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Defending The Republic With Yaron Brook

Please check out the below, June 4th, Blog Talk Radio broadcast of “Defending the Republic,” with Southern Sense, Annie Ubelis, and her co-host, Cool Mike:

Their special guest was Dr. Yaron Brook, the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is a columnist at Forbes.com, and is featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Investor’s Business Daily, and many other publications.

This interview (figuratively-speaking) is like a Libertarian sermon! Anyone who values Limited Government, should listen to this interview with Yaron Brook.

Enjoy!


(To get right to the Yaron Brook interview, please forward to 18:00m)

Listen to internet radio with Southern Sense Is Conservative on BlogTalkRadio

Further Reading:
Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government, by Dr. Yaron Brook.
Was Today’s Society Beyond The Foresight Of Our Founders?


Posted, also, at Conservative Daily News




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  1. When we look at the Constitution, we see the language written in terms of permission to the citizens and restraint for the government. As the years have progressed, the permissions to the citizens have decreased (so that citizens have less freedom), and the restraints have also decreased, so that the government has more power. As Dr. Brook says, the Founding Fathers would not recognize the Constitution in today’s government.

    What was the original problem that brought us here? First and most obvious, there was the inclusion of slavery in the Constitution. That was a direct contradiction the principles of freedom, and Ayn Rand spoke of that. The Civil War was the consequence of the inclusion of slavery. As an issue, slavery was major, but as problem it was the symptom, not the cause.

    This may sound odd, but the real cause of our demise was the enumeration of powers and rights. Madison was against a bill of rights because he feared that what rights were not listed would be appropriated by the government. He was right.

    The enumeration of powers and rights is an attempt to form a government without a principled definition. The Founders did the best job they could with the tools of the Enlightenment and vision of a morality of individual responsibility. But since individual responsibility and slavery were and are a direct contradiction, the fundamental definition of the role of government was not completed. Instead, the Founders opted for the enumeration of powers and rights without a defining principle clearly spelled out. This paved the way for many of the original breaches of the Constitution which were early steps down the road to our current mess. For example, our modern welfare state grows directly out of the clause in the constitution which gives the government power to “promote the general Welfare.”

    We can argue until we are blue in the face that the Founders did not mean us to interpret that clause the way every administration since FDR has interpreted it. You know that, I know that, even the leftists know that. That is not the point. The point is that if we would like to be radicals for capitalism and freedom, we must recognize that this enumerating approach is wrong.

    A far better approach would be to state that the purpose of government as to serve as a deterrent to the initiation of force in human relations by enforcing laws which punish initiation of force and fraud against enemies of individual rights both domestic (criminals) and foreign (invaders). How the government works should be spelled out. Then a clear limiting clause should be added: any activity, power, authority which is not specifically granted to the government or to the several states is strictly prohibited to the government.

    Similarly, if the rights of the individuals are to be spelled out, it must be clearly stated that all individuals have the same inalienable rights and that inalienable rights accrue to the individual, cannot be divided, accumulated, abrogated or in direct conflict. Two individuals with opposite positions cannot both be right in the same aspect and extent. No group of individuals can possess any more rights than a single individual. Therefore, the function of the government with regards to individual rights is to determine who is right and who is wrong in what aspect and to what extent.

    Further, that since a man’s mind is is tool of survival and his property is his store of value, the function of government shall be to hold property rights inviolate, second only to the right to life. This relationship of the right to life and the right to property must also be spelled out clearly and the function of the government to uphold both is critical.

    We could take the existing constitution and put all kinds of new separations in it: separation of state and economics, separation of state and science, separation of state and education, separation of state and infrastructure. However, the list would be endless because definition by a negative (excluding what the government should not do) can never by complete. The ONLY way to have a viable constitution which will endure for a long, long time, is to lay out in positive terms what the government is charged TO DO, the principle that makes it so, and to explicitly forbid anything else.

    Now we have a different morality. An objective morality of each individual life as that person’s standard of value, reason as man’s means of survival, the pursuit of a thriving life (of his own choosing) as man’s proper goal. As for the government, the role of government is to serve as a deterrent to the initiation of force or fraud in human relations by defining the laws, explaining the laws and acting accordingly on the domestic scene. As to international relations, a government which recognizes and protects individual rights and tolerates no foreign invader who would impose the rule of men over the rule of objective law on the citizens of this country.

    This is not an easy battle, and the ten-year time-frame is probably accurate at the breakneck pace of the current decline. We must be clear calling for effective change, change which will solve the problems in terms of positive language, clear prohibition of non-enumerated functions of government, and a clear definition of inalienable rights.

    We must not leave the door open with the smallest crack for the forces of altruism, statism and mysticism ever to rise again.

    • Hi Ilene,
      Thank you so much for the insightful comment!

      I believe that I agree with almost everything you’ve written, with one or two exceptions:

      In regards to slavery:

      I totally agree that not abolishing slavery, from the onset, was a definite stain on our history, and a contradiction to the principles set fourth in The Declaration of Independence. That said, if I am not mistaken, 10 out of the original 13 states did want to, straight-out, abolish slavery. In retrospect, I would say that we should have left those 3 states behind, and formed a union with the remaining 10 – hoping that the other 3 would eventually change their policy, then be admitted into the union. At the time, however, our Founders believed it to be critical for all 13 states to join to union, so that the other states would not form an alliance with any foreign country, and potentially become an adversary to the United States. There were economic considerations involved, as well.

