The Secret of the Framers' Success


There were many things that contributed—ample land, a wide ocean, and more. But so much, I think, comes from this one foundation:

They were fortunate enough to have been born Englishmen.

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  1. Sure, they resisted all temptation to belong to other nations.

    1. These English lawyers also made a big mistake. The beef was the doubling of taxation from 1% of GDP to 2% of GDP. Why? To finance expensive wars against the Indians, to protect the lands of these English lawyers.

      Then, by being independent, slavery was not ended by a British law in 1833. Their mistake caused the Civil War. Then, we had this Republic with branches of government. Checks and balances is said to be the basis of our freedoms. It also made the country extreme, comparing it to Canada with a Parliament, with the same culture.

      1. True, there was a British law made in 1833, but it the Brits were not so hasty and were looking for perception mostly. Slaves closest to the home country were freed in 1834, and the law would take effect in stages later, and still leave many slaves as indentured servants in the further reaches of the empire.
        They did at least avoided a civil war over slavery, so that’s something.

  2. You must have tenure, to be able to say something like that.

    1. Cal Cetín
      September.1.2021 at 8:28 am
      Flag Comment Mute User
      You must have tenure, to be able to say something like that.”

      Cal – in these days and times , it does often require tenure to state something that is factually accurate

      1. After the Irish students protest, the Dean will issue a statement deploring Prof. Volokh’s comment while regretting that, due to legal technicalities, the University can’t take any action.

        1. But the Dean will agree to make certain concessions like making St. Patrick’s Day a campus holiday and serving whiskey in the dining halls.

          Let me pre-emptively apologize for that Hibernophobic remark.

          1. Don’t worry, so long as the Dean comes through, populist Hibernophiles will take it in the celebratory spirit I am sure you intended.

          2. I started referring to St. Patrick’s Day as White Pride Day at work at the City of Seattle a few years back.

            1. Seattle is flush with other brands of white folks, mostly Scandanavians.

              1. er, Americans of Scandanavian descent. Uff Da!

      2. You’ve got it Tom

  3. True, in the sense that almost all of the rights they carried forward already existed in English law. In large part they were merely setting up a government on the British model, with a President instead of a King.

    They were products of a preexisting democratic system, which is why their Revolution succeeded and (to pick the first example) France’s didn’t. The French had philosophers who talked about democracy, but their books couldn’t get published in France and they had had no actual experience of it.

    1. captcrisis, the founders were products of a system based on, “constitutional,” liberties for British freemen (a smallish minority), and arbitrary authoritarian rule for others. To me, it remains a historical puzzle why the second part of that is not more influentially remembered.

      Remnants of that legacy survived, of course, not only in Great Britain, but in this nation, at least until the early 20th century. Arguably, they still survive, and will continue to affect our own governance at least until the effects of Jim Crow have been extirpated, if that ever happens.

      1. Freedom for all people arose from the kernel, “All men are created equal.” This statement of universal moral worth, implicit in Christianity, was understood at first, as to legal rights, to apply only to white propertied males. But if you take that sense at face value, it was eventually understood not to apply only to just white men, or to just men and not women. My point is, without a white male slave-owning hand writing that phrase, none of the rest was possible.

        1. That’s generous. I must say I particularly enjoy your use of the passive voice.

          1. Add the word “generally” before “understood”. As in “among all the people generally”.

            1. Yes, I’m sure all the non-white and/or non-propertied people also understood that Christ didn’t want them to have any rights.

              1. In fairness, Christ was neither particularly white nor propertied.

                1. He owns a lot of land and buildings today.

          2. “I particularly enjoy your use of the passive voice.”
            A rather faint complaint as the phrase is a quotation

            1. There’s lots of passive voice in that comment, other than the bit from the declaration of independence.

      2. While not all civil rights, such as the right to vote were conferred to all Englishmen, their were rights that extended to the lowest peasant, such as trial by jury, and requiring a warrant to enter their cottage. All Englishmen could not be tortured to get them to confess, although it certainly could be part of a sentence after conviction. Scots on the other hand had no guarantee to a jury trial or use of torture to exact a confession.

        1. Kazinski, when are you talking about, and on what do you base that information? Are you giving us what the law said, or what customarily happened? How do you know any of that?

          1. Lathrop, what are you talking about? What is your source for the claim this wasn’t happening? How do you knwo any of that?

            During the Napoleonic wars, the British government imposed a lot of duties to fund the war.

            Cornwall did a lot of smuggling.

            One historical tidbit I found amusing, and directly goes against your claims, is that the British government eventually moved smugglers’ trials to London, because they pretty much lost every smuggling trial in Cornwall, because the juries were pro-smuggler.

            “Trial by jury”, even for people who were depriving the Crown of its tax money, in the middle of an existential war.
            Note, they didn’t move the trials from Cornwall because the innocent were being found innocent, but because the guilty, caught red-handed in the act, were being found innocent.

      3. “captcrisis, the founders were products of a system based on, “constitutional,” liberties for British freemen (a smallish minority), and arbitrary authoritarian rule for others. To me, it remains a historical puzzle why the second part of that is not more influentially remembered.”

