Certainly, Hentoff is correct to decry this sorry state of affairs in America. But I will go Mr. Hentoff one better. Evidently, the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court are ignorant of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Important as the First Amendment is, the Ninth and the Tenth Amendments are more important, still.
Either the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court are ignorant of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, or they are choose to break the supreme law of the land. Judge for yourself.
Amendment IX"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Amendment X"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
Now, maybe my reading skills are just deficient. But by my read, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments bar the federal government from doing to the people and the states about 90 percent of what we are pleased to call federal law (i.e., the U.S. Code).
Like Hentoff, I wish people knew about the First Amendment, certainly. But I wish even more that the President, Congress and the Supreme Court would uphold the Ninth and the Tenth Amendments.
What does the Bill of Rights have to do with economics, you ask? Isn't this blog supposed to be about economics? Yes, this blog is all about economics. Sad to say, much of what is called the U.S. Code is federal law that grants certain parties economic advantage over others or denies all citizens the right to engage freely in voluntary exchange --- which is the only engine of economic prosperity.
Through voluntary exchange, America became the best place on the planet to live and thrive. Yet, the continuing, ceaseless work of the federal government (the 545) to restrict voluntary exchange and control all we do will cause the noble experiment called America to fail in the end --- if we the people allow it.
A people can have no more important liberty than the right to engage with each other in voluntary exchange. The Ninth and the Tenth Amendment are part of the supreme law of the land. Shouldn't we insist that the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court obey the law?