From Beginning to End (How America Lost Its Soul) Part 6

While all these plans for independence and the establishment of a confederation were well and good for the Colonists; they all hinged on their defeating the most highly trained and well equipped army in the world. When it was suggested that a Continental Army be raised to fight the British, the obvious choice to lead it was right there in the room with them; George Washington.

Washington was a Virginian, so it appeased the Southern States who were somewhat distanced and detached from the troubles going on in Boston. Washington commanded respect wherever he went so when his name was put forward to lead this Continental Army it was a way of saying that this wasn’t just Boston’s problem to deal with, it was a problem all 13 Colonies must deal with together.

Although an imposing man, Washington was relatively soft-spoken and humble. It is said that when he was asked to lead the Continental Army, he replied by saying the he would accept the command offered him, but that he believed himself to be ill equipped to lead such an army; a sentiment he would repeat upon being chosen as our nation’s first president.

What do we know of the wars long since forgotten? Do we remember the names of those who fought, or do we only remember the names of those who led the men into battle? Unless you know someone who fought during any of our nation’s many wars, you most likely only remember the names of the generals who led them. Can you tell me the name of one soldier/sailor/marine or airman who fought in World War II? Yet I bet you have at least heard the name Patton.

The further back in time one goes, the fewer the names they remember. Most people know that George Washington commanded the Continental Army during our war for independence; but do they know the names of any of the other generals who served under Washington?

How about Nathanial Greene; do you know about him? He was a member of the Rhode Island General Assembly who also ran his family’s foundry. He was a Major General under Washington.

How about Henry Knox; ever hear of him? Knox was a bookstore owner with a keen mind for military history and tactics. It was Knox’s idea to retrieve the cannon at Fort Ticonderoga and return them through the ice and snow to surprise the British armada anchored in Boston Harbor.

Yet although wars are led by generals, they are fought by the soldiers who face off against each other for their respective cause or country. It is they who do the bleeding and dying; most of the time that is; and it is they who are remembered least for their contributions. The politicians may declare war; the generals may lead the men on the battlefield; but it is those who do the fighting that ultimately win or lose wars. Our war for independence was no different; except in this instance it was not begun by politicians declaring war on another nation, it began when the people of a nation stood up against the tyranny of their rulers at Lexington and Concord.

Are you aware that when our nation declared its independence that it was pretty much equally divided into thirds; with one third supporting independence, one third opposing it, and one third not caring one way or the other? Are you aware that out of the one third who supported independence, roughly 3% actively fought to secure it?

Wars were fought much differently back then; they didn’t have the sophisticated weaponry we do today, so soldiers would line up almost toe to toe on the battlefield, level their weapons, and fire point blank at each other. The effective range of the weaponry used by the soldiers of the 18th Century was approximately 50 yards; half a football field away. Of course cannon also came into play as well, but the real fighting was done by men who could stare their enemies in the eye and have the courage to stand within fighting distance of them and face incoming fire and not retreat in fear.

Also, since there were no troop transports or airborne divisions, the soldiers relied on ships to get them relatively close to wear the action was, and they then marched inland to the battles. In the wintertime, the war typically ground to a stop as the opposing armies hunkered down to ride out the inclement weather. Sure there were minor skirmishes in the winter, but the majority of the army rode the winter out; and many died from illness during this period alone.

When Washington assumed command of his ‘army’ he found a ragtag bunch of undisciplined and untrained soldiers; many of whom were already suffering the effects of the pox which was ravishing the countryside at the time. His repeated pleas for assistance and equipment went relatively unanswered by the Congress in Philadelphia. It was not that they did not hear his cries for assistance; it is that they were powerless to compel the States to provide the things Washington needed to supply and lead his army.

This could be one of the reasons why Washington’s aide de camp, Alexander Hamilton, sought a much stronger centralized government years later; his first hand experiences on the battlefield; having to deal with an incompetent and powerless central government that could not equip an army.

The war officially began on April 19, 1775 when the Boston militia formed up and repelled the Redcoats at Lexington and Concord; even before Congress recognized that the war had started without them. The war continued at Bunker Hill while the Congress debated whether or not to declare independence and form an army to fight it.

But it was Bunker Hill that showed the Redcoats that these untrained militiamen were not to be trifled with. During the siege of Boston the British had learned that the militia had occupied certain high ground overlooking their ships and the city itself. On the morning of June 17, the British mounted their attacks upon Bunker and Breeds Hills; attempting to roust the militiamen who occupied them. The first and second waves were repulsed; but the third was successful at securing the high ground; although at quite a cost to the British. The Colonists lost nearly 115 men that day, but the British lost over 236; many of them officers. Afterwards the body of Joseph Warren, (a Colonial Major General who was killed at Bunker Hill), was dug up by the British, desecrated, and its head cut off. General Gage is said to have stated that the loss of Warren was as much a blow to the Colonists as the loss of 500 men.

Although Bunker Hill showed the British that the Colonists were no pushovers, they were not going to give up the fight after the licking they took taking that small plot of ground from the Colonials. After the Colonies had formally declared their independence, Sir William Howe launched a counter-attack and captured New York; leaving American confidence in their chance for success shaken.

