Do You Pay Lip Service To Liberty?

A bit of history you may not be aware of. On June 21, 1788 New Hampshire ratified the proposed Constitution, meeting the requirement that nine States ratify it for it to go into effect. It would be 1790 before the thirteenth, and final State, Rhode Island finally voted to ratify the Constitution, making the decision to adopt the government it proposes unanimous.

Prior to these events we did not have a government such as the one we are all familiar with, nor did we have a national capital where all that power resided. What we had was a confederation of 13 sovereign and independent States joined loosely together for the common good of all. Our nation’s first constitution, known as the Articles of Confederation, had established a Congress to serve the purpose of passing whatever laws were felt to be in the nation’s best interests. For any law proposed by this Congress to go into effect the Articles of Confederation required a unanimous vote in favor of that law from all thirteen State Legislatures.

When the delegates to the convention which produced our Constitution arrived in the city of Philadelphia, they came with the instructions to propose amendments to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, not create an entirely new system of government. Once they began deliberations it quickly became clear that James Madison had other plans; and Robert Yates and John Lansing were among the few who felt that the convention was overstepping its authority; so they left and returned to New York.

Once they had completed deliberations and produced a finished document they still had to present it to the Congress. Once the finalized document was presented to the Congress it was fully within their power to discard it as the delegates had overstepped their authority. Yet they sent it on to the States for their consideration; leaving to the people the choice of either retaining the government established by the Articles of Confederation or adopting the government proposed by the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention.

For the next year a heated debate amongst the people of this country ensued; with some supporting ratification of the proposed Constitution and others opposing its ratification. Among the reasons many opposed the proposed Constitution were the facts that it essentially transformed the United States from a Confederation into a single nation under a centralized federal authority; thus depriving the States of their sovereignty; the fact that the proposed Constitution contained no Bill of Rights to protect the rights of the people, and finally there was fear that the form of government it outlined would eventually lead to tyranny and despotism.

It’s obvious which side won out in the debate; as we wouldn’t have the government we do now if they had lost. I think the more pertinent question should be; which side was correct in their arguments in support of their position; those who supported ratification, or those who opposed it? I think if one were to read any of the writings produced by the so-called Anti-Federalists that they would see that many, if not most of the things they feared would happen, have happened.

Nonetheless, at midday on April 30, 1789, George Washington stood on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City to take the oath of office and deliver his comments regarding being the first president chosen under this newly adopted Constitution. It is interesting to note that Washington did not seek out the presidency; in fact he felt he was not qualified to hold the position which the nation had called him to fill. His opening comments of that first Inaugural Address support this belief, “Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourteenth day of the present month. On the one hand, I was summoned by my Country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and, in my flattering hopes, with an immutable decision, as the asylum of my declining years: a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time. On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with dispondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpractised in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

It’s interesting to note that 12 years later Thomas Jefferson would echo those sentiments by saying, “Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire.”

Getting back to Washington’s Inaugural Address there is one thing he said which I’d like to draw your attention to; that being the following statement, “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

Although Washington may have been called upon by the people to fill the position of the Executive, I honestly think that by his words he believed that the people of this country were charged with a much more sacred and solemn responsibility; that being the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty.

There is a phrase that I do not hear used much these days, but one which was practiced by the very act of the people of this country choosing what type government it shall have; that being self-determination. Self-determination is defined as the process by which a country determines its own statehood and forms its own allegiances and government.

As government entails power, and power requires that a portion of the sovereignty of those establishing government be surrendered, the act of establishing a government is not one which should be taken lightly, or done for transient and inconsequential reasons. It therefore behooves all Americans to ponder the following question; what was the purpose our government was established to serve? Washington’s comments from his Inaugural Address should be sufficient to answer that question for you: to preserve the sacred fire of liberty.

Our system of government was established as one in which the people were essentially self-governing. Although we are not a democracy where the people themselves gather together to enact laws, we are, or we were anyway, a Republic in which we elect people to pass laws on our behalf. However, our government was never intended to be one of unlimited and arbitrary power; our government was given specific authority to act for specific purposes; and when government acts in a manner that oversteps its legitimately delegated authority, it becomes tyrannical. This statement is true whether the best interests of the people are used as justification for the passage of these laws, or if they are passed to intentionally destroy the liberty which government was established to secure.

Most people I know today can’t tell me who their current representative in Congress is, so it comes as no surprise that many do not know the name Daniel Webster. Webster was an early American politician who served in both the House and the Senate representing the states of New Hampshire and Massachusetts respectively. Why I mention him is the fact that Webster once said, “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.”

I know people don’t give it much thought, but the relationship between government and liberty is similar to the mechanics of a see-saw; when one side goes up the other goes down. Liberty is best achieved by a government with very limited power and authority, and conversely, liberty is destroyed when you give government too much power; or when government assumes too much power for itself.

For as long as I can remember I cannot recall a single election where the primary focus of the American voters was the preservation of their liberty…NOT ONE SINGLE TIME!!! The closest I’ve seen was when the Ron Paul phenomenon was taking place when he rekindled to love of liberty to a certain extent. But that was short lived, and the grassroots movement that sprung up around Ron Paul was quickly infiltrated by Republicans who sought to divert it from its true purpose, therefore furthering the Republican agenda.

You don’t have to be the ardent lover of liberty that I am to perform a simple experiment. The next time you listen to someone discuss politics, especially their reasons for supporting a particular candidate for office, listen to the specific reasons they give for supporting that candidate. I’ll bet that not one single time will you hear anyone say that they are voting for a candidate to restore the liberty we have lost to an oppressive government.

I remember way back in Elementary School having been, not only taught Patrick Henry’s give me liberty or give me death speech, but having to memorize it and repeat it in front of the class. I was just a young foolish kid at the time, but I think the constant repeating of those words over and over again, until I had them completely memorized, did something to me. I may not have known at the time, but I believe that the current love of liberty that I have today can trace its roots all the way back to that moment in time when I memorized Henry’s immortal words.

The thing is, Henry’s love of and support for the cause of liberty did not end with the Treaty of Paris which ended the Revolutionary War. Henry’s devotion to the cause of liberty lived on, and he justified his opposition to the proposed Constitution because he felt that the government it proposed threatened that liberty.

Even as far back as 1788 Patrick Henry felt that the fire which had burned so brightly in the hearts of American Patriots was beginning to diminish, and that the people were willing to accept a government which might threaten the very liberty they had so recently fought to secure for themselves. In a speech given to the Virginia Ratification Assembly, Henry declared, “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings-give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else: But I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an fellow: Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American…”

I think a great many Americans today only pay lip service to liberty. I don’t think most even understand what real liberty is, and wouldn’t like it if it was given to them. I think most prefer the comfort of a certain degree of servitude over the responsibility which liberty demands of those who want it. As Thomas Paine once said, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

I hear so much talk from people about how it is okay to violate our rights, deprive us of the fruit of our labors, and pass all manner of laws which micro manage our lives as long as it is for the common good of the people. Yet in his Inaugural Address Thomas Jefferson declared that “The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits.”

That, my friends, is a government that is friendly to liberty; and it is a far cry from what we have today. Today we have all these people who profess to be patriots, yet by their actions and decisions they prove that they are not. A patriot would not remain silent while their government passes laws which violate their rights or oversteps its legitimate authority; and they most certainly would not support such measures.

I want y’all to read a quote my friend posted on Facebook this morning; it comes from historian Clyde Wilson, and states, “Patriotism is the wholesome, constructive love of one’s land and people. Nationalism is the unhealthy love of one’s government, accompanied by the aggressive desire to put down others―which becomes in deracinated modern men a substitute for religious faith. Patriotism is an appropriate, indeed necessary, sentiment for people who wish to preserve their freedom; nationalism is not.”

Mark Twain pretty much paraphrased those sentiments when he said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Our government only deserves our support when it acts to serve the purposes for which it was established, and when it confines its acts to those specifically given it by the Constitution.

It does not matter one little bit that many of the things our government does comes as a result of the people asking government to do something about some problem this country faces; if the end result is that it deprives the people, or even a certain segment of the people of their rights, or their property, it is tyranny. As Jefferson also said, “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”

But nobody cares what a bunch of old dead guys thought about liberty anymore. People today would rather take the word of some Hollywood film star over the words of the men who actively participated in obtaining the liberty people foolishly believe they still enjoy. And they most certainly don’t care what some guy like me has to say on the matter.

But you know what, we don’t care what you think, nor do we need your help in defending what is rightfully ours. As Samuel Adams said, “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Enjoy your slavery and I hope you choke on all the lies you’ve swallowed…

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Stop Being So Offended (Your Ignorance Offends Me)

How many of you remember just a few short months ago the cries of “Not my president” after the results were tallied and Donald Trump was announced the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election? Although the reaction from those on the left was more outspoken, and even hinted at civil unrest, than in previous elections, the same sentiment could have been held by those on the right in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected for his first term as president.

I wonder if I ask; why is it that people become so angered when a candidate they dislike wins a presidential election? I know this is a rhetorical question; I know the answer. I just want people to think long and hard about what it is that causes them to become so upset when a candidate they opposed wins a presidential election.

Now if I may be so bold to ask another question; why should it matter who wins a presidential election; and by who, I mean a Republican or a Democrat? Is it because you do not agree with the policies of the opposing party? Well, that shouldn’t matter; not if you think about it. Do the two political parties in America decide what powers the Executive shall exercise or does the Constitution? Does the government created by the Constitution decide what powers it shall exercise, or does the Constitution place limits upon what our government can and cannot lawfully do?

Nine short years after our Constitution was ratified and the government it outlines went into operation, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers.” (Source: Kentucky Resolutions)

So, if the Constitution is the sole determining factor in what powers the Executive shall exercise, then what difference should it make if the Executive is a Democrat or a Republican?

I’m going to tell you something that may be hard for you to accept, but you don’t get to complain when the illegitimate power you have allowed government to amass suddenly finds its way into the hands of someone you dislike, or disagree with, and is then used against you, or on programs you disagree with. It is NOT okay for the candidate of your choice to abuse the powers of the office they hold when it is for things that you agree with, then turn around and decry the abuses of power by candidates you dislike simply because you disagree with what they are doing. Either you demand that your choice for office adheres to the limits the Constitution imposes upon them at all times, or you keep your yap shut when someone you dislike does things you disagree with.

Is that clear enough? If there’s one thing I absolutely abhor it is double standards!

I find the whole process by which we choose who will become the next president to be nothing but a huge joke. The debates, the political rallies, and the actual election night TV extravaganza is all designed to give people the impression that they are participating in the democratic process of choosing the leader of the free world. Excuse me, but I have read the Constitution numerous times and I have found no reference to the Executive being the leader of anything but the government the Constitution establishes; and certainly not the leader of the free world.

If you want my honest opinion, presidential elections are like giving people the choice of which Mafia Crime Family gets to run the organized crime across the nation. Does it matter which crime family runs things when damned near everything they do is criminal in nature? Why should it matter which candidate wins an election when everything our government does is also criminal in nature?

Can you answer that for me please?

One of the most infuriating things I hear people today say is that our Constitution is no longer relevant; that it does not fit into 21st Century thinking. Even putting that thought to paper gets my blood boiling; that’s how much it angers me.

Well let me tell you something, without our Constitution we wouldn’t have the government we currently have today, therefore you have but three options to choose from. First you can abolish the Constitution entirely. However, before you jump on that bandwagon you must also accept that when you abolish the Constitution you also abolish government; because it is only through the consent of the people to the Constitution that our government exists and has any authority.

You may not remember, but in our Declaration of Independence Jefferson mentioned this little thing that governments exist by the consent of the governed. Therefore if people no longer consent to the document which created our government, they are essentially saying that they revoke their consent to government itself.

