The Constitution, Laws, and Libertarians.
Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.
Last updated 12/20/08.
The same credulousness that makes some people apt to become
libertarians makes them prone to many bizarre conspiracy theories.
Libertarians frequently parrot bizarre pseudolegal formulas or selective
histories to justify militias, common law courts, sovereign citizenship,
admiralty law, fully informed juries, immunity from income tax, etc.
Most of these are urban legends originating with other groups.
Some have been actually tested by believers (who subsequently
lose the legal battles, civil and criminal, which they have entered into
based on these beliefs.) What unites them all is a kind of magical
thinking, that power lies in ritual incantations.
Libertarians also adopt many right-wing criticisms of modern court
interpretations of the Constitution. This seems to play an important
part in their demonization of government.
See also the Gun Control index.
Who likes unwritten Constitutional rights? You'd be surprised!
A vast number of unenumerated, implied Constitutional rights which
we all rely upon in daily life have been found by the courts.
Those who cry for constitutional literalism can easily have their own
ox gored. From
The Liberal Constitutionalist
The Internet Archive.
Libertarianism, Property & Harm.
Chapter 2 of James Boyle's unpublished "Net Total: Law, Politics
and Property in Cyberspace". Thoroughly dismantles three libertarian
approaches to the problem of harms: [common] law, natural rights, and
Original Intent And The Constitution.
The beginning of a page on the problems with ideas of
"Original Intent" of the founders, a conservative propaganda ploy
much favored by libertarians. The first segment is taken from
A Process of Denial: Bork and Post-Modern Conservatism
by James Boyle.
Contra Social Contract Theory
Tim Starr has updated Lysander Spooner's rant against government.
Mike Huben shows why Starr and Spooner haven't begun to address
classical liberal arguments of Locke and Jefferson.
Get Uncle Sam off my back! and other misguided impulses.
Gary Kamiya's review of
A Necessary Evil"
by Garry Wills. Praises the debunking of many Revolutionary Era
myths of the Founders and Constitution exploited by
Debunking "The Story Of The Buck Act"
Roger M. Wilcox dismembers this paranoid conspiracy theory about
how your Sovereign Citizenry has been secretly usurped. Yellow
fringe on flags, 2 letter postal abbreviations, ZIP codes, Social
Security numbers: they're all part of the conspiracy!
1st American Group -- Scams and Traps Page
Many nonsense legal arguments are parts of scams or promotions of
products, and that is one of the major reasons these are propagated
in the first place: somebody wants to make a buck by misinforming
people. An excellent index.
Tax Protester FAQ
Dan Evans' outstanding set of responses to the amazingly lengthy and
looney claims of tax protesters.
Militia - History And Law Faq
An excellent and comprehensive FAQ rebutting much of the
misinformation about militias and the 2nd Amendment spread by the
modern militia movement, libertarians, the NRA, and others.
Part of the
Idiot Legal Arguments: A Casebook for Dealing with Extremist Legal
Bernard Sussman has compiled a huge collection of legal citations
concerning the lunatic legal claims of militia-mythology that tax
scofflaws, neo-anarchists (and sometimes libertarians) often
repeat. You can get an idea of the claims, but this is fairly
impenetrable for laymen. From the fabulous
Militia Watchog site.
While now at the ADL site, Bernard Sussman states that he is independent.
The Second Amendment
Second Amendment Articles
Parts of the
Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence
site. These sections describe the history and court interpretations
of the 2nd Amendment, contradicting NRA propaganda and a recent
spate of "academic" law review publications. Essential reading.
Gun Crazy: Constitutional False Consciousness And Dereliction Of Dialogic Responsibility
Andrew Hertz's much-cited Boston University Law Review article rebutting
the NRA and the so-called "Standard Model" proponents. Important
The Real Titles of Nobility Amendment FAQ
Jol Silversmith's summary of the foolishness of "The Missing
Federal Reserve Conspiracy Myths
A (middle) section of Edward Flaherty's skeptical home page,
aimed at debunking many economics-related myths.
For Would-Be Travellers On The Noncompliant Federal Income Tax Protester Path
Law Professor James Maule sympathetically warns well-meaning believers
in common tax protest arguments that they'll be found wrong in court.
Lowell Becraft, Jr., a lawyer and member of the "Freedom Movement",
enumerates many tax, jurisdiction, and other legal issues which have
been found invalid by the courts.
L. Neil Smith's Ahistorical Comparison Of Lincoln To Lenin
Brian Tubbs rebuts absurd libertarian assertions about the founders,
constitutionality, and Lincoln's prosecution of the Civil War.
The Case Against Secession
Mackubin Thomas Owens (at the
takes libertarians to task for their support of secessionism, which
is largely based on the bad constitutional interpretation of
Stephens and Calhoun.
White Man's Ghost Dance
Bob Black's hysterically funny debunking of libertarian
"Constitutionalist" notions of common law.
Takings: Rhetoric, Not Substance
Professor F. Patrick Hubbard presents the big picture of takings,
showing that the issues are not as presented by the takings ideologues.
Shot Full of Holes: Deconstructing John Ashcroft's Second Amendment
Violence Policy Center
legal and historical analysis of the systematic errors in AG John
Ashcroft's policy statement.
Review of "The Militia And The Right To Bear Arms"
Daniel Smith lauds Uviller and Merkel's historical legal analysis of
the 2nd Amendment, which thoroughly refutes Sanford Levinson and other
individual rights claimants.
A New Paradigm for the Second Amendment
Saul Cornell criticizes much recent scholarship:
"Second Amendment originalists have created something akin to an
alternate history science-fiction fantasy[...]"
The Original Meaning Of The Judicial Power
Libertarians often criticize Marbury vs. Madison as an unconstitutional
usurpation by the courts. Boston University law professor Randy E.
Barnett makes a convincing originalist argument for it.
The links here are to
Amazon.com, through their associates program, primarily because of the
review information. Books without links are generally out of print,
and can often be easily found at
AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search.
Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are
Online Bookstore Price Comparison
AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison.
Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is
Dennis Henigan, Bruce Nicholson, David Hemenway
"Guns and the Constitution"
Aletheia Press 1995. A book-length FAQ of refutations of the gun-ownership
propaganda and mythology promulgated by the NRA and gleefully parroted by
libertarians. Essential reading. The
"Guns And The Judiciary" section is now available online.
Jack N. Rakove
"Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution"
Pullitzer Prize winning background that helps to understand the fallacies in
simplistic libertarian constitutional interpretations.
"A Necessary Evil: A History of American Distrust of Government"
(Simon & Schuster 1999) A strong refutation of historical revisionist
interpretations of the Founders and Constitution as supporting antigovernment
Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
This document may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes if it is reproduced in its textual entirety, with this notice intact.