The Glorious Fourt(eent)h

I read somewhere that the last great hope of the Left, and the never-Trump RINOs, is Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which provides in pertinent part:

“No person shall…hold any office, civil or military, under the United States…who, having previously taken an oath….as an officer of the United States….to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same….but Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.”

This was passed in 1868 and it’s obvious why: what was the point of winning the Civil War if the people might just turn around and elect Robert E. Lee as president or to other high office? Clearly sec 3 was meant to prevent Confederates who had actually borne arms against the US (LITERAL “rebellion”) from returning to power. Even at that, though, they could hold office if they convince Congress they’re really, really sorry nd now they have the US’ best interests at heart.

Just like Sec 1 of the 14th, used to justify birthright citizenship for anyone whose mama sneaked across the border to spawn, Sec 3 was obviously not intended for the purpose to which wee Jackie Smith is reportedly seeking to bend it. Which purpose is, to punish and disable a public figure, a sitting president at the time! who made a speech to a then-peaceable group of lawfully freely-assembling citizens.

We MUST, in the interests of history AND the future, stop viewing the 14th Amendment as applying to any circumstances other than those of the (it is to be hoped) unique, immediate post-civil- war period when it was promulgated. We don’t need it to guarantee due process of law to all “persons”; we’ve got the 5th Amendment for that. We DID need it in 1868 to prevent the defeated rebellious states from taking revenge on their black populations.

(Okay, it came in handy in situations like the elimination of the “Silver platter Doctrine” where the Supreme Court used it to extend the protection of the 4th Amendment to the states (who of course are not otherwise bound by the Federal Constitution) holding that evidence seized in a search and seizure which would be illegal under the 4th could not be handed to the feds by any state to be used in federal prosecutions, either. There ARE certain “fundamental rights” which should be guaranteed to all Americans vis à vis their state governments as well as when dealing with the federal government. )

My,point is, Sec 3, which was intended to apply only to soldiers and leaders who actively fomented rebellion in the slave-states, should not now be applied to bar Trump from running for president, nor from serving if elected. It is an unconstitutional contortion, although not the first of ‘em.


Yes, indeed. Contortion is a marvelous descriptor of Constitutional law, indeed of all law nowadays in the US, following chiropractic treatments by clever lawyers (a.k.a. lie-ers - especially the variety purchased by Soros).


If a contract for slavery is unenforceable for an individual, then why is it that a State may, in the name of an entire people, sign a contract, say, the US Constitution, that in effect enslaves its entire people?


See Lysander Spooner’s 1870 essay, “No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority”.

The Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation. It has no authority or obligation at all, unless as a contract between man and man. And it does not so much as even purport to be a contract between persons now existing. It purports, at most, to be only a contract between persons living eighty years ago. And it can be supposed to have been a contract then only between persons who had already come to years of discretion, so as to be competent to make reasonable and obligatory contracts. Furthermore, we know, historically, that only a small portion even of the people then existing were consulted on the subject, or asked, or permitted to express either their consent or dissent in any formal manner. Those persons, if any, who did give their consent formally, are all dead now. Most of them have been dead forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years. And the Constitution, so far as it was their contract, died with them . They had no natural power or right to make it obligatory upon their children. It is not only plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that they could bind their posterity, but they did not even attempt to bind them. That is to say, the instrument does not purport to be an agreement between any body but “the people” then existing; nor does it, either expressly or impliedly, assert any right, power, or disposition, on their part, to bind anybody but themselves. Let us see. …

The Constitution not only binds nobody now, but it never did bind anybody. It never bound anybody, because it was never agreed to by anybody in such a manner as to make it, on general principles of law and reason, binding upon him.

It is a general principle of law and reason, that a written instrument binds no one until he has signed it. This principle is so inflexible a one, that even though a man is unable to write his name, he must still “make his mark,” before he is bound by a written contract. This custom was established ages ago, when few men could write their names; when a clerk—that is, a man who could write—was so rare and valuable a person, that even if he were guilty of high crimes, he was entitled to pardon, on the ground that the public could not afford to lose his services. Even at that time, a written contract must be signed, and men who could not write, either “made their mark,” or signed their contracts by stamping their seals upon wax affixed to the parchment on which their contracts were written. Hence the custom of affixing seals, that has continued to this time.

