Article I § 8 clause 6:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
Since counterfeiting would be fraudulent, and would damage people’s property through inflation, this clause falls squarely within the scope and purview of the jural impetus. Who can find fault with it? — Perhaps the American people should consider using this clause to bring the counterfeiters at the Federal Reserve to justice. 2
Article I § 8 clause 7:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
Since the scope and purview of all jural societies is the execution of justice against delicts, it’s practically impossible to see how the establishment of "Post Offices and post Roads" can fall under the lawful jurisdiction of a jural society. So we have to ask if it can be under the lawful jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical society of the general government. Thus far, we’ve determined that it’s lawful for the general social compact to have ecclesiastical courts, as long as these courts are limited to adjudicating secular contract disputes, and as long as they are not paid for through forced taxation. We’ve determined that interstate contractual disputes, including interstate bankruptcies, fall within the scope and purview of such general ecclesiastical courts. Now we’re presented with this question of whether Congress’ power "To establish Post Offices and post Roads" is lawful, according to the global Covenants. As already indicated, starting a new business, namely, establishing post offices and post roads, cannot possibly fall within the strict scope and purview of enforcing against delicts. Whether it can be under the lawful subject matter jurisdiction of a general, broadly defined ecclesiastical society, depends entirely upon whether there is unanimous consent to such post offices and post roads among those party to the secular social compact, and upon whether such functions can be implemented without turning the secular social compact into a perpetrator of delicts. In fact, because unanimous consent becomes increasingly rare with the increase in population, we’ve already determined that the general social compact can only be a secular social compact. Given that that’s true, the general government’s construction and operation of post offices and post roads essentially turns the general government into a criminal enterprise.
If money collected by Congress through forced taxation is used to create these "Post Offices and post Roads", then that money is collected through bloodshed, because Congress does not have authority under the bloodshed mandate to collect money for that purpose. If Congress collected the money that goes to "establish Post Offices and post Roads" through voluntary contributions, given through the consent of citizens, then this might be different. But by going into business, Congress is in effect saying that this government created through the ratification of the Constitution is not limited to the strict guideline set up in the Declaration. The Declaration says that "Governments are instituted among Men" "to secure" "certain unalienable Rights". Now this Constitution is saying that Congress, under this new government, is not limited by this, because Congress is now getting the power to start a new business. So according to clause seven, "Governments are instituted among Men" to run businesses and do construction projects. — Really?
Some people might claim that setting up ecclesiastical courts is also a little weird, because it doesn’t stick strictly to the jural guidelines. But the Genesis 9:6 mandate pertains to bloodshed, and bloodshed can arise either out of a contract or not out of a contract, either ex contractu or ex delicto, under the original subject matter jurisdiction of either a strictly defined ecclesiastical compact or a jural compact. Given that this is true, in the case of ecclesiastical courts, the business is all about rendering equity in contractual disputes that pertain to property, whereas in the case of the post offices and post roads, the business is all about setting up communications and transportation businesses. Such ecclesiastical courts are inherently lawful because they fall under the subject matter jurisdiction of the global covenant, and are therefore a reasonable companion to jural courts, assuming that they are funded consensually. But post offices and post roads are not inherently jural, and they are not inherently ecclesiastical in the secular arena unless they involve secular contracts executed, operated, and adjudicated by consent. They are a strange bedfellow to jural courts. Even so, we might forgive the framers, and overlook their eccentricity in this case, if we could safely assume that Congress perpetrated no bloodshed in the establishment of these post offices and post roads. Is this a safe assumption? — No!
