Presidential History

How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America

The foreword to a new history of our controversial Founder written by Ron Paul.

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Having now endured a more than two-year orgy of adoration for the Broadway hip-hop musical, Hamilton, the public surely deserves a historical corrective. Historian Brion McClanahan's latest work on the Revolutionary period, How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America, is being released Monday.

Ron Paul, the Libertarian and Republican candidate for president and longtime U.S. Representative from Texas, has written the foreword, which he graciously shared in advance with Reason.

The central government has always been the greatest threat to liberty in America, but most Americans don't understand how modern America became the warfare state. How did the president acquire so much unconstitutional power? How did the federal judiciary become, at times, the most powerful branch of government? How were the states reduced to mere corporations of the general government? Why is every issue, from abortion to bathrooms to crime to education, a "national" problem? The people have very little input into public policy. They vote, they rally, they attend "town hall" meetings, but it does very little to stop the avalanche of federal laws, regulations, and rules that affect every aspect of American life. We have a federal leviathan that can't be tamed, and Americans are angry about it. They want answers.

Certainly, the Framers of the Constitution did not design our system this way. They intended the checks and balances between the three branches of government and also between the states and the central government to limit the potential for abuse, but somewhere along the way that changed. Who or what changed the system? It wasn't Barack Obama or George W. Bush. It wasn't even Franklin Roosevelt, his cousin Teddy, or Woodrow Wilson. They certainly helped, but as Brion McClanahan argues in the following pages, the architects of our nationalist nightmare were none other than Alexander Hamilton and a trio of Supreme Court justices: John Marshall, Joseph Story, and Hugo Black. Identifying the source of the problem is essential for correcting it.

Hamilton has become one of the more popular figures in America for the Left and the Right, so accusing him of making a mess of the United States is certainly shocking. But it is also accurate. Hamilton's constitutional machinations created the outline for literally every unconstitutional federal act, from executive and judicial overreach to the nationalization of every political issue in the country. He lied to the American public about his true intentions before the Constitution was ratified and then used sly doublespeak to persuade others that so-called "implied powers" were part of the plan from the beginning. We would not have abusive unilateral executive authority in foreign and domestic policy, dangerous central banking, and impotent state governments without Hamilton's guidance. Hamilton is the architect of big government in America.

Marshall, Story, and Black certainly acted as co-conspirators. Marshall's landmark decisions could have been written by Hamilton. His reading of the Constitution was at odds with how the document was explained to the state ratifying conventions in 1788. Marshall's interpretation would have led the people to reject the document. His belief in federal judicial supremacy and unchecked national authority has been the keystone to every subsequent outrageous federal ruling, from Roe v. Wade to NIFB v. Sebelius. Marshall is the reason the Supreme Court now takes center stage in every political debate in America, but he did not accomplish this alone.

Marshall's protégé and right hand man Joseph Story codified Marshall's vision for federal judicial supremacy as a popular legal scholar and law professor. Even today, law students across the country are taught Story's version of federal power. Story's message is simple: the federal government is supreme (even if it isn't), the state governments are subservient to the central authority, and the federal court system is the final arbiter in all constitutional questions. When these law students become lawyers and judges, they echo Story's teachings. With a legal profession so infested with a version of American political history contradictory to the actual record, it is no wonder the federal judiciary has become a mere rubber stamp in the expansion of federal power.

Black put the finishing touches on the Hamiltonian coup. As a member of the Supreme Court in the mid-twentieth century, Black participated in the final transformation of America from a federal union that respected state powers to a unitary state with unlimited control over the lives of individual Americans. You can't pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black. His insistence that the majority of the people of the states had very little influence over the social standards of their own communities delivered a death blow to the original Constitution. Thanks to Black, Americans now believe every issue is national, no matter how local in scope.

McClanahan has done a service to those who love liberty and respect the original Constitution as drafted and ratified by the founding generation. By knowing how we went wrong and who drove America off the rails, Americans can begin to repair the damage done to our political system. Unrestrained nationalism is a curse, but there is an antidote: liberty and federalism. If we start to cultivate liberty and freedom in our own communities and insist that our elected officials pursue the same agenda by disengaging the general government from Hamilton's desire for unchecked national power, we could salvage real America from the ruins of Hamilton's America. Education is the first step, and reading this book is a nice place to start.