        I knew someone was going to go to that level of asinine stupidity. i’d sad it was you, Stephen
        “Henry Marsh describes how England and Scotland became the first European countries to begin freeing their serfs, towards the close of the twelfth century.”

        The revolt of the American colonies came about because they were being denied “the rights of Englishmen”.

        Which were not just rights for a small elite.

    2. I’ve often said that a good deal of why the American revolution was successful, was that it wasn’t actually a revolution.

      We already had self-rule, for the most part, then King George set out to take it away. So we already had governing institutions when the war started.

      It seems that during a war is the worst possible time to create a government. And yet, that’s when it’s created, in the case of most revolutions.

      And, yes, they had the advantage of being Englishmen; They just needed to realize that everyone should be a freeman. But they had the concept of freemen already.

      1. Most revolutions overthrow corruption, but are lead by people seeking to make themselves the kleptocrats instead.

        This was a rare revolution to restrain abusive government rather than slide themselves in as replacement kleptocrats.

        Modern politicians (and shameful professors) who say, well, the Founding Fathers were terrible people and therefore we don’t need no stinking constitutional protections of theirs, unrestrained democracy forever! are servants trying to restore kleptocracy. The former want to be the kleptocrats, the latter embarrassing fools whistling by the graveyard.

        1. Technically, I’d say they’re trying to finish restoring kleptocracy. Because the restoration is about 90% complete at this point.

          1. They should have made membership in a political party a disqualification for holding federal office.

      2. “I’ve often said that a good deal of why the American revolution was successful, was that it wasn’t actually a revolution.”

        Because the Revolutionaries were fighting the British, they got the support of the French, who supplied things like naval warships that the Founders were in short supply of.

        1. Yes, that helped them win, but it wasn’t why the revolution was successful in the sense of ending with a functioning government.

          Like I said, during a war is the last time you want to be originating a government, but that’s when one is originated in most revolutions. Not the US revolution, because we’d already been self-governing, and were beating back an attempt to take that away.

          1. ” it wasn’t why the revolution was successful in the sense of ending with a functioning government.”

            The Revolution didn’t end with a functioning government. That’s why we needed a Constitutional Convention after the Revolution was over. The Articles of Confederation weren’t getting the job done.

            1. You really are an imbecile, aren’t you.

              The Revolution ended without an Emperor Napoleon, without a reign of terror, without even a Cromwell.

              And without a reversion to a Charles II.

              No Lenin, no Stalin, no Mugabe, no Fidel.

              No massive jailing of dissidents.

              the American Revolution was the most successful revolution in history, in what came after it.

              But, you hate America, so to you that’s a bug, not a feature

  4. I’m sure there was a Welsh, Scot, or Irishman in there, so not just English.

    But YAAAAY WASPs, amiright!!!

    1. James Wilson was a Scot. Does anyone know what nationality to attribute to Hamilton? English? Scots? French?

      1. Scot. Adams called him all kinds of things, but basically considered him a Scot.

    2. WASPs built the world.

      1. I believe this achievement is normally attributed to God, you heathen.

    3. They all considered themselves entitlted to the rights of Englishmen.

      1. They considered themselves entitled to a whole lot more than that…

        1. So what?
          What is the point of your snark.

          1. Since when is snark required to have a point at all, much less one that is acceptable to you?

    4. The richest man in the colonies at the time, Charles Carrol, a Catholic, also signed the declaration of independence, and personally sank his fortune into the war effort.

  5. The Framers really were quite remarkable. Can you imagine what the debates were like between them? Wow, to be a fly on that wall listening to them. I have always felt that there was a spark of the Divine in what they designed and gave to us.

    1. And we threw it all away by importing tens of millions of worthless third worlders.

      1. And you consistently demonstrate that not-third-worlders can be just as useless.

          1. Oh, and you don’t think there are comparable stories about (pardon the expression) white trash? I grew up in the rural South; I can tell you that non-whites have hardly cornered the market on bad behavior. My own sister, who so far as I know hasn’t a drop of non-white blood in her veins, had had three abortions before she was 20.

            Likewise, you don’t think there are stories of immigrant success stories? You really need to get out more.

            1. White trash are our people. These people are not.

              1. White trash may be YOUR people, but you can have them. Birds of a feather, and all that.

            2. :My own sister, who so far as I know hasn’t a drop of non-white blood in her veins, had had three abortions before she was 20.”

              Why are you attacking her right to choose? They were just tumors.

              1. Having the right to choose doesn’t mean the decisions that rendered the choice necessary were good decisions.

                1. Don’t you remove tumors?

                  1. I don’t engage in conduct that produces the tumors in the first place. And having had three in a row indicates an incredible inability to learn from one’s mistakes.

                    1. “I don’t engage in conduct that produces the tumors in the first place. ”

                      Sorry, I didn’t know you were a virgin. Maybe one day.

                    2. Birth control is cheap, easy to use, and readily available.

                    3. “Birth control is cheap, easy to use, and readily available.”

                      Then no need for abortion.

                    4. Bob, you’re disingenuously mixing two issues. Whether abortion should be legal is a different question from whether the conduct that makes an abortion necessary is wise.