Then the Colonial Army achieved victories at Trenton and Princeton, which led to a boost in morale; both in the troops and in the people’s support of the war. But it was a blunder on the part of the British which led to their ultimate surrender at Yorktown. In 1777, under the command of General John Burgoyne, the British army began an assault out of Quebec intended to isolate New England. General Howe was supposed to support this effort, but instead took his army onwards to the seat of power in America; Philadelphia. This led Burgoyne and his men to being soundly defeated at Saratoga; a loss which would lead to the French agreeing to support the Colonies in their quest for independence.

While the war drug on in the North to a relative standstill, the British felt there was enough Loyalist support in the South that they could defeat any Colonial efforts at separation. The British initially captured Savannah, then Loyalist militias suffered a resounding loss at Kettle Creek; proving that they could not win a major battle far removed from British support.

When Horatio Gate’s army suffered a major defeat at Camden, the British, under General Cornwallis, chose in invade North Carolina. However, patriot militia’s were successful in disrupting his efforts and Cornwallis dispatched Loyalists to deal with them. His Loyalist’s were all but destroyed on October 7; leaving Loyalist support hard to come by for the British.

The two armies then played a game of cat and mouse where the British chased Nathaniel Greene’s army all over the countryside while Greene sought to build the strength of his army through volunteers to the cause. By March Greene felt confident enough to engage Cornwallis in open battle. Although he was defeated, he had inflicted such losses to the British that he was forced to retreat; leaving the Carolina’s and Georgia open for Greene to retake.
Cornwallis had learned that Patriot support was passing through Virginia and chose to invade Virginia to disrupt the lines of supply to Greene’s army in the South. Although he was subordinate to General Clinton, Cornwallis chose not to inform him of his decision to invade Virginia.

It was at this time that the French had come to the conclusion that a closer working relationship with the Colonists was needed if they were to achieve victory; so Washington and Comte de Rochambeau discussed their options over where to assault the British. Washington preferred to strike New York, while Rochambeau favored Virginia.

Meanwhile General Cornwallis chose to dig in at Yorktown and await the Royal Navy for support. When that support did arrive, it was no match for the French fleet, and was soundly defeated; cutting Cornwallis off from any further support.

On September 28 the Franco/American forces began the assault upon Yorktown. Cornwallis had prematurely abandoned all his outer defenses, which probably hastened his defeat. After nearly a month of constant bombardment and assault, Cornwallis and his aides came to the realization that they had no chance for success, and Cornwallis sent an aid to surrender. Ironically, on the same day Cornwallis was giving up, General Clinton was dispatching 6,000 reinforcements to build up Cornwallis’s army.

The surrender of General Cornwallis was pretty much the end of the war on the part of the British. Although they still had nearly 30,000 soldiers on U.S. soil, General Clinton had been replaced by Guy Carlton, who was under orders to suspend all offensive operations.

All that needed doing now was the establishment of peace and America taking its place in the world as a sovereign and independent nation; and this is as good a point as any to take a break. See you soon…

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From Beginning to End (How America Lost Its Soul) Part 5

The primary topic of discussion for the Second Continental Congress was whether or not the Colonies should support Boston and join in their rebellion against the Crown. So it almost seems inevitable that when Richard Henry Lee introduced his resolution suggesting a complete and irrevocable dissolution of the ties which bound the Colonies to England that a committee was formed to draft a declaration of independency. Yet there is more to Lee’s resolution than simply declaring that the Colonies “are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.”

You have to realize, that at this moment in time the Colonies, although subject to the jurisdiction and authority of the Crown, were essentially independent from each other. Lee’s resolution also called for them to join together loosely in a confederation for their mutual benefit. The result of this suggestion was the Articles of Confederation; our nation’s first Constitution.

This wasn’t the first time such a suggestion was made; so the delegates were not absolutely certain that any proposal for a confederation would be accepted by the legislatures of each Colony.

Twenty two years earlier, Dr Benjamin Franklin proposed the Albany Plan which would have established a confederation of the Colonies during the French and Indian Wars. The plan was soundly rejected by all Colonies, so it was not certain that things would go any differently this time either.

Nonetheless, on June 12, 1776, the day after a committee was chosen to draft our Declaration of Independence, another committee, this time consisting of 13 individuals, was chosen to draft a document outlining the proposed confederacy. This committee met for a month, and on July 12 presented their completed document to the Congress. It was then debated and amended over the course of another year, until in 1777 the finished document was approved and forwarded to the States for their consideration.

Virginia was the first State to ratify these Articles of Confederation, doing so on December 16, 1777, and Maryland was the last to do so, agreeing to them on February 2. 1781.

I think now would be a good time to bring up the subject of true sovereignty. Sovereignty is defined as the absolute or supreme political authority in a nation or state. Although it does not directly come out and say so, our Declaration of Independence declares that this sovereignty is held by the people, “…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

When it was proposed that this confederation be formed, most Colonies had already written, or were in the process of writing their own Constitutions to establish governments to represent the citizens of each Colony. After all, that is all that a constitution is; the act of a people constituting a form of government; declaring the shape it will take, the powers it will exercise on behalf of those it represents, and any limitations that might be imposed upon it.

This principle is so vitally important for you to understand, so I wish to discuss it a bit further. I have used the word delegate numerous times so far in my writings, but I am not sure if you truly understand what it implies. To delegate is to give another power to act on your behalf. A power of attorney is a form of delegated power; it can be general, or it can be very specific; depending upon what powers you want that delegate to exercise on your behalf.

