It used to be that America’s school system taught our children how to think; that is no longer the case. Instead, it teaches them WHAT TO THINK. The idea that knowledge and intellect should be aspired to and respected has been replaced with a reduction of the overall American intellect to the lowest common denominator of ignorance and stupidity.
Does the word atrophy mean anything to you? Atrophy means to degenerate due to lack of use; and it perfectly describes what has happened to the minds of most people in this country. Give most people a complex set of ideas and ask them to formulate an opinion based upon them and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see smoke pouring out of their ears as their brains catch fire.
That is why it is next to impossible to have an open and honest political debate with most people; because they have been conditioned to think from their party perspective and to disregard any fact which threatens that perspective. Facts and evidence have absolutely no place in modern political discussions; the only thing that matters is how people feel on an issue. Those who do come to a debate armed with facts are typically insulted or ignored altogether; showing how shallow people’s minds have become.
Yet for some reason me, and people like me, exist; aberrations who are capable of critical thought and who see through the haze of indoctrination that is going on all around us. I hate to bring movie references into a serious discussion such as this, but the Matrix is real people, and you are living proof that it is an effective tool in keeping you in servitude to an ungrateful master…your government.
As long as people continue to believe that their votes matter, without paying any attention to why their government exists or the extent to which it has deprived them of their freedom, the Matrix is working exactly as it was designed; to keep them supporting, (or ignoring in some cases), the very system that enslaves them. It’s as von Goethe said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
One of the most frightening stories I ever read was Kurt Vonnegut’s, Harrison Bergeron. Harrison Bergeron is a dystopian story about the future when all man has been reduced to perfect equality. Government exists to ensure that this equality remains intact; and all manner of devices are used to make sure no one is prettier, smarter, or stronger than the next person…perfect equality. Harrison Bergeron is an above average person who refuses to be shackled by the limits imposed upon him by society and he seeks to break free of his shackles and utilize his above average intelligence for his own benefit–only to be gunned down by the government while his parents watch the whole thing on TV; unable to respond emotionally because their ability to think critically has been limited by governmental conditioning.
I see a frightening parallel between Vonnegut’s story and society in general. Those who have chosen to use their minds to the best of their ability – to think for themselves – are ridiculed and condemned by a public that is happy to live in a state of perpetual ignorance, apathy and servitude. The reasons why their government was established, or the powers that it was originally given are of no concern to most people; only that their candidate wins and that government does things that fit into their belief as to what government should be doing. The constitutional legality of what government does is irrelevant to over 90% of the American voters, and that in and of itself ought to tell you how screwed up this country has become.
To prove my point, I wonder how many people have ever given any thought to where political power comes from. Where does any group of people derive the authority to enact laws which the people are obliged to obey without question? The Bible tells us that God created man and gave him free will; it didn’t say anything about God sending down a government starter kit along with Adam; so that he could rule posterity for the end of time. In his book The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine states, “If any generation of men ever possessed the right of dictating the mode by which the world should be governed for ever, it was the first generation that existed; and if that generation did it not, no succeeding generation can show any authority for doing it, nor can set any up.”
Paine then goes on to say, “It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom to say that Government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.
The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.”
What Paine is talking about there is the concept of consent of the governed; that government exists because, first it was created by the people, and then continues to derive its authority because the people consent to it, and the laws it passes. But what happens when a portion of society no longer consents to the laws being enacted by their government; are they to be forever bound in servitude to an entity that they DO NOT CONSENT TO?
In political terminology that is the description of a democracy; where a simple majority has the right to bind the minority in all things. We are not, nor have we ever been a democracy. We were supposed to be a Republic where our government was created and bound by a written constitution which outlined its structure and the specific powers given it. As the creators of government, we are not bound to the arbitrary will of those we elect; no matter what they might tell you, or how much force they bring to bear upon those who question their authority. As the true sovereigns in this country we tell government what it can and cannot do, not the other way around…or at least that is how is was supposed to be.
Yet if you even bring up the Constitutional limitations upon government in a political debate these days you are treated as if you were speaking a foreign language; people don’t want to hear about limits upon their government, they only want to hear about what government can do to make their lives better, safer and more comfortable.
If I had any say in the matter no high school student would be allowed to graduate, and they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to vote, until they had passed a comprehensive class on John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government. If our Declaration of Independence is believed to be the foundation upon which America was built, then Locke’s Second Treatise is quite possibly what gave Jefferson the inspiration for the Declaration of Independence.
Let me ask you a question. If there was no government of any kind, who would there be to tell you what you can and cannot do; can or cannot say? Technically speaking there would be no one to tell you what you could or could not do. That is what is known as a state of nature, or pure and absolute liberty.
Locke describes this in Chapter 2 of his Second Treatise as follows, “To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, 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.”
But mankind is an imperfect creature; we have all manner of vices such as greed, envy, lust and prejudice. Therefore there will always be those who threaten the life and liberty of others; making government of some kind a necessity. I think that is what Paine meant when he wrote, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
Then in Chapter 3 Locke goes on to describe the state men find themselves in when others seek to excercise dominion or control over them; calling this condition a ‘state of war.’ Locke explains this condition as follows, “And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave.”
After all, isn’t slavery simply the attempt by one man, or a group of men, to deprive others of their freedom and rights? Does it matter whether that this slavery is forced upon others by force, or by a government that is consented to by a majority of the people? Any attempt to restrict the freedom of anyone; be it an individual or a group of individuals, is an attempt to place those individuals into a condition of slavery.