The second option is that you can amend the Constitution to give government the power you believe it needs to perform effectively in these modern times. In his Farewell Address President George Washington declared, “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.”

However, one should be very careful when considering the option of amending the Constitution to give government more power and authority; for once government gets a hold of power, it is usually unwilling to surrender it if the people should decide that it was a mistake giving it to them in the first place.

The final option is that we keep the Constitution as is and demand that those we elect uphold their oaths of office to support and defend it. However, that means that each of you reading this must familiarize yourself with what the Constitutions says, and more importantly, the intent of those who established it. Unfortunately that requires time spent reading, and a certain degree of thought on the part of the people of this country; two things most people are simply unwilling to do.

Yet how many Americans do you know who can tell you the names of every player on their favorite football team, the names of every contestant on America’s Got Talent, or the lyrics to any number of pop songs? It’s all a matter of what is important to people; and knowing what the Constitution says and what it means is not very high up on their list of priorities. Yet in an 1816 letter to Charles Yancey, Thomas Jefferson warned, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”

We may continue to have government, to hold free elections, (or somewhat free), but we will never have government that serves the purpose for which it was established until the people learn why our government was established all those years ago, and then put what they have learned to use when it comes to choosing who will sit in the seats of power for a particular office. If that means not voting because no one is worthy to hold that office, then so be it.

John Quincy Adams once beseeched Americans to “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” I suppose the only true question then is, what principle should we be asking people to vote for?

Anyone who has done any amount of study on the subject of governments can tell you that as government grows in size and power there is a corresponding loss of freedom by the people it governs. This loss of freedom is even more pronounced when the people themselves do not know, or understand the nature of their rights, or believe that it is acceptable for government to violate them just to keep them safe.

In 1967 the Supreme Court held, “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties…which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.” (Source: U.S. v Robel) I would venture to guess that this sentiment applies equally to all rights; especially those protected by the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

I say that because former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black once said, “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.'”

So, when the 2nd Amendment says that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, that is an absolute. It does not mean that our federal government can say that this type arm or that type arm is illegal for people to own, it says that the right of the people to carry arms is absolute and shall not be infringed.

How is it, if I might ask, that a government created by the consent of the people can tell the people what arms they are allowed to keep and bear, and then turn around and tell the people that it is perfectly acceptable that they be allowed to keep and bear those very arms which they prohibit the people from keeping and bearing? If you ask me, that sounds strikingly similar to what Jefferson spoke of in his Kentucky Resolutions, “The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers.”

Our government was established in such a manner to create three distinct branches; each with their own spheres of power and authority. In 1785 James Madison wrote, “The preservation of a free government requires, not merely that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained, but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great barrier which defends the rights of the people.” (Source: Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments)

If the President has certain powers, the things he does should be confined to those specific powers. The same goes for Congress; yet as they are the designated Legislative authority, they cannot lawfully further delegate that authority to another branch. That is a legal maxim; ‘Delegata potestas non potest delegari ‘ which means that a delegated power cannot be further delegated. Therefore, as the only power Congress has to legislate is given them by the express delegation of the people, via the Constitution, they cannot lawfully grant that power and authority to, say, the Executive.

This is a quick overview of the separations of power between the various branches of the federal government; yet if you were to take a step or two back, you would see that the same principle applies in the relationship between what powers the federal government as whole holds in relationship to what powers were held by the States themselves. Each government was to operate in their own sphere and the federal governments laws were only supreme in pursuance of the powers delegated them by the Constitution.

In Federalist 45 James Madison described these two spheres of power and authority when he said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

It is because people don’t know these basic principles regarding the powers given each branch of our federal government, and the relationship between it and the State governments that we have all the problems we have today; such as a federal government that meddles in the internal affairs of other nations, which deprives the people of the liberty it was supposed to protect, and which has spent us into a black hole of debt.

All people care about are their ideologies and in choosing candidates who will best represent those ideologies; the limits the Constitution imposes upon government NEVER cross their minds when it comes time to choose who will fill the various positions within the government; and this applies just as much to the selection of Supreme Court Justices as it does to Congressmen and the President.

This total disregard for the limits imposed upon our government has allowed for our government to become far more powerful, far more venal and oppressive than the one which our Founders fought a war to free themselves from. What I find both ironic and hypocritical is when people complain that when this unconstitutional power falls into the hands of someone they disagree with they get mad.

On April 21, 1803 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter in which he stated, “It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own.” What this means is, if you don’t want someone violating your rights, or doing something which you believe government should not be doing, you should not support government when it violates the rights of others or does things they believe government is not authorized to do. In short, it’s a warning against double standards.

Right now everything which I cherish, and which many in my generation cherish as well, is under attack by progressives who want to change the world to a more politically correct place where social justice prevails for all; even at the expense of the rights of others. What these people fail to realizes is that we are the guardians of their rights as much as we are the guardians of our rights. If we lose, they lose as well; as government will eventually focus on depriving them of the rights they value most; and who will be there to protect their rights when we are gone?

In closing, I’d like to leave you with something written by a Lutheran Pastor in Germany during World War II; Martin Niemöller. Niemöller writes:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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Are People Brain Dead?

What began as outrage over the display of the Confederate Battle Flag progressed to the removal of ‘offensive’ statues and monuments which honored Confederate heroes, and now it has moved on to the defacing of other monuments; such as the recent vandalism done to the monuments dedicated to Christopher Columbus and Francis Scott Key. I suppose the obvious question is; what’s next? Is the Jefferson Memorial going to be vandalized, or razed to the ground because certain people are offended by it? Is the towering spire of the Washington Monument going to be toppled to the ground because people find it offensive? Why not, after all, those two national icons also owned slaves. But I suppose I shouldn’t be giving anybody any ideas; they might actually think I’m serious.

Slavery has not existed as a formal institution in the United States for 152 years; having been abolished by the ratification of the 13th Amendment. I won’t bother going into the underhanded manner in which it was ratified; you wouldn’t believe me anyway. Yet for close to a century and a half many of these statues and monuments have stood undisturbed, without the slightest peep of opposition. So why is it that only now we are suddenly seeing all this outrage over them?

Why wasn’t there all this outrage over these monuments back in the 60’s during the height of the Civil Rights movement? After all, if these statues and monuments do represent slavery and racism doesn’t it seem logical that the time for tearing them down would have been during the period of our nation’s history when racism was front and center on the evening news?

I have found that people are going to believe what they want to believe, and no amount of coercing or presenting of facts is going to change their minds on a subject. In the America of 2017 it’s not what you know about a subject, it is how you feel about it that matters.

This flaw in reasoning is widespread and covers the entire political spectrum; from far right to far left. Just look at how people vote; Candidate A is not great, but they are better than Candidate B, so let’s vote for A to prevent B from getting elected. It does not matter that Candidate A has campaigned on issues that are not among the powers granted the office which they seek; only that they aren’t as bad as the other person running for the same office.

Getting back to the outrage over all this symbols and images representing the Confederacy, I could, and have provided more than enough evidence which proves that the Civil War was not about slavery and that Lincoln himself was prejudiced towards the black man. Do those facts matter to people? Of course they don’t, because they conflict with the existing belief that the South was fighting only to keep their slaves. It does not matter that there were black men fighting on the side of the Confederacy, or that only a small percentage of those who fought for the Confederacy actually owned slaves; all that matters is what people have been taught what the Civil War was fought over.

I’ll bet you are not aware of the fact that former President Woodrow Wilson once wrote, “The role of slavery became the proclaimed cause of the Civil War because it became necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war for independence into a war waged for the maintenance and extension of slavery.” That statement is a fact which the evidence of history, (had you chosen to study it), supports. Unfortunately, people choose only to consider, or give credence to, evidence which supports their position. Instead of changing their position to conform to the facts, they simply choose to ignore facts which contradict their position.

This phenomenon is not limited solely to people’s knowledge regarding the Civil War either; it crosses a broad spectrum of issues as they pertain to American History and our system of government. I don’t know, am I the only one who finds it idiotic to participate in the process of choosing people to fill the various seats of power within our government without fully knowing how that system of government was designed to operate, or the powers which it was to exercise on your behalf? I mean, you wouldn’t let some high school drop-out prescribe perform surgery on you if they had not at received medical training; so why would you think it any less wise to require the people who vote to have a basic understanding of how their system of government was supposed to operate?

People do not want to hear that their system of government is unrecognizable in comparison to the one outlined by our Constitution; and they certainly don’t want to hear that what is wrong with it cannot be fixed by going to the polls once every four years and choosing a new president. Yet, be it due to ignorance or a futile attempt to cling to some kind of hope, people still believe that our system of government can serve the public good if only we can vote the right people into office. The problem, at least as I see it is, what is the public good? Is the public good the expansion of governmental programs to benefit those in need, or is it the expansion of the liberty of the individual? That subject alone could fill page after page of discussion.

Still, people cling to their hope; whether that hope is based upon a liberal or a conservative viewpoint. In 1775 Patrick Henry warned his fellow Virginians about clinging to a hope for a peaceful reconciliation with Great Britain, saying, “Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

The problems which America now faces are so complex and intertwined that describing them is akin to describing how to tie a Gordian Knot. Yet if one were to peel the layers away to get at the root of all the problems our country faces, one would come face to face with the fact that they all rest at the feet of the American voters; both past and present. Had the people had a working knowledge of the Constitution we might not have half the problems we have today. Had the people demanded their government confine its actions to those specific areas it was granted authority by the Constitution we might not have all the problems we have today. Had the people cherished their liberty above all else we might not have all the problems we have today. But when you consider that the voting populace is lacking in all 3 of these things, it is a miracle that things aren’t worse than they actually are. But then again, there’s still plenty of time for things to get worse.

People, especially people today, want quick answers, quick solutions. They would rather vote for a president, bestowing him with almost dictatorial powers, if it gave them solutions than they would to remain engaged in the political process at their State and local levels. And that’s where the power to affect true change in their lives was supposed to rest.

Although the Federalist Papers were mere propaganda pieces written by those supporting ratification of the Constitution, in Federalist 45 James Madison did say that, “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” Why is it then that the people of this country look to Uncle Sam to fix all the problems Americans face? Could it be that it is because they don’t understand how our system was designed to operate or the specific powers both the State and federal governments were to have?

Since I didn’t learn of something in my time spent in the public school system, I am guessing most of you didn’t learn it either. What I am referring to is the arguments offered up by those who opposed ratification of the Constitution; the anti-Federalists. I only know of these writings because I took the time to research them. Had you all done the same their words would almost sound prophetic; as most of what they feared would happen has happened.

Patrick Henry warned of the danger to our liberty that the proposed Constitution posed; yet they ignored his warnings and ratified the Constitution anyways. Then there were others whose warnings went unheeded. Among them is either Robert Yates or Melancton Smith, who writing under the pseudonym of Brutus said, “Let us now proceed to enquire, as I at first proposed, whether it be best the thirteen United States should be reduced to one great republic, or not? It is here taken for granted, that all agree in this, that whatever government we adopt, it ought to be a free one; that it should be so framed as to secure the liberty of the citizens of America, and such an one as to admit of a full, fair, and equal representation of the people. The question then will be, whether a government thus constituted, and founded on such principles, is practicable, and can be exercised over the whole United States, reduced into one state?

If respect is to be paid to the opinion of the greatest and wisest men who have ever thought or wrote on the science of government, we shall be constrained to conclude, that a free republic cannot succeed over a country of such immense extent, containing such a number of inhabitants, and these encreasing in such rapid progression as that of the whole United States.”