Now, what is true in Europe, is substantially true in this country. The difference is the immaterial one, that, in this country, there is no visible, permanent head, or chief, of these robbers and murderers, who call themselves “the government.” That is to say, there is no one man, who calls himself the state, or even emperor, king, or sovereign; no one who claims that he and his children rule “by the Grace of God,” by “Divine Right,” or by special appointment from Heaven. There are only certain men, who call themselves presidents, senators, and representatives, and claim to be the authorized agents, for the time being, or for certain short periods, of all “the people of the United States”; but who can show no credentials, or powers of attorney, or any other open, authentic evidence that they are so; and who notoriously are not so; but are really only the agents of a secret band of robbers and murderers, whom they themselves do not know, and have no means of knowing, individually; but who, they trust, will openly or secretly, when the crisis comes, sustain them in all their usurpations and crimes.

What is important to be noticed is, that these so-called presidents, senators, and representatives, these pretended agents of all “the people of the United States,” the moment their exactions meet with any formidable resistance from any portion of “the people” themselves, are obliged, like their co-robbers and murderers in Europe, to fly at once to the lenders of blood money, for the means to sustain their power. And they borrow their money on the same principle, and for the same purpose, viz., to be expended in shooting down all those “people of the United States”—their own constituents and principals, as they profess to call them—who resist the robberies and enslavement which these borrowers of the money are practising upon them. And they expect to repay the loans, if at all, only from the proceeds of the future robberies, which they anticipate it will be easy for them and their successors to perpetrate through a long series of years, upon their pretended principals, if they can but shoot down now some hundreds of thousands of them, and thus strike terror into the rest.

Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.


Spooner is what I call a Nation of Settlers “paleolibertarian” world view which is to the “neolibertarian” what the “paleoconservative” is to the “neoconservative”. He therefore offers a based argument: truly paleoradical skepticism of the primacy of “property rights” in the Jeffersonian (if not Jacksonian; his unionist decision notwithstanding) sense of individuality – not “neoradical” skepticism of the primacy of “property rights” in the sense of Marx or, worse, Frankfurt school commie sense.

Spooner’s abolitionist stance of self-ownership, as having priority over even a “meeting of the minds” in “contract” between adults (since there is always the question to be adjudicated, of theorems of the contract-as-axiom, empirically emergent with time) should have motivated him to, in that otherwise comprehensive essay, ask the original intent of my question:

Even assuming fully and continually renewed delegation of authority – rendering the signatories of the Constitution authorized to bind those entrusting them – there is still the question of the validity of slave contracts. I fully understand the abomination of fraud and even categorize it as qualitatively worse than overt force since one cannot then negotiate terms of surrender as they will not be credible. So don’t misunderstand me.

But with the abolition of debtors’ prisons and bankruptcy law that protects an individual’s means of livelihood (home and tools of the trade), there is a fine-print clause appended to any contract that, while it is fine-print, is nevertheless still part of any “meeting of the minds” within such a jurisdiction.

It is a fool’s property right to think there is nothing substantive behind this fine print.

I guess what I’m getting to is, once again, the appeal of last resort in dispute processing between truly sovereign individuals:

Overt force.

The way The Seven Agreements Between Individuals handles this is in its rules governing formal combat between two individuals in a state of nature:

  1. No additional agreements that give a group’s decisions effective power over individuals shall be made. Any group of two or more individuals who make other agreements giving a group decision effective power over Individuals, or who fail to abide by these agreements, shall be deemed a conspiracy against Individual freedom. All acts against them by an Individual or a group of Individuals who have entered into this agreement shall be construed to be self-defense…
  2. Any sovereign may challenge another sovereign to formal combat for any reason. The following are the conditions for such formal combat:…
    6.D. …All previous agreements between challenger and challenged are automatically suspended during the period of formal combat. There shall be no rules within the combat ground.

One must always recognize that if individuals are to be truly sovereign, they must have the sovereign’s prerogative to make and break treaties as well as declare war.


That line of reasoning would fit well with the idea (in rebuildling a post-collapse society) of eliminating birthright citizenship.

If a person at the age of majority (or later) decided to swear an oath accepting the Constitution, then the predicate for a binding contract would have been satisfied, and that person would thenceforth be entitled to the privileges of citizenship, such as voting and equal treatment under the law, along with the responsibilities, such as military service. A person who decided not to swear an oath to the Constitution would become a ward of the State or some other category without the full rights of citizenship (Green Card holder?) – for example, not having the right to vote.

This might be seen as an echo of the ancient Spartan practice of having a significant part of the population as non-citizen helots.


Steeped in 1848 as I presently am ( I’m reading Christopher Clark’ new magisterial tome, “ Revolutionary Spring: Europe Aflame and The Fight for a New World 1848-1849” ) it’s kinda painful to witness all this Constitution-bashing. I mean so many people longed for, aspired to, DIED for a Constitution of their own back then!

