Having attended the National Center for Constitutional Studies event this fine Saturday, it turns out that I was less offended by its crass commercialization of the Capitol and the event’s nakedly partisan viewpoint than by the fact that it was, perhaps, the most eye-closingly boring event I have chosen to attend in the past decade or so.
The presentation style was like something from a classroom in a John Hughes movie. Each attendee was armed (probably not the wrong word) with a workbook that contained blanks to be filled in as the speaker painfully worked his way through his dry, historically questionable material. I’m not making this up. 30+ Republican legislators sat through a 2 1/2 hour presentation while a speaker made remarks like “your answer to question 13 is Constitution.”
Sure, there were some moments that made me nervous, like when a member of the crowd suggested (to murmurs of approval from the crowd) that we should fly the flag of Montana above the US flag and when the speaker told us that “when the federal government hits that wall, it will be amazing how quickly the states will bounce back and the STATES WILL RISE UP AND TAKE CONTROL,” but for the most part, the presentation was 40% sleep-inducing, 40% wrong, and only 20% deranged.
That being said, there were a few highlights from the event that I thought were worth mentioning:
- There was not one single delegate at the Const. Convention who agreed with slavery.
- The idea that the 3/5 Compromise was based on racism or race is “totally unfounded.”
- A sheriff has the right to protect his citizens against federal law enforcement and he can refuse federal law enforcement.
- The American Constitution was based on the Bible and the government of Anglo-Saxons, not the Greeks and Romans.
- Thomas Jefferson might have been a deist, but we define it differently than he did. (This part was especially delightful, as he selectively quoted a letter by Jefferson to make his point.)
- “The Democrats want communism in health care, the Republicans want fascism.”
- Taxation is a form of slavery.
- There is no such thing as “obscene profit.”
- It’s not radical to suggest repealing the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution.
- There is no authority in the Constitution to “tax or regulate citizens because it is a compact of states.”
- There is no constitutional basis for the courts to evaluate the constitutionality of laws.
- Official state churches (as long as they are not federal) would be constitutional.
- Communism and Fascism are “almost identical.”
- There should be no safety net. It “takes the living out of living.”
It would be unfair to suggest that every member of the audience agreed with these remarks, since half were probably asleep, but there certainly wasn’t any disagreement offered. If anything, the crowd seemed quite supportive. I think it would be fair for an enterprising member of the media to ask some of the attendees if they agreed with the more radical remarks made.
Somehow, I suspect no one will ask.