Could it be, and this is even assuming that Congress chose to adhere to the limits upon its authority, that a House of Representatives of only 435 members could be intimately familiar with the desires of a constituency which exceeds 300 million people? I don’t know about you, but I have written my representatives, both in the House and the Senate, and typically all I get is a form letter, if that, in response. The estimated population of California’s 3rd Congressional District, which is where I live, is 731,000. Now you tell me, how is one representative going to be able to effectively represent so many people?

Could it be that our nation is too large, too diverse for the federal government to effectively govern without resorting to tyranny? After all, it is 2,792 miles from Washington D.C. to California, not to mention that it is another 2,288 miles from Washington State to Alaska, and then 2,467 miles from California to Hawaii.

Doesn’t it make more sense to allow the State governments to pass whatever laws they deem are in the best interests of the people residing within their boundaries rather than allow some entity thousands of miles removed do it? But that would weaken the federal government, and we simply can’t have that, can we? It would also require that you become more active in local politics, and we can’t have that either; as you gotta have time for Facebook and other forms of entertainment.

From the very moment our federal government went into effect it has sought to expand its power beyond those given it by the Constitution. It was held somewhat in check due to the fact that, for many years, the presidency was held by someone adhering to the Jeffersonian view of government. Secondly, at that time the States still had a say in what laws were passed and their State Legislatures resisted unconstitutional laws passed by the federal government. All that ended at Appomattox Courthouse when the Confederacy lost and the federal government won.

I do not say the North won, because ultimately they lost as well, as the tyranny of the federal government would soon be felt by Northerners as it had been by the Southerners for decades. Now we are all slaves to an overbearing and oppressive government, and the truly sad thing is that we keep asking our government to do MORE for us which further enslaves us to it.

The biggest lie the American people have been told is that the Civil War was fought between one side of the country which sought to free the slaves, and another side which sought to keep them. If one wishes to truly understand why the Confederate States seceded from the Union and formed their own government one would do well to take the time to find a copy of the Constitution they wrote and do a side by side comparison between theirs and the one written in 1787 and ratified by the 13 newly independent States.

One of the biggest shocks you might find is that in Article 1, Section 9 of the Confederate Constitution they banned the importation of new slaves into the Confederate States, and also banned the introduction of slaves from non Confederate States into the Confederacy. But the key changes where to the powers given the government; more stringent spending policies were put into place, and the president was given the line-item-veto in regards to bills sent to him by Congress.

What they sought to do was to strengthen the framework of the original Constitution by making it harder for government to spend money on such things as internal improvements to the States and also prevent it from imposing oppressive tariffs upon one segment of society, or the Confederacy.

I have often wondered what it would have been like in America had the South won, or if Lincoln had simply let them secede in peace. It would have been interesting to see which side of the nation would have become more prosperous, a happier people. You see, had Lincoln allowed the South to secede in peace he would have been forced to fund his government by some other means than off the backs of the South; possibly by imposing tariffs upon his industrialist buddies in the North. I wonder if he would have been elected for a second term had he done that; and more importantly, how the history books would have remembered him.

Alas we will never know, because Lincoln chose bloodshed and carnage over peace; just to keep his precious Union together and to keep governments control over the authority of the States intact. And society today is so misinformed about the entire period that they call the Confederacy the bad guys. What really sucks is that if you try to set the record straight with facts you are either ignored, or labeled a racist; which couldn’t be further from the truth.

It’s funny though that I begin this article talking about the idealism that is causing some to call for the removal of all things Confederate, yet the answer to our nation’s problems is a return to the views held by the Confederacy as to the nature of and purpose for government. But no, we can’t have that, because the Confederacy was racist and all they cared about was slavery. Which only goes to show you that the truth doesn’t matter; because the truth proves that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, it was fought because a portion of the country had become fed up with the oppression coming out of Washington D.C. and sought to separate itself from the Union and establish a government which would meet its needs; just as the Declaration of Independence says was their right. But Abraham Lincoln could not allow that; if he did what would stop the Northern States from seceding, or the entire Union dissolving? What would become of his precious government if that happened? No, Lincoln’s war was a war fought for the survival of government, not the Union, and certainly not to free any slaves.

One of the most frequent arguments I hear in opposition to my views is that we tried working within the framework of the Constitution and it failed. No, that is wrong. When is the last time in history that we had a federal government that actually adhered to the Constitution? For the short period in our nation’s history that the Constitution was adhered to, it worked just fine. It was only as we began straying from it that we began experiencing problems. And you want to continue down that same pathway? Are you insane? You know, Albert Einstein once said that insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I would have to say the flip flopping back and forth between a government run by Republicans and one run by Democrats fits that definition quite nicely.

There’s something else Einstein said that you ought to keep in mind, “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Maybe the answer is not more government intervention in our lives, maybe the answer is to remove some of the interference government has put into place upon the freedoms it was established to protect.

But that requires that people begin to accept just a bit more responsibility for their own lives, their own success, and yes, their own failures. It also requires that people be able to think critically; and from what I’ve been witness to it appears that there isn’t a whole lot of that going on the minds of most people.

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Can I Get You To Do One Thing For Me?

Why do we have laws? On the surface that might sound like a pretty straightforward question; but if you were to truly think about it, you might find that it becomes a bit more complicated. Laws, simply defined, are the principles and regulations established in a community by someone in authority which are applicable to all within the community. Laws must have some origin; that is man didn’t just up and make an appearance on Planet Earth and discover volume after volume of books containing all the laws they must obey; someone had to write these laws; establish these principles that all must adhere to. I suppose the real question shouldn’t be why do we have laws, rather the question should be; what purpose should laws serve?

If you strip away all the debris and get down to basics, laws can serve but one of two purposes; either they can protect the rights of the people they apply to, or they can restrict the rights of the people to whom they apply. Laws that protect the rights of all are, therefore, just, and those which restrict the rights of even a few are, correspondingly, unjust. It’s that simple.

One might think that the only laws which govern us are those which are passed by those we have placed into positions of authority, and to which we give our consent. One would be wrong if they were to think that. Did the laws of physics come into existence when Newton discovered them, or were they already in existence before he discovered them?

Long before man sat down and wrote the first laws which would govern other men there was a law which universally covered all mankind; The Law of Nature. I could go into great detail regarding the Law of Nature, but if you want the short and quick version, just think about what state you would be in if you found yourself in the middle of the wilderness with the next closest person being thousands of miles away.

In such circumstances one would be free to do as they pleased without any restraint other than the consequences of their actions upon their own person. Locke defines this state of nature as being “…a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”

This Law of Nature applies equally to whether a person lives a solitary life or is surrounded by other men; the only difference being that when surrounded by others one has the right to defend one’s life and property in the best manner they see fit to justify the assault upon what is rightfully theirs. Again quoting from Locke, “This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.”

Now, why would man quit this state of perfect freedom to order their own actions and enter in upon a society in which there was a governing body which made laws which, in some manner, restricted that freedom? Once again I turn to Locke for an answer, “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting.”

Therefore, if Locke is correct, then man enters into civil societies and submits himself to government it is for the preservation of his property which in a state of nature is constantly threatened. But what exactly is meant by the word property; your belongings? I think it means much more than that; and I intend to prove that is exactly how our Founders felt about it as well.

Writing about this very subject, in 1792 James Madison had this to say, “This term in its particular application means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.

In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.

In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.

He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.

He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.”

There is a word which was frequently used by our Founders in regards to their rights which is not heard much these days; that word being unalienable. Something that is considered to be unalienable is something that cannot be sold, transferred, or taken away from the one possessing it. Our Founders believed that our rights were unalienable. Jefferson said as much when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, “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.”

Jefferson then went on to say, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” Therefore, the purpose for which government exists is the preservation of our rights…our property. And what, pray tell, is the solution when government stops being the protector of our rights and becomes the destroyer of them? Why Jefferson had the answer to that question as well, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”

Oh, but to even mention tearing down our government today is grounds for ridicule, scorn, or even possibly treason. What would we do, people ask, without government there to protect us? Well, the answer should be obvious…we could start by being free men and women capable of making our own choices in life and defending our liberty in the best manner we see fit.

After all, that is one of those unalienable rights I spoke of, and Samuel Adams affirmed as much when he said, “Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can–Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature.”

What purpose then should the law serve if not the defense of our lives, our liberty, and our property? As Frederic Bastiat wrote in his 1850 book The Law, “”What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right—its reason for existing, its lawfulness—is based on individual right.”

This right to self-defense is so vital to our nature that we cannot part with it unless we part with our freedom and admit that we are nothing better than slaves. Yet government today not only violates many, if not all of our rights, and then turns around and tells us when, under what circumstances, and to what extent we can use force to defend our lives, our property and out liberty. As Bastiat says in the very beginning of his book, “The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!”

Yet how many people today meekly submit to this perversion of the law and these violations of their most sacred rights? Not only do many submit to them, they call for more stringent violations of certain rights; just to make them feel safe, secure, and free from offensive speech and images.

In 1816, after Thomas Jefferson declined a third term as President and retired to Monticello, he wrote a letter to Francis Gilmer in which he stated, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

Today, a large percentage of the people in this country believe that just because they support a measure, or action, which somehow limits the rights of others, it is acceptable because the majority says it is acceptable. Yet this violates the concept that any law which violates the rights of a single individual is reprehensible and should be opposed by all who value their own rights.

James Madison warned of the danger of this practice when he said, “There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, and which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong… In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right…”

Just look at how flippantly we treat our rights in today’s modern climate. Some soccer mom doesn’t like the fact that her neighbor owns an AR-15 so she pushes her legislator to pass a law which bans AR-15’s. Some group doesn’t like what a statue or monument represents, (even if they are dead wrong about it), so they call for that monument to be torn down and removed from their sight because it is offensive to them. Both in and outside our homes our government spies upon us and records our every action, and people say that if you don’t have anything to hide you should not worry that government is watching you.

In 1775 Patrick Henry stood up in St. John’s Church and told the assemblage gathered there, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Thirteen years later Henry bemoaned the fact, “…I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an fellow: Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American…”

I wonder what Patrick Henry would have to say to America today? Not only do people not know their rights, they don’t care about the fact that they have lost almost all of them. People continue to support a system whose sole purpose appears to be the complete deprivation of the liberty it was established to secure for them. All that matters to them is that their party is in charge; the Constitutional limits placed upon government and the Bill of Rights be damned!

If as Jefferson said, when the law violates the rights of an individual it is tyranny. Then let’s at least be honest with ourselves that we no longer care about our rights and are willing to submit to tyranny just because the idea of being free scares us. Can we at least admit to ourselves that we are not cut from the same clothe as were our Founders; that we don’t have the same virtue, the same integrity, the same love of liberty, and yes, the same courage which led them to risk all they had for one simple thing…LIBERTY.

Can we at least do that?

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How Do You Catch Wild Pigs?

In 1980 the Canadian rock band Rush released their seventh studio album, Permanent Waves. Being the die-hard Rush fan that I am, I immediately purchased it on vinyl; which I later replaced with the compact disc version. I have probably listened to that album hundreds, if not thousands of times, and I’ve even seen them perform many of the songs from it live. Yet it is funny how a person can get into a certain mood, or mindset, and then hear a song like it was the first time they’d ever heard it.

Such was the case yesterday. After I posted yesterday’s article, as I normally do before work, I went through my listing of albums on my PC to choose what music to listen to prior to leaving for work; I selected Permanent Waves. The sixth and final track on that album is a song called Natural Science; one which I’ve heard many times and saw them perform live on the Snakes and Arrows Tour. Yet yesterday the opening sequence just jumped right out at me as if it were a revelation.