From the beginning, Congress has used confiscatory taxation to establish these post offices and post roads. In fact, even to the present day, Congress uses confiscatory taxation to pay for these things. Congress did a partial privatization of the "Post Offices" in the early 1970s by creating the United States Postal Service, which was supposedly to be a self-supporting corporation. But the evidence provided by the almost incessant hikes in the cost of 1st class mail late in the past century shows that the U.S.P.S. has had great difficulty in supporting itself. But that’s not as damning as the fact that Congress has given the U.S.P.S. a legal monopoly in 1st class mail. In other words, if you and some of your friends want to start your own post office, you should be very careful about how you do it. Otherwise, you’ll end up in jail. That’s because not only has Congress used confiscatory taxation to establish and maintain these "Post Offices", but Congress has also arbitrarily made competition with its pet "Post Offices" a malum prohibitum – a crime, not because it’s inherently wrong, but because Congress has arbitrarily decided to make it so. — The story with regard to "post Roads" is not any better. Congress continues to confiscate property without the consent of the owner (to take it) in order to support highway construction and maintenance. Following the pattern laid down in this clause of the Constitution, governments at every level are almost the sole owners of the roads and highways in this country. In other words, they practically have a monopoly in highway construction, maintenance, and policing. None of this, neither the "Post Offices" nor the "post Roads", falls within the scope and purview of the global covenant discovered in the hermeneutical prologue. The way they are funded is wrong. The way they are operated is wrong.
In law, as in anything else, starting with an erroneous premise will almost inevitably result in an erroneous conclusion. Starting with a bad clause in the Constitution led inevitably to a bad implementation of the clause. — Regarding roads and highways, even though Article I § 8 clause 7 only authorizes the building of post roads (roads for delivery of mail), the general government became involved in general-purpose interstate road building from early in the 19th century. Even before the Federal Highway Act of 1956, the general government provided funding to the States for building highways. 3 But the 1956 act promoted the general government into being the monopolistic big brother of the highway business, commensurate with its new status as big mama to the Welfare State, and central planner and controller of the nation’s commerce. Its ownership of the highways gave the general government the excuse it apparently desired, to void lawful standards of search and seizure regarding citizens’ cars, whenever and wherever it chose – more monolithic police powers.
There must be some other way of constructing, maintaining, and policing post offices, post roads, highways, etc., that doesn’t violate basic rights. 4 If the postal systems and highways were the only enterprises that the general government started and operated, then this would be a different and probably better country. This doesn’t mean that postal systems and highways are bad. It just means that they could have come into existence and operation without violation of unalienable Rights. But they didn’t, and that’s because we, as a people, didn’t know and/or care to do better. We learn as we go along. The point, now that we know better, is that all the business operations of the general government, including highways, postal systems, and countless others, including the internet, 5 need to be utterly privatized, and any laws protecting government ownership of such systems need to be amended or repealed.
Article I § 8 clause 8:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
This clause is essentially about copyrights and patents. In it the framers indicate that "Authors and Inventors" are justified in having property rights recognized, with respect to their creations. By "securing for limited Times . . . the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries", the framers insured that "Authors and Inventors" would not have their incentive to create destroyed by lack of appropriate remuneration. This kind of protection of property is well within the scope and purview of any jural society. Unfortunately, this clause has been used to do more than protect property rights.
Apparently, Congress has seen fit "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" regardless of anyone’s property rights. If they had strictly construed this clause, and limited themselves to its content, this clause would in no way conflict with the global covenant. But Congress has exercised a power to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" in ways well beyond the confines of copyrights and patents. For example, they fund the National Science Foundation (NSF), which is the financial source for most of the non-medical scientific research conducted in this country. The NSF does research into many areas whose potential usefulness is dubious, at best. But the real problem with this is that funding research has nothing to do with protecting property rights. Therefore, if Congress insists on funding research, it had better do so without using funds collected through confiscatory taxation. But this is precisely what Congress does, because Congress refuses to make a direct linkage between taxation and spending. They use confiscatory taxation for most of their revenues, then spend the money on whatever they want. In other words, Congress extravagantly perpetrates bloodshed against practically every adult American on a regular basis. Many of us, like obedient slaves, acquiesce. Citizens who genuinely care about justice cannot afford to do so. Christians who have a genuine commitment to biblical standards of morality should be most wary of how Congress funds the NSF, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Public Broadcasting System, etc.
