THE PRAGMATIC CONSTITUTIONALIST IS...
. . . GUIDED in philosophy and political activism by one simple axiom: “There’s the world we want, vs. the world in which we actually live.” Purist libertarian ideologists imagine a world and human interactions in which all beings don’t care what you do with and to yourself — or in interactions with similarly consensual persons — so long as those activities do not negatively impact anyone else’s life, property, or pursuits. In other words: we should, individually, be able to do whatever we damn well please, so long as we don’t “break the bones or pick the pockets” of anyone not also voluntarily engaging in the same, said activities. The “PRAGMATIC” view understands that human nature is not so simplistic. A majority of humanity are going to choose “safety over liberty.” Most people prefer governmental remediation over free-market solutions . . . even though both are ultimately the product of HUMAN ideas and administration. How are humans who run big government any better than humans who run big corporations? How about humans first be allowed to “run themselves”— for better, or worse?
. . . A CONSTITUTIONAL libertarian, but in no way associated with the Libertarian Party. While I hold many things in common with that Party, I have found them to be, well – a typical political party. As such, they are often prone to look more after the interests of the Party, above the interests of libertarianism, or the nation. One visit to a Party meeting, and you might see them more as a social club of political misfits and outcasts than a viable political force, with too many of the Libertarian Party stereotypes on full display. Most “small l” libertarians believe the Founding of the United States was the first true libertarian experiment, and our Constitution is more than just the law of the land, but the guiding framework for the type of small government to which we need return — limiting the interference of government into our lives, but also protecting our individual liberties.
. . . WILLING to accept incremental steps in the direction of freedom and individual liberty — as opposed to an “all-or-nothing” ideal which is unrealistic in “the world in which we actually live.” If we truly believe that “taxation is theft,” then we should be willing to fight for and accept a drop from 40% to 37% in personal income tax, even though we know that 10%, or even 0%, is a workable number. A politician who is willing to work toward a “reduction” in regulation is not only far more likely to attain office, itself, but also more likely to achieve the realistic objectives of “reduction” in regulation and taxation, than one who campaigns on “eliminating” the two. Progressives charted a strategy of long term, incremental elimination of individual liberties precisely because humanity accepts such small concessions. Incrementally, we must take back what progressivism has stolen from us. Pragmatic constitutionalism is not a “moderate” or “middle ground” compromise between liberty and statism. It is a STRATEGY for effectively reversing progressivism, one step at a time, and wherever we can make those gains, rather than sitting idly on some “all-or-nothing” moral high ground.
. . . NOT alone. I’ve discovered there are millions just like me. And by “just like me,” I don’t mean that we march in lock step on every issue, but we do value our individual freedoms above collectivism or statism. While we may not agree on every aspect of our guiding philosophy, or even how best to preserve our freedoms, we recognize our need to stand together against progressivism – i.e. Marxism in liberal clothing. I’ve also discovered most constitutional libertarians don’t even know they are libertarian.
. . . NOT a “liberal.” While both “liberal” and “libertarian” descend from the same root as “liberty,” the modern use of the term, and indeed the practice of contemporary economic liberalism hardly resembles anything to do with “liberty.” The modern liberal is a socialist, believing in and advocating for progressively punitive redistribution of wealth and assets from one group to another. In other words, they are economic Marxists, in the purest sense. To the extent today’s liberals believe in equality of races, sexes and rights to privacy, The Pragmatic Constitutionalist may find common ground – but, unfortunately, many of those apparent commonalities break down under honest scrutiny.
. . . NOT an “anarchist.” Those who characterize libertarians as anarchists are either horribly ignorant of the differences, or intellectually dishonest, and deliberately so. I take great offense at this slight. I believe in the “rule of law,” so long as those laws are subject to and guided by The Constitution of The United States and not created by an activist legislature or judiciary whose aims is to circumvent the limits of the 10th Amendment or the amendment process itself, as directed in Article V of The Constitution. Unlike anarchists, we believe in “limited government.” Not, “no government.” Anarchy is wholly unsustainable by the human experience, creating a vacuum which will always be filled by tyranny. Anarchism is to one side of the equation what communism is to the other: impossible in all but theory and misguided imagination.