The delegates to the Continental Congress were acting on the authority of the States they represented; they could not agree to anything without that authority having been expressly granted them by the States which chose them. Today people call those they elect politicians, when the correct term would be representatives, or delegates to the government established by the people in 1789. Any system of government based upon the idea that all political power is ultimately held by the people is a system in which the power to enact law is a delegated authority; and not to be exercised beyond the specific limits for which it was originally delegated.

Therefore, as the people had already delegated the authority to govern on their behalf’s to State governments, the delegates to the Continental Congress could not unilaterally decide that the States must submit to becoming members of a Confederation; that choice must be made by the representatives of the citizens of each State. And as each State was extremely reluctant to agree to anything which would weaken its authority, it was not without some doubt that any proposal for a Confederation might not be approved unanimously.

We do not have a confederation today, so it is highly unlikely that most people know what one is. One definition; the one which I prefer to use, states that a confederation consists of “…a number of full sovereign states linked together for the maintenance of their external and internal independence by a recognised international treaty into a union with organs of its own, which are vested with a certain power over the member ‘states’, but not over the citizens of these states.”

Under a confederation, the government established by whatever document creates the confederation can only pass laws that directly affect the States as entities. The government of the confederation cannot pass laws that say the people must do this, or refrain from doing that; it can only direct the laws it enacts upon the legislatures of the States.

Think of a confederation as a large scale version of a Neighborhood Watch program in which homeowners unite together to pass ordinances which protect their neighborhood. The individuals within that neighborhood are still free to govern the internal workings, or politics, of their home which the Neighborhood Watch protects them from crime and other dangers.

You have to remember, all power, particularly political power, is inherent in the people. The people had already established governments for their States to govern the affairs of these States. For a confederated government to have any power and authority, it must be delegated to them. In other words, the States must accept that they relinquish certain powers and hand those powers over to the government of the confederation.

The ratified Articles of Confederation were our nation’s first constitution; as they established our first centralized government. Up until that point, each State had been an entirely independent and self-governing entity. So forming a confederacy was a big deal back then; it was not something that was done hastily and without a great deal of thought on the part of the individual States.

Now would be a good time to plant a seed for future discussion. Why is it that it took 4 years, in the midst of war against England, for the States to ratify the Articles of Confederation, yet it took only a year to ratify the Constitution once it was sent to the States for their consideration?

Although it did take 4 years to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the Congress established by that document acted as the de facto government of the United States throughout its war with England. It only became the de jure government when the Articles of Confederation were finally ratified by Maryland in 1781.

As our nation’s first constitution, The Articles of Confederation bears a certain amount of study to see what it says. For one thing, there was no Executive, nor was there any Judiciary; just a Congress representing the States. Secondly, the powers reserved to the States were extensive and those granted to the Congress were few, and expressly delegated. But more importantly, any law passed by the Congress had to be confirmed, or accepted by the Legislatures of all 13 States before it could go into effect.

The Articles of Confederation were written in such a way as to ensure the sovereignty and independence of each State; only granting Congress the necessary powers to manage the general affairs of the nation.

Yet all this was done in a time of grave emergency; the ongoing war for independence. A war which I will discuss in Part 6 of this ongoing series…

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From Beginning to End (How America Lost Its Soul) Part 4

Nearly a month after the conflicts at Lexington and Concord, delegates gathered together in the city of Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress. Their goal was to resume where the First Continental Congress had left off the following year, and although independence may have been on the minds of many, it was still a subject that had yet to be openly discussed by the Congress.

Who were these men who put aside their lives and came together to alter the course of America’s history? Some of them you know, some you don’t. For instance, three future presidents were in attendance; George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adam’s cousin Samuel was also in attendance as was Benjamin Franklin. Are you aware that there were at least two physicians in attendance as well; Benjamin Rush and Josiah Bartlett?

People look back on this event almost as if it were something out of a Hollywood movie, but they fail to realize the solemnity under which these men gathered together; the Colony of Massachusetts had openly engaged in armed conflict with the King’s men and their actions may very well draw the ire of the King upon all the Colonies. Yet at the same time, they too had suffered under the increasingly oppressive laws passed by Parliament. People read about Atlas, the Titan who was condemned to hold the world upon his shoulders for eternity; well these men also had heavy burdens on their shoulders; as the choices they made would affect the future of the American Colonies.

Prior to adjourning the previous October, the First Continental Congress had sent a petition to King George III hoping to avoid a full blown conflict with Britain. When the Second Continental Congress met the following spring they had yet to receive the King’s response. It was highly unlikely that the Colonies petition would do any good, as a letter written by John Adams to a friend had been intercepted by the Kings men in which Adams declared that there had been enough talk of peace and reconciliation; that the Colonies should have already raised a Navy and taken British sailors prisoners. When word of this reached the King it was enough to convince him of the insincerity of their petition, and he refused to even read it. The delegates were essentially stuck between a rock and a hard place; either acquiesce to whatever laws were passed by Parliament, or go to war to defend their rights.

In June, the Virginia delegation, headed by Richard Henry Lee, received authorization from their State Legislature to propose independence, and towards the end of June Lee read the following to the delegates of the Convention:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.