Clark quotes some contemporary who said a constitution is always a peace treaty. So…when ya say it isnt t a “contract”, I reckon that like a peace treaty it only governs the parties’ or factions’ conduct in times,of peace. There is a condition (continued harmony) which, unfulfilled or breached, voids the document if war breaks out for whatever reason.

But at least a Constitution IS a written document, and it should be writ “so that he who runs my read”. It IS some kinda commitment, some kinda standard, for a government.A stepping stone or a stumbling block, depending on one’s goals.

I dk, Ann Landers’ famous advice to readers considering divorce comes to mind: ask yourself, are we better of WITH it, or WITHOUT it?

Maybe it’s just my legal training and my historical avocation, but: I would opt to stay married to the US Constitution.


It’s always good to approach human society acknowledging that the appeal of last resort in dispute processing had better take the distinction between “peace” and “war” as primary. This is one reason why when I think about such things as “Constitutional Restoration”, I prefer doing so in terms of the Treaty of Westphalia’s principle of Cuius regio, eius religio and ask why it is, not that the Constitution failed to keep the peace safe from war by fraud, but rather why the Treaty of Westphalia failed to keep it. For if you can’t figure out how to repair that Treaty, you are in for an even bloodier rhyme with The Thirty Years War.


How would you “repair” that treaty?and how does apply WITHIN a nation?


To quote you quoting Clark quoting someone else:

a constitution is always a peace treaty.

I’d repair the Treaty of Westphalia’s principle of Cuius regio, eius religio by according each adult territorial value that they took with them when they assortatively migrated. Then, rather than literal bloody wars to reapportion land value between various regions (and their associated beliefs), there would be a periodic bidding war to redraw territorial boundaries – say once every 10 year census.


What do you mean, they took territorial value with them when they migrated?


Using the US as an example:

There are about 200M adults. There is about $20T land value. Per adult land value is about $10k. So people fleeing California for, say, Arizona, would each take $10k land value with them to Arizona. Arizona would bid against other States for land value based on their population of adults * $10k. Exact boundaries would get drawn based on that process.

Of course, don’t get lost in the present miasma that is the current concept of a “State” in the “United States”. There would be vastly more States.


A constitution is a written document, but the point isn’t that it’s written, but rather whether or not it works—does it put into effect a system of government consistent with the intentions and expectations of those who wrote and ratified it, and does it serve to maintain that system against usurpations against it over an extended period of time? (Duly proposed and adopted amendments to adapt to changing conditions are fine, but they also must be evaluated in the same way.)

Under these criteria, the U.S. constitution has failed. The constitutional convention was convened to amend the Articles of Confederation and, as such conventions are wont to do, promptly ran away, threw out the Articles, and wrote a new document from scratch, which was not a confederation of states but rather a national government with supremacy over the states. But, based on principles from Montesquieu, separation of powers and negative feedback mechanisms were put in place to avoid centralisation of power in one branch. This all began to unravel almost from the start, with the judiciary asserting its supremacy in Marbury v. Madison, the two attempts to put a national bank into effect, Lincoln’s income tax, railroad eminent domain grants, etc. This is all documented in the 2012 book Hologram of Liberty by Kenneth W. Royce (“Boston T. Party”) (out of print in paperback but available on Kindle).

All of this was before the “progressive era” when a series of amendments provided the infrastructure for a supreme national government (national bank, income tax, direct election of senators, national police force), and then the New Deal, which created the administrative state and through legal entrepreneurship such as the expansive commerce clause, granted it effectively unlimited power. And all of the New Deal power grabs and subsequent imposition of tyranny didn’t even require an amendment to implement.

The fundamental problem with a written constitution is that it has no defence against the words in which it is written being reinterpreted to mean anything the people in power say they mean. When there is a sitting judge on the supreme court who cannot define the word “woman”, how does any of the language of a constitution constrain Leviathan from doing as it wishes?

Constitutions—no problem: the Soviet Union had three constitutions over the seven decades of its regrettable existence. France has had fourteen, including five republics. If constitutions worked so well, why do so many of them need to be discarded and replaced?

It seems to me that the evidence suggests the need for a more effective means of negative feedback which lawyers and politicians cannot circumvent by redefining words. What might this look like? To start, an absolute right of secession of any unit in the society from those larger to which it is associated: state from confederation, county from state, township from county, and individual freeholder from township, and right of free association or no association by those who seceded.

