“Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings-give us
that precious jewel and you may take everything else.”
(June 5, 1788)
Have you ever known anyone who was confined to a hospital bed for a long period of time; such as coma patients? If you have, you’ll know that, without use, the muscles atrophy; meaning they become weak and eventually waste away without exercise. Are you aware that the brain can do the same thing; atrophy I mean. If you don’t use your brain, push it to think about things that make it grow in its ability to comprehend complex ideas, even the simplest of ideas will become difficult for it to process. I’m sorry, but the truth is if you don’t think when you are free to do so at your leisure, when the time comes that your life or liberty depends upon your ability to think, you’ll be unable to do so in an effective manner.
The funny thing about it is, once you actually start thinking, examining complex ideas and questioning things, you might actually begin to enjoy it. Believe me, it wasn’t easy for me to wrap my head around certain things when I first began studying documents from our country’s past; but once I started it became easier and easier. Today, as I just told my friend Mike an hour or so ago, my brain is like a sponge in the Arizona desert; no matter how much you pour into it, it is never satisfied.
I, literally, cannot count the people who have told me that they do not have the time I do to spend reading and studying documents from our country’s past; that the things written in them are too complex and difficult for them to understand. Well gee, what about all the time you spend on Facebook or Twitter, or spend glued to your television watching sports, idiotic sitcoms and Reality TV shows?
The truth of the matter is, if you aren’t thinking, studying, questioning, you are allowing others to formulate your thoughts and opinions for you; which is another way of saying you are being manipulated. I’ve had numerous discussions with people who rant and rave about what a president is doing, saying it is unconstitutional. However, when I ask them to explain exactly how that activity is unconstitutional; what Article and Clause it violates, they are unable to do so. Therefore, if they don’t know what the Constitution says, they MUST be repeating what they’ve heard someone else say; either a friend or someone in the news media.
Is that what passes for thinking these days, the repetition of what you hear others say. If so, we’re totally screwed as a country!
There is an old saying that goes something like, “If you want the truth you need to go straight to the horse’s mouth.” If you want to know whether what your elected officials are doing is unconstitutional or not, you need to read the Constitution for yourself. If you want to know what the Constitution means, you need to read the writings of those who wrote it, and those who supported and opposed it. Anything less than that and you’re basing your opinions upon hearsay; which is unreliable at best. Sorry, that’s the only way you’re going to get to the truth.
When I hear people discuss current events and politics it is usually from either a left or right leaning perspective; meaning either the position of the Democrats or Republicans. I’m somewhat different in the way I respond to what politicians promise to do; the first thing I ask myself is; does the Constitution authorize them to do that? As far as I’m concerned the ends do not justify the means; and this is even more so when the measures proposed by government infringe upon my rights or liberty.
Gee Neal, you can’t be so inflexible, times are different now than they were back when the Constitution was written and adopted. I won’t deny that; things are much different now than they were back then, but once you open the Pandora’s Box of allowing government, or the will of a vocal majority, decide what powers government should be allowed to exercise, you place yourself upon the path that leads to government having unlimited power; without your ability to check or restrain it – which is pretty much where we find ourselves today.
As much as I’ve lost respect for George Washington as a politician, he did say one thing that is absolutely true, “If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” (Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796)
If you think government should decide whether or not we be allowed to put certain substances into our bodies, or be forced to put substances into our bodies we don’t want in them; if you think government should be allowed to mandate that all people living in this country purchase health insurance; if you think that government should be allowed to impose mandatory quarantines, or lockdowns in the event of a crisis; if you think that government should be allowed to enact laws which restrict our right to keep and bear the arms of our choice…THEN PASS A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT GRANTING THEM THAT POWER!
If you want to live in a world where government can do whatever it thinks is in your own best interest, or take whatever steps you think it ought to take to keep you safe, secure and comfortable, then you have absolutely no understanding of what liberty is. Liberty is many things, but is basically the freewill to make your own choices as to how you will live your life; while accepting complete and total responsibility for whatever choices you make. If you take away the responsibility, and allow government to make your choices for you, then you have lost your liberty and are a slave. There’s no getting around that uncomfortable truth!
This leads us, in a roundabout way, to why the Constitution was written and adopted. Was it written to secure the liberty of each and every person living in America, or was it written for another purpose altogether; and if it was written to secure our liberty, how have we gotten to the point where our liberty is almost non-existent?
In a recent post on Facebook someone criticized me for bringing my God into the discussion. That’s all well and good; if you choose not to believe in God, that’s your choice. The thing is though, that throughout our country’s past the men who shaped that past spoke often of God; the Creator, or the Supreme Judge of the Universe. You see, it doesn’t really matter what you and I personally believe; what matters is what THEY believed; for it is they who wrote the documents from our past, and it is upon their beliefs we must go to when attempting to discern the intent of those documents.