. . . NOT a “single-issue” zealot for drug legalization. That said, no one should be held to criminal standards for what they do with, do to, or put in their own body, so long as what they do with their body does not interfere with the life, property and liberty of others. That said, I understand the dangers presented to society by individuals who recklessly use ANY drug – be it alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, prescription drugs, etc., and that those who misuse their personal freedoms must be held legally responsible and liable for any crimes committed while under the influence of those chemicals. Further, the “war on drugs” needs a complete overall and refocus, and should be directed at the dealers, suppliers, cartels, and nations that flood our streets with illicit and unsafe substances. We have the technology and means to stop the supplies at their source, but not the commitment. We waste billions of dollars and millions of law enforcement man-hours, and tie up our judiciary and prison systems in dealing with non-violent, consensual “offenders.”
. . . NOT an advocate for unregulated, “open borders.” We live in a dangerous world, in which certain groups desire to do harm to our nation, our families, and our way of life. We have the ability and technology to secure our borders, and a Constitutional directive to do so. We need leaders with the commitment to obey the law, and bring that security to the American people, once and for all. As to immigration, we are a nation whose success and very lifeblood is derived from immigrants seeking the same American dream our own immigrant ancestors sought. That must continue, but only in a reasonable, safe and monitored flow. Again, there is absolutely no reason for our borders to be a porous sieve for those who wish to illegally place so heavy a burden on those who are here legally, either by birth, or legal process.
. . . NOT opposed to a FAIR tax system, in which all citizens participate. There are many Constitutional functions of government which must be paid for, and it is reasonable and moral that all who enjoy the protections of our defense forces, and the needed infrastructure of our lawful regulatory departments, should pay their fair share. That said, our tax system is overrun by fraud, waste, mismanagement, cronyism, exceptions, exemptions – millions of pages of convoluted, abusive, unmanageable, punitive and unnecessary regulations. The RESET BUTTON must be hit. There is NO logical or moral reason for the current tax code.
. . . NOT opposed to a SAFETY NET for those who cannot care for themselves, or those who for no reason of their own find themselves unable to access basic needs. That said, our current welfare systems are fraught with fraud and waste, and a dangerously prevailing sense of “entitlement.” We are on the precipice of becoming a nation in which those who work and prosper are demonized and punished, while those who don’t work are glorified and rewarded. Both that mindset and that system must reverse directions.
. . . FED UP WITH the ongoing ABORTION debate. It is tedious. It is monotonous. It should not be a FEDERAL issue. There isn’t a single word about ‘abortion’ in the Constitution, therefore, what part of the 10th Amendment do our Congress, the Supreme Court, and our Executive Branch not understand? This is a matter for “the States and the People,” and not one for the offices of the Federal government. Period. While the Libertarian Party has effectively taken a “pro-choice” position, libertarians at large are equally divided on the issue. As equally divided as the mainstream of the population. Pragmatic constitutionalism requires that we fight our battles on the issues with which we agree. While libertarians are divided on the abortion debate as a whole, we are not nearly so divided on the aspects of funding and personable responsibility, as they related to abortion. We do not believe governments should force taxpayers to pay for the sexual or reproductive choices and consequences of others. On that battleground we can stand together for 25 or 50 years, before we have to turn our swords on each other.
. . . DETERMINED to restructure the RACE debate. Bigotry exists with individuals in every political party, nationality, religious group, and . . . race. No group has the moral high-ground. No group is without bigotry in its midst. If “race” is to no longer be a political issue in this country, then any and all laws favoring one group over an other must END. Any law that seeks to give advantage to one group over another, must end. Any policy which seeks to “level the playing field” has as its ultimate affect the opposite of its intended goal, fostering racial enmity – and must therefore, end. Until race is no longer recognized by the law, it cannot be ignored by the People, and racism cannot be cast into the dustbin of history. This will require all groups to to hit the “reset” button, and stop holding each other responsible for the sins of their fathers. We have to say “no more,” then act accordingly.
. . . READY to defend your right to worship any god, in any manner you so please – so long as your religious agenda does not include as its aim to legislatively impose your beliefs, doctrines, dogmas or morals onto those who are not part of your faith. The government should never interfere with or restrict religious activities that do not themselves interfere with other citizens’ lives or properties. Government must never establish a state religion, or respect one faith above another, and NEVER allow any religious group to impose its doctrines on others, legislatively.
