This a log of opinion and commentary by James Crain, one of  two (at least) software engineers in the St. Louis area with that name. (If you’re looking for the James Crain who worked at Mitel and is married to Sarah, try this site.)

It’s now February of 2009 and the primary reason for launching this blog is my disappointment at the failure of both major U.S. political parties to work at limiting the role of  government. My view is that this lack of any substantial difference between the two major parties has created a political culture that’s too homogeneous and, worse, one where everyone in power seems to agree that the country needs a powerful central government.

This uniformity has led, I think, to situations where the Constitution is being ignored by all three branches government. The system of checks and balances I was taught about isn’t checking & balancing as it ought to. Political disagreements these days seems to be over which areas need more regulation at the moment.

The BCRA is a one example of this problem. That law plainly abridges the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Here’s a refresher:

Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press […]

It seems to me that any law Congress passes which regulates political speech, as BCRA does, violates that "no law" provision by definition. I’m at a loss to see how reasonable people can argue otherwise.

Yet a Congress that should have known better passed that law. What part of "no law" did our representatives not understand? (Thank you, Senators McCain and Feingold.)

Then a president who had sworn to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" signed that law, while claiming that he had doubts about it being constitutional. (Thank you, President Bush.)

And then the Supreme Court has upheld that law (for the most part).

Strike three! Yer out!

Jonah Goldberg wrote about this in November, 2014 (while giving President Obama grief for his overreach of the Constitution):

I’ve long argued that the only impeachable offense committed by George W. Bush was when he signed McCain–Feingold into law while admitting that he thought parts of it were unconstitutional. The president takes an oath to protect the Constitution every bit as binding as the one the Supreme Court Justices take. If you’re president or a member of Congress it is a violation of your oath to green-light an unconstitutional act, whether or not you think the Supreme Court will fix it. For much of American history, Congress and the president frequently torpedoed legislation they considered unconstitutional without outsourcing the question to the courts. For vexatious reasons, we now think that the court isn’t merely the final word on the Constitution, but the only word on the Constitution. It is a corruption of republican principles.

Amen, Brother Goldberg.

This has left people seeking rulings from courts which will grant them permission to exercise their right to political speech in the two months preceding elections. I don’t believe that’s what folks had in mind 200-plus years ago when they wrote, debated, and ratified the Constitution.

In my view, the primary question is: what can we do to rebuild a government which will repeal laws like the BCRA; a government which will be guided by the Constitution; a government that might even bear the Tenth Amendment in mind and restore federalism?

I know that there are many other bloggers who share my political views and that many of them are more effective than I’m likely to be at arguing for limited government. I say Thank Heaven! for them and admit that I’m tempted to leave the battle to their capable keyboards.

But I do this because a citizen who doesn’t do what he can to defend his freedoms fails his duty: to himself, to his family, and to his country. Pro patria, as the Romans said.

If we don’t defend our rights, we don’t have any.


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