Site menu:

 

March 2017 Policy Study, Number 17-5

   

A Commentary on the American Constitution

   

Part 21

   

 

Article VI is comprised of three clauses.  The first states that the United States will remain liable for all debts and engagements which were previously contracted under the Articles of Confederation.  The third clause concerns the oath of office and to whom it will apply and states that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to hold office or a public trust under the United States.  These two clauses are not of concern to this essay. It is the second clause of this Article, more precisely the implementation of this clause, that bears some careful scrutiny.  It reads:

 

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding(Emphasis added).

 

Please do not overlook the significance of this clause.  It states there are three particular areas, those being the Constitution itself, all laws of the United States, and all treaties, which shall be the “supreme law of the land.”  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  All other laws, of whatever nature and regardless of who made them, are to be inferior to those areas mentioned in this clause.  It is hard to argue against the necessity of such a clause.  A central government without this scope of authority would be a paper tiger and an embarrassment to those it represents.  Still, it is an immense amount of power to invest in the hands of mortal men.

 

It should be self-evident that our Founders wrote the Constitution with one overriding goal in mind, and that was to preserve their liberties and those of their posterity.  There was no meaning placed in the Constitution with the objective to subjugate any of the several sovereign states or the sovereign citizen to the United States’ government.  Unfortunately, there are those in Washington who abuse the Constitution.  They use the Constitution in a manner contrary to the explicit intent of our Founders.  They are using this clause in ways that cease to defend our liberties; and that tend to subjugate the sovereign states and the sovereign citizens thereof to their whims — and this without the states and citizens being truly represented in any kind of practical manner.

 

These are serious accusations and deserve a correspondingly serious explanation.  First, as to the Constitution, I have the greatest respect for the instrument and have no reservation with placing my liberties under its guardianship.  My concern is with those officials who are entrusted with its stewardship and seemingly have no compunction in the perversion of the instrument.  The fault lies not with the instrument, but with those who abuse its provisions.

 

Second, as regards “the laws of the United States,” they are to be made pursuant to the Constitution.  Harking back to the “spirit of the debates,” this would presumably include limiting their jurisdiction to those areas national in scope and would preclude their intervention into matters that are within the purview of the several states.  You can assemble your own list of infractions.  If you have any trouble doing so, just think of it this way:  those things the citizens can do for themselves, the state should allow them to do and not interpose the state’s prescription.  Those things the citizen themselves cannot do, the state has a valid role in performing.  If the states can perform the role themselves, the national government has no business intervening.  It is only when there is a need that cannot be fulfilled by both the citizen and the state that the national government has a legitimate role to fill.  To operate differently is to court disaster.  When the citizen or the state becomes sufficiently dependent on the national government, they unquestionably become subservient to it.  This is not a condition to be very much desired.  Unless this situation is shortly arrested, the subservience will become complete.  This condition is known as slavery.

 

The third and most potentially dangerous reference in this Article is the matter of treaties.  This is because of the subterfuge on the part of those making the treaties and the lack of knowledge on the part of the citizens who bear the consequences.  Before we go any further, you need to know that I do not condemn all treaties.  As stated previously, the treaty process is a necessity.  The government needs the ability to contract with other entities as surely as corporations and individual citizens.  It is only when the object of the treaty or the consequences of the treaty abridge the intent of the Constitution that a treaty becomes repugnant.  The same limits that apply to the laws of the United States, as stated above, apply with equal vigor to treaties.  When a treaty transgresses these constitutionally proscribed limits, it is every bit as noxious to our liberties as a law would be.

 

It is difficult to explain further without example.  We will use two:  the Treaty on Children, andthe Treaty on the Environment.  We will start with the former.  First, let me confess that I know very little of what is contained in this document.  The problem lies therein because the probability is extremely high that neither do you and neither do 99.999% of American citizens.  I fear that even the knowledge of the majority of United States Senators who are to give their consent to ratify a treaty is not such as to truly give informed consent.  This is probably true for all but the very simplest treaties.

 

In this treaty, I believe there to be a section on education.  We start with a question:  what legitimate business does our national government have in establishing an international treaty that concerns the education, or any other topic for that matter, of the children of the sovereign private citizens of this nation?  In any event, one may presume that within that section on education would be included the topic of subject matter.  If this treaty is ratified and indeed becomes “the law of the land,” you have just inherited a situation in which any third-rate, third-world signatory of the treaty will have a say, probably more than you, as to how your child will be educated.

 

Having some experience as to how these people behave in the United Nations, it would be a pretty fair bet that your child’s instruction would contain as much indoctrination as legitimate education.  If a majority of the signatories opt for the indoctrination, and the world court upholds the decision even over the objection of the United States, or any of the several states or the citizens of this nation, then that is what will be taught.  All the better to make your child a citizen of the world, don’t you see?

 

The Treaty on the Environment behaves the same way.  If the majority of the signatories of this treaty decide to proclaim sixty acres in the middle of your Uncle Joe’s farm a wetland, then Uncle Joe loses his right to farm that land as he sees fit.  If they decide your backyard, which you were planning to use to build an addition on your house for your new baby, qualifies as a wetland by their definition, then you lose your right to build on that property.  It does not matter how arbitrary their definition of wetland may be.  It does not matter that you have the property bought and paid for and pay the property taxes.  You have lost your right to own property.  For all practical purposes, the signatories to the treaty have become the property owners and you have become a tenant, or maybe even a serf.  Without the right to property, you have lost the means of production.  The implication is this:  without the means of production, you have lost the means to provide for yourself and your family.  You have no certain means to even feed yourself.  All now becomes the king’s forest, and you are at his mercy for your daily bread (sustenance).  You have lost the economic means to guarantee your freedom.

 

A starving man thinks first of satisfying his hunger before anything else.  He will sell his liberty and all [else] for the sake of getting a morsel of food. To a man with an empty stomach, food is God.”  (Emphasis added).  (Mohandas K. Gandhi).

 

   

 

Click here for pdf copy of this Policy Study

 

All of our publications are available for sponsorship.  Sponsoring a publication is an excellent way for you to show your support of our efforts to defend liberty and define the proper role of government.  For more information, please contact Public Interest Institute at Public.Interest.Institute@LimitedGovernment.org