It should come as no surprise then that the next chapter in Locke’s Second Treatise discusses slavery. Locke goes on to explain a crucial point when discussing how much power any system of government might be allowed to exercise over the governed, “This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to, and closely joined with a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases. No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.”
If I, as an individual, do not have the right to dictate how you must live your life, then I cannot, by compact or agreement, give that power to anyone else. Yet that is exactly what people do today when they vote; they are seeking to elect candidates who closely match their own personal beliefs and who can use the coercive power of government to make others live their lives in accordance to their belief systems. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, if you are voting for candidates so that they can pass laws that tell others how they must live their lives then you are imposing a form of slavery upon those thusly imposed upon.
The reason why men enter into societies – be they political or civil – is for the security of the rights they hold in a state of nature. In a state of nature the right of an individual to enjoy their freedom is limited by their ability to defend that freedom from attack by others. In a political or civil society the people unite together for the common preservation of their individual rights; granting legislators the ability to enact laws which best secure those rights to all members of the political society.
That is the foundation of a just and honest government; one which secures to every member the fullest exercise of their individual rights. In his Lectures on Law, 1791, James Wilson wrote, “Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.”
If government, with the consent of the majority, tells me that I MUST purchase health insurance, or participate in a program that takes a portion of my earnings and saves them towards my retirement, and I truly enjoying the full fruits of my labors? If government passes laws that tell me when, and under what circumstances, I can defend myself or my property, am I not having my fundamental right to self-defense limited by those whose job is to protect my rights? If I am supposedly free from unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant, supported by probable cause, then how can the NSA monitor my private discussions and the TSA search my body and my belongings at airports without a warrant stating what is to be searched and why? If prayer is but a conversation between those who believe and their God, then how can the Supreme Court claim to defend freedom of speech when they ban prayer in public schools?
I could go on and on with violations to our freedom that our government is guilty of, and which the people consent to by their obedience to these laws without even a whimper of protest. And don’t even get me started on those who are charged with upholding/enforcing the law upon the slaves of America, (Law Enforcement). Thomas Jefferson once said that law if often but the tyrants will, and if that is true, then what does that make those who enforce these laws upon the people if not tyrants as well?
The reason why men unite into a political or civil society is explained by Locke in Chapter 9 of his Second Treatise, “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.” But what is meant by the word property; is it limited to tangible items such as your home, your car and your flat screen TV?
In 1792 James Madison wrote the following explaining what property is, “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 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.
In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”
Chapter 11 of Locke’s Second Treatise discusses the extent of legislative authority. In Section 138 Locke states, “The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent: for the preservation of property being the end of government, and that for which men enter into society…”
That same sentiment was paraphrased by Madison in his discourse on Property of 1791, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his.”
If I do not consent to having my pay taken from me in the form of taxes and then spent on programs I do not consent to, am I not enslaved to the will of those who would do just that? If I do not consent to having my rights violated just so that the general public can live their lives in a state of comfort and security, am I not a slave to those who would deprive me of my freedom just so they can feel safe and secure?
Instead of people exercising a little responsibility and providing for their own needs, they have been conditioned to believe that is the true purpose for which their government exists; and they then consider those who do exercise a bit of responsibility to be criminals or outlaws. How many times have you heard someone say that people shouldn’t take the law into their own hands; that they should dial 911 and await the police to come defend them from criminals? If self-defense is an individual right, then I don’t need government to protect me, and I shouldn’t be punished when I exercise that right.
In Chapter 18 of Locke’s Second Treatise he defines tyranny as, “…the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to…” If the power of the legislative is used to deprive me of my property or my rights then it is being used in opposition to the purpose for which it was delegated. Frederic Bastiat described that condition as follows, “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!”
If our Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, then what condition exists when the people elect candidates to do things the Constitution does not authorize government to do, or when government, of its own volition, decides to exercise powers not given them? Well, Locke has an answer to that question as well, “Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and, acting without authority, may be opposed, as any other man, who by force invades the right of another.”
Yet people laugh at me and deride me when I say that their government is tyrannical. The way I see it is that if government is being used to deprive me of the right to enjoy my property and exercise my rights, then it is tyrannical; and it doesn’t matter if these things are being done with the consent of most of the people in this country…I DO NOT CONSENT TO IT!!! Author Ayn Rand once said, “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”
If this is, in fact, tyranny, then why is it that so many people willingly submit to it, and why is it that they condemn people like me who openly speak out in opposition to it? Our Founders rebelled against tyranny by declaring their independence from the government that imposed that tyranny upon them. Yet the same Americans today who honor the patriots of 1776 turn around and denigrate the patriots of 1860 who sought to free themselves from the tyranny of a government that had become destructive of the ends for which it was established.
These same people today scorn me when I say that government should be torn down because it no longer serves its intended purpose; or that people should simply refuse to obey any law which violates their rights. Woodrow Wilson, our 28th President, once said, “Liberty has never come from the government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it. The history of liberty is a history of resistance.”
Why is it considered unpatriotic to defend the very thing government was established to secure for us…liberty? If government truly was created by the consent of the governed, then government itself cannot say a thing if the people revoke their consent to it and seek to dismantle it, or simply refuse to obey laws that violate their rights.
In Chapter 19 of his Second Treatise Locke writes, “… whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty…”
Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that most people don’t want, or care about liberty; all they want is for government to be there and provide the things they think it should provide them…which means comfort and security…so they can get back to their bread and circus lives.
But I have found that you can’t argue with, or change the minds of stupid people…they are too conditioned and dead set in their beliefs. But you can’t fault me for trying….