The lyrics that hit me so hard are as follows:

When the ebbing tide retreats
Along the rocky shoreline
It leaves a trail of tidal pools
In a short-lived galaxy
Each microcosmic planet
A complete society

A simple kind mirror
To reflect upon our own
All the busy little creatures
Chasing out their destinies
Living in their pools
They soon forget about the sea…

I rarely ever pause a song once I begin listening to an album, but upon hearing Geddy Lee sing those words I did just that. In fact, I went back to the beginning of the song and listened to it again. Once I had listened to that passage for a second time my mind drifted off to someplace far away, and by the time it had returned the song had finished playing.

I have no way of knowing what was going through the mind of Neil Peart, the drummer and primary lyricist for Rush, when he sat down to write those words, but I like to think that it is sort of an analogy to describe how people can get so caught up in their lives that they forget what they have lost; hence the words, “Living in their pools they soon forget about the sea.”

Sometimes I will have an idea inside my brain that is crystalline in its clarity, but the moment I begin attempting to put it to words it unravels or the words I use simply aren’t enough to truly express the thoughts I am experiencing at the moment. I’m thinking that this is such a moment; I see with crystal clarity what I want to say, but the words simply aren’t there to describe it.

Whenever I leave my home, be it to go shopping, go to work, or just take a road trip somewhere, from the moment I exit my front door I am watching people. People watching has become somewhat of an addiction, or at least an obsession, for me. It began as an exercise to develop a certain degree of situational awareness and developed into a study of the people surrounding me.

As an example, whenever I take my wife to the mall to shop, I typically hit FYE for new releases or something in the bargain bin, and then grab a cup of coffee and find a bench to park my ass on so I can watch people. When my wife is done shopping she always asks if she took too long; I rarely notice the length of time she’s been shopping as I was engrossed in watching the people scurry about; wondering what was going on in their minds as they went from store to store.

I sometimes wonder what it would be like if I had the power to read people’s minds. While some people might consider that to be a super power worth having, I’m not so sure. Honestly, it’s bad enough sometimes that I have to listen to what people have to say on certain subjects, if I were forced to subject myself to the things going on inside their heads it might possibly drive me insane.

I have never considered myself to be of above average intelligence; I’m just like everyone else as far as mental acuity goes. I think what sets me apart is what I choose to focus my mental faculties upon. I had to work, and by word I mean read, and re-read, and re-read again the writings of our Founders to come to the understanding that I currently possess; and I’m still learning new things every day.

I have lost track of how many times someone has told me that they do not have the time to spend studying the writings of our Founding Fathers. Yet these same people will glue themselves to the television for hours on end when there is a football game, or some other sporting event on. Don’t tell me you do not have the time, you do; it’s just how you choose to use that time that separates you.

When I hear people discussing subjects of a political nature they often speak from the perspective of their side versus the other side; the Republican position versus the Democrat position. If only you knew how much that infuriates me! Whatever happened to discussing politics from the perspective of whether what our government is doing is in accordance with what the Constitution authorizes them to do, or whether it expands or restricts their freedom?

I think that is why the lyrics to that song struck me so forcefully yesterday; it is because that is how I have come to view people; scurrying about in their own little tidal pools, unaware that they are trapped inside that small pool, oblivious of the open sea of freedom that our system of government was supposed to provide for them.

Just look at what drives people to vote for candidates for office and you’ll get an idea of what I’m trying to say. Instead of looking at a candidate from the perspective of how well they intend to leave people alone in their lives, they instead look at candidates based upon the promises they make on the campaign trail to do things which either fall in line with their political viewpoints, or are diametrically opposed to their views. They then vote accordingly, not based upon how much freedom the candidates are offering, but how many things that candidate will do for them.

People simply don’t seem to realize that nothing is free; and I’m not speaking of the cost of providing these things either. What I’m saying is that when people become dependent upon, or accustomed to receiving benefits from a benevolent government, they become slaves to that government. The more benefits or protections that you ask government to provide for you, the deeper into slavery you end up falling.

Sure, you can make many choices in life; in that you still have a certain degree of free will, but even so the things you choose to purchase or the shows you watch on TV are all regulated, controlled, and taxed at every stage of production. So, are you truly free?

I once read something that I have been unable to determine whether it was an urban legend or if it in fact happened; but there is a story that has circulated around on the internet about a college professor who saw that one of his exchange students was experiencing pain in his back, and asked the student if he was okay. The student explained that he had been shot in the back while fighting communists in his home country and then asked the professor a strange question, “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?”

The professor thought it was a joke until the student continued by saying, “You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again.

You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat; you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught.

Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The student then told the professor that this is exactly what he saw occurring in the United States with our government providing all these benefits which people greedily partake of; we are slowly losing our freedom while not even noticing the fences being put up around us to deprive us of it.

Just look at what we accept/tolerate without even batting an eye; restrictions on our right to keep and bear arms; restrictions on our freedom of speech and expression; violations of our right to be secure in our homes, papers and possessions from unreasonable searches to keep us safe from terrorism. The list goes on and on, and nobody seems to care.

If I was to post a funny meme, a picture of some project we completed in our garden, or a cute picture of my wife and I, I am bound to get dozens of Likes and comments. But post one serious article or a thought provoking comment and the silence is deafening.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I thought when I first started these articles that if I could do the research then people would take the time to read, and think about, what I wrote. I no longer see that to be the case; people simply do not care about the things I write about; meaning they don’t care about whether or not they are slowly losing their freedom.

I guess von Goethe was right, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

Well, one of these days that cage door is gonna slam shut and you’re going to realize that ole Neal was speaking the truth. The unfortunate thing is, when that happens it will be too late to do anything about it.

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Get Your Facts From The Horse’s Mouth (Not From Some Jackass That Doesn’t Know Diddly Squat)

As one who has spent nearly two decades studying the Constitution for the United States of America I was taken aback the other day when I ran across a conversation on Facebook regarding who’s views one should use when interpreting the Constitution. What took me by surprise is the fact that I’d never really given that question much thought; I figured I would just devour as much information as I could on the subject and then form my own opinion based upon what I had learned.

While on the surface that may seem like sound reasoning, yet if one were to follow that line of thinking by itself they would find that it has one fatal flaw, the flaw being that much depends upon what one reads in regards to how to interpret the Constitution. Take for instance the Federalist Papers. Many historians today consider them to be the definitive description of what the Constitution says and means. So it would seem logical that any serious study of the Constitution would involve a careful study of what the Federalist Papers say.

The flaw in this line of thinking is that one tends not to give any thought to the fact that the Federalist Papers were written by 3 men writing under the pseudonym of Publius who were waging a propaganda war against those who opposed ratification of the Constitution. Not only that, the Federalist Papers were not widely distributed across the States; having only been published in newspapers located in New York.

While I’m not saying one should completely disregard the Federalist Papers, what I am saying is that one needs to keep in mind the purpose for which they were written; that being as propaganda pieces designed to garner support for a document for which there was strong opposition. If one is to study the Federalist Papers one must realize that they were written by those who supported the ratification of the Constitution. Therefore, if one truly wants a balanced study of the arguments on both sides of the issue then they would do well to read the Anti-Federalist Papers as well.

Then there is Joseph Story’s lengthy book, Commentaries on the Constitution. Some consider it to be the seminal description of what the Constitution says/means. Yet when reading Story’s opinions one must keep in mind that he was a Supreme Court Justice; therefore part of the government created by the Constitution. Although the various clauses found within the Constitution were not as loosely interpreted as they are today, one must realize that he may have been somewhat biased towards describing the Constitution in a manner which gave the government more power than was actually intended by those who wrote it, or those who agreed to its ratification.

What I find to be truly sad is that I can barely get people to read the Constitution itself, let alone read volumes of material written by others in regards to how to interpret what the document actually says/means. Even sadder is the fact that our public school systems rarely delve into any serious discussion of what the Constitution is, what kind of government it established, and what powers it grants our government. Had our educators done their jobs and taught our children these things they would not have grown up to adulthood believing that Americas system of government is a democracy.

Long before the days of instant internet access, if the youth of America wanted to find the meaning of a word they had but two means to find it; one was by asking someone, and the other was to look the word up in a dictionary. When I was growing up the most common dictionary found in schools and bookstores was Webster’s dictionary.

Webster’s dictionary was first published in 1828 by Noah Webster. It took Noah Webster 27 years to compile his work before it went to print, and now the name Webster is synonymous with dictionaries; at least for those who still use dictionaries to find the meaning of words it is.

I’m betting that many Americans know little to nothing about Noah Webster the man, other than the fact that he was responsible for publishing the first American dictionary. Noah Webster was born in 1758 and graduated from Yale two years after the Declaration of Independence was written; smack dab in the middle of the American Revolution.

Webster supported independence from England and therefore his writings tended to support the patriot cause. As one who felt strongly about a decent education of the youth of the time, it is only logical that he support a comprehensive curriculum that taught our youth the history of their country and all pertinent information regarding its system of government.

Writing in 1788 Webster stated, “But every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a revolution in her favor.

A selection of essays, respecting the settlement and geography of America; the history of the late revolution and of the most remarkable characters and events that distinguished it, and a compendium of the principles of the federal and provincial governments, should be the principal school book in the United States. These are interesting objects to every man; they call home the minds of youth and fix them upon the interests of their own country, and they assist in forming attachments to it, as well as in enlarging the understanding.

“It is observed by the great Montesquieu, that the laws of education ought to be relative to the principles of the government.”

In despotic governments, the people should have little or no education, except what tends to inspire them with a servile fear. Information is fatal to despotism.”

For the life of me I don’t know how anyone could themselves politically informed if they have not taken the time to read the document which gave life to our system of government; nor read the writings of those who participated in the fight for independence and the drafting of our Constitution, nor read the arguments, both for and against the ratification of the Constitution. It has been difficult enough to find people who have sat down and read the entire Constitution, including all 27 Amendments.

Not only have I found very few people who have a working understanding of what the Constitution says, I have found fewer still who know that the men who drafted it violated the charges given them by their State Legislatures when they were sent to the convention which produced it. Fewer still are able to see the irony of calling those who supported ratification of the Constitution federalists.

Prior to 1789 we did not have a government, at least not as we know it today. In the years which immediately followed America gaining its independence, the various States were each sovereign and independent entities, each one of them with governments of their own. What government they did have was small and centered around a Congress whose authority was rarely felt, and often weak and ineffectual when it came to collecting taxes or regulating commerce.

Yet it is not the power held by this government that I am particularly interested in at this particular moment; it is the format which our nation took under it. During this brief period of American history, beginning in 1777 when the Articles of Confederation were formally introduced to the Colonies for ratification, until the ratification of our Constitution in 1789, America was a Confederation.

Simply put, a Confederation is a loosely bound group of sovereign entities in which those comprising the confederation retain most of their political authority and individuality, and they only unite together for specific common needs, or functions; such as to provide for the common defense or to regulate commerce between them. Another way to describe a Confederation is by saying that it is a federal form of government, but the most important thing to consider is that in a federal form of government the States making up the Confederation retain their sovereignty and independence.

The delegates who attended the Philadelphia Convention were sent there by their State Legislatures for one purpose only; to amend the Articles of Confederation in such a manner as to give the Congress sufficient power to perform the tasks given it by the Articles of Confederation. Anything other than that specific task was a violation of the authority given the delegates by their State Legislatures.

But that did not stop James Madison from swearing the delegates to secrecy, and then proposing that instead of amending the Articles of Confederation the delegates instead write a brand new Constitution which would create a much stronger system of government. Madison’s plans were so radical that Patrick Henry declared that he smelled a rat in Philadelphia, and New York delegates John Yates and Robert Lansing left the convention in opposition to Madison’s proposal.

I may be unique in my way of thinking, but it is my belief that if you want to know the truth about what the Constitution does, seek out the opinions of those who opposed it and then see how those who supported it responded to those who opposed it. By saying what the Constitution does, I am not thinking about what shape the new government would take, or what powers it would hold. No, what I’m looking for is the fundamental change in the format that the States would be bound together by the document they were arguing; would they remain a Confederation, or would they be fundamentally changed into something else?

