The constitutional government of these United States of America is sick beyond the curative, or even palliative, powers of the ordinary process of legislation, elections, and the appointing of constitutional judges. Perhaps the only solution left to us is civil disobedience, to throw sand in the gears of the regulatory state. [See related episode of PJTV’s Trifecta in video below.]
So says Charles Murray in his new book By The People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, scheduled for release May 12. His remedy: create a “Madison Fund,” from private donations, to vigorously defend small businesses and individuals against the unconstitutional regulations that strangle our economy and our liberty. By flooding the zone, Murray hopes to cripple the ability of the regulatory state to fight a multi-front war against we, the people.
In a word, it’s the Cloward-Piven strategy, in reverse (my description, not Murray’s). Rather than overwhelming the welfare system to force total nationalization — to get more stuff from government — Murray would overwhelm government agencies to get them to stop arbitrary enforcement actions; to leave us alone except in situations that genuinely threaten public health and safety. He likens it to the way police don’t stop every speeding car, but only those that pose the greatest threat to the well-being of others.
Even Murray acknowledges his plan is a long shot, but it may be the last, best hope. (There’s much more to the plan than the brief summary in this review).
Charles Murray leaped onto the public stage in 1996 with The Bell Curve, which studied the links between intelligence, ethnicity and economic success in a world that increasingly makes mental acuity a prerequisite to prosperity. In 2013, he stirred the pot again with Coming Apart, a disturbing look at class division in America.
Although you may not agree with his proposal in By the People, his explication of the problem is must-reading.
All three branches of government have found it in their best interest to shirk responsibility and blame. Congress passes broad legislation and delegates both specifics and enforcement to executive branch agencies. This, in effect, allows the executive to usurp the role of the legislature, thereby violating the keystone of our Constitution — separation of powers. The Supreme Court, for its part, has let stand (stare decisis) precedents established by the Roosevelt court after FDR cowed it into submission with his threat to pack the Court with more justices until they blessed his budding autocracy. It was the most effective brush-back pitch in the history of the game, and now the Court hides behind stare decisis, rather than taking a swing that would undercut the power of big, centralized, remote-control government.
Murray is provocative to the core. But that’s not a bad thing in such times, especially because he backs his provocations with data, history, and rational analysis that leads you from skepticism, to acceptance. At the very least, he earns every penny of your investment of time and money. And perhaps, he’ll earn your allegiance to a plan that just might work. Having run for local office, and seen the sausage factory from within, I feel Murray’s pain, and to a large extent agree with his diagnosis and prescription.