      In regards to The Bill of Rights:

      I’m wondering if you had mixed up James Madison with Alexander Hamilton? When the Constitution was written, a few of the anti-Federalists refused to sign it unless a Bill of Rights were guaranteed; and, Jefferson, while serving as Ambassador in France, at the time, wrote to Madison, suggesting that a Bill of Rights should be demanded, and promised, prior to accepting The Constitution. Also, in the 1st United States Congress, 12 amendments, out of the many which were submitted by the several states, were “introduced by James Madison” as a series of legislative articles. Of the 12, of course only 10 were ratified by the states, and included in The Constitution.

      Here are Hamilton’s words, from Federalist Paper #84:

      “I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. “For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do”? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”

      The counter position to Hamilton’s argument can be found in Brutus #2 (anti-Federalist, believed to be Robert Yates):

      “Ought not a [Federal] government, vested with such extensive and indefinite authority, to have been “restricted by a declaration of rights”? It certainly ought. So clear a point is this, that I cannot help suspecting that persons who attempt to persuade people that such reservations were less necessary under this Constitution than under those of the States, are willfully endeavoring to deceive, and to lead you into an absolute state of vassalage.”

      Both men make excellent points, in regards to The Bill of Rights; but, in the end, I am of the belief that, it is much more powerful to be able to point to something, actually written in The Constitution, then to say, since it is not written, you can not be involved in this area of the people’s lives.

      The common error that many people make, is pointing to one of those amendments as a guarantee of our rights. That is wrong, as these rights pre-exist the formation of Government, and what is written in The U.S. Bill of Rights is simply a Constitution “Protection” of those rights. Our country has also been led to believe that The U.S. Bill of Rights is intended to apply to all of our State Legislatures as well. That is also wrong, as each state has their own Constitutions, and The U.S. Bill of Rights were derived from pre-existing state Constitutions. Of course, the Nationalists would love for us to continue looking to our Federal documents, and The Supreme Court, as the arbiters of these rights – but we should not.

      Also, The Founders did include the 9th Amendment, which says:

      “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

      In other words, just because it isn’t stated in The Constitution, don’t assume you have some authority in that area.

      In The Preamble to The Bill of Rights, these words were included:

      “THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, IN ORDER TO PREVENT MISCONSTRUCTION OR ABUSE OF ITS POWERS, THAT FURTHER DECLARATORY AND RESTRICTIVE CLAUSES SHOULD BE ADDED: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.”

      That part of The Preamble expresses the explicit intent of these Amendments, which was to restrict the newly created “Federal” Government in these areas of the people’s lives. With the 9th and 10th Amendments as a further bulwark.

      I am of the mindset, also, that certain articles in The Constitution, were too ambiguous, and left the door open for misconstruction and abuse. I, too, would love to see some of those articles strengthened, to re-affirm their original intent. I am not even opposed to dissolving the entire Federal Government, and starting over as a Confederation of Free and Independent states. Clearly, this Federal Government has overstayed their welcome, and, for the most part, has lost, or is losing, the consent of the people.

      In regards to your other ideas and philosophies, I happen to agree with most, if not all of them. :)

  2. You are right, of course. I meant Hamilton! I also agree that pragmatic politics was the reason the slave states were admitted. As much as we would like it to be otherwise, pragmatism is anti-principle. A fatal mistake paid for in blood by the slaves, in blood, anguish and treasure by the country in the 1860s and still being paid for and upheld today as a viable (or at least excusable) error. It was the blackest error and it was never excusable. It paved the way for the road to Hell, which is the road we are still on.

    Maybe the outcome of 10 states would have that the slaves would start to escape to the free states and the citizens of the new country would have welcomed them as free individuals. Let the 3 states start a war to get their slaves back. The issue would have been very clear and not a single country would have stood up to say that there was any ambiguity about whether a black man is first a man and therefore must properly be free.

    There is no doubt that political pragmatism entrenched the positions and increased the cost of justice, which we are still paying, since we have not even now denounced this original compromise completely and irrevocably.

    However, you are right on a lot of your points. My comments are meant to strengthen the case for freedom by answering the question which has never been properly asked or answered by any society, even ours: what is the difference between the role of government and the role of morality in our lives?

    If you answer that in addition to preventing and punishing the initiation of the use of force and fraud, the government is also charged with instituting the positive values of morality with which we all agree, it is there we part company.

    Whether we all agree or not, the government has no valid role in promoting any positive actions, in prescribing behavior. It is up to the individuals to live their own lives according to the morality and forces to which they subscribe. It is not up to any individual or group of individuals to use the power of government to impose their moral precepts regarding actions one must do to live a proper life. Morality is the chosen. Only the initiation of force is properly proscribed by government.

    My point is that a government which compels the people to positive actions in their own lives, or the lives or others is wrong without exception, whether one happens to agree that the action if taken voluntarily would be good.

    There is a lot more explanation necessary to flesh out this position, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

  3. Ilene,
    You are spot on! Sadly, our Founders did allow pragmatism to keep the institution of slavery alive, in our newly established Republic. One could argue, however, at the time, that, slavery could have been brought to a peaceful end, through the changing attitudes of the people, and through a Constitutional Amendment. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

    “the government has no valid role in promoting any positive actions, in prescribing behavior. It is up to the individuals to live their own lives according to the morality and forces to which they subscribe. It is not up to any individual or group of individuals to use the power of government to impose their moral precepts regarding actions one must do to live a proper life.” I could not agree more Ilene!

    Persuasion comes through peaceful, free, and voluntary exchange of ideas, and beliefs – not through the force of law! Even God, himself, has given us freewill. From there, “each individual” must chose their own course in life.

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