IPR’s interview with Bob Bird, Alaska Independence Party candidate for U.S. Senate, reveals the pro-life leader and school teacher to be an unusually consistent and principled politician, less concerned with “looking good” than being right. Bird holds very “un-PC” views of the Bill of Rights and says he would probably have voted against ratification of the Constitution had he been alive at the time. He’s a long-time pro-life activist who vehemently opposes a national abortion ban and a gun activist who condemns the Heller decision. He lists Grover Cleveland among his favorite presidents and Lincoln among the worst. And, more so than any other third-party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2008, Bird has a legitimate shot of winning. Libertarians, constitutionalists, and third-party advocates in general should definitely consider giving Mr. Bird their support.
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The idea that the Constitution is a ‘living document’ is THE biggest misconception of all. If the Constitution can morph into anything we want it to be, then it is not really ‘living’, but dead. Words have meaning, and to re-interpret them is one of the reasons why we are in the crisis we are currently experiencing.
Take the 1st amendment. It reads ‘Congress shall make no law . . . ‘ and then it elaborates about religion, abridging freedom of speech, press, etc. But it now practically reads ‘Congress and the states, municipalities and school districts’. The courts have invented words that aren’t even there!
Lastly, the so-called ‘Bill of Rights’ should really be called ‘The Bill of Limitations on Federal Power.’ The seldom-studied Preamble to the Bill of Rights makes this very clear. Those amendments should only be applied to the federal government.
If you were alive at the time of the Constitution’s ratification, would you have been a federalist (in support of ratification) or an anti-federalist (opposed to ratification and in support of maintaining the Articles of Confederation)?
Tough question. Properly followed, the Constitution would be protecting us from the overbearing power we have today. Ancient Rome’s constitution was far, far more niggling about power than our document, far more jealous about permitting the concentration of it. Yet, notwithstanding all those safeguards, we know that the Roman Republican turned into an empire. Documents are not the problem. It is man’s fallen nature.
However, Patrick Henry might indeed have been prescient when he said ‘I smelled a rat’. The crisis of Shay’s Rebellion might be actually overblown. And what if the states had gone their separate ways? We can’t play the game of ‘IF’ very well with history.
Some things government cannot do. To keep man’s fallen nature in check, religion is necessary. Perhaps it is the failure of organized religion to sustain a moral society that should accept part of the blame.
I probably would have been an anti-federalist, but that’s a close call.
You are a history teacher. Who in your mind were the three best (or least bad) presidents in U.S. history, and who were the three worst? Limit your evaluation to the actions the men took as presidents, not before or after their administrations.
The 3 best:
A) Washington was trusted because he had the opportunity to become either dictator or king, refused both, and the people felt secure with his leadership. Notwithstanding this, he succumbed to Hamilton’s interpretations of the Constitution.
B) Jefferson, of course, but he also succumbed to wielding unconstitutional power in the Louisiana Purchase. It shows that, when in power, it is very, very difficult to remain a theorist.
C) Grover Cleveland. He correctly understood that there is nothing in the Constitution that permits charitable action.
The 3 worst:
A) Lincoln, because he misinterpreted in his oath of office ‘union’ and ‘constitution’ as the same thing. Secession was recognized as perfectly legal between 1789 – 1861. See the Hartford Convention of 1814 and Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address. But we must also look at Jackson’s actions in 1832 against South Carolina as setting the table for Lincoln. The murderous war, the destruction of civil liberties (always recognized in standard histories yet equally minimized in their importance), the rigging of elections, the loss of civilian life and property, all surprise many honest students of history. We must un-learn many things. I did so with Old Abe.
B) FDR, of course. He ranks as a traitor, socialist/communist sympathizer and globalist of the first rank. He probably intentionally provoked Japan and knew about Pearl Harbor as a way to steer around the America First Committee and Charles Lindbergh’s influence. It worked. His coterie of state department traitors, beginning with Alger Hiss, is his true legacy.
C) Too soon to tell, but George W. Bush will probably join the other two. Clinton smells awfully bad. Forget his sexual peccadillos. Remember Chinagate?
Most gun-rights activists were pleased with the recent Supreme Court decision, D.C. vs. Heller, that reportedly ‘established an individual right to keep and bear arms.’ What do you say to people who think D.C.-Heller was a good decision?