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91 responses to “How Alexander Hamilton Screwed Up America

  1. I’m thinking our progressive friends will not like the perspective offered here.

    1. Especially not after seeing the show!

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    2. Neither will the “economic nationalists”, but they and progressives now dominate American politics. They won’t care much.

      1. Hamilton was a Bismarckian in advance, it is true, but he did much less to change the political configuration of the USA from sort-of-a-confederacy to sort-of-a-unitary-state than Lincoln. Of course, Lincoln had a lot of help, first of all from the CSA starting a stupid war in defense of the abomination of slavery, and secondly from numerous other railroad lawyers, so to speak, like many in his cabinet, who did not want dozens of sort-of-sovereign state governments to trifle with their business interests. The consequences of ‘states’ rights’ (scare quotes because states don’t have rights, only people do) have been so bad in the USA, that I think a wholly new configuration would have to be concocted to repair damage. We’re not going back to 1860. At least I hope we’re not.

        1. “from the CSA starting a stupid war in defense of the abomination of slavery”

          I’m sorry but you are factually challenged on this. The war started because of the oligarchic tariffs on exports of southern cotton and other materials to British manufacturers (competitors of the wealthy, influential manufacturers in the northern states). Lincoln avoided the issue of slavery until well into the war.

          1. Better, but still wrong. The CSA did not start the war. They seceded from the Union, and the Union started the war to prevent secession.

            1. Who fired the first shot?

        2. U are correct, States do not have rights, but, they have Powers…..Or they should’ve according to the Constitution & they should be plentiful!!!

      2. Pat Buchanan is a big Hamilton (meaning the man, not the musical) fan as you might imagine.

  2. Supporters of Hamilton are literally giving the country a song and dance.

  3. “Americans now believe every issue is national, no matter how local in scope.”

    I think this is the key sentence. It’s the same thing in Canada. One size fits all policy rules.

    1. I’m afraid a national government is what most people want. If a new Constitutional Convention were held, and the opinions of citizens nationwide were considered, the new document would be far more authoritarian than even the original document as now interpreted by the courts.

      The answer isn’t trying to walk back the loopy interpretational drift, it’s to start over with multarchy, where people can choose which government governs them, and are not limited by geographic area. It wasn’t practical in more primitive times, but it is now.

      1. I think the truth is even worse. The dimwits, nitwits, and halfwits that comprise most of our population seem inclined not towards a national government but a magical super leader. Witness the irrational focus on presidential elections, and expectations, good or bad, from the electoral choice. Of course, our political machines are complicit in this trend as well.

        Maybe the sheeple just naturally want a king.

        1. This has been true for quite some time.

      2. First paragraph: Bingo, you get a prize.

        Second paragraph: You’re going off the deep end. If we don’t trust US politicians and jurists to write a new constitution (and we shouldn’t), why would I trust any one to “choose” to be governed by Russia or China?

  4. Overall, this foreword seems tailor made for this audience, until you hit this passage:

    You can’t pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black.

    I doubt many Reason writers or readers want to scale back Federal powers in order to put these things into place.

    It just shows that any change in legal framework can be used for things you like and things you don’t.

    1. I was going to say something similar. Not being able to regulate porn and make other so-called decency laws is a strange example to use for “too much federal government.”

      1. Just because the federal government doesn’t do it doesn’t mean it cannot be done.
        I would hope all Reason writers and readers would want Federal power scaled back (eliminated) in areas where the federal government is not involved by specific constitutional authority.

        1. So it’s not the law itself that’s the problem, it’s who the law is coming from? That seems batty. And pedantic. As a rule of thumb, I would think that if a law is good, it would be desirable to have it applied as widely as possible. If a law is bad, it would be desirable to have it applied not at all. This gets complicated when specific local issues are considered, but decency laws don’t fit in to that category at all.

          1. I agree. I wouldn’t mind if it were imposed by spacemen. See the movie of The Monitors; I haven’t read Laumer’s book.

            1. I mean, sure, it would be better to have a benevolent monarch.

              Here is the thing; if you think that terrible laws come equally from local governments and from central government, which is harder to resist? Which has more power to crush your dissent? Which offers you at least the ability to move your money and labor relatively easily?

              If you answer the above questions honestly, you can see why centralized power is always a bad thing or quickly devolves into a bad thing in every example throughout history.