                      If people refuse to practice birth control and an unwanted pregnancy results, the state should not interfere with the decision whether to carry the pregnancy to term. That does not, however, answer the question of whether stupidly practicing unsafe sex reflects well on the parties. Your tumor analogy would be much better if I were intentionally doing things to make tumors grow, only to then have them removed. My right to have them removed? Certainly. I’m a dumb shit for putting them there in the first place? Absolutely.

                      But you’re smart enough to know all that, and this is an intentional hijack. My original point, which I used my white sister to illustrate, is that non-whites have not cornered the market on bad behavior. If you have a response to that point, let’s hear it.

                    5. “having had three in a row indicates an incredible inability to learn from one’s mistakes.”

                      Is she still a Conservative now, or did she eventually recover?

                    6. “Then no need for abortion.”

                      That was kind of the point. But maybe the poor girl got one of those “abstinence-only” sex-ed classes. Or the “no sex-ed” that some religious folk prefer.

          2. Absolutely incredible. Usually when people want to prove a bigoted point they link to a story about someone who is a murderer. But you are so utterly deranged, you link to a story about familial love and ask sneeringly why we need people “like this.”

            1. Yeah, we need low IQ peasant single mothers with 4 kids. That’s the ticket! You’re an idiot.

              1. If you really want to insult me instead of making me feel better about myself, you should probably say I’m really smart.

                1. Why do we need this woman and her children? Do we have good jobs for hundreds of millions of new people?

                  1. We need loving people to balance out hateful people like you.

                    1. “We need loving people to balance out hateful people like you.”

                      Replacement theory is right wink bunk.

                    2. Who said anything about replacement? He’s not going anywhere.

                      And the conspiracy theory you’re referencing (which also has some anti-Semitic roots) is about white people being replaced with other races, not hateful people being replaced with loving ones. So it is kind of weird that you would characterize my statement as “replacement theory” unless you think that all white people are hateful?

                    3. “Replacement,” in this context, means in terms of voting demographics. The white population stays the same, and millions of non-white peasants are added, diluting our power.

                    4. Lol. Imagine thinking you’re going to convince me with a “rational” explanation of the nuances of your bonkers racist ideas.

                    5. Tell me, why are Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico the way they are?

                    6. Again, imagine thinking that’s a gotcha question with a known and obvious answer that traps your opponent, instead of the delusions of a socially maladjusted freak.

                    7. Wah wah wah, racist racist das rayciss. I need a stimmy check to buy a new sail phone! You people are boring and predictable.

                  2. “Why do we need this woman and her children? Do we have good jobs for hundreds of millions of new people?”

                    Are you so bad at math that this woman+4 kids = millions of people?


      2. “And we threw it all away by importing tens of millions of worthless third worlders.”

        In the sense that we appropriated the land a bunch of third-worlders happened to be standing on at the time.

    2. We were lucky to have such a group of talented ambitious men in the same place at the same time.

      It turned out so well because the proceedings were secret. Each man could say what he really thought.

      1. Yeah, that was critical to success = It turned out so well because the proceedings were secret. Each man could say what he really thought.

        Totally agree.

    3. I imagine it’s pretty much like going to CPAC, but without the soundtrack. Lots of people moaning about how the taxes are too high and they can’t steal other people’s land, and coming up with elaborate theories to explain why taxes are wrong and stealing land isn’t.

      1. That is just a BS comparison and you know it.
        If you don’t, yours is a completely pointless comment.

      2. Lots of people moaning about how…they can’t steal other people’s land

        I honestly have no idea what/who you are referring to.

        …coming up with elaborate theories to explain why taxes are wrong…

        CPAC attendees — like the Framers — aren’t opposed to taxation in general. They do, however, want a limited government. Limited both in what it can do to you and in what it can do for you. (Leftists, of course, would like to remove both limitations.)

        1. Leaving to one side the pointless discussion about whether I’m in any plausible way a leftist, let me just clarify the first bit:

          Exhibit 1:

          “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

          Exhibit 2:,_North_Carolina

          1. “they can’t steal other people’s land”

            People in the Dutch West Indies and Dutch East Indies were not available to comment.

            1. Don’t look at me. My ancestors were peasants tilling the land trying to stay alive. But their compatriots sure did their fair share of land-stealing. Were you somehow expecting me to say that that was OK?

              1. No, just that you should take the beam out of your own eye.

                Dutch colonial behavior was much, much, much worse and long lasting than US “land stealing”. In WW2, unlike in the Philippines, your country could not wage any guerilla war becuase the natives hated you so much.

                If we are supposed collectively to feel guilty because the Founders were “land stealers”, you should also about your history.

                But you don’t because you’d rather snark at us instead.

                1. Dutch colonial behavior was much, much, much worse and long lasting than US “land stealing”.

                  Because famously the people of Indonesia almost all died within a century of the Dutch arriving, with the remaining indigenous peoples living in abject poverty in reservations? You may want to rethink that one.

                  If we are supposed collectively to feel guilty because the Founders were “land stealers”, you should also about your history.

