How the North Carolina State Constitution spots genius

In my last post, I wrote about a truth so self-evident that the North Carolina State Constitution didn’t even feel the need to assert it, just infer it. There I discussed the state constitution’s phrase “the blessings of liberty,” which takes as a given the essential truth that human liberty produces many blessings. It’s one of my favorite phrases in our state constitution.

Another of my favorite phrases in the North Carolina State Constitution also infers an important truth: that a state structured around “the great, general, and essential principles of liberty” is a work of genius, allowing human flourishing in ways never before seen in the world.

The North Carolina State Constitution infers that truth when it mentions “the genius of a free state” in Article I, Section 34. This occurs in its prohibition against perpetuities and monopolies — a prohibition that, as my colleague Jon Guze points out, refers “specifically to monopolies created and enforced by government“:

Sec. 34. Perpetuities and monopolies.
Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state and shall not be allowed.

You’ll notice it also includes the enthymeme that something contrary to the genius of a free state is ipso facto bad, leading to the conclusion that it shall not be allowed.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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