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Election 2016: Liberty Loses No Matter Who Wins
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For all the hand-wringing about the threat to liberty and constitutional government posed by the major party presidential candidates, there is little discussion of how this threat is due to the political class’s long history of supporting expanded presidential power. There is also little talk of how the imperial presidency is just as much a creation of Congress as it is of power-hungry presidents.

Since war is the health of the state, it is not surprising that presidential power expanded in tandem with the expansion of the warfare state. Perhaps the best, and most terrifying, example of how “national security” has been used to justify giving the president dictatorial powers is the Defense Production Act.

This law, which is regularly renewed with large bipartisan congressional majorities, grants the president broad powers over the economy. For example, it explicitly authorizes the president to tell manufacturers what products to make, impose wage and price controls, “manage” labor relations, control the use of natural resources, and even allocate credit. All the president need do to exercise these powers is declare a national emergency.

The Defense Production Act is hardly the only example of congress’s complicity in the growth of presidential power. For example, Congress rarely, if ever, insists that the president seek a formal declaration of war before commencing military action. When I attempted to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war against Iraq, a prominent member of Congress, who was considered a constitutional scholar, told me that the constitutional requirement that Congress declare war was an “anachronism.”

Many neoconservatives claim that the president’s status as commander in chief gives him the inherent authority to take whatever actions he deems necessary for national security. This turns a limited grant of power intended to preserve civilian control of the military into an unlimited authorization for military control of civilians.

Presidents have hardly limited their abuse to foreign policy. Ironically, many conservatives who (correctly) oppose abuses of presidential authority in the domestic sphere support giving the president unlimited authority over “national security.” These conservatives fail to realize unfettered presidential discretion in foreign policy will inevitably lead to presidential usurpation of Congress’s authority in domestic matters.

Modern presidents routinely use executive orders to create new laws or rewrite existing statutes. President George W. Bush regularly usurped congressional authority via signing statements listing the parts of congressionally-passed legislation he would refuse to enforce.

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama actually bragged about his intention to use his “pen and phone” to go around Congress via executive orders and regulations. Some members of Congress do criticize presidential usurpation of congressional authority. However, few members of Congress raise concerns about presidential overreach when the White House is occupied by a member of their political party. This suggests that most legislators are more concerned with partisanship than with protecting their constitutional authority.

As long as people expect the president to provide economic and personal security, the presidency will be a threat to liberty regardless of who holds the office. Therefore, instead of obsessing over whether demagogue A is less dangerous than demagogue B, we must focus on spreading the ideas of liberty. Only when a critical mass of the people demand it will we return to limited constitutional government. The growth of the liberty movement gives me hope that we will soon see a day when our peace, prosperity, and liberty is not threatened by the results of the presidential, or any other, election.

(Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: 2016 Election 
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  1. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says: • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    There is no meaningful liberty without identity, history, security, and territory.

    Ron Paul’s abstract principles that put the hedonist-individual at the center of every issue are meaningless.

    Liberty for what? Freedom for what? That ‘what’ is far more crucial than liberty itself.

    A nation that secures territory and forces an identity will outlast a nation of liberty where people freely choose to abandon identity and security.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Liberty to pursue your own happiness without interference from others. You know, what America was about originally. I could turn this around on you: there is no meaningful security or identity without liberty.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
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  2. Ron Paul has taken leave of his senses by lumping Trump in with career criminals. Trump has done more for the economy and jobs by building profitable businesses than Ron Paul has ever done.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marcus
    Paul gets an 'F' from Numbers USA for what that's worth. All those liberty-lovin Mexicans must be constituents.
    , @jtgw
    Yeah, delivering over 4,000 babies counts for nothing. He's just another career politician.
  3. @woodNfish
    Ron Paul has taken leave of his senses by lumping Trump in with career criminals. Trump has done more for the economy and jobs by building profitable businesses than Ron Paul has ever done.