                  Again, at no point did I suggest that anything the Dutch did was OK. Then again, I also didn’t say that anyone should “feel guilty” about anything. When it comes to things that happened before anyone alive today was born (to draw a rather arbitrary line), I think things like guilt and apologies are generally rather pointless.

                  Rather than advocating some misguided sense of collective guilt, all I was suggesting is that you should maybe take it easy on the hagiography.

        2. “CPAC attendees — like the Framers — aren’t opposed to taxation in general.”

          You’d never know that by listening to ’em.

    4. “Can you imagine what the debates were like between them?”

      A lot like it is now, except that if you up and shot your rival, you might get his face put on (some of) the money.

  6. America was successful because its founders were all Protestant, and its non-Protestant immigrants assimilated to the Protestant ideals.

    There’s a reason that the UK, Norway, and Germany are the way that they are, and why Italy, Spain, and Portugal are the way they are.

    1. The success of Israel is explained by its governance by a bunch of former Germans.

      1. Israel also is a relatively homogenous country.

        Leftism doesn’t work in a place where you have huge numbers of low IQ parasites, like America does.

        1. Uh…..wrong = Israel also is a relatively homogenous country.

          1. Uhh, not wrong. It’s 80% Jewish.

            1. Look up the demographic data of Israel. What is striking is the heterogenicity of the population. I am not being facetious. It is a common misconception about Israel (assuming homogeneity). They have an incredibly diverse population.

              You don’t have to believe me…look it up.

              1. They’re religiously homogeneous. The “diversity” you speak of is racial and ethnic.

                1. or at least culturally homogenous. A fair number of Israeli Jews are non-religous

        2. “Israel also is a relatively homogenous country.”

          In the sense that the Arab citizens are just like the Jewish ones?

        3. “Leftism doesn’t work in a place where you have huge numbers of low IQ parasites, like America does.”

          But rightism thrives where the low IQ are plentiful, and angry about being stupid.

    2. “America was successful because its founders were all Protestant”

      In thesense that they were not.

  7. . . . because, as Englishmen, they were directly familiar with the opprobrious nature of any monarch and all superstition-infused government?

    Seems sensible.

    1. “There are over 2000 gods, we just believe in one fewer than you do.”

      I just believe in two fewer. Yahweh, and The People as justification for unlimited power wielded by power hungry corruptions.

      1. The love of money is the root of all evil. How do “Prosperity Gospel” folks explain that away?

  8. I’ve recently been reading Conscious Choice: The Origins of Slavery in America and Why it Matters Today and for Our Future in Outer Space

    Basically an account of the origins of slavery in America, and how the differences between the foundings of the various colonies had resulted in some being free, some slave states. The book makes some useful observations.

    Essentially, the free states were colonized by intact families, mostly of the middle class, without much resort to indentured servitude to pay for the trip. The slave states were colonized by single men and aristocrats out to make a fortune, and the labor arrived as indentured servants, where indentureship could be easily perverted into slavery.

    I wonder if this doesn’t have some implications for modern America, with our political class becoming insular and self-perpetuating, so that we are in effect being ruled by modern aristocrats. And, of course, the decline of intact families; An average of 40% of births being outside of marriage today, with most ethnic groups aside from whites and Asians being much worse than that.

    It seems we’re recreating in America the preconditions of slavery in the Southern colonies…

    1. Forget about that, that’s all boring. Tell me more about Outer Space!

      (Unless the point is simply that Elon Musk might have been wrong when he suggested that people should be able to pay for their trip to Mars by enslaving themselves. Because we already knew that.)

      1. I don’t recall him actually saying anything about enslaving themselves. But the problem with indentureship is that it often ended up functionally that, unless you had really good enforcement of the terms.

        We also need the Mars colony to avoid becoming a company town.

        1. I hate to tell you this, Brett (no, I don’t)

          The Mars colony is going to be extremely socialist.

          1. More likely corporate fascist. Some of the early colonies here tried socialism. They died out. The book discusses that.

            1. Tell me more about these Mars colonies that died out.

    2. the labor arrived as indentured servants, where indentureship could be easily perverted into slavery.

      That doesn’t sound right. Didn’t he labor arrive as slaves?

      Isn’t a lot of it based on suitability for large-scale agriculture – plantations? You need a lot of labor, and are unwilling to pay market wages for it, possibly because the monopsonistic nature of the labor market drives up wages, so you turn to importing slaves.

      1. No, not at first = Didn’t the labor arrive as slaves?

        The indentured servants who first came to America were not slaves. They (the indentured servants) signed contracts; basically the deal was ‘bring my ass to America and I will work for a fixed term of years’. As I recall, the terms varied but were usually between 5-7 years.

        Slave import came later.

        1. More specifically, the indentured laborers who first came to the English colonies were not slaves, and the first people to be put into lifetime indenture in English colonies were Black men who were identified as indentured servants until courts ruled against them. Spain’s colonies kept slaves from much earlier times, originally Taíno natives but later from other American tribes and from Africa.

          1. And the courts ruled against them because those particular colonies were ruled by aristocrats who found slavery financially useful. They’d likely have ruled the white indentures to be slaves, too, if they’d thought they could get away with it.