Article I § 8 clause 9:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
Article I § 8 cl 9 spells out very legitimate powers of a secular social compact. This clause pertains to the development of a viable judicial system. There is nothing inherently outside the scope and purview of the global covenant about this term of the general social compact. But how these powers have been pursued is an altogether different issue from this clause’s face-value lawfulness. The examination of Article III addresses the foibles of implementation. 6
Article I § 8 clause 10:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
Article I § 8 cl 10 spells out legitimate powers of a jural society. This clause obviously pertains to the establishment of human law pertinent to maritime issues, and to delicts perpetrated outside the geographical boundaries of the general government. On its face, there appears to be nothing inherently outside the scope and purview of the global covenant about this term of the general social compact. But before we conclude that there is nothing inherently wrong with this clause under the original intent of the framers, we should look more thoroughly at "Piracies", "Felonies", and "Law of Nations", especially from the framers’ perspective.
In modern law, piracy is defined as "Those acts of robbery and depredation upon the high seas which, if committed on land, would have amounted to a felony." (Black’s 5th, p. 1034). A felony is "A crime of a graver or more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors . . . At common law, an offense occasioning total forfeiture of either land or goods to which capital or other punishment might be superadded according to degree of guilt. . . . In feudal law, the term meant an act or offense on the part of the vassal, which cost him his fee" (Black’s 5th, pp. 555-556). This definition of felony shows that it has feudal origins. Since feudalism is built on the assumption that everyone in the kingdom has an impaired status except the monarch, any legal concept that has feudal origins should be held as suspect. If we look at another term in modern American law, it may help us to find harmony between the global covenant and the original intent of the framers with respect to § 8 clause 10. — A forcible felony in modern law – as distinguished from the more general category of felony – is defined as "any treason, murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery, aggravated sodomy and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person." (Black’s 5th, p. 556). With the possible exception of "treason", it’s clear that a forcible felony is always a delict, and is therefore always a violation of the global covenant. Assuming that the framers recognized this possible exception, it makes perfect sense that Congress should have "Power . . . To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas". But if felony is defined as something other than a commission of a delict, we should all be highly suspicious of the original intent. 7
Our suspicion in approaching this clause is compounded by the definition of "Law of Nations" that was common among the founders. No exact definition is found in founding-era documents like Elliot’s Debates, 8 the constitutional convention debates, or the Federalist Papers. 9 But Blackstone provides a definition. Since the common law of England was adopted as the "law of the land" in America by way of Article III § 2 cl 1 of the Constitution, 10 and since Blackstone was the primary expositor of such common law at the time of the constitutional convention, it’s reasonable to take Blackstone’s definition of the "Law of Nations" as being the meaning of the framers. The following definition of "the law of nations" appears in the introduction to Blackstone’s Commentaries:
[A]s it is impossible for the whole race of mankind to be united in one great society, they must necessarily divide into many; . . . Hence arises . . . law, to regulate this mutual intercourse, called ‘the law of nations:’ which, as none of these states will acknowledge a superiority in the other, cannot be dictated by any; but depends entirely upon the rules of natural law, or upon mutual compacts, treaties, leagues, and agreements between these several communities: in the construction also of which compacts we have no other rule to resort to, but the law of nature; being the only one to which all the communities are equally subject; and therefore the civil law very justly observes that quod naturalis ratio inter omnes homines constituit, vocatur jus genium. [That rule which natural reason has dictated to all men, is called the law of nations.] 11
Obviously, the meaning of law of nations is heavily dependent upon the definition of natural law. This is because (i)wherever "mutual compacts, treaties, leagues, and agreements" between two or more nations do not exist, such nations are automatically dependent upon "the rules of natural law"; and (ii)wherever mutual compacts, etc., do exist, interpreting such mutual compacts, etc., depends upon "the rules of natural law". So the content of this set of laws that exists between nations is composed of (i)natural law, (ii)customs and usages, and (iii)"compacts, treaties, leagues, and agreements"; and natural law, whatever that is, is used to interpret customs / usages and compacts / treaties / etc. This begs the question: What did Blackstone mean by "natural law"?