              1. I understand the potential problems of federal authority, and more or less agree with your comment, but that’s not really the point here. Laws like “porn should be illegal” or “you must tuck in your shirt on Sunday” are just bad laws, through and through. They aren’t bad because the federal government is exacting them, and they don’t become good because a more local authority does so. They’re just bad. Thus, they are really strange examples to use for why greater federal authority is bad. One has nothing to do with the other.

                1. I agree that they are bad examples. I’m not a big fan of Ron Paul’s flavor of libertarianism: States Rights>Liberty>Federal Government. I believe it should be Liberty>States Rights>Federal Government. Though, Ron Paul and his type are a far better alternative to the Progressivism’s Federal Government>State Government>Feelz>Liberty.

                  1. Feelz>Federal Gov’t>State Gov’t>any capacity for rational thought>Liberty

                    FIFY

          2. Quick question: which layer of government do you have more say in- your local community or the federal government?

            1. So a bad law becomes a better law by simple virtue of it being easier to change or do away with? I disagree. A bad law is a bad law. Hopefully it’s one that is easy to address, but that’s separate from the value of the law itself.

              1. A good law is a bad law in a different area. Requiring flood insurance in Florida might make sense, but in Wyoming it doesn’t. A speed limit of 25 makes sense on Broadway, NYC just as it doesn’t on I-80 in Nebraska. So yes, localization is the solution.

              2. It’s not a matter of good and bad, which are subjective. It’s a matter of a law being appropriate for the group to which it is applied, or by which it is applied. A small community living in a localized area may feel strongly that pornography should be limited to the extent possible. Because of their shared beliefs, that type of law would be perfectly appropriate for that small community. To apply that to all American communities would be inappropriate.

                1. RE: Because of their shared beliefs, that type of law would be perfectly appropriate for that small community.

                  If they all believe that anyway, what’s the reason for a law? Sorry, I reject your relativistic approach to rules. Laws can and should be judged objectively.

                  1. By non-objective humans?

          3. OK, WHO decides if a law is good or bad? Californians? Ohioans? You? Me? For an obvious example, some think that gay marriage is good and some think it is bad. I think it is none of the Supreme Court’s damn business. Should any of us trust the Supreme Court’s judgement, whatever it might be? What is the Supreme Court’s viewpoint on incestuous marriage, or even first cousin marriage? We don’t know. Apparantly none of that is relevant. Who decides what is, or is not, relevant? In my life, I decide. And I don’t give a crap what 5 or 6 people on the Supreme Court think. After all, they don’t give a crap what I think. They don’t give crap what YOU think.

            Our founding fathers had no delusions that there was some ultimate “truth” that was to be shared by all. Most of today’s debates are not between “good” and “bad”, but between “us” and “them.” Loosely translated, that comes down to Democrats and Republicans. I am neither. They can all go to hell.

            1. If you don’t like gay marriage don’t marry someone of the same sex…? The answer isn’t that hard. You’re creating an artificially complicated picture of the issue. Yes some particular situations are complicated, but most of them aren’t. The complicated issues are why we have a judicial branch, and lawyers, etc. The existence of a few complex, difficult to parse legal questions does not mean we are stumbling around in the dark, randomly bumping in to different answers.

              1. The Homo marriage case is a perfect example of Fed Over-Reach….There is absolutely no Fed Right to marriage of any kind…it is clearly a State Power to define marriage…The 14th Amendment (which Paul could’ve added to his foreward as well as a negative for liberty & freedom) does not apply to marriage of any type….SCOTUS should not even have heard the case & their decision is pure Bull-Chit!!!

                1. The issue is not establishment of federal marriage law, it the question of equal protection for similarly situated persons.
                  Marriage happens to be a place where the States treat people’s civil rights differently. And that is where the federal courts have enforced the equality of treatment of different people.
                  It could be any other number of areas of disparate treatment; it is not the substantive acts that the federal govt may not have jurisdiction, it is the equality of treatment in whatever it is, that the federal government does have jurisdiction.

          4. “As a rule of thumb, I would think that if a law is good, it would be desirable to have it applied as widely as possible. If a law is bad, it would be desirable to have it applied not at all.”

            Good or bad in whose opinion? Mine? Yours? The point of federalism is the recognition that people in different parts of the country might have differing opinions, and that the opinions of the minority should not necessarily be subsumed to that of the majority.

            The other way of thinking, the paternalistic “we know better than YOU do,” is the antithesis of libertarianism.

        2. THey don’t. They want the Feds to have the power to stop the worst states from being mean. So they forge the One Ring to Rule Them All, then pout when the wrong guy puts it on.

