A System of Control - Jim Henley lists the recent presidents he would have impeached. His list has some surprises. Unfortunately he is not clear about conviction as opposed to impeachment: Clinton got the one, but not the other. And a lot of people felt that was about the right level of punishment. So Jim, which presidents would you have just impeached, and which would you have impeached and convicted?

The great thing about impeachment, from my perspective, is that it ties up the legislative branch. They are busy little beavers, and if they are not busy impeaching they will be busy passing new laws; and almost by definition, all new laws are counterproductive. (Question: if a law is really so necessary, why isn't it already passed? Aren't the things which hurt people already against the law?) The Devil finds work for idle legislative hands.

Another good thing about impeachment is that it shows the nature of the state: it's made of men (also some women). Humans. Fallible people, not angels. This is something the lumpenvoter likes to forget, when she votes For The Children. Angels can rule us better than we can rule ourselves, for they know the mind of God. Other humans, we know, cannot rule us better than we rule ourselves.

These things aside: shouldn't all presidents be impeached? They have all, from the very start, signed laws that are immoral. From an anarchist perspective the government itself is untenable; for it immorally coerces people who have not delegated it the power to do so. But hey, we're not all anarchists, are we? As such I think that it is silly to judge presidents on that basis; they ought to be judged in context. Roosevelt himself probably thought he was saving capitalism, not destroying it. (I'd still have impeached him and convicted based on his violating his oath; he knew damn well he was subverting the Constitution. And that's not even mentioning his traitorous actions in the Pacific.)

The Constitution, like the Matrix, is a system of control. Such systems have an internal logic; and it is worthwhile and interesting to analyze them in their own terms. It is also valuable to be able to step outside, and say: this entire system is morally wrong and should be abolished. But those are two different things.

In any case, I would be plenty happy if our elected officials would read and understood the plain meaning of the Constitution (which I think they do), and then acted to abolish all the unconstitutional things the USA are doing (which they will never do). Even to do that -- for us to live under the Constitution as it was written -- would be a revolution larger than anything seen since 1865. At that point I would part company with the minarchist libertarians, ideologically. But that is so far down the road that we shall not reach it in my lifetime, I fear.

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