Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Today is Monday, 27 September 2010.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I’ll refer to the ideology under discussion as “Tenther”, although its proponents prefer terms such as “True Constitutionalists”, “Patriots”, etc.

Tenther ideology, a favourite of many Teabaggers, claims that the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, noted above, means that the Federal government has only such powers as are “enumerated”, that is, specifically and literally spelled out in the original document, and no others. (Depending on the ideologue, powers may or may not be added by the amending process.)

This means that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, the V.A. hospital system, and, in some cases, civil rights legislation of every kind, etc., are patently unconstitutional on their face, and therefore null and void.

Tentherism flows naturally, or by an unnatural act, if you prefer, from the ideology of “Originalism”, the notion that the only standard for interpreting the Constitution is the clearly spelled out and discernible original intent of the Framers, frozen in amber. Both ideologies are tigers rather more easily mounted than dismounted.

The Preamble states that one of the reasons the Constitution is ordained and established is to “provide for the common defence”. Nowhere in the Constitution is any authorization clearly enumerated that the Federal government may purchase and employ, for example, automatic rifles, grenades, tanks, or airplanes, let alone nuclear weapons. These things did not exist in 1787, and therefore the Framers could not have specifically intended them, even by inference. Therefore, clearly, by Tenther logic, the Federal military may purchase and employ only such weapons as muskets, muzzle-loading cannon, and wooden sailing ships.

This single example suffices to demonstrate that Tentherism is a logic which inevitably ends in seizing itself by the throat and choking itself to a ridiculous end. However, if one fancies delusion, lusts after slavery, and pines to live in the late 18th century, it is obviously hot.


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