Dr. Edwin Vieira, Jr., Ph.D., J.D.
October 22, 2008
I do not wield some other Internet columnist’s article as a foil
for one of my own pointed commentaries. But Naomi Wolf’s recent
offering, “Why Barack Obama Got My Vote,” provides such
a “teachable moment” in cyberspace that I cannot resist.
of my readers are aware that Naomi Wolf is a shining star in today’s
universe of political commentary. She has warned Americans that their
country is rapidly turning into a fascist state. That this observation
requires no great insight is apparently beside the point where instant
celebrity among the intelligentsia is concerned—but, even so,
it is useful and praiseworthy. Her latest piece, however, falls disappointingly
short of that mark. Wolf tells us that,
we are fools
to assume that if the government makes a dramatically violent move
* * * that anyone will know clearly what to do or how to implement
what should be done in response. * * *
We need to consider
this right now when we think about our own country: In a sudden sharp
move on the part of the US government, * * * there is nothing a democracy
is prepared effectively to do; that is the nature of democracy. There
is no War Room for democracy; no one has an organizational chart detailing
who would do what; no one would have a master strategy.
When people think
about the many laws that invite this kind of overreaching now in the
US— the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD 51),
for instance, that would give the President control over all branches
of government—executive, legislative, and judicial—in
the event of an emergency—they just assume that, gosh darn it,
WE WON'T TAKE IT. And it may well be that we wouldn’t want to
take it and we would be willing in great numbers to run to the ramparts.
But here is what I have to report to you * * * : in a crackdown, even
in the best-case scenario, NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THE RAMPARTS ARE.
but how? The trouble with an aggressive move * * * on the part of
the government is that THEY HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN
and we have not. They aren’t surprised or shocked; we are. They
have a plan; we don’t.
So surely, better
to roll back these terrifying laws. Just in case.
What is leadership?
Leadership means getting out in front of where people are and waking
them up. Right now, given these violent possible threats to us and
our families, we are sleeping.
is why I am formally coming out of the closet with my support for Senator
Barack Obama. Of all the candidates running now, he is the leader on
understanding the threat to the Constitution and actually taking action,
not just mouthing soundbites, on the need to deny torturers space in
our nation and to restore the rule of law.
Well, when Naomi
Wolf writes that “NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THE RAMPARTS ARE” and
“[t]hey have a plan; we don’t,” she should speak only
for herself. I hardly expect that she has read my commentaries here
at News With Views, or my first book-length treatment of the subject,
Constitutional “Homeland Security”—which, poor as
it may be, is nonetheless “a plan,” based upon a knowledge
of “where the ramparts are” that I have tried to impart
in my commentaries. But for one who concludes that, “[o]f all
the candidates running now, [Barack Obama] is the leader on understanding
the threat to the Constitution,” she might find it helpful first
to consult the Constitution as to what it (rather than Obama) tells
Americans is “the plan” for retaining their freedoms in
the face of oppression from rogue public officials.
key declaration, of course, is contained in the Second Amendment: namely,
“[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of
a free State.” This is what America’s “democracy [should
be] prepared effectively to do.” This is the “War Room for
democracy.” This is the “organizational chart detailing
who would do what.” This is the “master strategy.”
Shall I repeat it? I suppose I shall have to, the message not having
penetrated very far into the ether in the years I have been broadcasting
it: “[a] well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security
of a free State” ... “[a] well regulated Militia, being
necessary to the security of a free State” ... “[a] well
regulated Militia” ...and so on.
is revitalizing “the Militia of the several States” in full
accord with constitutional imperatives and principles any part of Barack
Obama’s platform for “change we can believe in”? If
so, the evidence for that conclusion is at best exiguous and ambiguous.
(See my commentary “Awaiting Obama’s Call.”) Worse
yet, Obama plainly does not understand—and certainly has no plan
to deal with—the dangers posed by the imminent collapse of America’s
monetary and banking systems, in anticipation of which debacle rogue
public officials have been steadily constructing the police-state apparatus
Naomi Wolf has so properly criticized. To the contrary: If his complicity
in the recent $850 billion bail-out provides any evidence, Obama seems
to be firmly in the hip pocket of the Dark Forces that created the problem
and are now trying to profit from its exceedingly expensive solution
at common Americans’ expense. (Of course, the same can—and
should—be said of John McCain, as well as the Presidential candidates’
comical sidekicks, Joe Biden and Sarah Palin)
what we have in Naomi Wolf’s column is yet another appeal, not
to constitutional principles, but to “the Leader Principle”—the
linchpin of Italian fascism (il Duce), Hitlerism (der Fuhrer). Stalinism
(the Vozhd), Maoism (the Great Helmsman), Castroism (el Maximo Jefe),
et cetera ad nauseam. The right “leader” will solve all
problems—provided he is given enough power. Presumably, as an
opponent of fascism, Wolf is not consciously embracing this pernicious
doctrine. But the Leader Principle being so thoroughly the subtext of
all politics for at least the last hundred years, for her or anyone
else unconsciously to think in those terms is hardly surprising. Indeed,
who can guarantee that, once in office, even Obama himself would not
succumb to the temptations of the Leader Principle, and rather than
“restor[ing] the rule of law” would further degrade it in
pursuit of his own political agenda?
If Americans are “to restore the rule of law,” they must
reject the Leader Principle in all of its manifestations, and depend
upon themselves alone. The Constitution does not even suggest that some
“leader” is “necessary to the security of a free State.”
Or some political party. And experience teaches exactly the opposite.
The only thing—the only thing—the Constitution declares
to be “necessary to the security of a free State” is “[a]
well regulated Militia,” composed of We the People themselves.
If one really “understand[s] the threat to the Constitution”
posed by the national police state a-building in the Disgrace of Columbia
and every other city, town, village, and hamlet throughout the United
States, one also understands the remedy for that threat which the Constitution
itself points out, and for which it provides all the powers We the People
need to save America.
one does not understand—and promote in political practice—the
Constitution’s prescription for “a free State,” then
one is not a constitutionalist, whatever aspirations to “leadership”
he (or she) may have. And, not being a constitutionalist, such an individual
is not qualified to be President of the United States—because
he (or she) could not honestly “take the * * * Oath or Affirmation:—‘I
do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office
of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability,
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’”
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decades, America has been without constitutional Militia in any State.
And no “leaders”—whether Democrats, Republicans, or
Independents—have said, let alone done, anything about that deficiency.
“Change we can believe” should begin by rectifying that
sorry situation. Otherwise, such a slogan is nothing but a soundbite.
Edwin Vieira, Jr., holds four
degrees from Harvard: A.B. (Harvard College), A.M. and Ph.D. (Harvard
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences), and J.D. (Harvard Law School).
For more than thirty years he has
practiced law, with emphasis on constitutional issues. In the Supreme
Court of the United States he successfully argued or briefed the cases
leading to the landmark decisions Abood v. Detroit Board of Education,
Chicago Teachers Union v. Hudson, and Communications Workers of America
v. Beck, which established constitutional and statutory limitations on
the uses to which labor unions, in both the private and the public sectors,
may apply fees extracted from nonunion workers as a condition of their
He has written numerous monographs
and articles in scholarly journals, and lectured throughout the county.
His most recent work on money and banking is the two-volume Pieces
of Eight: The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the United States
Constitution (2002), the most comprehensive study in existence of American
monetary law and history viewed from a constitutional perspective. www.piecesofeight.us
He is also the co-author (under
a nom de plume) of the political novel CRA$HMAKER:
A Federal Affaire (2000), a not-so-fictional story of an engineered crash
of the Federal Reserve System, and the political upheaval it causes. www.crashmaker.com