. . . is also PREPARED to make an EXCEPTION to allowing the free exercise of religion to any religious group whose stated intention is to overturn the Constitution of the United States, and to replace it with its own theocratic form of government, either by force, or by legislative incrementalism. Any such religion should be considered an “enemy of The United States,” and its privileges must be rescinded, charters revoked, and its advocates charged with treason.
. . . NOT a “one-worlder.” While I believe the United States is and must remain an active participant on the world stage, and that our economy is intrinsically tied to the world’s economy, America’s concerns must come first, and our government must respect the uniqueness of America, first, and above all others. I believe Jefferson said it best – “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none.” Our laws and treaties must first protect our sovereignty, and maintain our independence from all other global organizations and entanglements.
. . . NOT an “interventionist,” and does not believe it is the task of the United States to “establish democracies” in other countries, or to “nation build.” That said, it is PRAGMATICALLY impossible to ignore matters where national defense and the security of our nation are concerned. While it is not prudent to engage our military in other nations’ internal struggles, it is also impossible to ignore the security implications in this technological age, when hostile powers have the ability to send weapons of mass destruction via intercontinental missiles. The United States must always endeavor to have the strongest, best trained, most technologically advanced defensive and offensive forces – with the policy to use said only in defense of our nation and allies. But, we must also not be refrained by law or policy from taking offensive action against any clear and present danger to our People. In simplest terms, the policy of the United States should be to allow all nations the right to go their own way, without concern of overt or covert interference by the United States government or military – EXCEPT when in the exercise of any nation’s sovereign activities, they do harm, or plan to do harm to the United States, its People, or its allies, the United States reserves the right to use all force necessary to protect the interests of the United States. “Leave us alone, and we’ll leave you alone,” is sound foreign policy doctrine.
THE PRAGMATIC CONSTITUTIONALIST'S BIO
The Pragmatic Constitutionalist, Steve Baker, has spent most of his life as a professional musician, also active in many other aspects of the music business — having managed several major label artists and Grammy nominees, and producing thousands of live shows worldwide. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, he’s been a resident of Raleigh, North Carolina since 1993.
His passion as a self-described “political junkie” began as early as eight years of age. At 19, Steve began touring internationally with bands, and soaking in the culture and politics of the many countries he visited. After two extensive trips behind the Iron Curtain, and several weeks inside the Soviet Union, his passion for freedom and individual liberty grew exponentially. Still, it wasn’t until many years later that his philosophy, spirituality, and personal politics brought him to the realization that he’d been a lifelong “libertarian” — not really having an ideological home with either of the two major American political parties. Even after many years of investigating the Libertarian Party, he’d discovered an equal disconnect of that party to the nation’s founding principles, and remains an unaffiliated “constitutional libertarian.”
After many years of written commentary on all things political, in 2010 Steve started a Facebook Page called the “The Pragmatic Libertarian.” After growing to over 30,000 followers, he made the brand change to “The Pragmatic Constitutionalist” — effectively putting an end to the confusing association with the Libertarian Party — yet not abandoning his “small government” activism within the liberty movement at large.
Today, Steve is expanding the new “TPC” brand to all social media platforms, including this blog site, e-books, and podcasts.
Steve is still active in the music industry, including leading three bands of his own. He also has two adult children, each following after his passions for both music and liberty. His daughter is a graduate of the Peace, War and Defense College at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she was the President of the university’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter. His son is himself an amazing musician, who Steve describes as “having 10 times the talent is his left pinky, than I ever had in my entire body.” (He couldn’t be more proud of both.)
Every time someone throws in our face the notion that there’s never been a libertarian society, simply remind them that the founding of the United States was indeed the first and only such small-government, libertarian experiment. Our Constitution wholly sought to limit the power of government over individual lives. In fact, there were only three original federal crimes: treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. So dynamic was that initial libertarian initiative, The United States quickly became the most powerful, prosperous nation in the history of the world — surpassing those nations which had hundreds, or even thousands of years of a head start.