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Jeff
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Stories Commentaries
Nov 3rd, 2019 at 6:07pm
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I've been meaning to read through them all, and figured I might as well start, so I have.

https://lonang.com/library/reference/story-commentaries-us-constitution/sto-101/

They begin with this:

Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (1833)
by Joseph L. Story

BOOK 1, CHAPTER 1

Origin of the Title to Territory of the Colonies

It will be controversial in places of course, but libertarians will find it more comforting in general than will "progressives".

Probably everyone can find something they like, even if they have to take things out of context to do it. Smiley

§ 2. Such is the origin of the British title to the territory composing these United States. That title was founded on the right of discovery, a right, which was held among the European nations a just and sufficient foundation, on which to rest their respective claims to the American continent.
  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #1 - Nov 3rd, 2019 at 6:11pm
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§ 4. This is not the place to enter upon the discussion of the question of the actual merits of the titles claimed by the respective parties upon principles of natural law. That would involve the consideration of many nice and delicate topics, as to the nature and origin of property in the soil, and the extent, to which civilized man may demand it from the savage for uses or cultivation different from, and perhaps more beneficial to society than the uses, to which the latter may choose to appropriate it. Such topics belong more properly to a treatise on natural law, than to lectures professing to treat upon the law of a single nation.

Now that that's out of the way, I'll continue. Smiley
  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #2 - Nov 3rd, 2019 at 6:50pm
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Maybe you'll want to skip to book Two.

https://lonang.com/library/reference/story-commentaries-us-constitution/sto-201/

BOOK 2, CHAPTER 1

History of the Revolution and of the Confederation

Don't be too hasty though. Make sure you adequately grasp all this first:

§ 198. WE have now completed our survey of the origin and political history of the American colonies up to the period of the Revolution. We have examined the more important coincidences and differences in their forms of government, in their laws, and in their political institutions. We have presented a general outline of their actual relations with the parent country; of the rights, which they claimed; of the dependence, which they admitted; and of the controversies, which existed at this period, in respect to sovereign powers and prerogatives on one side, and colonial rights and liberties on the other.
  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #3 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 8:03am
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This is interesting, from Sect. 200 of Book Two:

"In 1774 Massachusetts recommended the assembling of a continental congress to deliberate upon the state of public affairs; and according to her recommendation, delegates were appointed by the colonies for a congress, to be held in Philadelphia in the autumn of the same year. In some of the legislatures of the colonies, which were then in session, delegates were appointed by the popular, or representative branch; and in other cases they were appointed by conventions of the people in the colonies.1 The congress of delegates (calling themselves in their more formal acts “the delegates appointed by the good people of these colonies”) assembled on the 4th of September, 1774;2 and having chosen officers, they adopted certain fundamental rules for their proceedings.

(emphasis added)

Here's Story's description:

§ 201. Thus was organized under the auspices, and with the consent of the people, acting directly in their primary, sovereign capacity, and without the intervention of the functionaries, to whom the ordinary powers of government were delegated in the colonies, the first general or national government, which has been very aptly called “the revolutionary government,” since in its origin and progress it was wholly conducted upon revolutionary principles.3 The congress, thus assembled, exercised de facto and de jure a sovereign authority; not as the delegated agents of the governments de facto of the colonies, but in virtue of original powers derived from the people. The revolutionary government, thus formed, terminated only, when it was regularly superceded by the confederated government under the articles finally ratified, as we shall hereafter see, in 1781.4
  

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Little Big Man
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #4 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 11:32am
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Jeff wrote on Nov 3rd, 2019 at 6:11pm:
§ 4. This is not the place to enter upon the discussion of the question of the actual merits of the titles claimed by the respective parties upon principles of natural law. That would involve the consideration of many nice and delicate topics, as to the nature and origin of property in the soil, and the extent, to which civilized man may demand it from the savage for uses or cultivation different from, and perhaps more beneficial to society than the uses, to which the latter may choose to appropriate it. Such topics belong more properly to a treatise on natural law, than to lectures professing to treat upon the law of a single nation.

Now that that's out of the way, I'll continue. Smiley


I fear that this reply will be exactly what you don’t want on this thread.  Sorry, I’m not trying to hijack it, but I honestly believe that it is going nowhere anyhoo. 

I would like to explore the topic of how ownership of land is possible.  You would agree that no one can own the air, the rain, sunshine, outer space and the Earth’s inner core.  Yet, we agree that any people who have advanced above the level of tribal hunters-gatherer to the level of farmer has a right to claim areas of land that they “own” just like they own their tools and clothes.

There is no natural right to cordon off part of the earth and say that you own it.  Doing so interferes with the natural right to move about the earth as one pleases.  But I support it the pretense that there is a right to own land because land ownership is so beneficial to almost everyone.

We are not so different.  We are both willing to make a compromise with natural rights.  What we do differ on is that I support a “legal right” to land ownership because the benefit of land ownership has been shown to be greatly beneficial and practically universally beneficial.

All of the benefits you claim for the “legal rights” of government officials, such as the “right to tax” are based on speculative benefits that would accrue under a hypothetical “good government.” 

I admit that the benefits of not taxing are also speculative and would accrue under a hypothetical “non-taxing” government.  That should be the basis our debate, my advocating for my speculative hypothetical system and your advocating for your hypothetical system.

What we have instead is your claim that your “good government that taxes” is real and has existed in the past.  You sometimes argue as if you think our current government meets that definition, but then you backpedal when confronted with facts.

Anyway, if you do not want “your” thread hijacked, simply ignore this post.

Thank you.
  

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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #5 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 12:31pm
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Little Big Man wrote on Nov 4th, 2019 at 11:32am:
All of the benefits you claim for the “legal rights” of government officials, such as the “right to tax” are based on speculative benefits that would accrue under a hypothetical “good government.” 

I admit that the benefits of not taxing are also speculative and would accrue under a hypothetical “non-taxing” government.  That should be the basis our debate. . .
I think this is relevant:

“Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure." - Mark Skousen
  

Governments will always devise ways to deprive an honest man of his money or property, and claim that it's legal.
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Little Big Man
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #6 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 12:39pm
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SkyChief wrote on Nov 4th, 2019 at 12:31pm:
I think this is relevant:

“Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure." - Mark Skousen


Thanks!!

It appears Skousen wrote a book on investment.    I’ll have to read it. If. Nothing else, he’ll have no statist axe to grind.

  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #7 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 2:05pm
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Little Big Man wrote on Nov 4th, 2019 at 11:32am:
I fear that this reply will be exactly what you don’t want on this thread.  Sorry, I’m not trying to hijack it, but I honestly believe that it is going nowhere anyhoo. 

I would like to explore the topic of how ownership of land is possible.

Story does a creditable job of explaining how land in the Americas came to be owned by Europeans.

The philosophical possibilities of ownership of land, as Story mentioned, are better explained in theories of natural rights than in a commentary on the Constitution.

Such ideas have in fact been discussed on this forum quite a few times. Why don't you dredge up one of those threads and breathe new life into it?
  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #8 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 2:06pm
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SkyChief wrote on Nov 4th, 2019 at 12:31pm:
I think this is relevant:

“Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure." - Mark Skousen
Relevant to a discussion of the Constitution? I think not.
  

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Jeff
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Re: Stories Commentaries
Reply #9 - Nov 4th, 2019 at 2:07pm
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Little Big Man wrote on Nov 4th, 2019 at 12:39pm:
Thanks!!

It appears Skousen wrote a book on investment.    I’ll have to read it. If. Nothing else, he’ll have no statist axe to grind.

Hijack away folks, I'll continue the thread at my leisure.
  

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