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Monday, January 4, 2016

They're Right In Oregon

This Oregon stand-off is a nice mess.  Below, I'll have a link that details the events that brought us to this point, but I want to go back a bit further in history.  Specifically, how is it that the feds are able to own and control such large chunks of land?

Most people - and all statists - just think that, well HELL, they're the federal government.  They can buy whatever the hell they want.

Uhm, not so much.

If we read the Constitution, we see the powers and prohibitions placed on the 3 arms of government.  I read the whole thing, and not one single article, section, paragraph or sentence mentions the feds ability to own and run national parks or wildlife preserves.  Nothing even brushes up against the idea.

There must be a loop hole somewhere.

So, I went to the National Park Service (NPS) and I found the explanation.  They hang their hat on two specific portions of the Constitution.

First, they discuss the authority granting their existence -
Under the Constitution, the federal government has limited powers [nice of them to acknowledge that  .ed]. The authority for creating national parks is found in the Constitution under the “Property Clause” (Article IV, Section 3). “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States….”
Well all-righty then.  Seems pretty clear.  The long and short of it is that they get to make up the rules for the property they own, period.

They then bolster their legitimacy with this -
“Dispose of” is used in the sense of, “the act of transferring care, ownership or possession, or ownership to another”. Congress determined that it was “needful” to conserve certain lands unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations. The authority for creating the National Park Service is found in The “Necessary and Proper Clause” (Article I, Section 8). 
“Congress shall have the right to…make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Wait, wait, wait.  It says "dispose of" means to transfer to another.  Right there, they said it themselves!  They didn't dispose of it, they kept it!  Still, it doesn't say they MUST dispose of it, so I guess some twit at the NPS just got a bit verbose.

That "needful" thing makes me a bit uneasy - seems like it's opinion-based - but they then back it up with the Article 1 Section 8 stuff, and it seems pretty clear.  It's pretty much a re-statement of the Article 4 stuff.  Got it - they can do as they please with federal land.

But, unsurprisingly, they forgot one thing:  To read the whole Constitution.  Somehow, they managed to miss the paragraph directly before the Article 1 Section 8 citation.  Here, it goes like this -
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
Oh.  Now that's embarrassing.  No mention of national parks, just forts 'n stuff.  It seems as though the founding fathers, all of the original states, and all subsequent states that joined the union - by accepting the Constitution as the supreme law of the land - decided that the land ownership of the federal government was to be restricted to land uses consistent with the powers granted in the Constitution.

Crazy thought, right?

Chief, Chief, Chief, you piece of crap "Natural Wonders" hater!  I suppose you want to turn Half Dome into a screen for a drive-in movie theater!

While that would be kinda cool, no, I don't.  The beauty of Yosemite Park is hard to describe and it should be preserved.

But by the state of California, not the federal government.

You see, there's another part of the Constitution everyone forgot to read.  It's called The Bill Of Rights, and the tenth amendment kind of clears up any questions -
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.
Since we've already established that the federal government was not delegated the power to create parks, and the states weren't prohibited from doing so, that means the states get first crack at it.  If they had no desire to establish and run the parks, then the people could do so - or whatever they wanted to do.

It's that very last part of the paragraph - "or whatever they wanted to do" - that Big Government uses to scare the little people into believing of the need to bend or break the Constitution.  Freedom of choice (as in land use) is a dangerous thing, and good ol' Uncle Sam will make it all better.

OK Chief, you constitutional Nazi, what about massive land purchases such as the Louisiana Purchase, or Alaska, huh?  What would you do there, smartass?

That IS a bit of a conundrum, as you'll see.  While the land was in its pre-state form (why else would the federal government purchase vast amounts of land other than to convert it into a state or to act as a political barrier/boundary?), they would be constitutionally restricted to using the land for anything other than the forts, et al.

Doing so would bring civilization and law to the vast wild expanses, which would encourage people to move there, and set the stage for statehood.

And that's exactly what we did with the pre-state territories after the revolutionary war, but before 1803.  We'd offer them protection and law, people moved west, and they became states.

Here's a fun fact, kids!  When one of my heroes - Thomas Jefferson - made the 1803 Louisiana Purchase - he was challenged on.... wait for it.... constitutional grounds.

What the f........?!

Yep, Ol' TJ bent the very rules he had helped to craft -
Before the purchase was finalized, the decision faced Federalist Party opposition; they argued that it was unconstitutional to acquire any territory. Jefferson agreed that the U.S. Constitution did not contain explicit provisions for acquiring territory, but he did have full treaty power and that was enough.
Wow, bubble burst.  I guess no one pushed back because it was such a great deal ($0.03 per acre).  Expediency at the expense of constitutionality.  Sound familiar?

I just threw up a little in my mouth.

Go back and read the Article 1 Section 8 paragraph, and sure enough, the feds are restricted to purchasing land ONLY from existing states.

Well, since we had already crapped on the Constitution, a little bit more poo-poo couldn't hurt, right?  No need to actually go back and do an amendment empowering the federal government to buy land to expand the United States.

BTW, with few exceptions (like Alaska and the 13 formed after the Louisiana Purchase), most states are on land we got after various wars.  I guess that when the Constitution was written, they figured that that was the only way we would ever acquire more land, so they neglected to include the "purchase of land" in powers granted to the feds.

THIS brings us back to the issue at hand.  The feds still unconstitutionally buy our land, but now it's done with a gun to the head of the sellers, and prison for those who resist.

As promised earlier, here is the link to the timeline of the Oregon mess.  Read it, and prepare to be enraged.

Then consider -
"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms."
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
THAT is why those guys are in Oregon.  What is so awesome about that quote, is that it was made before our Constitution and Bill of Rights were even ratified.  We have these men - our forefathers - who just challenged and beat the most powerful military in the world, and they forever guaranteed the right of every American to do it again if needed.
"I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers."
- George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788
They consist now of the whole people.  Wow.  Words to remember.

Your president - one of those "public officers" - when he makes his pitch in the next few days to restrict your right of gun ownership, should consider -
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
- William Pitt (the Younger), Speech in the House of Commons, November 18, 1783
We're on to you, Barry.  You and your ilk.  Nothing you will propose would have stopped a single one of the horrific shooting sprees you'll use to sell your "necessity" snake oil.

But you know that.

Just like the resistance to the "needful" assertion the NPS uses for its authority, expect resistance to any more unconstitutional infringements directed towards peaceful gun owners.

Here's how King George reacted after April 19, 1775 -

Yeah, it was about gun control.

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Copyright 2016 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Adam said...

Great article. I have felt for a long time now that our fou dinh fathers are rolling over in their graves.

Adam said...

Founding* stupid phone...

Chief Instructor said...

Adam, I'm glad to see some similar "push back" on a few of the blogs and media outlets about that whole pesky Constitution thing. I don't see the Fed giving up easily, but little bits at a time.... who knows? I'm not overly hopeful, but at least people are finally talking about it.