Even after all the Colonies had endured at the hands of King George and Parliament, the idea of an independent America was one which many were not ready to consider. Yet the Congress had heard Lee’s resolution and assigned a Committee of Five to draft such a declaration. This committee, possibly at the suggestion of John Adams, chose a young Thomas Jefferson to be the principle author of that document. Jefferson reluctantly accepted the task at hand, not knowing that what he was about to write would contain the most oft repeated political phrase ever written by man.

When people hear the name Thomas Jefferson, I wonder what passes through their minds. Do they say, yeah, I’ve heard of him, and that’s all they think? Are they aware that Jefferson could read and write in Greek and Latin; that he was an inventor and an avowed collector of Native American artifacts?
I don’t think people today can even get their heads around the intelligence of some of our Founding Fathers. I look at the scribblings I write and compare them to the garbled English I see people use on the social media site Facebook and I wonder what kind of education those people got. Then I look at the things some of our Founders wrote, and compare it to what I write and I am ashamed to even think that I come close to the knowledge and writing skill they possessed.

At the top of my list of Founding Fathers is Thomas Jefferson; the knowledge that this one man possessed is absolutely mind boggling. James Madison, the so-called Father of our Constitution, wrote the following about Jefferson in a letter to Samuel Harrison Smith, “He was certainly one of the most learned men of the age. It may be said of him as has been said of others that he was a “walking Library,” and what can be said of but few such prodigies, that the Genius of Philosophy ever walked hand in hand with him.”

Over a century later, when President John F. Kennedy hosted 49 Nobel Prize winners at the White House, he is said to have commented, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House – with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

When Jefferson wrote something, he pondered each word, each sentence carefully; there was no wasted effort and no superfluous phrasing; he said what needed to be said, and he said it in such a way that it almost rang of poetry. I can only imagine how our Declaration of Independence may have sounded had they chosen anyone but Jefferson to write it.

When Jefferson sequestered himself away for the task assigned to him, he sought, not only to write a simple declaration stating that the Colonies sought independence and a list of the grievances against the King of England, he sought to write a formal declaration on the nature of our rights and the reasons for which governments exist, and those by which governments can be altered or torn down.

Even so, when Jefferson presented his first draft to the Committee of Five, they edited it down by nearly one fourth; as they felt some of what he had written would cause some delegates to the Congress to oppose it.

For instance, in his original draft Jefferson stated, “…he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither…”, thereby laying the blame for slavery at the feet of the King of England. Regardless of what was edited out, and how the sentence structure was altered, a final document was prepared and ready for the Congress to receive or reject.

I wonder if people today think about what took place in the days immediately preceding the voting to seek independence; do they think the delegates just unanimously decided, “Hey, we’ve had enough of old King George. Let’s write up a quick document declaring our independence and get on with it.” Is that what people think took place? I often think that is exactly what people think.

There were many in attendance who did not want independence, and when it came time to vote on Jefferson’s document they voted against it. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania voted against it, as did James Duane, Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York. Carter Braxton, Robert Morris, George Reed and Edward Rutledge opposed it, but voted in favor to give the impression of unanimous consent.

Many an impassioned argument was heard by the members in attendance; both for and against independence. One of the most memorable ones, at least for me, came from John Adams, who stated, “Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there’s a Divinity that shapes our ends…Why, then, should we defer the Declaration?…You and I, indeed, may rue it. We may not live to see the time when this Declaration shall be made good. We may die; die Colonists, die slaves, die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold.

“Be it so. Be it so.

“If it be the pleasure of Heaven that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready…. But while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.”

In closing out this segment I would like to leave you with a few final words. I could have provided a few sundry quotes from the Declaration of Independence, but that would not do what Jefferson accomplished true justice. You need to find some time alone and sit down and read what Jefferson wrote and let it sink down into your hearts. You need to feel the soundness of his reasoning and let the truth of his words rise up in your breasts until you too understand the foundation upon which everything America was to stand for would be built.

And at the same time you must remember the solemnity of the occasion when the delegates were called upon to vote for or against Jefferson’s creation. Thirty five years after the vote was taken, and independence gained, Dr. Benjamin Rush sat down to write about that memorable day in a letter to John Adams, stating, “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress, to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?”

That, above all things, is what you must remember about the day which saw 56 delegates vote to make America a free country; that they did so at the risk of everything they had. What they did showed the degree to which they were willing to stand up for their beliefs and a level of courage that is, if you ask me, relatively non-existent in this country today.

For better or worse the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence had burnt all bridges, there was no going back to the way things were; they would either gain their independence or they would die on the battlefields or the gallows.

Stay tuned for Part 5…

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If I Were To Show This At Work, I’d Get Fired

For the past few nights, the company I work for has been packing 25 pound cases of pitted prunes for the Food and Drug Administration. What they intend to do with them once they are shipped to them is something no one seems to know. I’m assuming the employees at the FDA aren’t going to eat them themselves, so that means they will probably be part of some program where they are handed out to those in need; both here in the U.S. and abroad. I was told last night that this order will take approximately 170 shifts to complete; so it must be huge, because last night we packed over 3,000 cases.
This is not the first time that the company I work for has gotten a contract from the FDA; a few years back they got a contract from the FDA to pack prunes in cartons that took months to complete.