As you can see on my website, the Heller decision admits that the courts have the authority to define the scope of our rights. This is a very dangerous premise. Our right to keep and bear arms is NOT granted in the 2nd amendment. It is better than that. It is a pre-existing right, a Natural Law and unalienable right given by our Creator that no court can define, refine or revoke. This surprises many gun owners. The 2nd amendment orders the federal government to not infringe on this right, which they in fact do with ‘reasonable’ gun control laws.
Time to wake up and grow up. This has been going on for far too long.
As a pro-life activist, you seem to be against a national abortion ban, and in favor a states’ rights approach. Is this accurate? And if so, what would be the greater evil: Allowing abortion to continue in some liberal states, or using the federal government to ban it nationwide?
5. A nationwide solution to stop abortion is no solution. Here are the problems with it:
A) Protection of unborn human life would rest on a teetering and changing majority. You cannot win every election. Bad solution.
B) It would rely on court interpretations. More trouble.
C) It would rely upon executive willingness to enforce it. Would you trust a President Obama to do so?
D) A Constitutional Amendment would admit that the supreme court had the lawful authority to interfere with this question in the first place.
E) We got abortion-on-demand all nine months of pregnancy from overweening federal power. The solution is not to create MORE federal power, but to reduce it.
F) Federal power created to do something good has always turned into something ugly or unintended. Imagine ‘Reproductive Bureaucrats’ such as exist in China. They might visit women each month and require to check on menstrual cycles for pregnancy. Then you might have to prove your miscarriage wasn’t an induced abortion.
G) My thesis ‘The 19th Century Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion’ shows that the prolife doctors back then understood that states could manage these difficult social questions best.
H) Finally: we should be ‘these united States’ not ‘THE United States’. In a properly functioning federal republic, we keep the scope of federal power to foreign policy, trade and defense. With a myriad state-to-state defense of unborn human life, we would be spared a sweeping, one-size-fits all’ legislative or judicial tyranny against our descendants.
Can you make a brief, non-religious case for banning abortion for secular libertarian readers?
In a recent debate with me, a proabortion Democrat said that: ‘When human life begins is a religious question.’ This is nonsense. Even Planned Parenthood’s Faye Wattleton admitted ‘Of course I know that human life begins at conception.’ Each human cell has 46 chromosomes, EXCEPT the reproductive cells, which have 23. Put the sperm and egg together, and voila! Forty-six chromosomes and human life.
We must always err on the side of life, when in doubt.
ANWR is currently federal land, correct? Or does it belong to the state of Alaska? Either way, how would you justify publicly owned land being leased to private corporations for resource extraction? This is very similar to what is done in China. Why not sell ANWR to the highest bidder and let the free market rule?
ANWR is unconstitutional federal property. Let the states decide these questions. Check out Article I, Section 8, Clause 17. All national parks, wildlife refuges, etc. are unconstitutional. Once turned over to the states, they can decide best on how to develop it. I wouldn’t dictate to Texas or Oklahoma how to develop their resources, nor should they to Alaska.
Under the U.S. Constitution, there is nothing prohibiting states from owning and managing natural resources. But should they? Isn’t this socialism?
Running for federal office, I am not needing to answer the question about whether or not states should be developing their resources. Alaska, unfortunately, has a strange state constitution that accepts some pretty socialist premises. I know one thing: better to have my state government decide these things than a capital 5,000 miles away. My job as a U.S. Senator will be to restore a proper constitutional relationship with my state and the others.
The Constitution empowers the Congress to manage and regulate trade. But should it? I presume you are against corporate-managed trade deals like NAFTA, but are you for real free trade? Or do you favor protectionism?
I recognized NAFTA and GATT immediately for what they were: threats to our national sovereignty. They were passed in a lame-duck session because they knew the Class of ’94 would never have done so. The problem of tariffs plagued our nation in the early 19th century, and they are often unjust, but they are certainly constitutional. A bad law may be perfectly constitutional and a good law perfectly unconstitutional. See Grover Cleveland. Decisions on tariffs and trade must be judged first on constitutionality and then on its merits.
Final question: Should Alaska secede?
I recommend you learn about Joe Vogler, the founder of the Alaskan Independence Party. It is a long story, but the man was a genius, a statesman of the first rank and likely gave his life for Alaska.
Secession comes up constantly while I campaign, and not from me but from voters initiating it. Of course it is legal. Were Alaska independent, a commonwealth status or certainly a traty of defense would be necessary.
But beyond this, as I tell Alaskans, secession would not even be necessary to discuss if the federal government obeyed the limits on its power that it is obliged to do. It is nonsense to accept the Constitution as a compact that only the states, and not the federal government, must obey. What kind of a deal is THAT?