      2. Because of the legal profession’s more-or-less solidarity, probably by now the same progress would’ve been made vs. state & local anti-porn edicts even had it not become a federal issue. The state constitutions all have freedom-of-communication provisions, & by now they would probably all be following the law-industry norm that these cover all but a small amount of porn as well as behavior that could be said to be expressive.

        But the 14th amendment to the US Const. was bound to make this a federal issue anyway, because it’s hard to see how “liberty” as meant in that amendment could long be understood not to include freedom of communication?so whichever is the greater protection in the case at hand, federal or state constitutional rulings.

        1. The 14th Amendment was added far later but the Founders knew that rights listed in the Bill of Rights and other unspecified rights described in the 10th Amendment applied to the states. As you say, all the states have protections of speech.

          The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

          The Constitution enumerates and limits the power of the federal government but also limits the power of the states (“nor prohibited by it to the States”). All other rights for states and the People are protected under the 10th.

          Its convenient for government workers to play ignorant on what the 10th Amendment means but one nagging fact is that the Founders never added Amendments that were meaningless.

          Right to marriage is one of those rights for the People never listed once in the Constitution and never an enumerated power of the fed. The states could add to their constitutions a power to regulate marriage but few have.

          1. THat must be why the wrote “Congress shall make no law….” Clearly they meant “Congress and all of the States shall make no law…” Tricky.

    2. I think he means at a state or local level. (If that’s what the majority of constituents truly want in their locale.)

    3. Roderick Long wrote a good piece on a related issue that made me think more carefully about this topic:

      https://archive.lewrockwell.com/long/long14.html

      Basically, he says it is good if the federal government happens to use its powers to force state governments to increase individual liberty, but in general you do not want to give the federal government more power over the states since there is no guarantee it will use its power for good rather than evil.

      Take something like pornography legislation. Sure, as libertarians we don’t want any government regulating pornography (except obvious stuff like not allowing nonconsensual activity). If a federal court strikes down a state law regulating pornography, we might be tempted to opportunistically support this. However, the way this ends up working is not to set a precedent that no government authority in the US may regulate pornography, but only that the federal government alone may regulate it and no state laws may gainsay federal laws. So if the federal government a few years down the road decides to ban porn, no state government will be able to object and say that porn is allowed in its jurisdiction; porn will be banned in all 50 states regardless of local political feeling.

    4. Most people don’t understand that Ron Paul doesnt believe any of the Bill of Rights applies to the states, and that includes the 2nd. Paul actually opposed the Mcdonald v Chicago decision.

      And as this passage shows, Its not that he just wants states to decide, he is actually for social conservative laws being enforced by state governments.

      Im glad he’s finally being honest about it. I knew that’s what he believes, but most people, including his supporters, dont know.

  5. Cool screed, bro. Or should I say edgelords?

    Blaming all of America’s governance ills on one person (plus his Supreme Court henchmen) makes for a nice conspiracy theory, but if it wasn’t Hamilton, somebody else would have come along pretty quickly to make the same arguments and push the same ideas. Especially after the Articles of Confederation and the coordination problems that derived from them, people were going to push for a federal government that was both more powerful and less constrained.

    1. If it weren’t for Tesla, someone else would have invented alternating current generators and motors.

      If it weren’t for Einstein, someone else would have figured out relativity.

      Cool story, Michael “You didn’t build that” P.

      1. Actually yes. Brilliant people are ahead of their time, but the time comes sooner or later.

      2. Someone has figured out relativity? What about gravity?

    2. Especially after the Articles of Confederation and the coordination problems that derived from them, people were going to push for a federal government that was both more powerful and less constrained.

      I’d vote for the coordination problems of the Articles. They are very much overblown.

      The main reason people wanted a stronger central government was to make sure the war bonds from the Revolution were repaid by the central government. And by people, I mean Hamilton and his pals who had bought them up at a steep discount to face value back when other people assumed they might not be repaid in full.

  6. Must be true – Hamilton was one of those old white guys that got everything wrong.

  7. Hamilton’ karaoke night… at a gay bar. With Trump singing so vey gay!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egvlO9Zty5A

  8. “You can’t pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black.”
    Very much disagree with you on this Mr. Paul.