In both instances the FDA sent one of their bean counters to ensure that the quality of the fruit and packaging is up to government standards. While I’m certain the company is getting a hefty profit off this contract, it has taken all my will power not to confront the FDA bean counter and ask him where in the Constitution does it authorize the agency he works for to purchase fruit from a privately owned company and then turn around and give it out to those in need. In fact, I would take my question one step further and ask him where in the Constitution is the justification for the Food and Drug Administration found.

The only thing stopping me is that if I did I would probably lose my job; and then I’d have to deal with the wrath of my wife because my political beliefs caused us to lose half our income stream.

Since I cannot tell for certain the intended use of hundreds of thousands of cases of pitted prunes, I’m going on the assumption that they will be given away in some form of government benefit program; or charity. Does the FDA know, or care that charity is not among the powers given our government? Do the people who work on the line that packs the fruit for the FDA know that charity is no part of the authorized powers given our government?

In a 1794 speech before the House of Representatives, James Madison, (the purported Father of our Constitution), stated, “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the State governments whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

So technically, if we are to go under the assumption that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, what the FDA is doing is illegal. I wonder if anyone has given any thought to the justification behind an agency such as the Food and Drug Administration; I mean where in the Constitution does it authorize their existence as a federal regulatory agency?

As the company I work for sells its products across State and international boundaries, an argument could be made that the federal government has a certain degree of regulatory authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3) The Commerce Clause declares that Congress shall have the power, “…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among several States, and with the Indian Tribes…” The key question here is twofold; what is meant by the word regulate, and how far may our government extend its authority in the ‘regulation’ of commerce?

I have heard the argument that the word ‘regulate’ simply means to make regular. In researching the Commerce Clause I found no definition for the word regulate which defines it solely as making something regular.

At the time our Constitution was written it was understood that the power to regulate commerce included the authority to impose restrictions and tariffs upon certain goods, and ban others completely if they were found to be harmful or dangerous to the people of the United States. Using that as a baseline, I suppose I could accept the need for an agency whose area of expertise is food quality be established to ensure that a company in one State is not shipping out food that could pose a possible health risk to others.

Now could it be that the FDA is acting solely as an intermediary to inspect the food that our government is purchasing for whatever intended use it has for these prunes? That may very well be the case, but it does not take away from the fact that our government does not have the constitutional authority to purchase food from a private company and then give it away to others. All it can do is to ensure that the food being shipped across State lines, or overseas, meets certain standards of quality and safety.

The history of the Food and Drug Administration dates back as far as 1848, when Louis Caleb Back was appointed to the patent office to carry out chemical analysis of agricultural products. In 1862, the newly created Department of Agriculture inherited that function from the patent office. In 1906 Congress passed the Pure Food and Drugs Act which prohibited the interstate commerce in adulterated and misbranded food and drugs. In 1930 the FDA as we know it now came into existence as the government’s regulatory agency for the quality and safety of our nation’s food and drug supply.

I’m not saying I support the existence of such an extensive agency that employs over 14,000 people and whose budget exceeds $4 billion annually, but I can see how people could see the need for such an agency.

Now I’m not trying to stir up shit at my workplace, I’m only trying to get people to think about just one instance in which our government is exceeding its just authority as found in the Constitution. I could just as easily have spoken about our government’s unlawful foreign aid; where billions of tax dollars are spent in foreign countries for aid, relief, military assistance, education, and the creation of jobs for struggling nations. That too is equally unconstitutional; I was only using the example of the FDA inspector in the plant I work in as a single example of the extent to which our government has overstepped the authority given it back in 1789 when it first went into operation.

I know my opinion doesn’t mean diddly squat in the grand scheme of things; I’m just a pissant employee who is expected to perform like a machine; exhibit superhuman feats of strength and endurance without ever getting tired or hurt, but if this were my company and the government came knocking on my door with a lucrative contract in hand, I’d have something to say to them. I would tell whomever it was, “I know the Constitution doesn’t mean much to you people in Washington D.C., but it is the only reason you as a government exist, and I’ll be damned if I will participate in selling fruit to you; an act which clearly oversteps the authority given you by the people who wrote and ratified the Constitution all those years ago. So take your business elsewhere; I’m sure there are many unscrupulous companies that don’t care what the Constitution says, but we aren’t one of them.”

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This Is Why I Continue To Harp About The Civil War

I was asked the other day why I write so much about the Civil War. I suppose that’s a fair question, but had this person read any of the articles I have written on the subject, and had they been able to think, they may have figured it out for themselves. Seeing how neither of those two conditions were met I suppose I should explain why I harp so much about the lies you have been taught regarding the period known as the Civil War, and the period immediately following it, known as the Reconstruction Era.

Typically in a war one side declares war on the other and initiates hostilities. In the case of the Civil War, which side declared war? The South issued no formal declaration of war against the North; and if you’re thinking Fort Sumter was sufficient to justify the North’s building an army to attack the South you must ask yourself, did the South exist as a separate nation or was it still part of the Union and therefore the firing upon Ft Sumter was an attack against the Union.

The reason you must answer that question will become apparent later, but before you continue reading, answer this: When South Carolina fired upon Fort Sumter was it still part of the United States or was it part of a different nation; The Confederate States of America?

Aside from Fort Sumter, did the government of the Confederacy declare war on the North? The answer is a resounding NO; they simply left the Union and hoped to exist peacefully as their neighbors.

Therefore, the next obvious question is, did the North declare war upon the South? Again, the answer is no; there was no formal declaration of war issued by Congress stating that a state of war existed between the North and South.

