That apparently dwindling band of Americans who might be loosely called constitutionalists — those who believe that the central government is limited to certain enumerated powers, and has no business monkeying around outside those specific duties — isn't likely to get much joy out of this season.
Many constitutionalists call themselves libertarians, and while libertarians' hearts are in the right place on limiting the reach of the federal leviathan, I think they carry their anti-government, rugged individualist ideas to ridiculous extremes. But one party that kept faith with the letter and spirit of the Constitution is not avowedly libertarian, and while it is definitely on the fringe, it might be important in ways greater than its numbers or present influence would suggest. It's the Constitution Party, which has nominated Chuck Baldwin and Darrell Castle for president and VP, respectively.
I must admit to not having given Chuck Baldwin the attention he perhaps deserves. (There are just only so many hours in the day.) But with the country racing toward the wall, it might be time to take a closer look.
Here is the Baldwin-Castle web site.
My first reaction when pulling up the site is: What an ugly mess. The splash page design looks like one of those mailbox stuffers where franchise businesses proclaim, "10% DISCOUNT WHEN YOU MENTION THIS AD!" The Baldwin site almost shouts, "Cuckoo corner!"
Let us try to ignore that, and click the tab "Issues." Here are a few highlights among Baldwin's positions, with comments by your blogger.
The "Baldwin-Castle Doctrine": No foreign government or world government body or entity, not even an ally or neighbor of the US is allowed to own any portion of US roads, airports, homes, buildings, lands, waters, resources (oil, gas, precious metals, minerals, etc,), religious facilities (no matter what faith), stocks, bonds, US treasury notes, businesses, banks, military bases or military assets or manufacturing facilities in the US regardless of how much the foreign governments donate to the political campaigns or private fortunes of US officials, elected or bureaucratic, or even to the US treasury.Well intentioned, and a worthwhile goal to work for. But right now, thanks to our hapless past economic policies, foreign governments own nearly half of our national debt. If we were to insist that they sell their Treasury paper, the market repercussions would be catastrophic. Also, the details would be hard to work out. America is still a rookie in the Socialist League, but many European governments have long owned large parts of major companies based there. Would none of those companies then be allowed to buy any interest in U.S. companies? Would all those companies that have offices and facilities in the U.S. have to sell up or leave? That would be a hard belt in the chops to our economy, the last thing we need at the moment.
Education: I oppose enactment of any federal laws subsidizing or regulating the education of children. [But later] I wholeheartedly support the unimpeded right of parents to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including homeschooling or private or religious instruction. My Administration will oppose any and all federal legislation that would interfere with or restrict that liberty. I support equitable tax relief for families whose children do not attend government schools.Yes, education is one of those areas that should be under state and, especially, local control. The federal bureaucrats add no value and diminish administration tailored to local conditions and offering a variety of methods throughout the nation. However, tax relief for parents whose children do not go to government schools is a form of subsidy. I'm not against it, but let's be honest about it.
Foreign policy: President Bush should have supported Ron Paul's bill, H.R. 3076, the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. This is the constitutional way to deal with rogue terrorist organizations. This is the way President Thomas Jefferson responded to the Barbary pirates.Good as far as it goes. But the foreign policy plank completely avoids discussion of threats from state actors. What should we do about Iran? A resurgent, aggressive Russia? Et cetera. Very tough questions to deal with and no easy answers. But such questions are one of the most important things we expect a president to take on. Baldwin's silence is loud.
According to Congressman Paul, a letter of marque and reprisal is a constitutional tool specifically designed to give the President the authority to respond with appropriate force to those non-state actors who wage aggression against the United States while limiting his authority to only those responsible for the atrocities of that day. Such a limited authorization is consistent with the doctrine of just war and the practical aim of keeping Americans safe while minimizing the costs in blood and treasure of waging such an operation.