I’ve repeatedly heard people say that America was not founded as a Christian nation. I’ve asked these people to provide supporting evidence for that position, and usually they cannot. However, I can provide them with ample evidence that the first settlers to this country did so to spread the Christian faith. For instance there is the Mayflower Compact, written in 1620, which states, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia.”
When the Colonists were forced to take up arms against their government Thomas Jefferson wrote a document explaining their reasons and justification for doing so. Known as the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, Jefferson writes, “But a reverance for our Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end.”
Then in the Declaration of Independence he reaffirms that position, that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”
Then, in our country’s first constitution, The Articles of Confederation, we read, “And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union.”
Yet if you were to read the Constitution, aside from Article 6, Clause 3, there is absolutely no mention of religion, or of God for that matter. In fact, during the convention that produced the Constitution Ben Franklin suggested that daily prayers be held to guide them in forming this new system of government, a suggestion that was almost unanimously shot down; with Alexander Hamilton going so far as supposedly saying he opposed any foreign power or aid; leading me to believe Hamilton thought he was smarter than God when it came to devising a system of government which was ‘supposedly’ established to secure the liberty of the governed…which comes from God according to all our other founding documents.
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson writes, “And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever . . . . ”
So whether you yourself do not believe in God is irrelevant to the discussion; most of those we call Founders did; in one form or another; and they believed our rights and our liberty come from Him; and that government is instituted to secure those rights.
So how can you support a government, regardless of your party affiliation, when that government continually enacts laws that deprive you of your rights and your liberty? If you call yourself a Christian, how can you support an entity that takes God’s gift of liberty away from you with almost every law it passes?
Answer me that…if you can.
In 1785 the so-called Father of our Constitution wrote, “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties–we hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.”
What might that principle James Madison was talking about be? I can only speak for myself, but I see that principle as being, no system of government has the right to deny people their God-given right to liberty. The freemen of America denied that principle the moment it exhibited itself; as in protests and civil disobedience against those charged with enforcing the laws that did violate their rights and liberty. They did not wait 5…10…15 years until the laws and taxes became too oppressive; or had been established and built upon, thereby setting precedents for further, more restrictive laws; they acted immediately and defended their liberty.
We have become so desensitized to infringements upon our rights and liberty by our school systems that do not teach our children what their rights are, or where they come from; from the news media that tell us drastic measures must be taken to combat this enemy, or solve this social issue; and by our quest for comfort and self gratification over the animating contest for liberty, that we are not only not concerned about the loss of our liberty; we don’t even see that it is being stripped away from us at an alarming rate.
I keep hoping that one day the people of this country will wake up and see that government is the biggest threat to them, not some virus, or a bunch of goat herders half way across the globe; and that one day they will rise up and reclaim their birthright to liberty.
Then my friend Misty Graham had to go an post this, from Milton Sanford Mayer’s book, They Thought They Were Free, “But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked—if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.”
I now see the futility of trying to awaken a people who are, for the most part, comatose when it comes to understanding, or caring, about their liberty. In 1788 an anonymous writer, writing under the pseudonym of John Humble, may have very well been prophesying our future when he wrote, “And finally we shall henceforth and forever leave all power, authority and dominion over our persons and properties in the hands of the well born, who were designed by Providence to govern. And in regard to the liberty of the press, we renounce all claim to it forever more, Amen; and we shall in future be perfectly contented if our tongues be left us to lick the feet of our well born masters.”
Yet there will always be those who refuse to be shackled by the chains of servitude as Etienne de la Boetie described as, “…the ones who, having good minds of their own, have further trained them by study and learning. Even if liberty had entirely perished from the earth, such men would invent it. For them, slavery has no satisfactions, no matter how well disguised.”
And there will always be those who fall for the ruses of tyrants and would by tyrants, “Plays, farces, spectacles, gladiators, strange beasts, medals, pictures, and other such opiates, these were for ancient peoples the bait toward slavery, the price of their liberty, the instruments of tyranny. By these practices and enticements the ancient dictators so successfully lulled their subjects under the yoke that the stupefied peoples, fascinated by the pastimes and vain pleasures flashed before their eyes, learned subservience as naively, but not so creditably, as little children learn to read by looking at bright picture books.
Roman tyrants invented a further refinement. They often provided the city wards with feasts to cajole the rabble, always more readily tempted by the pleasure of eating than by anything else. The most intelligent and understanding amongst them would not have quit his soup bowl to recover the liberty of the Republic of Plato. Tyrants would distribute largess, a bushel of wheat, a gallon of wine, and a sesterce: and then everybody would shamelessly cry, “Long live the King!” The fools did not realize that they were merely recovering a portion of their own property and that their ruler could not have given them what they were receiving without having first taken it from them.”
The question is, which one of the two are you? Are you among those who would defend your liberty against all attacks, or are you among those who say yessir to every infringement upon it; and if our liberty truly is a gift to us from God, how are you going to explain to Him why you sat back and let them be taken from you without a fight?