The war began when Lincoln raised an army to invade the South and force their adherence to the Union. In fact, Lincoln never believed they had lawfully left the Union; that they were still members of it and that they were merely in a state of rebellion against the authority of the federal government.

The South viewed the war from a different perspective. It felt that it had done the exact same thing the original 13 Colonies had done, issued declarations of secession which were similar in nature to the Declaration of Independence. If you believe in the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence then you must believe that a State, or group of States, held the right to leave a voluntary union of States if the government of that union ceased to respect their sovereignty, their rights, and sought to oppress them. If you do not believe that, then you SHOULD NOT celebrate Independence Day; July 4.

What I’m trying to get you to see is that the views people have today on the Civil War are primarily based upon the outcome of the actual conflict; not the principles which led to the war. Had our Founders lost the war to Great Britain they too might be viewed by historians in the same light as the Confederacy is now viewed. But they won, and therefore they are considered patriots and heroes. In the case of the Civil War, the Confederacy lost, and therefore they are viewed as the ‘bad guys.’ But the principle they fought for was the same principle our Founders fought for in our war for independence; the right to sever the ties which bound them to an oppressive government and to establish a system of government that would best secure their rights and prosperity.

Our Constitution was a compact between the States, ratified by the people of the States in the various ratification assemblies which gave the central government certain powers; while the States retained all other powers. If the government was created by an act of the people, and if it was given certain specific powers, then does it not make sense that should the government overstep their just authority and make a tyrannical use of their authority, that a State should retain the right to return to its former status as an independent entity with no ties to a government that seeks to oppress them?

In fact, Virginia clearly stated that, “…in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.”

Where in the Constitution or Bill of Rights does it say that the government that document establishes can use force to compel a State to remain in the Union? It does say that it has the authority to call forth the militia to suppress insurrections, but an insurrection is rebellion against established authority of those States that are part of the Union. Technically the Southern States were no longer a part of the Union; having issued their declarations of secession; so by what authority did Lincoln raise his army and invade another sovereign nation?

Had Lincoln not raised an army and sent it across the Potomac there would have been no war. Had Lincoln abandoned all federal holdings on Southern soil to the States and not sought to resupply them there would have been no shots fired at Ft. Sumter and there would have been no war. Can you not see this?

When our government was first created it was established to represent two distinctly different entities; the great body of the people and the sovereign entities known as the States. If you had read Madison’s notes on the constitutional convention you would have seen how extensively this point was argued; and how close it came to shutting the convention down due to the conflicting beliefs over State Sovereignty under the proposed system of government they were attempting to establish.

The very nature of the Republic our Founders did establish is that government exists to represent those who select the members that comprise it; and it is bound by written law to confine its actions to the specific purposes for which it was established.

The laws passed by our government were only supreme over the States when they were in pursuance of the specific powers granted government by the Constitution. (See Article 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution) Although there were differing beliefs, beliefs which led to the formation of the first political parties as to whether or not the Constitution should be firmly adhered to or loosely interpreted, the fact is that the man responsible for our Constitution, James Madison, once said, “With respect to the two 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 creators.”

In Federalist 45 James Madison expands upon that by saying, “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.”

To cap it all off, a Constitutional Amendment was ratified which 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.”

I think that makes it pretty clear that the powers given our government were for specific purposes and that to exceed them was a clear violation of the trust given government by those it represented; the people and the States.

It is this belief which led a sitting Vice-President to write the following in opposition to the laws signed by the President, “…that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] 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…” (See the Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson)

As government was established to be a representative body, it’s will was not the determining factor in deciding what laws it could enact and what it could impose upon those it represented; the Constitution was. Furthermore, as Jefferson also stated in his Kentucky Resolutions, “…and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”

If the government was given its authority by the consent of the people, for specific powers only, then when it oversteps its authority then cannot those who created government undo what they had done and abolish government? Therefore, if the States agreed to be a part of a union that would be governed by strict rules as to what their system of government could do, and then that government turned around and enacted laws which benefitted one portion of the nation at the expense of another, would it not be within their authority to remove themselves from such a situation?

As a representative body the government held absolutely no authority to compel obedience to unjust laws or compel adherence to a Union that was harmful to the interests of the States. When Lincoln raised an army to invade the South he sought to impose governments will upon those who created government. By this act he sought to elevate government from a position of being a servant to those it represented to their master.

It is this crucial point that you must understand if you are to understand why I harp so much on the importance of the Civil War. The real outcome of the Civil War was in the reversal of roles between government and those it governed; placing the servant of the people over the people who created government in the first place.

After Lincoln was assassinated the radical Republicans of Congress sought to punish the South for the war. They did so because it was their supporters, (the early special interest groups) who were most threatened by the secession of the Southern States. Had the South been allowed to secede a huge chunk of the money flowing into the treasury would have up and dried up; money that was being spent upon projects in the North which benefitted those special interests. Therefore they sought to punish the South for threatening their livelihood.

We are taught that the Reconstruction Acts were programs designed to help rebuild the South after the war. If I could choose the biggest lie I was ever taught in school, that would be the one; for it is a whopper. The Reconstruction Acts subjugated the South, divided it into military districts; each run by a former Union General. They declared that no one loyal to the Confederate States be allowed to hold any office or position; thereby eliminating almost every single person south of the Potomac River from holding any position. They also declared that before the States could return to their former status in the Union and be represented in Congress that they must ratify the 14th Amendment.