    Paul gets an ‘F’ from Numbers USA for what that’s worth. All those liberty-lovin Mexicans must be constituents.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Actually, he got a B from them.

    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/tools/grades/list/0/CAREER/US/HR/Grade/Retired

    Unless you're looking at a different source?
  4. Ron Paul has been sucking the crooked, self-voted benefits of The Hill and bringing home the budget-bacon for decades now. Lofty and noble talk from him, but he’s the same coin as those he denigrates, not that THEY don’t deserve it. Fail. How the Hell does he still get published? Anywhere, let alone here. At least we have a version of the dark side to keep up with in Ron Paul.

    Read More
  5. @Marcus
    Paul gets an 'F' from Numbers USA for what that's worth. All those liberty-lovin Mexicans must be constituents.

    Actually, he got a B from them.

    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/tools/grades/list/0/CAREER/US/HR/Grade/Retired

    Unless you’re looking at a different source?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marcus
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/nusablog/beckr/may-2-2011/ron-pauls-new-book-sinks-his-immigration-grade-f.html
  6. @Priss Factor
    There is no meaningful liberty without identity, history, security, and territory.

    Ron Paul's abstract principles that put the hedonist-individual at the center of every issue are meaningless.

    Liberty for what? Freedom for what? That 'what' is far more crucial than liberty itself.

    A nation that secures territory and forces an identity will outlast a nation of liberty where people freely choose to abandon identity and security.

    Liberty to pursue your own happiness without interference from others. You know, what America was about originally. I could turn this around on you: there is no meaningful security or identity without liberty.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    "Liberty to pursue your own happiness without interference from others."

    Yeah, like globalists who want open borders and free trade so they play the entire world for maximum profits & happiness without restraint from nationalists and patriots.
  7. @woodNfish
    Ron Paul has taken leave of his senses by lumping Trump in with career criminals. Trump has done more for the economy and jobs by building profitable businesses than Ron Paul has ever done.

    Yeah, delivering over 4,000 babies counts for nothing. He’s just another career politician.

    Read More
  8. Priss Factor [AKA "Anonymny"] says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @jtgw
    Liberty to pursue your own happiness without interference from others. You know, what America was about originally. I could turn this around on you: there is no meaningful security or identity without liberty.

    “Liberty to pursue your own happiness without interference from others.”

    Yeah, like globalists who want open borders and free trade so they play the entire world for maximum profits & happiness without restraint from nationalists and patriots.

    Read More
  9. @jtgw
    Yeah, delivering over 4,000 babies counts for nothing. He's just another career politician.

    Apples and oranges.

    Read More
  10. Thanks to Ron Paul millions of Americans are familiar with the case against the FED. And I admire his stubborn insistence on the rule of law although he never moved the needle on that one. I supported and defended him when he was running for president. But now he should either endorse Trump or shut the fuck up.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    You know that saying about how you can only be sure politicians will keep their bad promises, not their good ones? Think about it.
  11. @WorkingClass
    Thanks to Ron Paul millions of Americans are familiar with the case against the FED. And I admire his stubborn insistence on the rule of law although he never moved the needle on that one. I supported and defended him when he was running for president. But now he should either endorse Trump or shut the fuck up.

    You know that saying about how you can only be sure politicians will keep their bad promises, not their good ones? Think about it.

    Read More
  12. @jtgw
    Actually, he got a B from them.

    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/my/tools/grades/list/0/CAREER/US/HR/Grade/Retired

    Unless you're looking at a different source?
    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    OK, thanks. The link to the page where they actually cite Ron's book to support their new rating seems to be broken, though.

    What's interesting is that Ron has frequently come under fire from other libertarians for not being open borders enough.
  13. @Marcus
    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/nusablog/beckr/may-2-2011/ron-pauls-new-book-sinks-his-immigration-grade-f.html

    OK, thanks. The link to the page where they actually cite Ron’s book to support their new rating seems to be broken, though.

