And when I learned about something called 'dual federalism' and all related topics to that soon following... my nerded Fallout cranium soon started recalling the basis of apparently popular theories with historical yet no canonical evidence on the Enclave not being the government, the remnants of the government, the feds, the plan for continuity, etc.
One of Tagaziel's most outspoken (and frankly worst in my opinion, not bashing Tag or anything) Critiques, intriguing blogs where he generally goes about proclaiming something within the Fallout universe as invalid, incorrect, bad or misunderstood in cleverly witty ways was called the the Enclave is not America. Coincidence? Hell no (:P), but he basically says that despite what is quite easily picked up from Fallout 2 most notably (Fallout 3 still counts for the sake of consistency) because of the near-constant implications from in-game dialogue, that the Enclave are shockingly revealed to be the remnants of the pre-war United States federal government that survived partially due to bold foresight, mostly because of a contingency plan (that is a totally http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookings_Report http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/02/09/360120/index.htm legitimate and pretty logical way of doing things because governments have to plan for every contingency: disease, famine, political instability, drought, weather, aliens, etcetera by the way) was untrue because he sourced convenient parts of the United States Constitution to paint the simply untrue picture that they are easily dismissed as Raiders in power armor. Me thinks the idea came to mind for him when he found the random encounter in Fallout 3 that never even realistically happened unless tequila is involved upon it's finding... but that's just me.
I realized he was reading into things more so than the devs ever did... soon after, I realized he wasn't the only one. A lot of Fallout fans seem to do this, and if it were for the sake of their own personal Fallout universes and/or stories/fanons I could wholeheartedly understand. I speculate myself, but when I'm talking purely about or in reference to the realms of my own fanon Falloutverse because I hate canon for not being my canon, or a discussion about what I'd like to see in Fallout 4 or something along those lines where speculating is fair game.
Do I want to believe what I speculate? Damn skippy. Do I in good conscience speculate in particularly touchy/heated Fallout debates about what most definitely is and isn't...? I try and make it a goal of mine not too, because it gets repetitive from all sides. Despite hating canon, it's the only thing with enough solid ground to really go on alongside logic when it comes to 'what won't be in Fallout 4' debates. In other words, 'why something subjectively unattractive shouldn't be in Fallout 4' debates.
How would my little theories factor into a creative universe with 48 utterly unrevealed states/Commonwealths with plenty of room to work something along the lines but possibly even better than what I want in, no stated contradicting canon to neuter the process, and plenty of completely logical potential lore to base it on? Alas, for a post-nuclear roleplaying game (and I place unwavering emphasis on RPG and just what an RPG truly is) we seem to have a decent sized crowd of frequently outspoken fellow fans speculating on event(s) to the baffling level that in the cases I'll soon begin an attempted debunking on, become claims ignoring what's been stated in the games.
Using the Constitution seems to be a thing though, so I'm taking a whack at it. Hope ya don't mind...
I: The nitty gritty
Let's get down to brass tacks.
"The Enclave are not trying to rebuild America, they just simply use this as a slogan. The American consitution is pretty clear that the United States is just that - states that have united. The legitimacy of the federal government comes from the power that the states choose to give it.
There are no states in operation (presuming we do not count the NCR as the successor to the State of California), just a federal government that has continued running without its foundation... Much Like Wyle E Coyote runs of a cliff without noticing the ground has gone.
They are creating something new, but creating it in the name of the old world." -Agent C
This one seemed the most well rounded and plausible of all the stances imho. But actually Chad... the Constitution isn't as clear as people want to believe. In other words, it's clear, just not in the way one would think.
Examples. The Privileges or Immunities Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment says: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."
... it's pretty obvious that one hasn't been followed much at all. And one of a few things the Fallout U.S govt and the real U.S govt have in common is they forget about the Constitution in favor of a false sense of security... and the People bring it upon themselves by telling them not too.
Next example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspension_clause#Section_9
"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
Martial law became a factor for all intents and purposes permanently at the point it was declared because anything and everything that could go to hell in a handbasket for the pre-war U.S up to the Great War pretty much did. Except for the then-elected President and a good chunk of his administration among others barely making it to the Oil Rig where a good chunk of the Navy held position there...
The military were stationed all throughout the U.S to keep the anarchy in relative check, and for the military to enforce martial law alongside state and federal police, Congress must approve of it first...
And even then, not really.
Last but not least...
Call me crazy but to me, this all starts looking like it's very much so approved from as low as the chain of command goes, all the way up to the Commander in Chief that at this point, has incredibly boosted executive power because of a declared state of emergency. That is to say, the contingency plan manifesting into the Enclave seems to be 'legally sanctioned' more so than 'unjust or illegal'.
"When you see the Enclave, you see the United States government. We are authorized to restore order and civility, by any means necessary." -Autumn
Morality/chivalry had been overridden in favor of restoring order and stability before the Enclave itself was a known quantity anyway, and Autumn's above quote, particularly 'we are authorized' isn't exactly a common battle cry-scapegoat to do whatever you want to whomever you want by dime-a-dozen Raiders or wasters...