WAIT A MINUTE!!!!

Before they could return to their former status in the Union??? But, didn’t Lincoln believe they had never LEFT the Union; that they were only in a state of insurrection? How could Congress pass any law when there wasn’t a quorum of States in session in Congress?

Why is this so important? Well, it is important because of what the 14th Amendment did. Most believe the 14th Amendment was ratified to give rights to the slaves which had been freed by the 13th Amendment. That is another huge lie we have been taught. All the 14th Amendment did is place every man, woman and child into a state of servitude to the government.

So let’s take a moment to recap what I’ve just said. After the Civil War the Congress denied the people of the South a Republican form of government, a violation of Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution. How can they said to have had a Republican form of government when those governing them were not chosen by the people and they lived under military, (martial) law?

Then we have an amendment that was forced upon them before they would be allowed to resume their status as States of the Union; even though the government they had just fought a war against claimed they had never actually left the Union.

That all seems above board and legitimate to me…(And that was sarcasm by the way)

What the 14th Amendment did was create an entirely new category of citizen; the United States citizen. Prior to that there were only citizens of the States wherein the people resided. It also placed these United States Citizens under the jurisdiction of the government of the United States.
I don’t want to go into too much detail now, but by claiming to be a citizen of the United States, rather than a citizen of the State you reside, you are accepting the fact that you are a slave whose life, property, and labor is the price of your servitude.

What I have just explained only touches upon what really happened when Lincoln declared war upon the rights of a State to leave a voluntary union, and then afterwards the unlawfully amended 14th Amendment was accepted as part and parcel of our Constitution. I could write volumes on it, and even then I would only be touching upon the subject.

But in an attempt to sum it all up, the real outcome of the Civil War is that we saw our government go from one which was subservient to the will of the people and the States to one which became superior to the will of those who established it. It also saw the people go from a state of freedom to a state of bondage to where they were ‘subjects’ under the jurisdiction of a government of unlimited authority.

And this is where they get you, you believe you are free and that you have a representative form of government as established by the Constitution of 1787 because you are allowed to pick and choose those who hold positions within that government. Yet does that government confine itself to the powers granted it? Does it respect your rights? And finally, what happens when you resist the laws it passes?

You think you are free, but so does a cow who is free to wander the range and graze; but make no mistake about it, that cow belongs to the owner of the herd and will eventually be led to the slaughterhouse. Such is your status right now because you do not realize the importance of the Civil War and what happened to your true freedom; both during and after that conflict.

If people truly understood what happened both during and after the Civil War they would be hoisting Confederate Flags and burning the flag of the United States; they would be defacing statues and images of Northern leaders and Abraham Lincoln, not praising them as heroes who fought to free the slaves. Sure, the Civil War may have led to the emancipation of privately owned slaves, but what it ended up doing is turning the U.S. into one huge plantation which now has over 300 million slaves working for their federal and corporate masters.

THAT is why I harp so much on the Civil War; to dispel the lies you have been taught and open your eyes to what really happened.

You may be a ‘free range slave’ as I have taken to calling the people, but that can change if you stop believing the lie that by your voting anything is going to change. You see, there is one crucial point those in power do not want you to know; that being that even though they are tyrants their hold on you only exists because you continue to believe the lie. The more people learn the truth, the more their power over us lessens. If enough people were to learn the truth and simply withdraw their support for our government, then maybe, just maybe we would have a chance of restoring our Republic to the one established in 1789.

But that’s a big maybe…

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Regardless of What You’ve Been Taught (These Do Not Mean What You Think They Do)

By April of 1775 the tensions between the Colonies and the Crown had reached a breaking point, and when the Kings men arrived at Lexington and Concord to confiscate the arms stored there they were met with locals who had grabbed whatever guns they had and assembled to prevent the Redcoats from taking their cache of arms. So it was that on that early April morning, just as the sun was rising, that America’s War for Independence began. So it was that on that early April morning a ragtag group of farmers, shopkeepers and merchants faced off against 500 of the most well trained and disciplined fighters on the planet. So it was that on this early April morning, that although these men were technically committing treason, they would go down into history books as patriots and heroes.

Why is that?

I’m certain that some of you have heard the saying that, “To the victor go the spoils.” Well, there is another lesser known saying that I’d like to share with you, “History is written by the victors.” I know that Winston Churchill said this, but someone else said something very similar long before Churchill ever uttered those words. In the year 1864, Major General Patrick Cleburne, of the Confederate States of America said the following, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war…”

Two wars, less than a century apart, both with distinctly similar characteristics; and in one those who stood up to their government are viewed as patriots and heroes, and the other they are viewed as traitors and their cause scorned and ridiculed by those alive a century and a half later. What is the difference between the two which causes people to view them differently? Well it’s simple, in one instance those who stood up to their government prevailed, and in the other they were defeated.

What do you know about the Civil War; and more importantly, how did you come into possession of this knowledge? Did you learn what you know from a few chapters in a history book from back when you were in school? Did you learn it from some TV documentary or film?

How do you know that you are in possession of the truth? You might believe that you are in possession of the truth, but that is only because you refuse to accept evidence which proves that what you have been told or taught is a lie. If you could put aside your emotions over the issue of slavery and examine the facts, you would see that there was more to the Civil War than just the institution of slavery.