[A]s man depends absolutely upon his maker for everything, it is necessary that he should in all points conform to his maker’s will. . . . This will of his maker is called the law of nature. For as God, . . . when he created man, and endued him with freewill[ 12] to conduct himself in all parts of life, he laid down certain immutable laws of human nature . . . [T]he creator . . . has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice, that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the creator himself . . . conforms . . . Such among others are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to every one his due; to which three general precepts Justinian has reduced the whole doctrine of law. 13
This passage shows that Blackstone believed in the eternal law. This is evident in the fact that he claimed that God "laid down . . . laws . . . that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept", and that these laws are "eternal" and "immutable". But he goes on to say that these laws are "laws of good and evil". Since God is good in all ways at all times, God is never evil. So He doesn’t need "laws of good and evil". But humans do need such laws, because humans were created with a capacity for evil. So we see that it’s extremely important to clearly distinguish moral law (law which governs good and evil) from eternal law. We therefore see a need to clearly distinguish eternal law from natural law. In keeping with Scripture, we define natural law, in part, as the moral law that’s built into the imago Dei, the image of God that exists in every human being. God certainly never violates this moral law because He is always good, all the time. But humans have a corrupted nature, and are therefore prone to violating this moral law. 14
Blackstone has made a mistake by claiming that natural law can be encapsulated in Justinian’s "three general principles". This is because we believe it’s necessary to make a radical distinction between natural law / universal moral law and the biblical prescription of human law. We believe it’s necessary to use a very specific hermeneutic to find a reliable biblical prescription of human law. We see no evidence that Blackstone used this hermeneutic, and we see no evidence that any of the theologians whose work may have been foundational to Blackstone’s work used this hermeneutic. One of the primary principles of this hermeneutic is that human law should not be derived directly from natural law. The biblical prescription of human law is compatible with natural law, but it is not derivable directly from it. — Justinian’s Code is clearly and obviously human law. It may appear to be perfectly compatible with natural law, but it is not because it doesn’t have the necessary safeguards built into it that restrain people from misapplying it. Such restraints derive naturally from Scripture when using this strictly chronological hermeneutic. — Blackstone goes on to say,
[T]he creator . . . has graciously reduced the rule of obedience to this one paternal precept, ‘that man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness.’ This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law. 15
We believe the natural law can be distilled down to the demands to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40), with the Ten Commandments as an overview of how these two "love" commands are to work out in more detail. Even so, since the highest pleasure for a true Christian is to live in conformity to these demands, Blackstone’s claim "‘that a man should pursue his own true and substantial happiness’" is the same as such Christian Hedonism. 16 Under these circumstances, and only these circumstances, Blackstone is correct in saying that "This is the foundation of what we call ethics, or natural law".
This law of nature . . . is binding over all the globe . . . and at all times; no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority mediately or immediately, from this original. 17
Again, unlike Blackstone, we believe that it is not valid to derive human law directly ("immediately") from natural law. Humans are far too flawed for this. Instead human law needs to be derived primarily from Scripture by way of a specific hermeneutic that is aimed specifically at doing that. The resulting biblical prescription of human law will be rationally harmonious with natural law. But the big difference between Blackstone’s approach and our approach is that he makes an attempt – at least nominally – at deriving human law directly from natural law, whereas we’re convinced that such immediate derivation produces far too many negative side-effects, and is therefore only marginally reliable.
[I]t is still necessary to have recourse to reason . . . to discover . . . what the law of nature directs in every circumstance of life . . . [I]f our reason were always, as in our first ancestor before his transgression, clear and perfect, unruffled by passions, unclouded by prejudice, unimpaired by disease or intemperance, the task would be pleasant and easy; we should need no other guide but this. But every man now finds . . . that his reason is corrupt, and his understanding full of ignorance and error. 18
We’re convinced that human reason is so corrupt and human understanding is so "full of ignorance and error" that human reason and understanding are only marginally reliable as tools for deriving human law from natural law. It’s therefore necessary to return to Scripture for a fresh reading aimed specifically at finding the Bible’s prescription of human law. These marginally reliable tools will be useful in that.