    These federal limits on state abuse of power are in accordance with Constitutional principles. Praying in public schools is logically in keeping with the 1st Amendment’s Clause of separation of church and state. Regulating pornography and “common standards of public decency” are not listed as an enumerated power of the government and would logically fall under the free speech protections of the 1st Amendment.

    While I agree that the central government’s power has exceeded original intent in most circumstances, the states or the fed protecting the People’s rights from any level of government overreach is exactly what the Founding Fathers hoped would happen.

    1. You must not be very familiar with the constitution. The 1st amendment was created to stop the federal government from creating a church of America. NOT to keep religion out of public life. Do a bit of historical research and see how much religion was in the public square at the time and what the founders actually said.

      1. You must not be very familiar with the constitution. It was Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. In other words, government cannot establish religious tests, laws or requirements that all people must follow nor prevent people from practicing religion on their own in public.

        You can pray in school on your own but the government cannot make you pray in school.

        I would be happy to discuss this with you about how most of the Founders were very aware of government forced religion and even though many of them attended church they were agnostic or even atheist. The great religious compromise was to keep government from picking a religion and enforcing its dogma along with protecting people’s right to practice religion if they wanted.

        The Founders knew that they could never get rid of religion entirely since most people were “religious”. The best idea was to make sure the US government did not make the same theocracy mistakes as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, etc. Plus, there were many different religions here in the 13 colonies, so many people were nervous about their religion getting excluded.

        “NOT to keep religion out of public life” If you mean public office, then you are wrong. If you mean people practicing religion privately in public then you are correct. Big difference.

        1. “Congress” does not equal “government”. States would have never ratified the Constitution if the limitations on Congress applied to them too.

      2. Christian services were held in the U.S. Capitol and U.S. Treasury buildings for decades, attended by many of the founders and early federal leadership. You are correct that there is no separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, the first amendment applies only to the federal government. Some people like to confuse the issue by using the word “government”, without making the distinction between federal, state and local levels of government. The doctrine of incorporation is a legal scam.

  9. What a interesting look at the dual personality of Hamilton, the dueling federalist.

  10. “the architects of our nationalist nightmare were none other than Alexander Hamilton and a trio of Supreme Court justices: John Marshall, Joseph Story, and Hugo Black.”

    Ron, what brand of weed are you smoking? Because it sure isn’t mine. Ronnie sounds like an unreconstructed southerner, dreaming of the days on the old plantation. As for all that bad stuff he says about John Marshall, if it wasn’t for Marbury v. Madison, old Damon Root’s fantasy of overturning the New Deal by judicial fiat wouldn’t have a leg to stand on, assuming fantasies have legs. Anyway, fingering Alex, or Tom, or George, or John , or Abe, or Woodrow, or Franklin, as the bad guy(s) of American history is bs. We are where we are largely because this is where we want to be, for better and for worse.

    1. “Ronnie sounds like an unreconstructed southerner, dreaming of the days on the old plantation.”

      In the days of the old plantation, the slavers had a strictly opportunistic view of the constitution – they were for using federal power to the max in order to chase down alleged runaway slaves – if that meant trampling on the “states’ rights” of Northern states so be it. But if there was even a hint that federal power might be used to *free* the slaves, the slavers became instant states’-rights champions. Thus, the slavers managed to ruin federalism for everyone else – even though the slavers themselves were not fans of federalism.

    2. One could argue that we are able to get where we are because of the way people in the past wanted it to be. Building blocks and all.

      If FDR and Democrats had not implemented Social Security, we might or might not have social security today. Scaling back government is far more difficult than creating more government. I doubt a $20T debt, social security, FBI, Medicare, Medicaid, FDA, farm subsidies, huge Military Industrial Complex, welfare, CIA, NSA, DHS, etc. would have been created suddenly in 2017.

      It takes decades to chip away at a great document like the Constitution.

      1. Interesting that of the list given (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid…), the military is the item you’ve described as huge.

        1. Probably because we have the largest military in the world by a long shot yet it isn’t our biggest expenditure by a long shot.

  11. The trouble w Hamilton is that the idea of Hamilton vs. Jefferson is bound up w urban commerce & industry vs. agrarian (partly slave-fueled) economy, so Hamilton is now judged to have been on the “correct side”. Hitler championed the Autobahn & space rockets, so he seems to have been on the correct side too.

    1. He also introduced the first smoking bans and was a vegan. He was one pussy hat away from being part of ‘The RESISTANCE’

  12. Where is Nick Sarwark to lecture Reason about how Ron Paul is ‘problematic’? We need you Reform Party….er…’Libertarian’ Party chairman!

