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Letters of Marque and Reprisal

September 21, 2006

Congress shall have the Power…To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water… –Constitution of the United States of America, Article I., Section 8., paragraph 11.

“Ultimately, all things are disciplined by theology.” –Pastor Tom Lyon

An obscure provision in the U.S. Constitution provides for “Letters of Marque and Reprisal,” likely unfamiliar to most Americans who didn’t have to learn about them in history or law school. Basically, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal is a Congressional authorization for piracy. The Letter, which may be issued only by Congress, grants private citizens the legal right to plunder, capture, and kill enemies of the United States or its citizens, on land or sea. Two recent news items brought the idea of a Letter of Marque to mind…if only to my mind.

Take One. A psychotic is running Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez is head of state of the fourth-largest supplier of oil to the United States.
He is having olfactory hallucinations on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly. He smells sulfur and attributes it to the presence of the devil manifest as President Bush, and he says so publicly. He crosses himself, while wielding an anti-American volume by atheist-anarchist (pardon the redundancy) Noam Chomsky. President Chavez is, like well over half the world, irrational and anti-American. Will Congress issue a Letter of Marque with his name on it? Nah. They never do that. Even the capture of Noriega was a military, not a civilian action. Marquesmanship is limited to civilians.

Freeze Frame. Noam Chomsky is a linguist whose learning has made him mad. His world view is completely fogged in. He is a self-styled “anarcho-syndicalist,” or an anarchist who works in the sphere of labor unions. Like all other forms of anarchism, “anarcho-syndicalism” violates the Law Against Non-Contradiction. Unions are hegemonic and organized, and therefore the very antithesis of anarchy; however, unions and anarchy are all one flavor of cotton candy to Dr. Chomsky, a linguist who cannot even deploy language rationally.

Take Two. “California sued six of the world’s largest automakers over global warming on Wednesday, charging that greenhouse gases from their vehicles have caused billions of dollars in damages” (Reuters). If auto manufacturers have caused serious harm to life, Congress, not swashbuckling California, should be able to issue a Letter of Marque and Reprisal and authorize private citizens to plunder the corporations, which are legal persons and presumptive enemies of the people. But the bear of the California Republic will fly atop the Jolly Roger, and set out to plunder the auto companies. The face of George Washington on the banner of the Evergreen State also shared the breeze with the Jolly Roger when the State of Washington successfully plundered an enemy of the people–the tobacco industry.

Perhaps a Letter of Marque would be more appropriate than government-sponsored massive litigation. Let a harmed citizen plunder the auto companies before they choke more Americans in imaginary elements. It is unclear whether the privateer must prove his case.

The “greenhouse gases” and “global warming” of California’s cause of action are figments of unscientific blather. The presumption is that vehicles can alter the earth’s climate. I suppose either you believe it or you don’t. If you do, you can always sue–a form of legal plundering–like California. If you don’t, you reckon on God’s sovereignty over climatic cycles, perhaps in preparation for judgments. If changes are fearsome, repentance and prayer come naturally. You challenge any premise that contradicts the Word of God. “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited…” (Is 45:18).

I don’t think California has a very good case for launching a career as a buccaneer. But the strategy will probably work.

I won’t usually write about politics or law. It forces me to stare into the dark matter, and I don’t believe in the dark matter. I write in the mornings, and I need the darkness to end.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Ps 46:10


Victorbravo said…
Wow, that’s a ball of fire in the morning. Maybe we ought to get together to plunder California for the crime of allowing people to buy those cars.Would that the states would be open pirates instead of the Borg. Then we’d having a fighting chance.

“To arms, matey, pack the chain-shot and aim for the masts!”

8:34 AM  
Mrs. B said…
Avast. Wait till they find out they’re all under God’s lee.
8:44 AM  
Mrs. B said…
Yo ho ho and a mug o’ black tea;
Wait till they know they’re under God’s lee.There.

10:06 AM  
Mike Pitzler said…
I always learn something here. And from the Constitution of of the Untied States, too. Where does Kitty Litter fit in here? Is it harmful? Torts and tortillas? (My head hurts.)
10:08 AM  
Mrs. B said…
I really can’t recommend kitty litter tortillas, Mike.
2:43 PM  
Ryan S. said…
Presidential War Powers by Louis FisherWar Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution by Peter Irons

These are good places to start for fathoming where the executive state went wrong!

8:06 PM  

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