[T]he benign interposition of divine providence . . . has been pleased . . . to discover and enforce its laws by immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the holy scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature. 19
So Blackstone acknowledges that the "divine law" is crucial to the determination of the content of natural law, and therefore of human law. We contend with Blackstone on this point only in claiming that human reason is so corrupt that we are far more dependent upon Scripture than he indicated. — It’s important to notice in passing that Blackstone acknowledges that divine law is a subset of natural law (And we add, natural law is a subset of eternal law.). 20
[T]he revealed law is of infinitely more authenticity than that moral system, which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the natural law. Because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God himself; the other is only what . . . we imagine to be that law. . . . [T]hey can never be put in any competition together. 21
He clearly recognizes the superiority of Scripture as determinant of both natural law and human law. We agree that secular systems are rather pathetic in comparison. Even so, evidence in the rest of his Commentaries indicates that he has not relied adequately enough on Scripture, and has relied heavily on secular legal systems and secular writers.
Upon these two foundations, the laws of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws . . . [N]o human laws should be suffered to contradict these. 22
He is clearly in agreement with Augustine that "Unjust laws are not laws". We agree with Blackstone and Augustine on this point. We differ only in our commitment to using a specific biblical hermeneutic to ascertain the Bible’s prescription of human law.
Now that we understand Blackstone’s definition of natural law, we can compare his definition to our definition. We define natural law as a combination of three things: (a)the moral / ethical law that governs human thoughts, speech, and behavior; (b)the God-ordained rules that govern nature that is exogenous to the human being; and (c)the God-ordained rules that govern nature that is endogenous to the human being. The moral law to which all human beings are subject as a result of being created in the image of God, i.e., with the imago Dei, is equivalent to the first of these three things. We see this moral law as changeless. But we see the human understanding of it as changing as humanity progresses in history. So we define natural law as being primarily the moral law that is innate to human nature, but we define it also as encompassing the laws of nature that are endogenous and exogenous to the human being. Under this definition, natural law is the subset of eternal law that humans are capable of knowing. We see this moral law leg of this natural law tripod as being summarized by (i)the demands to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40), and (ii)the ten commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). We believe that a secondary nature has permeated the human race’s primary nature, the primary nature being the imago Dei. This secondary nature makes all human beings subject to the law of sin and death. This secondary nature causes all human beings to die, and such death is caused by the inborn sinful nature of all humanity. This sinful nature keeps human beings from being able to clearly see and understand the universal moral law with the perfect clarity that it demands. But by way of God’s plan of redeeming His elect, the human understanding of this universal moral law advances gradually in human history. So we define natural law as including not only this universal moral law, but also secondarily the gradually advancing human understanding of such universal moral law through examination of the endogenous and exogenous realms, which certainly includes the examination of Scripture. 23
Now that we know Blackstone’s approach to natural law, we know the default concept of natural law used by the framers. Since the framers’ default concept of the law of nations is equivalent to Blackstone’s, we know that whatever deficiencies exist in his concept of natural law are inherited by his concept of the law of nations, and likewise by the framers’ concept of the law of nations. Although Blackstone claims explicitly that he depends on Scripture to be his primary source in defining both natural law and human law, and although he explicitly indicated that the "moral system . . . framed by ethical writers . . . can never be put in any competition" with Scripture, the fact is that he relies on extra-biblical sources for his definitions of both natural law and the law of nations far more than is sustainable. For example,
It is impossible to understand, with any degree of accuracy, either the civil constitution of this kingdom, or the laws which regulate its landed property, without some general acquaintance with the nature and doctrine of feuds, or the feudal law: a system so universally received throughout Europe, upwards of twelve centuries ago, that Sir Henry Spelman does not scruple to call it the law of nations in our western world. 24