Immigration: We will seal our borders and ports. I support construction of a fence to secure our borders, but a Baldwin Administration will not wait for the construction of a fence in order to seal and secure our borders. We will utilize whatever force is necessary, including regular military personnel, to effectively secure our borders immediately. It is lunacy to send troops and National Guard half way around the world to protect the borders of Iraq while leaving our own borders wide open. …This, and other language about immigration, is far stronger and more sensible than anything issuing from the orifices of our two major candidates. Unfortunately, he is completely fixated on illegal immigration. That's only part of the problem. It ignores the overpopulation, social tension, and balkanization caused by huge numbers of perfectly legal immigrants, which the government and its globalist puppet masters promote to dilute and ultimately marginalize the indigenous European-descended population in a "divide and conquer" policy. Baldwin seems completely clueless about the calculated race replacement policies that will make the United States into a Third World country if not stopped.
There will be no "path to citizenship" given to any illegal alien. That means no amnesty. Not in any shape, manner, or form. I would not allow tax dollars to be used to pay for illegal aliens' education, social services, or medical care. As President, I would end birthright citizenship for illegal aliens. There would be no "anchor babies" during my administration.
Defense: Supporting the troops' means putting their interests and America's interests first and not in needlessly endangering them by engaging in "policeman off the world" military adventures all over the world. We should be the friend of liberty everywhere, but the guarantor and provisioner of ours alone. As President I will never deploy American troops into combat without a declaration of war by Congress, pursuant to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. Under no circumstances will the Baldwin Administration commit U.S. forces to serve under any foreign flag or command. I am adamently opposed to any New World Order, and will reject U.S. participation in or a relinquishing of command to any foreign authority.Excellent. Did I write this? No, I'd like to think I'd have caught the typo. And I support greater federal spending on copyediting. A Baldwin Administration should sponsor a Full Employment for Editors bill.
In a Baldwin Administration, the armed forces of the United States will always serve under the flag of the United States and the mission of our armed forces will always be to provide for the common defense for these United State of America.
The "sanctity of life": The pre-born child, whose life begins at fertilization, is a human being created in God's image. The first duty of the law is to prevent the shedding of innocent blood. It is, therefore, the duty of all civil governments, and that certainly includes the office of the President of the United States, to secure and to safeguard the lives of the pre-born. I affirm the God-given legal person hood of all unborn human beings, without exception. In addition to guaranteeing the legal person hood of the unborn, Ron Paul's Sanctity of Life Act, which I wholeheartedly support, would strip the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in all cases of abortion in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 2. …
Under my administration, we could end legal abortion in a matter of days, not decades. And if Congress refuses to pass Dr. Paul's bill, I will use the constitutional power of the Presidency to deny funds to protect abortion clinics.
No sale. Well, mostly no.
Certainly the abortion issue should not have been decided by the Supreme Court, on a ridiculous "right to privacy" basis, or any other that I can see that makes it a federal case. Having Roe v. Wade imposed by a court has created no end of divisiveness and bitterness. It is completely understandable for abortion opponents to be angry about this "legislation from the bench."
But. The Supreme Court has no more business outlawing abortion than it does making it a right. This should not be a judicial matter at all, other than one of narrowly interpreting legislation about it.
So who should decide about the legality of abortion? Jurisdiction should be at the state level at the very most, and possibly on a county level. To repeat: decided by legislation, not courts. It recognizes that there is an unbridgeable difference of opinion that is somewhat geographically sorted.
No one needs legislation that allows them to not undergo abortion, but my proposal would undoubtedly mean that some women would have to travel to another jurisdiction if they wanted the procedure. That's why I am inclined to favor a "county option" system, like Texas has (or used to have, I don't know the current status) for selling booze. Presumably a woman who chose abortion would have to travel in some cases, which imposes an extra burden, but a county system would probably reduce that to the unavoidable minimum. It's not an ideal solution, but we accept that laws about many things differ from state to state, which is in line with constitutional principles.
I realize, of course, that for Chuck Baldwin and many others abortion is a moral issue, and he would argue that moral issues are not subject to a mere vote count. But for many it is not, or not necessarily, a moral issue. And if we value liberty, we have to acknowledge that people can disagree about whether something falls under an absolute moral rule.
The Constitution Party's platform, including many details I haven't touched on, is worth reading as a stimulus to thought. The country would be better for it if the party were taken seriously, although the mainstream media wouldn't dream of it — one more good reason. As presently embodied in the Chuck Baldwin candidacy, the worst that can be said of the party is that it is not fully consistent and sidesteps some important problems; the best is that, unlike the Republicrats, it takes U.S. sovereignty and the federalist system seriously.