Patrick Henry argued that the Constitution would forever alter the status of the States as sovereign and independent entities; placing them under the authority and control of a centralized government; essentially consolidating them into a single nation with a consequent loss of sovereignty and identity.

You see, Henry believed that the Constitution established a national form of government; one which governed over a nation, not a Confederation. As a Confederation was a system of government designed to represent the States, the laws it may pass dealt solely with the States and therefore it was the State legislatures which gave it its authority, and recommended changes to it.

However, Henry argued that by the three simple words of ‘We the people’ the Constitution was establishing a national form of government which would eventually find its way into the smallest details of our lives; eradicating the liberty which had just recently been won.

Aside from those who opposed the Constitution during its creation, I find it interesting that even though there was a great deal of discussion, (one might even call them arguments) over the manner in which the legislative authority should be divided to ensure the smaller States were not oppressed by the larger ones, the delegates all remained pretty much united in creating a much stronger central government that could only mean that the States would be required to surrender a good portion of their sovereignty if it was to function efficiently.

Yet once the Constitution was written, and then submitted to the people for their consideration, much of the political debate against it was due to the fact that it did little to protect the rights of both the people and the States. In fact, opposition for it was so intense that those supporting ratification feared it might not be ratified unless they agreed to add a Bill of Rights to it to appease those who opposed its ratification.

Today, what most people know about the Bill of Rights could fit in a thimble. People know that there are ten amendments which make up our Bill of Rights, and they may know one or two of the rights which it protects; but that’s about it. I’ll bet they don’t know that 12 rights were sent out to the State Legislatures for consideration, but only 10 of them got the required number of yes votes to become part and parcel of our Constitution. I’ll bet they didn’t know that each State submitted lengthy lists of proposals for amendments to the Constitution, but it was James Madison who whittled them down to the 12 that were finally sent out to the States. I’ll bet that people also didn’t know that Madison changed the crucial wording of some which left the doorway wide open for future expansions of power by the government he fought so hard to see come to life.

For instance, among the Massachusetts Legislature’s proposed amendments was one which stated, “First, that it be explicitly declared that all Powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several States to be exercised by them.”

At first glance this seems to be the same thing said by the 10th Amendment; “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Yet there is one word missing which leaves the door wide open for interpretation, or construction; a word I will go into in a few minutes; that word being EXPRESSLY.

Had Madison included the word expressly in his proposal which became the 10th Amendment, it would have slammed the door shut on the concept of implied powers hidden within the clauses of the Constitution; such as the implied powers found within the Commerce, Necessary and Proper, and General Welfare Clauses of the Constitution. The belief that within these clauses are hidden, or implied powers, has led to a litany of powers held by our government which, had they know it would come to this they would never have ratified the Constitution.

Whether they would have rejected the proposed Constitution had they known with any certainty that it would lead to the very government we have today is irrelevant at this point; unless of course the people today wake up and suddenly decide to strengthen the Constitution against encroachments of power by the government it establishes. But I would say that it is a little too late in the game to be worrying about that.

What happened is that the Constitution was ratified, and the government it outlined did go into effect. But the Constitution is not simply a mere outline of what form our government shall take, it is a law which binds both the government it establishes, and those who vote to place people in the various seats of power within that government. Yet as a law it makes no mention of the punishment for those who violate it.

This was Patrick Henry’s greatest objection to the Constitution, that there was no responsibility for the grossest violations of the liberty our government was established to protect, and he said as much in a speech opposing its ratification in the Virginia Assembly, “Where is the responsibility — that leading principle in the British government? In that government a punishment, certain and inevitable, is provided: But in this, there is no real actual punishment for the grossest maladministration. They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, by what law? They must make the law — for there is no existing law to do it. What — will they make a law to punish themselves? This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility — and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves.”

Even as much as I am coming to disapprove of Madison and his grand scheme for a strong centralized government, he still had the decency to state something similar when he wrote Federalist 51, “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Yet government has not controlled itself, and we certainly have done a piss poor job of controlling it by voting only for those who proclaim that they will adhere to the limits it imposes upon the powers given the office they seek. So, where does that leave us?

It leaves us is with a government that has no regards for the limits its founding document prescribes upon them. It leaves us with a citizenry who vote, not for the candidate who will best honor their oath of office to support and defend the Constitution, but for those making the best sounding promises to do things they approve of. It leaves us with a government that is the sole decider of what powers it shall exercise on our behalf and the sole interpreter as it pertains to the limits we may be allowed to exercise our rights.

Today a great many people mistakenly believe that our Constitution is not written in stone, that it is instead a living document. Those who were alive when it was written certainly didn’t think that way. Thomas Jefferson declared, “On every question of construction carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”

George Washington declared, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the Constitution, which at any time exists, ‘till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. … 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.”

Again to quote Jefferson, ” Our peculiar security is in possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. … If it is, then we have no Constitution.”

And even the Supreme Court, at one point in time, declared, “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.” (Source: South Carolina v. United States, 1905)

Compare that to the following, more recent statements.

“The United States Constitution has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of rules of government ever written.” (Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President)

“Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and in practice. Society is a living organism and must obey the laws of life, not of mechanics; it must develop. All that progressives ask or desire is permission—in an era when ‘development,’ ‘evolution,’ is the scientific word—to interpret the Constitution according to the Darwinian principle; all they ask is recognition of the fact that a nation is a living thing and not a machine.” (Woodrow Wilson, President)

“The words of the Constitution … are so unrestricted by their intrinsic meaning or by their history or by tradition or by prior decisions that they leave the individual Justice free, if indeed they do not compel him, to gather meaning not from reading the Constitution but from reading life.” (Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice)

Yet in 1819 Jefferson warned of the dangers of allowing the Judiciary to twist and pervert the meaning of the Constitution. In a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, Jefferson states, “If [as the Federalists say] “the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government,” … , then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so. … The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please.”

Our Constitution may have outlined the shape our government would take and the powers it would hold, but it was only due to the people, acting as sovereigns, that life was given the government outlined on that piece of parchment. We are the true sovereigns in this country; but whether we choose to remember or excercise that power is a different story altogether. As the true sovereigns, government works for us and is amenable to our demands that it adhere to the limits imposed upon it. But that pre-supposes that we first know what the Constitution says, and then that we understand the intent of those who wrote it.

I don’t know about you, but it seems obvious to me that you wouldn’t take the word of those who may seek to expand their power and limit your freedom when it comes to the true intent of what the Constitution says or means.

One final quote and I’ll wrap this all up. In 1969 the Supreme Court handed down a ruling in which they stated, “The values of the Framers of the Constitution must be applied in any case construing the Constitution. Inferences from the text and history of the Constitution should be given great weight in discerning the original understanding and in determining the intentions of those who ratified the constitution. The precedential value of cases and commentators tends to increase, therefore, in proportion to their proximity to the adoption of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any other amendments.” (Source: Powell v. McCormack)

To paraphrase that; if you want to know what the Constitution says or means you need to go straight to the horse’s mouth and see what those who participated in establishing it thought it meant. You certainly do not take the words of educators who don’t know the first thing about it. You certainly don’t take the word of those seeking to expand their power over your lives. And you most certainly don’t take the word of the media hacks and lap dogs who work hand in hand with the government to keep you perpetually ignorant.

If knowledge truly is power, then the reverse must also be true; ignorance must equate with the lack of power. Is it any wonder the people have lost so much of the liberty our Constitution was written to secure for them? Is it any wonder they have forgotten that they are the masters and that government is the servant? Is it any wonder that things never seem to truly get better in this country?

People all want hope, they want to believe that things can get better. But hope, as Patrick Henry said, “Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

And that right there is the problem in America today; people are NOT willing to know the truth. In fact, many actively avoid the truth at all costs. The truth is that our system of government was not half as bad as I make it out to be; had we only strictly adhered to the limits imposed upon it and maintained the balance between federal and State authority. But then again, maybe Ben Franklin was right; even somewhat prophetic when he said, “In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

But no matter how bad things get, how ignorant the people remain, it doesn’t mean I have to like it, or sit back and accept it. As long as there is breath in me I will be here, shouting from atop my soapbox and attempting to dispel the lies people have been taught which keeps them blinded from the truth; that their government is far worse than the one our Founders fought a war to free themselves from; and that it will get far worse if the people do not wake up to that fact and do something about it.

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Is This Too Complex For Your Feeble Mind?

I know I have been kind of repeating myself in some of my more recent articles, but there is this one comment I keep hearing that angers me beyond words; that comment being that our Constitution is no longer of any relevance in today’s modern world. So many people today believe that if a majority of the people in this country want something done, then that is all that is required to justify our government passing a law making it so.

What this shows me is that people who believe this have absolutely no understanding of how our government came into existence, what gives it the authority it has and from whence does that authority originate, and finally, what type system our Founders established.

Why should I listen to, or argue with people like that? Well, first off, ignorance, especially ignorance in action, pisses me off. Secondly, and more importantly, the things these people are asking government to do affect my life as well; and I don’t like the way in which it affects my life.

Although these people do not come out and directly say it, I get the impression that they believe that America has a democracy; that all that is needed to give government the go-ahead to do things is that a majority of the people consent to whatever it is they want government to do. Not only is that belief incorrect; people don’t realize how dangerous it is.

What if a majority of the people demanded that government pass a law requiring every man, woman and child to own a firearm and attend weekly classes at a shooting range to hone their skills with them? What if a majority of the people demanded that every person in the U.S. must attend church services on Sunday?

If these things were to happen those who disagreed with these laws would be the first and loudest to cry about how these laws violated their rights. But they never stop to think about how the things they want government to do violate my rights, and the rights of those like me who only ask that our government restrain itself to the specific powers given it?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but America is not a democracy; it is a Republic which has a government in which the power to make laws is given to representatives who act on behalf of those who choose them, and said government is limited by a written Constitution as to the powers it can exercise on behalf of those it represents.

Although there was a time that I too fell prey to the circus that is our presidential election process, however, I no longer care about the entire process because I realize it is all one big joke. All these candidates running around making empty promises, of which the winner of the election has absolutely no authority to keep.

Time and time again I have attempted to explain to people the nature of our Constitution. Most either simply don’t care about it, or choose to ignore the fact that it is a written law which both lays out the manner in which our government shall be organized, but also defines the specific powers given each branch.

Why is it that millions of Americans get caught up in the circus of presidential elections, all based upon the promises the candidates are making, when the Constitution declares that all Legislative authority shall be vested in a Congress? Sure, the Constitution allows for a president to offer up his/her suggestions to Congress, but Congress is under no obligation to act upon those suggestions; especially if they overstep the limits the Constitution imposes upon the powers they have been given.

Why is it that so many people ask…no, expect government to do all these things which the Constitution prohibits it from doing? You know, there is a way in which the people of this country have been given the means of altering the Constitution to enlarge, or restrict the powers given our government; and that is found in Article 5 which outlines the amendment process. However, until the Constitution is properly amended, it remains a law by which all, (both those who govern and those who choose who will govern over them) shall be bound; “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” (Source: United States Supreme Court, Ex parte Milligan, 1866)

What does that say about the people of this country when they willingly vote for candidates, knowing full well that the things they are campaigning upon are not among the specific powers granted the office they seek? And don’t you begin to cry ignorance; saying you didn’t know that they are not authorized to do the things they promise to do during their campaigns. Ever hear the legal maxim, “Ignorantia juris non excusat”, or “Ignorance of the law does not excuse”?