            1. In one of those cases, three indentured servants escaped to Maryland. When they were brought back to Virginia and tried, the Dutchman and Scotsman were sentenced to one additional year of servitude. The court sentenced; only John Punch, the Black one, to spend the rest of his life in servitude.

        2. Even so, it’s hardly the case that indentured servants made up a significant share of southern agricultural labor. They were uncommon, at best, on cotton plantations, and the practice declined on tobacco plantations as slaves became more available.

          The ships bringing loads of people to North America from Africa weren’t bringing indentured servants.

          1. Before the 1630s, more than half of all immigration to the Americas were indentured servants. Between then and 1776, it varied by colony, but accounted for between 50% and 67% of all white immigrants – more than 500,000 total.
            In contrast, before the 1630s, there were fewer than 1000 slaves imported to the US. Between then and 1776, only another 100,000 slaves were imported. All in all, only 300,000 slaves were ever imported.

            Now, I don’t know about you, but to me 500,000 seems to be a significantly larger number than 100,000. Larger enough that I would say that yes, indentured servants DID make up a significant share of southern agriculture – more than 60% of Georgia’s pre-US population, for example.

            1. Before the 1630s, some of the ships leaving America were carrying slaves. This tradition literally goes back to Columbus.

    3. ‘And, of course, the decline of intact families;’

      Probably more to do with the rise of zero-hour contracts, the gig economy, increasingly unaffordable house prices and rents and health insurance tied to employment keeping people socially insecure, economically precarious and disposable as labour.

      1. “the decline of intact families”

        This is more accurately described as the rise of differently-configured families.

        1. Too bad “differently-configured families” have such awful outcomes on average, unless the people involved are quite wealthy.

          1. Too bad your preconceptions color your observation. I was a single parent, and 100% of my offspring are college graduates, self-sufficient adult.

    4. I know that we the new slaves.

      1. Slaves who are free to leave any time you like.

          1. Feel free to use your freedom any time you’d like.

  9. You’re talking about the framers of the Canadian Constitution, right?

    1. The British North America Act planted in Canada a living tree capable of growth and expansion within its natural limits. The object of the Act was to grant a Constitution to Canada. Like all written constitutions it has been subject to development through usage and convention …

      Their Lordships do not conceive it to be the duty of this Board—it is certainly not their desire—to cut down the provisions of the Act by a narrow and technical construction, but rather to give it a large and liberal interpretation so that the Dominion to a great extent, but within certain fixed limits, may be mistress in her own house, as the provinces to a great extent, but within certain fixed limits, are mistresses in theirs.

    2. eyeroller: Canadians had the same benefits. Indeed, one piece of evidence for my claim is that the English founded substantial and successful societies not just in what is now the U.S. but also in Canada and Australia. (I set New Zealand aside here because it’s less substantial, though still highly successful.)

      1. South Africa… Jamaica… India…

        1. South Africa was a Dutch colony, as I recall. And IIRC, the area they settled was very thinly populated indeed.

          1. It was, until the English took it during the time of the Napoleonic wars, and “forgot” to give it back. After that there was still plenty of time for the miracle of Englishness to take root, lots of settlers from Blighty, etc.

        2. There were too many natives left in those places.

          The U.S., Canada, Australia and NZ were successful because the population was mostly white.

          1. Not familiar with what color Maori and Autstralian aborigines were/are? the present US and Canada were also mostly populated by people who were not white.

        3. South Africa is a terrible counterpoint. The British brought fairly civilized ideas of how to treat people, white or not, that the Afrikaners hated. Much of the expansion of the colonies of South Africa was driven by Afrikaners who were upset at the British moving out and conquering land from natives which the British would then annex, which then happened again. Independence was partially driven by Afrikaner fears and they were well-represented at their Convention.

          I can’t say I know much about Jamaica but I believe the constitution was written less by “founders” in an assembly and more by the ruling party at independence, as has been common in the later post-colonial states.

          India is a downright terrible example. Much of India wasn’t governed by the British directly, with the princely states being vassals. The political culture in India was profoundly “un-British,” the publicization of which was a key factor in public opinion turning against British rule. Only one member of their Constituent Assembly was Anglo-Indian, so the members were not substantially English.

          1. The Brits did bring an Enlgish educational sytem and the rule of law to India.

          2. All of which goes to show that being colonised by the English isn’t magic, which is exactly the point I was making. Many reasons why some English colonies ended up being succesful post-colonial societies were also the cause of why the English were there in the first place (climate and geography, most notably), while in all cases there are many other possible confounding factors, including the presence of other (white) inhabitants and the wider political and economic context at the time of independence.

      2. It is interesting to speculate as to how Canada would have developed under continued French rule.

        1. Or under US rule.

          DAMN YOU van Buren….

          1. “Or under US rule.”

            You can get an idea by visiting the San Juan Islands in Washington. Whether they were US territory or Canadian territory was the subject of a very brief war that was ultimately adjudicated in favor of the US.


      3. “one piece of evidence for my claim is that the English founded substantial and successful societies not just in what is now the U.S. but also in Canada and Australia.”

