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Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Entire Constitution Is Based On A Conspiracy

I've cited Clavius--an Apollo Hoax debunking site--a few times when talking about conspiracy theories.  Here's their high level observations about motivations for the crazies:

  1. To account for variations in observation.
  2. As entertainment.
  3. To seem intelligent.
  4. To be "on the inside."
  5. To express distrust for authority.

In the case of Amendment Nutjobs, #1 and #5 seem to be the dominant factors.  Certainly the Sixteenthers (so clunky compared to Tenthers and Birthers) are perfect exemplars of distrust (or outright rejection) of authority, with the ulterior motive of denying the requirement to pay income taxes.

Of course, it's the little inconsistencies they think they've uncovered that form the basis for their laughable arguments:

Anyone who studies history seriously knows that there is rarely a completely reliable, authoritative version of the facts surrounding any notable occurrence. The tidbits of inconsistency upon which most conspiracy theories rely occur constantly in connection with any activity we undertake. It's only when important activities are closely scrutinized that these details receive close attention. In other words, it's natural for people to believe that there should be no inconsistency in legitimate activities. So if we observe an inconsistency, we take that alone as evidence that the intuitive explanation must be flawed and we should search for a more complicated answer.

Yeah, the 7th Circuit would have none of that in 1986:

Thomas is a tax protester, and one of his arguments is that he did not need to file tax returns because the sixteenth amendment is not part of the constitution. It was not properly ratified, Thomas insists, repeating the argument of W. Benson & M. Beckman, The Law That Never Was (1985). Benson and Beckman review the documents concerning the states' ratification of the sixteenth amendment and conclude that only four states ratified the sixteenth amendment; they insist that the official promulgation of that amendment by Secretary of State Knox in 1913 is therefore void.

Benson and Beckman did not discover anything; they rediscovered something that Secretary Knox considered in 1913. Thirty-eight states ratified the sixteenth amendment, and thirty-seven sent formal instruments of ratification to the Secretary of State. (Minnesota notified the Secretary orally, and additional states ratified later; we consider only those Secretary Knox considered.) Only four instruments repeat the language of the sixteenth amendment exactly as Congress approved it. The others contain errors of diction, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling...

Thomas insists that because the states did not approve exactly the same text, the amendment did not go into effect. Secretary Knox considered this argument. The Solicitor of the Department of State drew up a list of the errors in the instruments and--taking into account both the triviality of the deviations and the treatment of earlier amendments that had experienced more substantial problems--advised the Secretary that he was authorized to declare the amendment adopted. The Secretary did so.

Although Thomas urges us to take the view of several state courts that only agreement on the literal text may make a legal document effective, the Supreme Court follows the "enrolled bill rule." If a legislative document is authenticated in regular form by the appropriate officials, the court treats that document as properly adopted...The principle is equally applicable to constitutional amendments...Secretary Knox declared that enough states had ratified the sixteenth amendment. The Secretary's decision is not transparently defective. We need not decide when, if ever, such a decision may be reviewed in order to know that Secretary Knox's decision is now beyond review.

But wait, what about this from 2003?!

THE COURT:  I WILL SAY I THINK, YOU KNOW, COLONEL, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT THERE ARE CASES WHERE A LONG COURSE OF HISTORY IN FACT DOES CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION, AND I CAN THINK OF ONE INSTANCE. I BELIEVE I’M CORRECT ON THIS.  I THINK IF YOU WERE TO GO BACK AND TRY TO FIND AND REVIEW THE RATIFICATION OF THE 16TH AMENDMENT, WHICH WAS THE INTERNAL REVENUE, INCOME TAX, I THINK IF YOU WENT BACK AND EXAMINED THAT CAREFULLY, YOU WOULD FIND THAT A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF STATES NEVER RATIFIED THAT AMENDMENT.

MR. SULLIVAN: TRUE STATEMENT.

THE COURT:  AND NONETHELESS, I THINK IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT IT IS PART OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, AND I DON’T THINK ANY COURT WOULD EVER – WOULD SET IT ASIDE.  WELL, I’VE SEEN THAT– I’VE SEEN SOMEWHERE A TREATISE ON THAT, AND I THINK IT WAS — I THINK I’M CORRECT IN SAYING THAT ACTUALLY THE RATIFICATION NEVER REALLY PROPERLY OCCURRED.

MR. SULLIVAN: CORRECT, SIR.

THE COURT: YET NONETHELESS, I’M SURE NO COURT’S GOING TO SAY THAT THE 16TH AMENDMENT PERMITTING INCOME TAX IS VOID FOR ANY REASON, ALTHOUGH I WOULDN’T MIND FILING FOR A REBATE MYSELF.

So, yeah:

That’s a pretty startling admission by a Federal judge and, in my mind, lends a great deal of credibility to those who believe the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified.

I think it's totally dispositive when a Reagan-appointed District Judge in North Carolina meanders into das Wolkenkuckucksheim.  District rulings are never bad, which is why we don't have Circuit courts, let alone SCOTUS to overrule them.  Which brings us back to #5...

ntodd

April 8, 2015 in Constitution, Schmonstitution | Permalink

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Comments

For a period of several years, I lived amongst the Conspiracy Theorists at a couple of very popular boards. "Trolling" those places is being rational and telling the truth. Drives them bonkers. I can attest to the accuracy of that motivational spectrum.

Posted by: Monkeyfister | Apr 8, 2015 3:30:31 PM

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