You can’t honestly plead ignorance of what the Constitution says are the specific powers given government when it is so simple to Google the Constitution and read it for yourself. You have few excuses to justify ignorance; 1) You are simply too lazy to seek the information, 2) You don’t care what the Constitution says; which makes you equally culpable for the crimes our elected officials commit, 3) you are simply too stupid to understand the words found in the Constitution; and if that is true you should not be allowed to participate in the election process.

What so many fail to realize is that our federal government was established primarily to be a mediator between, and protector of the individual sovereign States. The powers it was given were to provide for the overall general welfare of the Union, not the people which make up the Union. Our government was established to provide for the common defense, to regulate commerce, to establish treaties with other foreign nations, and to ensure that liberty was enjoyed by all.

All the other needs of the people were to be taken care of by the State governments, not the federal government.

This was promised us as a fundamental truth regarding the balance of powers between the federal and State governments by James Madison in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

For crying out loud people, why would the States ratify a Constitutional Amendment which states as much if it were not true? Yet I’d be willing to bet that less than half of the people in this country know what the 10th Amendment says. Well allow me to remedy that. The 10th Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

It’s this simple people, if the Constitution does not specifically grant our government a power, that power is retained by the States or the people. I don’t know what word you would use to describe a government that exercises power far beyond that which was specifically granted it, but I would call it tyrannical. It does not matter one iota that it is tyranny by consent of the majority; it is still tyranny.

If the Constitution is, in fact law, and if it therefore grants government certain defined powers and reserves all other powers to the States, then the individual States should be the ones providing for all the needs of the people of this country. Also, as sovereign and independent States, they are not bound to obey any law passed by the federal government which oversteps the specific grant of powers given it.

This belief dates back to the earliest years of our nation’s existence as a Republic, when Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.” (Source: Kentucky Resolutions)

This same concept was later re-affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Bank of Augusta vs. Earle, “The States between each other are sovereign and independent. They are distinct and separate sovereignties except so far as they have parted with some of the attributes of sovereignty by the Constitution. THEY CONTINUE TO BE NATIONS, with all their rights, and under all their national obligations and with all the rights of nations in particular except in the surrender by each to the common purposes and objects of the Union under the Constitution. The rights of each state, when not so yielded up remain absolute.” (1839)

It does not matter that a majority of the elected officials at the State level are spineless pricks, with their loyalties lying to their political party rather than the Constitution, the fact remains that it is within a States authority to nullify federal law by simply choosing not to enforce it within their borders. But, that is often easier said than done; especially when the States are so heavily reliant upon the flow of federal funding for their internal upkeep and improvement.

People today talk about equality without fully understanding what equality is. They believe it is the function of government to provide equality of life for all; even if that means taking from those who have and giving to those in need. That is not what the Founders meant by equality. What they meant was equality of opportunity, or as Ben Franklin said, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

Yet at the same time these people are preaching equality, they actively seek to deny it to others. They talk about freedom of speech and expression, yet deny it to those whose ideas they find offensive or those they disagree with.

I think most know of the landmark case of Roe v Wade with provided equality for all women to seek an abortion. Now let’s say some State passes a law banning abortion within their borders; they would be found guilty of violating the Courts ruling and the law found to be null and void.

Now where exactly in the Constitution and Bill of Rights is a woman’s right to terminate a life growing inside her protected? I’m not arguing over whether or not abortions be allowed, (although I consider them to be murder, plain and simple), I’m only asking people to point out the specific location in our Constitution or Bill of Rights where it states that all women in the United States have the right to seek an abortion.

Yet the 2nd Amendment clearly states that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. How is it then that if a State passes a law restricting a woman from seeking something that is NOT specifically protected by the Constitution, it will be found to be unconstitutional, yet if a State passes a law restricting a right which is protected by Constitutional Amendment it is allowed to stand?

Where is the equality in that might I ask? How is it that I am not permitted to own certain type weapons, yet were I a citizen of the States of Texas, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona, just to name a few, I could legally own that same firearm? Where is the equality in that? It all boils down to the fact that not only do people not know the nature of their rights; they don’t care about the fact that they are being deprived of them.

Look at the 4th Amendment for crying out loud, it states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Is the world such a dangerous place that our government deems you and I terrorist threats? Then why is it that our government routinely violates the 4th Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures by data mining and storing every electronic communication made by the people of this country?

People care so little about their rights that when someone like Edward Snowden comes forward and reveals the extent to which their government is violating that right, the people call him a traitor and he has to flee the U.S. to avoid prosecution. For what; telling us that our government is breaking the law!!!

Thomas Paine once said that government is a necessary evil, meaning that we need some form of government to ensure that the rights of the people are protected. But when a government actively violates our rights, and seeks to exercise powers beyond those which it was originally granted, it becomes our worst nightmare.

I say that because behind every law passed by our government is a man holding a gun who is ready to use force to compel your obedience. Just look at all the government agencies which enforce the laws passed by our government; the list is endless. We have the DEA, the ATF, the FBI, the EPA, the DHS, and the list goes on and on and on. All these agencies have the authority to use deadly force against the people of this country if they refuse to obey the laws our government passes.

Well I have a question. In 1789 a law was passed which created our government. This law states the shape that government shall take and the powers it shall hold. This law is considered to be the Supreme Law of the Land. Why would so many people consider it treason if armed citizens were to march upon our nation’s capital and demand, at gunpoint, that our elected representatives follow the law to the letter?

If you say the Constitution is irrelevant, then fine, abolish the government it created. Otherwise, adhere to it down to the smallest detail, or stop pretending to know what the hell you’re talking about, because I’m sick of arguing with your feeble mind.

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In Memoriam of All We Have Lost

“A nation is not defined by its borders or the boundaries of its land mass rather, a nation is defined by adverse people who have been unified by a cause and a value system and who are committed to a vision for the type of society they wish to live in and give to the future generations to come.”
The above quote was not made by any of our Founding Fathers; it was not made by an American for that matter. The above quote was made by a Nigerian woman; a lawyer and the founder of House of Tara International; a makeup and bridal directory. Yet, although that quote was not made by an American, this woman gets what I’ve been trying to get across to people for quite some time; that America was founded upon certain principles and beliefs, and that unless we return to those principles and beliefs things are not going to improve for the better.

In 1776 the value system which would define what America stood for was laid out for us by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence; that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that governments are instituted to protect those rights and derive their authority from the consent of the people; and that whenever any government becomes destructive of those ends it is our right and our duty to abolish or reform it to better secure those ends.

Thirteen years after the Declaration of Independence was written, our Founders gathered together again to write a document which would establish a system of government for themselves and for posterity. There is a question which I have asked myself over and over again, yet one which I don’t believe has passed through the minds of many of my readers; did our Constitution supersede the Declaration of Independence, or did it build upon the concepts outlined within it?

I would like to think that the answer to that question is that the Constitution built upon the precepts contained in the Declaration of Independence; that when the Preamble states that the purpose for establishing the Constitution was to form a more perfect Union, it meant that the preexisting conditions of equality and the unalienable rights were the things which this government was established to safeguard.

I would like to think that, but the more I delve into the process of ratifying our Constitution I am forced to face the possibility that those who drafted our Constitution did so knowing full well that there were not sufficient restraints upon the power and authority that document gave the government it created.

There were those who tried to warn the people involved in the process of deciding whether to accept or reject the Constitution that it was flawed and would lead to a government which sought not to protect our rights, but to restrict them. Chief among them was one Patrick Henry, who in the Virginia Ratification Assembly warned, “Sir, would not all the world, from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad. Shew me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty? I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.”

Henry then, shortly thereafter, stated, “Where is the responsibility — that leading principle in the British government? In that government a punishment, certain and inevitable, is provided: But in this, there is no real actual punishment for the grossest maladministration. They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, by what law? They must make the law — for there is no existing law to do it. What — will they make a law to punish themselves? This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility — and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves.”

Even Ben Franklin, who although he supported the Constitution, he warned of its dangers, “I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

It’s a rather telling statement on the state of America today that back in 1788 the only topic people were discussing was the proposed Constitution, and almost 230 years later hardly anybody is discussing the fact that the government they support no longer adheres to it. Not only do people not discuss the fact that their government routinely violates the Constitution; most people cannot tell you what the Constitution actually says.

Yet these people have the audacity to tell you that they are making informed decisions at the voting booth. Please, do tell how you are making the best choices in choosing a candidate who will adhere to the Constitutional limitations imposed upon the office they seek when you don’t even know what those limitations are. I’d love to hear how you explain that!

Not only are the majority of the people in this country extremely ignorant when it comes to knowing what the Constitution says, they also have very narrow fields of vision when it comes to the issues which influence their choice in selecting who will sit in the seats of power within our government. For some it is simply the two party paradigm; whether a candidate has an R or a D next to their name. For others it is a bit more involved, but still limited to one or two issues which are of great importance to the voter. For instance, a person may choose who to vote for based upon their stance regarding the 2nd Amendment; whether they are pro gun or anti gun. Or they may do the same thing based upon their position on the subject of abortion. Or it could be a candidate’s position on national security and how the candidates stand on keeping the people safe from all these terrorists running around. Then again it could be how well a candidate sounds in the promise of creating jobs; across the country or in the specific Congressional District a candidate will represent if elected.

The point I’m trying to get at is, people today pick one or two issues which they use to base their decisions upon, while ignoring the entirety of the remainder of the Constitution and Bill of Rights which our government routinely violates.

The change from a government formed upon the foundation of protecting the liberty of the people it represents to one which tyrannizes them is not something which occurs overnight, or over a generation for that matter; not in most cases anyway. No, these changes are gradual; so gradual in fact that people, unless they are paying close attention, hardly even notice they have occurred. In that it is almost like the process of aging; you don’t suddenly wake up to find that you’ve tacked on six or seven decades to your life; it happens gradually; day by day. So is the process by which a nation goes from one based upon freedom to one ruled by tyranny.

In the beginning our government was almost like a child; testing the limits of its authority. Of course the concept of liberty and both State’s and individual rights were still fresh in the minds of the people and our government was restrained, to a certain extent, as to how far it could overstep its authority.

However, it wasn’t that long after our government was established that members of Congress found they could more easily get elected if they made promises to wealthy industrialists, who would then pump money and support into their campaigns for office; the birth of crony capitalism and corporate special interests.

At the time there was no direct tax upon the income of the people; all the money derived to pay the expenses incurred by government came primarily via tariffs; which unfortunately, were levied primarily upon the Southern States to protect Northern business interests. It was only 4 decades after our Constitution was ratified that this came to a head in what is known as the Nullification Crisis. During this period of American history the South, led primarily by South Carolina, refused to pay the tariffs; saying they were excessive and tyrannical. Even though South Carolina opposed these tariffs, they were somewhat protected against the unfair policies of the Republican Party which represented Northern business interests.

All that changed in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln was elected. The fact that the government would be controlled primarily by Republicans led the South no other choice but to sever their ties with the North and form their own system of government which would better support their needs and interests.

Just as King George III had refused to let the Colonies leave the British Empire, Abraham Lincoln refused to allow the Southern States to leave the Union; thus defying the very principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. Was slavery an issue? Of course it was; but it was not the cause of the Civil War. Had Lincoln allowed the South to secede in peace and bid them best of luck, there would have been no WAR, and perhaps at a later date the South may have petitioned the North to rejoin the Union. But we’ll never know, as Lincoln chose to use force to compel the South to adhere to, not the Constitutions, but his will.

The war, and then the ensuing atrocities that were committed under the guise of Reconstruction completely obliterated the concept of State’s Rights; placing the States in a subservient position to the federal government and forever altering the relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. No longer was the federal government subject to the will of those it represented; forevermore the people were subject to the will of the government which had been created to serve them. With the surrender of Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse, not only did the Confederacy lose, but the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence lost as well.

