November 7, 2005

Did you know that the U.S. Constitution authorizes privateering?

Across Difficult Country suggests that Congress respond to the Somali pirate attack on a cruise ship by utilizing its Constitutionally-assigned power to "grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water" to authorize private ships to hunt down the pirates:

" Not only would this be an efficient solution to the piracy problem, it would also be all kinds of fun."

UPDATES: A reader responds:

I am not an expert on international law, but I think privateering was outlawed by an international treaty in the 1850s. I think a privateer now has the legal status of a pirate.

Those international busybodies, taking away all our innocent pleasures...

Mr. Across Difficult Country replies:

According to Wikipedia though European countries outlawed letters of marque via the 1865 Treaty of Paris, the US never signed the treaty.

We have been adhering to that treaty, even though we didn't sign it. But, hey, we've recently tossed out international law technicalities like not invading sovereign countries, so why not privateering?

Some senator should ask Judge Alito during his hearings about Letters of Marqe. It's definitely part of the Original Intent of the Constitution. And it would be more fun than dancing around Roe v. Wade for days.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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