        Just glossing over the nature of the original Autstralian colonists, are we?

    3. “You’re talking about the framers of the Canadian Constitution, right?”

      54-40 or fight!

  10. If only they’d been fortunate enough to be one of a number of commenters here, they’d have done a much better job of it, without all of the messiness.

    1. Well, we commenters do have the advantage of hindsight, which is not to be despised.

      In their place? I doubt we’d have done any better, because we would have lacked that.

      1. Some of you the commenters seem to be limited in ability to learn from the mistakes of other people.

        Some people can learn from their mistakes, this is called intelligence.
        Some people can learn from other peoples’ mistakes, this is called wisdom.
        Some people can’t do either of those things, this is called conservatism.

  11. It worked because the framers only needed to care about their own demographic group since nobody else had any real say. Once other people start asserting their rights and demand a place at the table, it gets a big messier.

    Of course, they also gave us anti-democratic institutions designed to maintain their particular demographic group in power, but that only works so long. At some point, the rest of the population won’t be content to be shut out, and won’t find “but you can amend it if you can get everyone to agree with you” to be an acceptable response.

    1. “anti-democratic institutions”
      which have worked well to preserve democracy, when so many attempts at democracy have failed elsewhere

      1. Before Trump’s election in 2016 that might have been a viable argument. After Trump, it’s a complete howler.

        1. Fortunately you are here to remind us that Orange Man Bad.

          1. I take it you slept through January 6.

          2. “Fortunately you are here to remind us that Orange Man Bad.”

            Fortunately(?), the True Believers can just ascribe any criticism of their Chosen One as monomania. This saves them from confronting reality.

      2. They had the advantage of not idolizing democracy. Too many attempts at democracy have treated it as a positive good, rather than the ‘least worst’ system it actually is, and used more of it than was actually necessary.

        Every democratic vote is, fundamentally, a failure to let individuals do what THEY want. Sometimes an unavoidable failure, but it should be viewed in that light, and no more should be put up to a vote than absolutely has to be.

        1. Well, I suppose if you think a law that doesn’t let you kill people when you get mad at them, or steal from them, is an infringement on your ability to do what you want, that makes sense.

          Otherwise, it’s BS.

          1. You’ve got a really strange notion of what I mean by “unavoidable”. Or are at least pretending to have such a notion.

            There are things we need to agree on, and things we don’t need to agree on. If we need to agree on something, democracy is indeed the least awful way of deciding what we do.

            If it’s something we didn’t need to agree on in the first place, democracy is just a deprivation of liberty for everybody on the losing side of the vote, without any benefit.

            People who make an idol out of democracy, rather than just understanding it to be a reasonable way to make decisions if everybody going the same way is unavoidable, tend to subject to a vote things where people could perfectly feasibly just do as they pleased.

            1. “You’ve got a really strange notion of what I mean by “unavoidable”. Or are at least pretending to have such a notion.”

              We have only your word for what you mean, and you don’t tend to stand by them.

          2. It is not BS. The items you cited are just more extreme versions of the inevitable result of “democracy” ie: a group imposing their will on an unwilling minority. Simply because that imposition occurs at a ballot box or legislative chamber does not legitimize it.

            Ultimately freedom is the state of being free from coercion. A thief or murderer is employing the ultimate coercion but ultimately is all just a matter of degrees.

            1. “Ultimately freedom is the state of being free from coercion.”

              This state only exists in isolation, because if someone else has something you want, they have a lever to coerce you with.

        2. “no more should be put up to a vote than absolutely has to be.”

          And we certainly shouldn’t count the votes of people who didn’t vote for what WE voted for.

    2. Krychek_2…The Framers specifically rejected democracy, because at the time, there were no successful democracies anywhere. I know of no purely democratic governments in existence today. While I would not say the Framers loathed democracy, they had a decidedly jaundiced view of it. Justifiably, I might add.

      1. Democracy is fine if you have a homogenous, white protestant population. Not so much for us now.

        1. I don’t think race has anything to do with why democracies inevitably fail.

          1. Homogeneity does delay the fall, though. Not so much of race, as of how people think; Forcing people into the cookie cutter lives is less intrusive if they’ve already got a lot in common.

            1. Race matters to the extent that the races are of unequal ability.

              1. Eh, individuals are of unequal ability, and we manage to live together. ‘Races’ aren’t uniform, they are broad distributions of ability that largely overlap.

                Having groups with different averages living together may broaden the curve a bit, but it’s not that fundamentally different from a racial monoculture if you ignore people’s races and treat them as individuals.

                The problem is that America’s civil rights movement got impatient with the results of such an approach, and signed on for racial discrimination. And just ignoring race is no longer legally permitted.

                1. I think your approach is too optimistic. When you have a large subgroup with an average IQ of 85, and the majority having an average IQ of 100, the lower intelligence subgroup will notice the difference, not as individuals, but as a group. It simply doesn’t work.

                  It only works well with East Asians, as they have similar IQs.

                  1. “I think your approach is too optimistic. When you have a large subgroup with an average IQ of 85, and the majority having an average IQ of 100, the lower intelligence subgroup will notice the difference, not as individuals, but as a group.”