    1. Ron Paul is problematic. He is the face of libertarianism more than most anyone else to the mainstream, and he is advocating for the ability of a slightly smaller government to trample your rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

        1. How were the states reduced to mere corporations of the general government? Why is every issue, from abortion to bathrooms to crime to education, a “national” problem?

          Ron Paul’s own statements in the Foreward seem to advocate against the federal government checking abusing state power. Ron Paul does point out that states are prevented from checking federal abuse of power.

          You can’t pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black.

          Ron Paul also implies that praying in school should be allowed which would violate the separation of Church and State Clause (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof) and he implies that regulating porn is okay even though a freedom of press and speech would say otherwise.

          1. And the alternative offered by the likes of Nick Sarwark would mandate federal bathroom policy, truncate religious liberty, and have the federal government impose religious tests. So, I’m not seeing how the alternative is better.

            At least with Paul’s argument (relegating this authority to local governments) will maximize individual rights, as you have far more control over your local government than the national government.

            1. Not follow through with either Paul’s nor Sarwack’s inaccurate interpretation of the Constitution.

              There is not authority for a state to tell people which bathroom they can use unless they add that to their constitution. There is also no authority in the constitution that allows the federal government to dictate which bathroom to use. There is authority for the fed to step into state implementation of laws without authority and strike them down. The states gave some of their power to the federal government to form the United States and one of these new federal powers is preemptive federal power and to enforce the Constitution over all the states.

              Its why every original state (13 colonies) has a freedom of speech, right to bear arms, right to bail and speedy trial. In other words, if a state tried to remove a right to bear arms from its state constitution, the federal government could step in and declare that removal a violation of the US Constitution because the Bill of Rights also applies to the states.

              The biggest mistake of jurisprudence has been to say the US Constitution is entirely separate power from the states. The states banded together and formed the federal government. The state gave specific and limited preemptive power and duties to the fed while incorporating universal protections for all citizens into the Bill of Rights.

              1. I can only take Paul’s stance on the Constitution not applying to the states as denying the legitimacy of the 14th amendment, which to me is very problematic. Anyone who is arguing against 13,14,15A in this racially charged political environment is woefully wrong (at best).

                Paul is technically correct in that Hamilton’s application of the Bill of Rights to the states was not explicit during his lifetime. However, I think it’s disingenuous to imply that the founders intended for states to be able to trample our rights, or establish “state religions” or whatever else he seems to be claiming in this text.

                I will say, as a Millennial, Ron Paul was my modern-day introduction to libertarianism. It’s becoming more and more obvious that he’s more of a libertarian-leaning republican, than he is a republican-leaning libertarian as I once thought.

                1. And people who usually say this about Paul are typically just progressives that took a macroeconomic class and so they understand that their economic policies are dumb. ‘Bake the Cake’ Gary and most writers here would rather sacrifice religious liberty, freedom of speech, and look the other way with regards to war, in order to be ‘acceptable’ by their betters.


          2. Ron Paul also implies that praying in school should be allowed which would violate the separation of Church and State Clause (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof)

            And you don’t find it infinitely amusing that you’re saying about praying in school should be ‘allowed’ when your very next sentence is the government is prohibited from prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

            Revealed preferences?

  13. Lets go blame everything on a some dude that’s been dead for almost two centuries. If Hamilton was alive today, you know damned well he would one of the more radical members of the Freedom Caucus. Meanwhile the dead white dude who owned slaves get lauded as more libertarian than Hamilton. Shit.

    1. Dude, Hamilton wanted the US to have a fucking king that ruled for life.

      And that is just the beginning.

  14. These sort of arguments fall away upon the realization that there is no alternative to what happened in the past. In addition, there is no alternative to what is currently happening. Alternatives only lie in the future.

  15. As others have said, Ron Paul’s foreward reads not at all libertarian, but conspiracy theorist, socon nonsense.

    You can’t pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black. His insistence that the majority of the people of the states had very little influence over the social standards of their own communities delivered a death blow to the original Constitution. Thanks to Black, Americans now believe every issue is national, no matter how local in scope.

    Fuck your prayer in public schools (I mean teacher led, not individual kids praying), and fuck your regulated pornography and commons standards of public decency. I don’t want my kids praying to the “one true god”. And if I want to beat off in the privacy of my own home, or have a swingers party with my wife, than by the Gods (the real ones!) I have every fucking right to.