Then, in just four short decades, the final nails in the coffin of freedom and liberty were driven into our Constitution with the ratification of the 16th and 17th Amendments and the passage of the Federal Reserve Act.

I find it ironic as hell that there are people today protesting against the statues and monuments of Confederate leaders and heroes because they claim these images represent slavery. Yet these same people are unable to see that we are all slaves now; slaves to a system of debt and labor to pay off that debt.

It has been said that we work the first five months of the year just to pay all the taxes we will pay for the entire year. It has also been said that if the American people went tax free for the entire year, and then at the end of the year were sent a bill for all taxes owed, that they would revolt.

Although it may not seem like it at times, they nickel and dime you to death with the taxes we are required to pay. Sure, income and property taxes may not sound like nickel and dime stuff, but think of all the OTHER taxes you pay; tax on the gas you put into your car; tax on the usage of the air waves for your cell phone; tax on the cable for your TV or the clothes on your back. And of course there is the unseen tax of inflation due to the FED’s continued pumping of money into our economy. What people fail to realize is that inflation is not the price of goods going up; it is the value of the money used to purchase those goods going down. All that came about in 1913 when an income tax was established and the Federal Reserve Act was passed; giving control of our monetary system over to a privately owned banking cartel.

All that was left to turn us from freemen into slaves was the eradication of our rights. Even back then when all this was happening, the people still had, and understood, for the most part, what their rights were. Yet over the course of the past 8 decades what the people have been taught about their rights has diminished; ever so gradually, from the curriculum taught in our public schools, to the point where people today don’t have the faintest inkling of what their rights are.

The freedom of speech and religion is under attack, most often by the people themselves in the form of political correctness. Our right to keep and bear arms is constantly under assault because of the fear of gun violence we are conditioned to live under. And our right to be safe and secure in ourselves, our homes, and our possessions has been violated all in the name of fighting terror.

It’s funny how little people know about history and how short their memories are. In the period which saw me enter into life our country was undergoing what became known as the Big Red Scare; the fear of the spread of communism in the United States. Hearings were held in which many a good American was charged with being communists based solely upon hearsay.

It was also during this period of American history that the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling on the case of U.S. v Robel. In that case, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated, “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties … which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.”

That was just 50 short years ago, and now look at us; willingly accepting laws and agencies violating the very rights our government was instituted to protect. But can I get people to think about such things, can I get them to care?

So, on this day when people remember the events of 9/11 and the corresponding loss of life, I wish to mourn for what we really lost; our freedom. All of the principles, all of the values which made America such a great country are gone, tossed in the rubbish heap as irrelevant and no longer important.

I weep for what my country has become, and I shiver in fear of what lies in its future. Yet I will not back down, I will not give up the fight for my rights and a return of limited government. Our nation’s Founders risked all that they had and all that they were to secure liberty for themselves and their posterity. It is the least I can do to honor them to keep up the fight in the face of overwhelming odds and overwhelming ignorance.

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Go Ahead, Prove Me Wrong!

“I’m very straightforward and honest. If I’m wrong, prove it and I will
change my beliefs. If you cannot do that, then I would hope you have
the same integrity to do the same and reconsider your beliefs. If you can’t do that, could you at least SHUT UP about things you know nothing about?”

~Neal Ross~
(September 6, 2017)

Isaac Asimov once said, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

I believe that statement to be a true and accurate assessment of the average person in America today; especially in regards to how much people know about the history of this country, the nature of their rights, and the function which their government was supposed to serve.

It is a commonly held belief that everyone is entitled to their opinions; which is true to a certain extent. Yet ask that people support their opinions with facts and most are unable to do so and become upset. Contradict their opinions with facts and they get even more upset. The truth is often so unsettling that people will do just about anything to avoid it; or silence the person speaking it. This proves Asimov’s statement that most believe that their ignorance is as good as someone else’s knowledge; and that is, quite honestly, scary.

It does not take a rocket scientist or someone with a PhD to understand the Constitution; all it takes is someone willing to read through it, and then research the reasons why the government it establishes was formatted the way it was, and why it was given certain powers; while other powers were withheld from it. In fact, in 1931 the Supreme Court ruled, “The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary, as distinguished from technical meaning; where the intention is clear, there is no room for construction, and no excuse for interpolation or addition.” (Source: United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716)

Therefore, the fact that people know little to nothing about the Constitution can be attributed to but one of two things; either they don’t care what it says, or they have intentionally been educated in such a manner as to make them incapable of understanding what it says. I’m inclined to believe that it is due to the latter; but I also think that apathy plays a big role in it as well. After all, what good is the ability to think, to reason, if people refuse to utilize that ability?

Like I’ve said over and over again, I’m not the brightest person in the world, but what separates me from most is how much I care about obtaining knowledge; especially as it pertains to this country’s history and its system of government. What I find humorous is that people, even those who reject the information I attempt to impart to them, tell me that I’m very smart regarding the subjects I discuss in my articles. I’m not smart, I’m stubborn, and when I want to learn something I set my nose to the grindstone and don’t let up until I have a firm grasp of the subject. As Alexander Hamilton said, “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have is this. When I have a subject in mind. I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it… the effort which I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”

One of the truest quotes I have encountered in my studies is one made by John Adams in his defense of the British soldiers accused of murder in the trial of what became known as the Boston Massacre, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” A person can choose to reject the facts all day long if they choose, but that does nothing to take away from one simple truth; the facts are a statement of truth, and anything else one may choose to believe is a lie.

Therefore, if you choose to continue believing lies over the truth, or choose not to even seek out the truth, what does that say about your character, your integrity?

One of the most infuriating comments I hear from people today, (And I addressed this in my last article as well), is the statement that the Constitution is no longer relevant in today’s modern times. How anyone with more than five functioning brain cells make such an idiotic statement is beyond me.

While I am increasingly coming to believe that it was a serious mistake to ratify our Constitution; at least without much stronger restraints on the power and authority given the government it outlines, the fact remains that it was ratified, and it is the ONLY reason we even have the government we have today. Does it not, therefore, make sense that you should make an effort to know what it says? Does it not make sense to know the reasons why our government was formatted the way it was and why it was given certain powers, while other powers were withheld from it? Or is that simply too much to ask of people?

Regardless of your reasons for not knowing these things, there are a few facts you need to get through your thick skulls.

Fact Number One: All political power and authority in this country rests not with our government, but with the people. This is the true and definite definition of the word sovereignty; the supreme, or absolute, political authority. In America that power rests with us, not our government. This fact is attested to in numerous places. The first place I will point to is our Declaration of Independence, where it states, “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (My emphasis)

I don’t know what that means to you, but to me it means that without my consent the government has no power and authority over me. This principle traces its roots back to Locke’s Second Treatise, where, in Section 192 Locke states, “For no government can have a right to obedience from a people who have not freely consented to it…”

This fact that sovereignty belongs to the people was later affirmed by the Supreme Court in one of its earliest rulings, “…at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects…with none to govern but themselves; the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty.” (Source: Chisholm v. Georgia)

And finally, this fact is made clear in the Preamble to the Constitution, “We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Here we see the joint sovereigns coming together and forming a system of government.

The second Fact that people need to understand is: Our government is not one of unlimited power and authority. This should be obvious, but why would those who drafted our Constitution list specific powers given to the legislative branch of government, (Congress), if the government created by the Constitution was to be one with unlimited power and authority?

In reference to the powers given our government, nowhere is it more misunderstood than as it applies to the term ‘general welfare.’ Most today believe that the term general welfare is a broad and encompassing power to pass whatever laws the people believe are for the general welfare of, not only the nation itself, but for the people themselves. This is so blatantly untrue that I should not even have to address it. Nonetheless, as people believe that government can do whatever they feel is in the general welfare of the country and them, I must provide facts which prove otherwise.

James Madison, although he disliked this title, is considered to be the Father of our Constitution. As such, it is often to his thoughts on the document that people go to in an effort to discover its true intent. Therefore, I will focus most of my discussion on this subject using his thoughts on the general welfare clause of our Constitution.

In a letter to James Robertson Jr, dated, 20 April, 1831, Mr. Madison states, “With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creator.”

In Federalist #41 Madison explained, “For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars?”

Then in opposition to a bill granting bounties, (subsidies) to cod fisheries, Madison declared, “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

Yet Madison was not alone in thinking this way, Thomas Jefferson also believed that the term general welfare was restricted to certain specific powers. In a letter to Albert Gallatin, Jefferson makes it clear, “that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action…”

I think I have made it abundantly clear that our government is not, nor has it ever been, one of unlimited power and authority.

The next vital point people need to understand is: The Constitution is a law, and those who violate it are criminals.

This fact is attested to in the Constitution itself, to which the people who ratified it accepted as fact, and therefore binding upon them and all posterity, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land…” (Source: Article 6, Clause 2)

Not only does this clearly state that the Constitution is a law, it also declares that ONLY those laws passed in pursuance of the specific powers defined within this document shall be law. This brings up an interesting point; what status do legislative acts which are contrary to the Constitution have? In short, they are null and void and have no lawful authority over us.

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson writes, ” [The purpose of a written constitution is] to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion…”

This fact is further to in the Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, wherein it states, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since it’s unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.”

Also, as recently as 1967, the Courts have ruled that we need not obey unconstitutional statutes and laws. In the case of Walker v. Birmingham, Justice Potter Stewart ruled, “The right to defy an unconstitutional statute is basic in our scheme. Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be honored when it’s invalid on its face.”

But before I get too far off course, let me return to the fact that our Constitution is the law, which all are bound to obey; both those who govern, and those who are governed.

Immediately following the Civil War, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of men than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism.” (Source: Ex parte Milligan, 1866)

And finally, in a 1911 edition of the North American Review Justice Horace H. Lurton is quoted as saying, “The contention that…the Constitution is to be disregarded if it stands in the way of that which is deemed of the public advantage…is destructive of the whole theory upon which our American Commonwealths have been founded.”

Let’s take a moment to summarize what I have proven up till now. First off, all political power and authority in America rests with the people. Secondly, our government is one of specific powers and authority. Thirdly, the Constitution is not a list of suggestions on what powers our government shall wield; it is the law by which both our government and the people of this country are bound. Sound about right? Good, let’s move on.

The next point which people need to understand is: Our Constitution is not a living document; subject to change as the people’s attitudes towards it change over the course of time.

In 1905 the Supreme Court ruled, “The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now.” (Source: South Carolina v. United States)

Do you get that; …its meaning does not alter!!! This is not to say that the specific powers given our government by that document were intended to be the only powers our government should ever possess. What I mean by this is that those who drafted the Constitution provided a means by which the powers given government, if found insufficient for the needs of the nation, could be expanded to grant it more power; the amendment process.

Article 5 of the Constitution describes the process by which the Constitution may be amended, “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof…”

That is the ONLY legitimate way in which more power may be given to, or more restrictions may be imposed on government for that matter. Anything else is a violation of, what we have already established to be…THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND!!!

In his Farewell Address, or more specifically, letter to the people of America, outgoing President George Washington warned of the dangers of allowing government to assume more powers by any other means other than by amending the Constitution, “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.”

If our government is/was to remain one based upon freedom, then the only legitimate way to increase the powers government holds, and at the same time be based upon freedom, was to have those powers increased, or diminished for that matter, by Constitutional Amendment.
Have I made myself absolutely clear on this?

Which leads me to the next point people need to understand: That whenever government assumes undelegated power, its acts become criminal, and it therefore makes that government tyrannical.

It is commonly accepted that if someone robs, murders, or rapes someone, then these things are punishable as crimes. Why is that? It is because laws have been passed making them so. Therefore, if our Constitution is, in fact, a law; and if our government oversteps the just authority granted it by the people, then can that mean anything other than the fact that its violations of the limits to its powers are criminal in nature? After all, what would else could you possibly call it? I’ll tell you what I call it; tyranny.