                    Then, the stupid subgroup will decide, as a group, that they’re going to reject vaccination as a political statement of unity. Then they’ll start going around, insisting that THEY’RE not the stupid ones, everyone ELSE is.
                    then the people of normal intelligence go back to ignoring them.

            2. “Forcing people into the cookie cutter lives is less intrusive if they’ve already got a lot in common.”

              You’re confusing fascism and democracy again, Brett.

              1. Under democracy, you walk into a restaurant with 5 friends, and vote on what to order. The Vegan has to eat a hamburger, and like it.

                Under fascism, you detail a couple of your friends with guns to go into the back of the restaurant and force the restaurant to cook you hamburgers, even if it’s a Vegan restaurant, and like it. The Vegan wonders why you went to a Vegan restaurant in the first place, but shuts up when you bring out the rubber hose.

                Under freedom, you each order what you want, and if it’s not on the menu, the restaurant is free to decide whether to cook it up for you. (My favorite Chinese restaurant will make items not on the menu, provided they have the ingredients, and you’re not in a hurry.)

                1. Now you’re confusing Brett-ism with understanding what’s going on.
                  Totally different.

      2. I don’t think pure democracy is even possible, especially with over 300 million people. But that doesn’t excuse the wildly disproportionate amount of political power wielded by people with views completely out of step with the majority.

          1. You continue to think that’s somehow relevant.

            1. It is relevant. These people are forced on us.

              1. So what? What does that have to do with anything?

                You really think your preferences as to who you have to share the country with mean anything?

                1. The poor fellow is under the impression that he is better than somebody else, despite the available evidence that says otherwise.

          2. “But again, that “majority” includes these people we never asked for:”

            Yes, your vote counts, too.

            1. If we count YOUR IQ-80 vote, why would we discriminate against someone at 85?

      3. Well, it’s impossible to talk about this without some sort of agreed-on definition of “democracy.”

        The framers seemed to like the idea of representative democracy, so long as those choosing the representatives, and the chosen themselves, were members of their class, or close to it.

        1. Democracy works well when its participants are white protestant males. When they’re semi retarded mestizos like this woman, it doesn’t.

          1. I still don’t understand how you could possibly think that a story about familial love illustrates your point in any way whatsoever.

            1. Because they aren’t going to support themselves, and you know it.

              1. Because they’re a close knit family who loves each other? Like I don’t think you understand that a story about Hispanic people existing and caring about each other is not seen by anyone other than freaks like you as indicative of why we need immigration restrictions.

                1. You’re looking at it the wrong way. the guy with the homo fascination is trying to suggest that we need to keep people like him out.

  12. Meanwhile, liberals are foisting people like this on Americans against our will. And then, twenty years later, when these parasites are voting, they’ll say “You lost! Americans voted!” without considering that these “Americans” are not people real Americans ever asked for.

    1. “Meanwhile, liberals are foisting people like this on Americans against our will.”

      Who foisted you on us?

  13. Really?

    I thought the success of the Framers was because, whatever their differences (and they were manifold and manifest), they were not so cowardly as to countenance the hiring of quislings like Jeffrey Clark.

    “Hey, GW, I know you and ol’ Ben Arnold had some issues, but do you mind if we hire him to represent Jefferson’s … well, it’s totally not a faction, because we know how you feel about those?”

    -Said no Framer, ever.

    1. Have any of the Conspirators who shared Federalist Society stages with Jeffrey Bossert Clark had the courage to opine concerning Clark or his conduct?


      1. I mean, we do know that the VC has provided coverage of the anti-vax lawsuit brought by Zywicki.

        You know, the one that the NCLA brought.

        The place that hired Jeffrey “Traitor” Clark as the Chief Litigation director.

        The same NCLA that has Randy Barnett and EV on the Board.

        But no! Of course not. Just you know, other stuff going on. Like this post. 🙂

        1. What a paltry troop of lickspittles. They make Ted Cruz’s enthusiastic tongue washing of Donald Trump — after Trump called Mrs. Cruz a hideously ugly pig — look heroic.

          The Cruz children must be tragically confused concerning the issue of how a father is supposed to act when someone attacks mommy.

          1. Well, they DO know now that if the weather gets rough, you flee the country.

  14. No, they were lucky to be Protestants.

    1. Not counting the ones were weren’t.


    “And the partisan nature of this week’s court orders is hard to avoid. When the Republican-appointed majority denied Biden the same deference it gave former President Donald Trump on immigration policy and then invalidated the eviction moratorium, the three Democratic-appointed justices on the left publicly dissented both times.”

    These leftists are fucking liars. The courts did not give deference to Trump. Even when he “won,” the Obama judges’ nationwide injunctions remained in place for years. Trump was not allowed to end DACA nor put a sensible citizenship on the Census.

    What deference are these pieces of shit referring to?

    1. The usual: They didn’t attempt to assassinate him.

      Every press conference where the reporters didn’t show up wearing suicide vests and rush the podium was the press sucking up to Trump, and every time the Supreme court didn’t order him to vacate the White house was judicial deference.