    1. “For all the gods of the nations are idols, but YWHW made the Heavens.”
      Psalms 96:5

      1. YWHW?

        What’s next, killing cartoonists who draw Muhammad?

        1. Mohamed was real. flesh and blood, like Jesus! Sadly, we have no pictures from that era revealing the likeness of either man. Both have been recognized in history. Only Mohamed’s bones were buried, and their resting place known. Also documented. Why are those, who follow Islam, so insistent that no representations of his likeness can be reproduced?! It might be “legalism” of their making and nothing to do with their god, at all! Although they would argue we are all “men of the Book”, they certainly come across as religious despots!

  16. Back into the wilderness you go, Libertarians….

    In our next article, how Lincoln was a bloodthirsty warmonger and autocrat….

    1. You jest, but… 750,000 dead to establish the principle that if you’re under the rule of the US federal government, the only way you’re getting out is in a bag. Like the Mafia.

  17. “Identifying the source of the problem is essential for correcting it.”

    Very well, I see your point. Alexander Hamilton must be eliminated. He should be shot at dawn.

    1. Yes… Yeessssss…

      … Wait, who are we killing? I got a little carried away there for a sec.

  18. “You can’t pray in public schools, control who uses public bathrooms, regulate pornography, or keep common standards of public decency because of Hugo Black.”

    Hmm? What was that? Oh, sorry, I heard that as “you can’t be forced to pray in school, use a different bathroom, watch pornography in a prescribed manner or uphold a common standard of public decency because of Hugo Black.”

  19. Let’s face it. This book is about cashing in on the Hamilton craze more than anything else. I wonder how much Rand Paul got paid to make up some nonsense for the foreward, and to “graciously share” (read: promote the book) here on the Reason site?

  20. “If we insist…that our elected officials…”? An official is considered sovereign, not constituents, e.g., an official cannot be sued for breach of political promise, e.g., violation of rights. This makes control impossible. Voting is the act of repudiation of rights by the individual and is believed to apply to all. Since rights cannot be waived or lost by the action of others, but only through acts by the sovereign individual, officials can’t be granted special powers through democracy of any other means. Therefore, all elections are immoral usurpations of rights. The non-participants are forced to obey officials who are final authority over their lives. But even the participants could revoke authority at will because rights always remain. The denial of rights by the majority is sacrificial and destructive for society. Willfull blindness of the denial complicates a remedy.

    When the public wakes up like the seceding British subjects who freed themselves and gave birth to the American Dream, then will the ideal in the Declaration of Independence be manifest again.

  21. Certainly, the Framers of the Constitution did not design our system this way.Oh, but they did. The system was a hodgepodge of what they could agree upon. And continually subject to revision when some idiot like Patrick Henry disagreed.

    The Constitution itself was hastily penned in about four months. Much like how the Obamacare repeals are going. Small group agrees, bullies or cajoles everyone else.

    Why? because the founding fathers fought over The AoI.

    Then TEN amendments as an afterthought within a couple of years. Leaving some ambiguously short. So short that a century later some asshole tries to divine the “true meaning” of a phrase.

    Jefferson himself tried to sabotage the Supreme Court in Madison v Marbury, he desperately wanted to. Finding loophole for the Louisiana Purchase as a “treaty”?

    Let’s go back to the AoI.

  22. I mostly agree with this article.
    But I disagree with its assertion that the federal judiciary is not supreme when it comes to decisions of federal law.
    IF the issue is correctly characterized as a federal question, then the Supreme Court should have absolute and superior authority to make a final decision on it.

    The problem is, the front end of this analysis — establishing whether something is a proper question for a federal court.
    If it is, then they do have the final say, as per the agreed delegation of the state to the federal court.

    The federal courts have overreached their jurisdiction into intrastate activities, where the Constitution doesn’t allow for it.

  23. I was hoping that there would be some discussion about Paul’s ULA shill piece, preferably in it’s own article. Since most people on the space forums I frequent have the same opinion as I, that the piece stinks of hypocrisy, I could really use some opinions from outside of that echo chamber.

    I should note that the Paul supporters are the ones that favor socialist space exploration. As we all know that socialism will be three+ times as costly, assuming anything ever gets done, those Paul supporters are easy to discount.

    Sorry for going off-topic. At least the article is about the right person.

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