Tyranny is one of those words which is misunderstood; it conjures up images of jack booted thugs roaming the streets asking people for their papers. Yet, simply defined, tyranny is simply the exercise of power beyond that which is granted. As Locke defines it in his Second Treatise, “…tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to.” It is ONLY the extent to which that power is excessive which makes tyranny oppressive. Does it matter that the laws our government passes are done solely to expand their power, or in a true effort to do what they believe is in our best interests? No, the fact remains that whenever government oversteps its specifically enumerated powers, its acts can be defined using only one word; tyrannical.

Which leads me to the final point people need to understand: The powers people have when their government becomes tyrannical.

First off, there is the concept of State nullification of federal law. By State nullification I simply mean that the States may choose to say that the laws passed by the federal government, which exceed the powers given the federal government, may declare that these laws are null and void within each individual State. This could be given much more force and validity had the States not lost their position within the federal government by a Constitutional Amendment which gave the people, rather than the States, the power to elect Senators.

This power of nullification was addressed early in our nation’s history when Thomas Jefferson opposed the actions of President John Adams, and drafted the Kentucky Resolutions, wherein it states, “Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

Then there is jury nullification, wherein jurors decide not to convict a person of a crime because they believe the law under which the defendant is charged is blatantly unconstitutional, or violates that person’s rights.

There is also the manner by which people choose those to fill the seats of power within our federal government; by only electing those who appear to be willing to support and defend the Constitution. But, it seems obvious to anyone with an IQ over 10 that this has proven utterly ineffective at stopping our government from becoming tyrannical.

The primary reason for this is due to the fact that most people in this country owe their loyalty, not to the Constitution, but rather to political parties. Instead of choosing candidates who adhere to the principles contained in our Constitution, they vote for candidates adhering to party platforms.

If all this is true, then what other course do the people have to preserve a free government, and to ensure their rights remain intact? Well, even Alexander Hamilton, who believed our government should loosely interpret the limits the Constitution imposed upon it, declared in Federalist 28, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, and which against the usurpations of the national rulers, may be exerted with infinitely better prospect of success than against those of the rulers of an individual state.” (My emphasis)

This original right of self-defense can only mean an open rebellion of the people against the usurpation of power undertaken by their government. Yet this is not something to be taken lightly.

In his Second Treatise, Section 225, Locke states, “But if a long train of abuses, prevarications, and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see whither they are going; it is not to be wondered, that they should then rise themselves, and endeavor to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for government was at first erected…”

Does that sound remotely familiar? It ought to, because it is paraphrased by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence as follows, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Yet as Jefferson also declared, “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

The question then arises, what defining moment will arise when the people realize that their government has become so tyrannical that there is no other alternative but to fight to restore the freedom it was established to secure for them?

Yet that is the final option people have when all other means of seeking a redress for grievances against their government. It is what led our Founders to revolt against the King, and it is what led the Confederacy to secede from the Union and form the Confederate States of America.

Everything I have said, as you can plainly see, is supported by fact. If these, are therefore facts, how does that make me a crybaby, a terrorist, or anything else for that matter? How does standing for everything this country was founded upon make me anything other than a patriot?

Therefore, if everything I have said is supported by fact, and if I stand for the same thing the patriots of 1776 stood for; what does that make you? It would appear that YOUR position is reversed; that I am not the terrorist, the crybaby, or whatever else you want to call me. It means that YOU ARE.

Facts don’t lie, and I don’t see y’all offering any of them in defense of your positions. So go ahead, prove me wrong. But I want you to lay out your arguments in the same clear concise manner that I have laid out mine. If you can’t do that, then your opinions mean diddly squat to me!

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What Are You And What Do You Stand For?

You might be asking yourself why Neal is suddenly sounding so angry in his articles. The answer is quite simple actually, and comes in two parts. First off, it is because whether it is intentional or unintentional, the people of this country are attempting to take something from me which is not theirs to take; my freedom. Secondly, no matter how hard I try I cannot get people o see that what they are doing is, not simply violating my rights, but flat out illegal. Yet people like me are the ones who are called crybaby terrorists, or who they say we should just give up and let the younger generation take over.

OVER MY DEAD BODY!!!

I have called what these people seek a Utopian dream world, but to tell you the truth I don’t know what it is they really want for the future of our country. What I do know is that they don’t understand the faintest thing about how our system was designed, or how it was supposed to function. Had they known these things they would know that they simply just can’t ask government to do anything they want for them, assume any role they want it to; there are limits as to the things our government can do for them without the Constitution being amended in such a manner that gave government the necessary powers to do these things people want it to do.

While I would probably still fight against the things these people want government to do, at least had they gone through the proper motions and had a constitutional amendment proposed and ratified, I would at least know that they understood how the system was designed to operate. As it is, however, their actions only prove beyond a doubt that they, not only don’t know how the system was designed to operate, they don’t care.

I can’t count the times that I have heard people tell me that the Constitution is no longer relevant. Fine, let’s say it isn’t, then government is no longer relevant either; for without the Constitution there would BE NO GOVERNMENT in the first place. So if the Constitution is no longer of any relevance, and our government is no longer relevant, then I no longer have to pay taxes, or obey any of the laws it has passed.

You can’t have it both ways assholes! Either our Constitution is, or isn’t relevant. Either the government it established adheres to the limits it imposes upon them, or it doesn’t and they are tyrants. Make up your damned minds and stop pretending you stand for one thing when you really stand for something else. And that last statement probably applies more to those who go prancing about proclaiming to be conservatives than it does to those who openly push a liberal agenda. Sorry Republicans, the truth often hurts.

In either case, whether you’re a self-proclaimed conservative or liberal, what you’re doing is attempting to force your views upon the rest of the country; including me, and I’ve had just about enough of it. And that is why the tone of my articles has taken a rather harsh and negative tone. I mean, would you be a bit pissed off is someone was trying to take something from you that wasn’t theirs to take? My freedom, my rights, my property, and the fruit of my labor are mine; and when you threaten them, be it due to ignorance, apathy, greed, or downright laziness, I get a bit upset.

The very first people to come to America; at least the very first most people consider to be the first Colonists anyways, came here for one thing…FREEDOM. They left England for religious freedom to be exact. As more and more people came here, they did so for the freedom that those who settled at Plymouth had found.

They didn’t come for the food stamps, the welfare, or the free health care. They came for one thing, and one thing only; the freedom to live their lives as they saw fit and to seek prosperity and success based solely upon their own skills and motivation. More importantly, they never asked for anyone else to shoulder the burden for their failures. That is self-reliance and accepting the responsibility for your success or failure; a trait which has gone the way of the dodo bird if you ask me.

I’m constantly reminded, or told that our Founders are long dead and that their words have lost their relevance today. Is that so? Since when has the belief that our rights are ours, and that no one has the ability to deprive us of them been irrelevant? Since when has the idea that we should be allowed to fully enjoy the fruits of our labors without having them taken from us and handed out to others who society deems to be ‘in need’?

Our Founders, as irrelevant as you may believe them to be, risked all that they had to obtain freedom; not only for themselves, but for all posterity. While I don’t support the fact that Mather Byles was a Loyalist; (One who was loyal to the Crown and opposed the War for Independence), he did say Something that bears consideration. Myles once said, “Which is better-to be ruled by one tyrant 3,000 miles away or by 3,000 tyrants one mile away.”

That quote, while not specifically saying so, goes directly to the cause for which our Founders were fighting. The question implied by Myles was, were those fighting for independence seeking freedom for all, or were they seeking to establish a tyranny of their own making?

If one is to take Jefferson’s words in the Declaration of Independence literally, then they must conclude that our Founders were fighting for the principle that our rights belong to us as gifts from our Creator; and that no one can deprive us of them. If one is to take Jefferson’s words literally, then they must conclude that governments are instituted to protect those rights; not deprive the people of them.

As the Declaration of Independence is an outline of the cause for which they fought, it can only be concluded that it also defines the principles upon which this country was established. Any system of government which would later be established must either be in accordance with, or contrary to those principles. Either any government produced after the Revolution was to be established to maintain the liberty the Founders had fought for, or to obliterate it.

Although I have begun to question the intent of those who drafted our Constitution, and the wisdom of ratifying it, it remains that it is the Supreme Law of the Land; and as a law it MUST be obeyed to the letter. The Preamble to this Constitution grants our government no powers; it is merely a statement of intent; describing the purposes for which the government it outlines is to serve.

Therefore, as the Preamble states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (My emphasis)

Although there may have been those in attendance at the Philadelphia Convention who had ulterior motives, the wording of the Preamble declares that one of the reasons for which our government was established was to secure the blessings of liberty for those alive then, and for all those who were yet to be born. Therefore, if government were to begin acting in a manner which restricted the liberty of the people, or States for that matter, which it was established to represent, it would be acting in opposition to the reasons for which it was established.

Is that so difficult to understand, or are your brains turned off or possibly turned to mush?

While I have come to learn that even George Washington overstepped his authority as president, he did say one thing that I wish people would give some consideration. When Washington refused a third term as President and chose to retire to private life, he wrote a letter to the people of this country which set the basic precedent for the Presidential Farewell Address. In his letter, Washington stated, “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.”

Do you get that, or is it beyond your ability to comprehend?

What Washington means is that, if you think government does not have enough power, or that it ought to be allowed to do things which the Constitution prohibits it from doing then the proper way to enlarge the powers given government is via the amendment process. But to just allow government to assume those powers is the manner in which FREE governments are destroyed.

As I previously said, given the current regard people have for their rights, or mine for that matter, I would probably still openly oppose any of the proposed amendments they might make to alter the powers given our government. But AT LEAST it would show me that people understood how the system was designed to operate.

Now, however, all I see is a people who tell me that the thoughts of our Founders and the Constitution itself are irrelevant. Yet these same people want the government created by this very Constitution do to things which the Constitution and Bill of Right prohibits.

Either we have a Constitutional form of government, or we trash the Constitution, and the government along with it. Why must people pretend that we have a Constitutional form of government when they don’t care, or know for that matter, what the Constitution actually says are the powers given government?

Why for that matter, do we even have political parties? I want to share with you a quote my friend Michael Gaddy posed on Facebook, “If all we need for constitutional governance are politicians who faithfully honor their sacred oath to those principles, why do we have political parties? Without those parties would it then be possible to have candidates who would only owe allegiance to the constitution and not party big-wigs, special interests, lobbyists and other party hierarchy?

Would the competition among politicians then be judged by who voted more in line with the constitution as opposed to who could raise the most money?”

A good question, but I’m guessing one which most people would rather not take the time to answer; for in doing so it would hold a mirror up to their ignorance, and their hypocrisy.

For all of you who say my ideals and beliefs are outdated, irrelevant, or that I’m just a crybaby or a terrorist, I have but one question to ask of you; “What do you really stand for?” Either you stand for liberty, as did all those who bled and sacrificed to obtain it for us, or you stand for tyranny and servitude. You can’t have both. And before you say you stand for liberty, I want to ask you, “Why do you vote for candidates who overstep their Constitutional authority and in so doing restrict the liberty our government was established to secure?”

I may be old fashioned, but if that’s the case I want to you to consider the following. In the months leading up to our Constitution being ratified, and then put into operation, a series of assemblies were held in the various States in which the people of each State argued over the question of accepting or rejecting the proposed Constitution. During the debates for the Commonwealth of Virginia, patriot Patrick Henry stood up and said, “Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American…”

My final question, therefore, must be, “Are you a true American, or are you something else? And if you are a true American who values your liberty, why aren’t you acting like it?”

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