      1. This is the level of legal analysis for which the Volokh Conspiracy — the AM radio of legal blogs — has come to be known.

      2. “The usual: They didn’t attempt to assassinate him.”

        They left him in place to destroy the GOP.

        1. Trump can’t destroy the Republican Party, much as a bomb can’t destroy the life of a decomposing corpse.

  16. “There were many things that contributed—ample land, a wide ocean, and more. But so much, I think, comes from this one foundation:”

    Their ancestors were resistant to the many diseases they were bringing over, including small pox, so that disease wiped out over 90% of the native population, causing them to say, “Hey, look all that ample land!”

    Sure, I think that traditions of civic society were incredibly important- but let’s not forget why the land was so empty and ample.

    1. And the natives were scalping each other, warring, and living like savages.

      But oh yeah, they used every part of the buffalo, so they were obviously great people!

      1. “And the natives were scalping each other”

        The natives weren’t scalping each other before the Europeans showed up and suggested it.

    2. If “productive land” were the driver of stable democracies the Netherlands would be a shit-show and China, Russia, and Ukraine would be exemplars.

      1. I assume you missed out on why I quoted the “ample land” bit.

        I know, it’s hard. That’s why I kept repeating it.

        1. The Netherlands found that the amount of productive land was something you could actually increase, if you worked at it. Which I’d assume was Gormadoc’s point.

          1. No, it wasn’t. Nor do I think he was making a deep comment about how most European powers engaged in a whole lot of Colonialism to increase their ample land.

            It was a stupid point, and it had nothing to do with what I was responding to (which was EV’s use of “ample land” in the OP).

            1. Funny, then, that he mentioned the one country that actually HAS manufactured productive land on a significant scale.

          2. “The Netherlands found that the amount of productive land was something you could actually increase, if you worked at it.”

            They found it on other continents, by working at it taking it away from the people already on it. They weren’t as effective at this as the other colonial powers were.

            1. They weren’t as effective at this as the other colonial powers were.

              At this point I must object. The Dutch stole exactly the land that all those Europeans went to Asia for in the first place, present-day Indonesia where all those famous spices came from. And for centuries they were quite good at keeping the other colonising powers out, even in the areas that the Dutch did not (yet) themselves control. That it looks less impressive on a map than those French and British colonies consisting mostly of sand is a problem with maps, not with effective colonisation.

              1. Spain and Portugal divided up South America, and Spain, England, and France divided up North America. The Dutch had Manhattan, but didn’t keep it.

  17. Interestingly, Professor Volokh does a good job of demonstrating the concept of privilege with this post. Yes, the Framers were brave, intelligent and wise, but also had they not been born Englishmen they’d never have the opportunity available to bring those talents to bear in such a monumental way.

    1. As I’ve noted above, some of them were born Irish or Scots-Irish. The Scots-Irish Presbyterians were prominent among the revolutionaries. I’d have to check with the Yale Dictionary of Quotations, but I think George III called the Revolution a Presbyterian rebellion.

      1. Cal, quick, name the nation with the highest percentage of presbyterians today.

          1. So close. missed it by THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT much.

    2. Would you care to define “privilege”, as you mean it here? I don’t think all advantages can rightly be considered “privileges”.

      1. You might not consider all advantages privileges (e.g., being intelligent is an advantage that I probably wouldn’t call a privilege), but generally advantages that you personally have done nothing to attain or further (so, those that come from racial background, gender, national origin, where your parents went to college, how much money they have, etc.) would fall into the bucket that I’d associate with the notion of privilege.

        1. I wouldn’t consider the advantages my parents gave me “privileges”, because my parents were perfectly entitled to give them to me, and not to other people. “Privilege”, today, carries an implication of a wrongful advantage. Gifts freely given are not wrongful advantages.

          1. OK, Mr. Entitled, you weren’t “privileged”.

    3. Being born wealthy has always been a favorable path to achieving goals.

  18. I would be a little bit reluctant to call the Framers a “success” given that the document they drafted failed to prevent a certain rather sanguinary event….

    1. You get around this by including the authors of the 14A among the category “Framers”.

  19. Good to be born English.

    Pretty much anything the Spanish touched turned to shit. They came to plunder, and pillage, to return with what they could. While the English came to live here, (and plunder and pillage). When one plans to stay a while, there is interest in padding the nest, and creating a working society.

    Look at the sad wretches of the descendants of the Conquistidors, the basic ‘hispanic’. And they are the ones doing (relatively) well in central and south america. Those whom their ancestors raped, pillaged, plundered, those who still look, talk, and culturally behave as ab-originals of the continents, are vastly worse off within their societies.
    So hispanics on top, when south of the border, but north of the boarder they are welfare cases. That’s the Spanish touch for you.

    1. Any topic you touch turns into racism, apparently.

  20. Strictly speaking, were ANY of the Framers English when they did the Framing? Or were they citizens of the various independent Confederated States at the time?

  21. What was the secret to the Framers’ failures? The diffuse bigotry, for starters.

  22. Your post immediately took me to Gilbert & Sullivan.

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