As we’ve already indicated, Blackstone defines the law of nations in terms of the natural law. Here he indicates that "the law of nations" is equivalent in many respects to feudalism. This and other evidence shows that the law of nations is largely feudal in Blackstone’s view. Since feudalism is at odds with the basic biblical fact that all people are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, because it assumes that all people except the monarch have an inherently impaired status before the law, i.e., before human law, feudalism is an inherently sick system. All mention of it in American laws needs to be scrutinized with extreme caution, because at all those points where American law depends upon feudal presuppositions, our government defaults into taking power out of the hands of individuals and to give it to government. There are several extremely weak parts of the Constitution. They are weak because they defaulted into dependency upon feudalism. They are weak because they were dependent upon ill-conceived natural law even in the original intent of the framers. Here are three of the most obvious of these points of weakness: (i)the underlying definition of sovereignty, (ii)the underlying definition of property rights, and (iii)the underlying definition of the law of nations. — (i)The most obvious weakness in the framers’ definition of sovereignty shows up in their making the nation an accomplice to slavery. 25 How can one define sovereignty in terms of individual rights while simultaneously denying such rights to a huge segment of the population? Only by warping the definition into something inherently ugly. (ii)The most obvious weakness in the framers’ definition of the individual’s right to own property shows up in the open-ended-ness of taxation and takings, which entails a default into feudalism. In other words the moral linkage between revenue / property-procuration and government spending is left almost totally undefined, and therefore defaults into being feudal. (iii)The most obvious weakness in the framers’ definition of the law of nations shows up in how treaties have been implemented. Article II § 2 cl 2 gives the President the power to entangle the nation in treaties, with the advice and consent of two thirds of the Senate. 26 Article VI cl 2 makes such treaties the "supreme Law of the Land", meaning that they can be imposed on citizens of States within the borders of those States without the consent of such States or such citizens. 27 This is a huge problem. It was a problem in the original Constitution. It’s a problem that weighs ever more heavily on all of us as the original division of police powers is supplanted exponentially by police powers based in international law / treaties. Activities that were never "Offenses against the Law of Nations" are increasingly so.
By giving Congress power to implement statutes criminalizing "Offenses against the Law of Nations", § 8 clause 10 gives Congress power to write laws implementing treaties entered via Article II § 2 cl 2. 28 This is power for Congress to ignore both State geographical jurisdictions and individual rights. It is therefore inherently unlawful, unless the subject matter of such treaty strictly conforms to the scope of the global covenant. 29
The original Constitution contained a very limited number of crimes. 30 Out of this limited number, "Piracy and Felonies committed on the high Seas" are not, on their face, at odds with the biblical principles that characterize a reliable secular social compact. On their face, neither do "Offenses against the Law of Nations". The law of nations is essentially the same thing as international law. International law is governed by treaties. Article II § 2 cl 2 gives the President the power to make treaties, "provided two thirds of the Senators . . . concur". 31 This appears innocuous enough on its face. But big problems arise when one looks at the prospect of imposing on State citizens the terms of a treaty. During the last century, treaties were one of the primary means by which agents of quasi-Marxism were able to impose criminal sanctions against ordinary Americans who were merely exercising their unalienable Rights to contract and to own and use property. Such treaties, when translated into federal statutes, made ordinary people who were guilty of no malum in se, guilty of "Offenses against the Law of Nations". But this could never have happened without a skewed understanding of the Supremacy Clause. 32 That’s because "all Treaties made" in Article VI cl 2 was interpreted by the judicial branch of the general government as being "supreme" over both the laws of the States and the unalienable Rights of people living within those states. Treaties have thus been a primary means by which Congress has been able to exceed its lawful authority. According to Article I § 8 cl 17, 33 the organic Constitution gave Congress power "To exercise exclusive Legislation" over these geographical jurisdictions, and over these alone: (i)the District of Columbia; (ii)"all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State". Article IV § 3 cl 2 gave Congress the same exclusive power with respect to territories. 34 With the great help of such treaties, States have turned into mere administrative provinces. So although it may be fine for Congress to have power to "define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed in the high Seas", it’s power to define and punish "Offenses against the Law of Nations" is dubious, at best.
Article I § 8 clauses 11-16:
The Congress shall have Power . . .
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
Article I § 8 cl 11-16 spell out very legitimate powers of a jural society. These clauses pertain to the powers to execute war and establish military forces. There is nothing inherently outside the scope and purview of the global covenant about any of these terms of the general social compact. But how these powers are pursued is an altogether different issue from their face-value lawfulness. One major problem is the almost complete disappearance of the "Militia of the several States" (Article II § 2), which essentially removes this enforcement mechanism of jural societies from local control. These local militias are the same "Militia" that is to be called forth in clause 15. This problem is addressed in more detail in the hermeneutical prologue. 35
Article I § 8 clause 17:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
This clause spells out a very legitimate power of a jural society. This clause indicates the geographical jurisdiction over which Congress has "Power . . . To exercise exclusive Legislation". "[E]xclusive Legislation" means that Congress doesn’t share this legislative power with any other legislative body. Whenever Congress shares legislative power with a State legislature, it lacks "Power . . . To exercise exclusive Legislation".
