Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 05 Jan 2004 13:00:00 GMT
# My latest offering in the High Road thread about Hunter's arrest:
Highland Ranger:
Wow, a BLACK and WHITE guy. How basic. I am certainly no historian, but I know the reason why these documents survive today is the fact that they are living, that means they can be AMENDED. That's not nonsense; it's what our system of Government is based on. For someone who proclaims to be a (rude) activist, seems like this basic fact is missing from your knowledge base. Curious. Makes me think you are just a troll after all.
Yes, the U.S. Constitution and state Constitutions can be amended. In the case of the U.S. Constitution it requires a 2/3 majority in Congress and ratification of 2/3 of the state legislatures. It has happened a number of times. Great! That's not a problem. The problem is that the various governments don't bother to amend their constitutions any more. They just go ahead and make blatantly unconstitutional "laws", and the courts usually uphold them.

"Shall not be infringed" is very strong language with an obvious meaning: no gun laws, period, no restrictions whatsoever on possession or carrying of arms. No amendment has ever weakened that language, and many here, I among them, would argue that the Bill of Rights may not be amended; without it the Constitution would never have been ratified, and it highlights basic human rights that may not be denied.

The 18th amendment was ratified in 1919. It prohibited the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors." It was repealed in 1933 by the 21st amendment. The Constitution still had meaning in those days. The members of Congress realized that they had no constitutional authority to ban alcoholic beverages, so they amended the Constitution. Congress has no Constitutional authority to regulate other drugs, either. But they have banned a whole list of "controlled substances" without bothering this time to amend the Constitition. Congress is expressly forbidden to infringe on the right to keep and bear arms. But they have passed bill after bill (I won't call them laws, since, being unconstitutional, they aren't) doing exactly that.

America was created as a constitutional republic. Legislation in the tiny domain in which the Constitution allowed the government to operate, was decided by democratic means, but anything not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution was off limits. No more. We have morphed into a pure representative democracy, guaranteed by the laws of nature to have a short life.

I'll close with a quote I'm sure is familiar to many. This version came from http://blog.lewrockwell.com/lewrw/archives/002541.html:
An observation by the Scottish Historian Professor Alexander Tyler, circa 1787, on the decline and fall of the Athenian Republic.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."

"The average age of the world's greatest civilization has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage."
I would put the U.S. in the "from apathy to dependence" part of this cycle, rapidly falling into bondage. I hope the courageous amongst us can push us back to liberty quickly, but I doubt I'll live to see it.
[note: I misremembered how the Constitution is amended. Amendments are proposed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress or by a convention initiated by 2/3 of the state legislatures. They are ratified by 3/4 of the state legislatures or by conventions in 3/4 of the states. See article 5 of the Constitution]

# HEMPhasis is a new magazine, published by Bob Newland, dedicated to the legalization of industrial hemp. From their opening statement, Crazy? Malicious? Merely stupid? An observation on the present state of affairs. [claire]

We're tired of the stupid political policy argument over whether or not industrial hemp production should be allowed in the United States. We're sick over the damage this argument has caused us as a society and the damage it has caused several personal acquaintances of ours, and the damage it has caused us personally.

Politicians, "law enforcement" zealots, and unprincipled, dishonest business interests have teamed up to create public policy which is insane and immensely counterproductive, then attempt to justify it by bragging about the damage their policies have caused. Having shifted the world's most beneficial agricultural product into the realm of "drugs', they then suggest that their miserably failed drug policy is a thing of beauty, and only lacks our agreement that hemp is "drugs" in order to have achieved complete success in preventing illicit drug use.

Their arguments defy characterization. "Absurd" is simply inadequate.

There are four categories into which those who oppose industrial hemp production fall. They are: uninformed, stupid, crazy, or malicious. There are no other possibilities.


Again and again we see how well some subsystems work, even as they work to destroy the greater systems of which they are a part. No plant on earth seems as anxious to please man as does hemp. No plant which even approaches it in versatility of usefulness can grow in as many latitudes and altitudes as hemp. Food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and jobs for as many people as want to specialize in any facet of production; there must be some reason God placed hemp on Earth. We doubt that it was to provide cops, lawyers, judges, prison guards, and urine testing companies reasons for existence.

We'd rather believe--and we think we have justification to so believe--that it was placed on Earth to be the perfect food, soothing and versatile dietetic and industrial oil, strong fiber and cloth, and durable building product it is, all while being the most efficient farm crop at exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen in the atmosphere. The latter quality may become more important as the last of the rain forests are logged out and burnt off to provide a couple of years cropping before the already-poor soil is depleted entirely and left to erode into the Amazon River.

All our opponents are caught up in some short-sighted system which is working at odds with the system which governs all life. They're as much victims of misguided public policy as we are. We don't assume to understand more than a part of what the "big" system even looks like, but we try to look at the parts we can see with a critical eye. What we see of public policy regarding the hemp plant simply makes no sense, even by the credulity standards of most who oppose hemp production, and it can not stand up to even the most rudimentally informed of arguments.

With that in mind, HEMPhasis will attempt to provide some of the rudiments for some of the arguments to come.

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