Congress to appropriate any funds shall be limited to carrying into execution the powers enumerated by this Constitution and vested in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof; or to satisfy any current obligation of the United States to any person living at the time of the ratification of this article.

Section 4: The 16th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed, effective five years from the date of the ratification of this article.

Section 5: The judicial power of the United States to enforce this article includes but is not limited to the power to nullify any prohibition or unreasonable regulation of a rightful exercise of liberty. The words of this article, and any other provision of this Constitution, shall be interpreted according to their public meaning at the time of their enactment.

For those of y’all who aren’t constitutional lawyers, this amendment would build of wall of immunity from all federal laws around anyone whose activities don’t cross state lines.  If I own a restaurant that only employs people from North Dakota, then I can pay them two bucks an hour and give my finger to the federal minimum wage.  If I market poison as painkillers and sell it to children, the FDA can’t touch me so long as I only sell it to children in Wisconsin.

Oh, it would also make the federal income tax unconstitutional.

Obviously, people come up with crackpot ideas like this all the time.  I went to high school with a guy who was convinced that he was the child of a human and an alien.  A mentally ill gentleman once warned me the FBI was spying on me through my iPod.  A significant minority of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.  That Professor Barnett has an equally sound idea really isn’t that remarkable.

What is remarkable is that the Wall Street Journal, one of the nation’s great newspapers, published Barnett’s proposed amendment as an op-ed.

Is it even conceivable that a major U.S. paper would publish an op-ed proposing that we nationalize the entire private sector and render all workers employees of the state?  Or that we abolish the U.S. military and replace it with the Department of Love and Flowers?  Or that we appoint Hugo Chavez President of the United States for Life?  I’m actually having trouble figuring out what the leftward equivilent of Barnett’s proposed amendment could be, because Barnett’s idea is so far to the right that I can barely see it.

I totally get what the Overton Window is and why it is sometimes valuable to take extreme positions in order to bring about more moderate change, but the rightward extremes of U.S. discourse are so absurd that I’m not even sure I would want to change our national dialogue to include a serious discussion of equally absurd ideas from the left.


4 Comments so far
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Not enough time to recount the plethora of ridiculous articles that the NYT has published as NEWS, much less as opinions.

If you are as open minded as you attempt to project, then read a months worth of Thomas Sowell’s articles – pick any month, any year, even back to ’98. http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell1.asp
I just picked at random a couple that I havent read – 8/25/06 & 8/29/06

Comment by Herseyk


Comment by Herseyk


Comment by Herseyk


Posting entire articles into the comment threads violates copyright laws. If it happens again you will be banned.


Comment by Ian

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