Ron Paul has become famous for his unyielding almost contumacious refusal to vote for legislation that violates the Constitution, so much so that he’s earned the nickname “Dr. No” and the respect of paleos across America. Paleos, like Dr. No, are as Dr. Francis writes, “virtually defined by their adherence to the Old Republic established by the original and real Constitution.”
However, paleos are ‘defending’ a Constitution that has long been dead. As Dr. Francis points out:
the Civil War … mortally wounded the Old Republic and the Constitution that defined it. … The Old Republic and the real Constitution lingered on until the Roosevelt Supreme Court and its successors killed them off for good.
Dr. Francis attributes the destruction of the Constitution and the Old Republic to the “declining number of social interests [that] found it a useful instrument of government.” If such is the case, paleos desiring the restoration of the Old Republic must mold these forces and promote others so that the dominant forces are once again conducive to the type of government and society so desired. Also, paleos cannot refuse support to all but strict Constitutionalists; politics requires alliances to be forged with the powers that be.
One centralising and anti-traditional force that must be reworked is capitalism (what Chesterton calls Proletarianism). Francis writes in “Men against Leviathan”
what is called capitalism (which includes a good deal of socialism) lurches across the globe, wiping out traditional cultures, national boundaries, and racial and ethnic identities.
Distributist theory emphasises decentralisation, and within it might be found a solution that promotes small government. Chesterton writes in “The Outline of Sanity:”
It might mean
at last a large class of little shopkeepers; and that is exactly
the sort of thing that makes all the political difference,
as it does in the case of a large class of little farmers.
It is not in the merely mechanical sense a matter of numbers.
It is a matter of the presence and pressure of a particular social type.
It is not a question merely of how many noses are counted;
but in the more real sense whether the noses count.
If there were anything that could be called a class of peasants,
or a class of small shopkeepers, they would make their presence felt
in legislation, even if it were what is called class legislation.
Dr. Francis closes with:
Which ever course they choose will be no less radical and revolutionary than the path that led to the destruction of the old Constitution.
Source of quotes unless otherwise stated: “The Constitution, R. I. P.”
This article, composed largely of quotes, has replaced a full reposting of Dr. Francis’s original “The Constitution, R. I. P.“