Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate

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Title stolen from an excellent, short, very funny piece by A.J. Jacobs at The Free Press.  I won’t try to summarize Mr. Jacobs’s work because I couldn’t do it justice.  Read it.  But, in honor of July 4, a few comments.  Let Mr. Jacobs explain the Constitutional basis:

It may not get much publicity, but there it is, smack-dab in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution: Congress has the power to grant citizens “letters of marque and reprisal.” Meaning that, with Congress’s permission, private citizens can load weapons onto their fishing boats, head out to the high seas, capture enemy vessels, and keep the booty. Back in the day, these patriotic pirates were known as “privateers.”

In response to this, my former student Dr. Paul Sullivan (@DrPJSullivan) posted this.  I have not verified his data, but why float a government navy when a bunch of swashbucklers will do the job without causing the government to spend more?

 Your Constitutional Right to Be a PirateWhen I posted this on Nextdoor, regular contributor Rick Moen posted a recollection from his past. I virtually met Rick because, like me, he curates a humor group in a town slightly to the north of me.  But this is fascinating.  Be sure to read his correction, too. Posted here with Rick’s kind permission.

Rick Moen part 1 Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate

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Rick Moen part 2 Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate

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Rick's correction Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate

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For those who are curious, here’s Article I Section 8.

Article 1 Section 8 Your Constitutional Right to Be a Pirate

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Who knew there was so much interest in a relatively obscure clause in the Constitution?  Hope you enjoyed this.  Happy Independence Day!

 

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About Tony Lima

Retired after teaching economics at California State Univ., East Bay (Hayward, CA). Ph.D., economics, Stanford. Also taught MBA finance at the California University of Management and Technology. Occasionally take on a consulting project if it's interesting. Other interests include wine and technology.

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