    What’s interesting is that Ron has frequently come under fire from other libertarians for not being open borders enough.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marcus
    He's no Bryan Caplan, but he's not doing anything to help steer libertarians away from the reason.com/Cato crowd either.
    , @MarkinLA
    He was always open borders but when running for President said he would obey the Constitution and enforce the laws on the books as well as abide by any Congress should pass - miles ahead of anything we have had in 30 years.
  14. @jtgw
    OK, thanks. The link to the page where they actually cite Ron's book to support their new rating seems to be broken, though.

    What's interesting is that Ron has frequently come under fire from other libertarians for not being open borders enough.

    He’s no Bryan Caplan, but he’s not doing anything to help steer libertarians away from the reason.com/Cato crowd either.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Well, he did a lot for me. I'm a solid Mises guy. :)
  15. @Marcus
    He's no Bryan Caplan, but he's not doing anything to help steer libertarians away from the reason.com/Cato crowd either.

    Well, he did a lot for me. I’m a solid Mises guy. :)

    Read More
  16. @jtgw
    OK, thanks. The link to the page where they actually cite Ron's book to support their new rating seems to be broken, though.

    What's interesting is that Ron has frequently come under fire from other libertarians for not being open borders enough.

    He was always open borders but when running for President said he would obey the Constitution and enforce the laws on the books as well as abide by any Congress should pass – miles ahead of anything we have had in 30 years.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    If he obeyed the Constitution as president, he would have done more than Congress has done since a long time.
  17. @MarkinLA
    He was always open borders but when running for President said he would obey the Constitution and enforce the laws on the books as well as abide by any Congress should pass - miles ahead of anything we have had in 30 years.

    If he obeyed the Constitution as president, he would have done more than Congress has done since a long time.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Congress at times did pass laws - mostly as a cover for actually doing nothing. In many cases they insert self-nullifying clauses into the laws they pass. But occasionally they did do something like when they authorized 700 miles of the fence to be built.
  18. @jtgw
    If he obeyed the Constitution as president, he would have done more than Congress has done since a long time.

    Congress at times did pass laws – mostly as a cover for actually doing nothing. In many cases they insert self-nullifying clauses into the laws they pass. But occasionally they did do something like when they authorized 700 miles of the fence to be built.

    Read More
    • Replies: @jtgw
    Actually I was talking mostly about all the laws that Congress has passed which overstep its powers as defined by the constitution. If you care about the constitution, you should care about unconstitutional legislation as well as unconstitutional exercise of executive power. Ron Paul became known as "Dr No" precisely because he always voted against unconstitutional legislation. I don't think a border fence is unconstitutional, but a lot of proposed anti-immigration measures are, e.g. mandatory e-Verify. The federal government has no constitutional authority to force private businesses to seek its permission to employ anyone.
  19. @MarkinLA
    Congress at times did pass laws - mostly as a cover for actually doing nothing. In many cases they insert self-nullifying clauses into the laws they pass. But occasionally they did do something like when they authorized 700 miles of the fence to be built.

    Actually I was talking mostly about all the laws that Congress has passed which overstep its powers as defined by the constitution. If you care about the constitution, you should care about unconstitutional legislation as well as unconstitutional exercise of executive power. Ron Paul became known as “Dr No” precisely because he always voted against unconstitutional legislation. I don’t think a border fence is unconstitutional, but a lot of proposed anti-immigration measures are, e.g. mandatory e-Verify. The federal government has no constitutional authority to force private businesses to seek its permission to employ anyone.

    Read More
  20. Ron Paul is mostly correct on this one. Donald Trump said he loves the FBI and wanted to grant them power to crack iphone security. He also previously condemned Ed Snowden who’s a hero in my book. There are things I like about Trump but his mindless devotion to the police state is not one of them. But he’s not a mortal enemy of the Constitution as some libertarians might think.

    Hillary is a psychopath and totalitarian and most definitely is a sworn enemy of Constitutional freedoms.

    Read More
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