This clause specifies two classes of geographical jurisdiction over which Congress has exclusive legislative power: over "the Seat of Government" (the District of Columbia) and "over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State". According to this, Congress clearly lacks power to legislate exclusively over matters internal to a State’s geographical jurisdiction, (i)unless land inside the State’s borders has been set aside specifically for the purpose of allowing the general government to exercise exclusive powers of legislation on it; (ii)unless the State legislature has consented to this arrangement; and (iii)unless the given acreage has been purchased at the agreed price. So clearly, congressional powers are purely secondary to the powers of the State legislature, within a State’s geographical jurisdiction, when such lands have not been purchased in accordance with these three criteria. At least this is true within the original intent of the framers.
Clause 17 further limits the powers of congressional legislation within a State by limiting the lawful purposes for congressional purchase of land within a State. It says these "Places" are "for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings". In other words, Congress has a lawful power to purchase land within a State, with the consent of the State legislature, as long as the land is to be used for lawful purposes of a lawful secular social compact. So the power of the general government was originally intended to be extremely limited, and it was intended that the general government would be the servant of the State, and not the other way around. To see how Congress has acquired power "To exercise exclusive Legislation" within States, in violation of the original intent, see the Supremacy Clause (among numerous other places). 36
Article I § 8 clause 18:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
There is nothing wrong with this clause other than its open-endedness. This phrase, "necessary and proper", is practically as much a blank check as the "general Welfare" phrase in Article I § 8 cl 1. 37 The legal name given to this blank check is penumbra doctrine. 38 The size of the check depends entirely upon how "necessary" and "proper" are defined. Throughout the 20th century, "necessary" was defined every time a politician said "war" or "emergency"; and "proper" was defined every time any politician cited any deficiency in health, safety, welfare, or morals. The combined effect was a grandiose expansion in national police powers, essentially steering the united States towards maturation as a police state.
Unlike these politicians, we are attempting here to discover, hold to, and build on, our foundations. In contrast, the average 20th century politician has abandoned foundations at every possible opportunity, seeing emergencies everywhere and claiming, like Chicken Little, that the sky is falling.
There is a pattern to this abandonment of legal foundations via the penumbra doctrine: (1)The government interferes with private property rights, thereby creating a market distortion in which people are harmed. (2)The government misidentifies the cause of the harm. (3)The government creates a solution to the problem that causes more harm, overall, than the original market distortion. — This pattern applies to every act of regulating the economy. In some respects, it also applies to the "Civil War". The latter is true even though it is fundamentally unlawful, according to the hermeneutical prologue, to claim that human beings can be private property. The reason it applies also to slavery is because any time that a jural society misidentifies a delict, and either takes action, or refuses to take action, based on that misidentification, someone gets harmed. When the entire body politic gets harmed, it’s often more difficult to discern the mistake than it is when a solitary individual gets abused by government. Often when an individual suffers a government-perpetrated delict, the case goes into the courts, gets mis-adjudicated, receives little publicity, the public stays dumb to the injustice, no one is overtly harmed except the single individual, and people aware of the abuse go incensed but impotent. In contrast, often when government perpetrates a mass-delict against the general population, the government’s mistake goes generally unidentified, and the population stays dumb to it, because people generally rely on human law to tell them the difference between right and wrong, rather than relying on a lawful moral system that supersedes human law. So the government generally gets away with this pattern of (i)abusing private property; (ii)pretending to be innocent and blaming someone or something else for the harm done; and (iii)creating a presumed solution that aggravates the original problem. — This pattern is especially obvious when one considers the manner in which the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 laid the foundations for the bankruptcy of the general government in 1933, and the way that social decay has continued up to the present.