If this sounds crazy and impracticable for the real world, consider: about 30 minutes’ drive from my house is the Swiss canton of Jura. It was formed in 1979 when, pursuant to a referendum, the territory seceded from the canton of Bern and applied for independent membership in the Swiss Confederation, which was accepted. After the secession, several communes on the border with Bern voted to switch cantons and the border was adjusted accordingly. The next change of a border town is expected to occur in 2026.


I seem to recall something about Swiss Cantons having some veto authority over the Swiss government’s placement of immigrants in them. Is that true?

Of course this doesn’t necessarily mean Cantons have power to enforce border controls, but it should – particularly in an era of mass immigration to Europe.


That is a good principle – but what structure would be required to make the larger outside society respect the unit’s right to secede? In North America, there is the historical example of the War Between The States on precisely that point.

One suggestion would be to control the finances. The people of the unit can be taxed only by that unit. Larger units (eg State vs County) could tax only Counties, and so on up the chain.The result would be to strengthen local control and to weaken the central Political Class.


«An absolute right of secession of any unit within the society” …
I could be wrong, but hasn’t Switzerland with its cantons always been something of an anomaly?
I’m struggling to figger whether I’m ok with that. Or rather, whether it would work out for ME ( which is of
Course my main concern)—
So here I am, a native of the Pocono Plateau in rural, Appalachian NEPa. We who grew up here, and have stayed, do not want “growth”, development. But OTOH that means our young people have to leave, if they want jobs. Who would decide: the newcomers, flatlanders, as we call’em—or the early settlers?
That’d be a matter if numerical supremacy, I suppose. As in practice, it IS.

I think to most Americans, the Bill of Rights is the most important part of our Constitution. In fact it’s probably the only part they know much about. But it is vital, say I. And if we didn’t have a Constitution we wouldn’t have those 10 Amendments.


As I often say regarding my emphasis on territorial reallocation:

Capitalism is in a political deadlock with liberal democracy’s tyranny of the majority limited only by a vague laundry list of selectively enforced “human rights”.

Breaking this deadlock requires empirically grounding the social sciences by sorting proponents of social theories into governments that test them: Sortocracy.

This means that the current model of “human rights” must be replaced with a single, well defined, right to vote with your feet. This right to vote with your feet necessarily implies three material rights:

  1. The material right to land.
  2. The material right to transportation.
  3. The material right to border enforcement.

#1 is obvious since you can’t put your social theory into practice without land. #2 is also obvious as people who cannot practically relocate cannot vote with their feet.

#3 should be obvious but, due to the moral zeitgeist, it is not. Incarceration rates, particularly in the US, show us that there are two, fundamentally opposed, kinds of borders: Those that keep people out and those that keep people in. Of the two, the kind that keeps people in is least compatible with the right to vote with your feet. Even the US’s 13th Amendment to the Constitution has provision for involuntary servitude: Slavery for those imprisoned. We see a prison-industrial complex arising at the interface of government and capitalism to exploit this loophole in the 13th Amendment. The moral zeitgeist’s mandate is “let people in”. What is not admitted is this necessarily entails walls that keep people from leaving who are found to be “criminal” by the admitting society.

The moral zeitgeist has to reconcile its moral outrage at imprisonment with its moral outrage at border controls. The only realistic answer to this is absolute enforcement of free emigration combined with absolute tolerance of restrictive immigration.


I agree with your last sentence.
But I don’t understand what you mean by «material right to land”. Everybody does have the right (although maybe not the financial means) to acquire land. Additionally, when you do own land it’s kinda a practical restriction on your right to “vote with your feet” since real property isn’t a very easily liquidated asset, so if you have a big investment in a home, f’rinstance, you my not be able to afford to move.


100,000 deaths of despair per year is the tip of the iceberg. Much of the rest is visible from the “surface” by simply looking down beneath the surface at the enormous flight from diversity that is going on. I fully understand that you want to avoid the inconvenience of putting your house up for sale and see the Bill of Rights properly enforced. However, when it comes to those of us preparing to sacrifice our very lives for freedom from your vague solutions in a system proven to have failed us (and don’t give me shit about how we haven’t “thought through the real consequences of war” when we’re already killing ourselves in such numbers) the slogan “Give me convenience or give me death,” is unpersuasive.


I’m not trying to persuade you. Im totally open (I think) to what you’re saying. Completely on board with opposing prisoners being used as slave labor, though I’m not sure what it has to do with the topic, unless it’s just that it’s part of the Constitution? No, I’m just trying to understand what you mean.

I think you’re saying we should all move to an area where people think like we do, and then make literal war?

And then, if we win, what kind of government will we establish?