Are you aware that 15 months passed from the time the first shots of the American Revolution were fired before the delegates to the Second Continental Congress voted for and adopted the Declaration of Independence? Are you aware that when the delegates to the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence there were more slaves in the Colony of New York than there were in any individual Colony in the South? Are you aware that Confederate General Robert E. Lee emancipated his slaves before the Civil War, but that Union General and future President Ulysses S. Grant kept his until he was forced to free them by the 13th Amendment? Are you aware that many a prominent New England family grew quite wealthy off the profits they made transporting slaves from Africa to be sold in the slave markets up and down the New England coast? Are you aware that when Thomas Jefferson wrote his original draft of the Declaration of Independence he blamed the King of England for the institution of slavery, saying, “…he has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating it’s most sacred rights of life & liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither.”

No, you probably were not aware of these things; simply because they were not in your history books or in the films and documentaries you’ve watched on the Civil War. Now tell me again how you think you know the whole story regarding the Civil War!

Let me tell you another story; something else you probably did not learn in your history class. In your studies, did the name Anthony Johnson ever pop up? Anthony Johnson was an Angolan who was captured by a neighboring tribe and sold to Arab slave traders. He eventually was sold to a merchant in the employ of the Virginia Company; a British company whose primary interest was in establishing profitable colonies in the Americas.

In 1621 Johnson arrived in Virginia and was sold to a planter named Bennett to work on a tobacco plantation as an indentured servant. Now it is at this point that I would like to differentiate between an indentured servant and a chattel slave. An indentured servant can work their servitude off over the course of time; typically depending upon the cost paid for them versus the work they perform for the person they are sold to. A chattel slave, on the other hand, while they may be freed, is not guaranteed freedom; no matter how long they serve in bondage. A chattel slave may live and die their entire life in bondage; never knowing freedom.

Sometime prior to 1647 Johnson, and another slave named Mary he had married, obtained their freedom; as the records from 1647 list him as a free negro when he purchased a calf in that year. When Johnson paid off his indentured servitude he was granted 250 acres of land under the headright system; a program in which former indentured servants were granted land to work for themselves. Johnson obtained his land when he purchased the contracts of five other indentured servants; four of which were white.

In 1654, after one of his indentured servants had signed another contract of indenture with another farmer, Johnson sued to get his slave back. The court originally ruled in favor of the other farmer, Robert Parker, but Johnson appealed and the ruling was overturned; marking it the first time that a court of the New England Colonies had held that a person could be held in servitude for life; and owner of the slave was a black man.

I tell you this because many of the people I know who take offense at the images and personages who represent the Confederacy believe that slavery was solely a white crime against blacks. If you were to dig you would find that there are many instances of freed slaves turning around and purchasing slaves of their own. Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry are perfect examples of blacks owning slaves. These two lived in what is now Charlestown, South Carolina, and between them they owned 168 slaves. Then there was C. Richards of New Orleans who ran a sugar plantation. She was a black woman who owned 152 slaves. Then there is the Pendarvis family of South Carolina, also black, who ran a rice farm in South Carolina who owned 123 slaves.

I’m not for a minute trying to justify slavery; I’m only attempting to show you that it was not solely a white on black crime and if your attitude towards the Confederacy is based solely upon slavery you may want to rethink your position.

Are you also aware that 3 years before our Constitution was written, and the issue of slavery in America brushed under the carpet for posterity to deal with, that Thomas Jefferson suggested gradual emancipation of the slaves; training them in skills and then colonizing them outside the United States?
Now you may find this prejudiced, but Jefferson had his reasons for wanting to colonize them outside the U.S. In his Notes on the State of Virginia Jefferson states, “It will probably be asked, Why not retain and incorporate the blacks into the state, and thus save the expence of supplying, by importation of white settlers, the vacancies they will leave? Deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.”

Now you may find that to be racist, and I won’t hold it against you if you do. But consider this, Abraham Lincoln also considered numerous plans to colonize the black slaves outside the United States.

A couple other facts you probably weren’t taught in history class. The day before Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation he affixed his name to a contract with an unscrupulous venturer named Henry Knox, (no relation to the General who fought under the command of George Washington during the Revolution), who planned to colonize 5,000 black men, women and children to an island off the coast of Haiti. Although nothing came of it, it shows that Lincoln too considered colonizing them instead of allowing them to remain in the United States.

In fact, both Lincoln and Jefferson felt that there were distinct differences between the white and black man and that in some ways the black man could never be equal to the white. I cannot quote the entire comments Jefferson makes regarding the difference between the two races, but they are easily found if you do a web search for Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14; but be forewarned, Jefferson’s comments are rather lengthy. Abraham Lincoln, on the other hand, was more pithy, “I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Again, do not construe my showing Lincoln’s comments while refraining from showing Jefferson’s as an attempt to paint Lincoln in a bad light. I did so only because Lincoln’s comments fit into a single paragraph and Jefferson’s would have taken up several pages. Both felt similar towards the differences between blacks and whites; yet it is Lincoln and his war to end slavery that you are taught in school, when there was much more to it than just the fate of the institution of slavery at stake.

When the finalized draft of the Declaration of Independence was presented to the Second Continental Congress, the words penned by Jefferson, and edited and amended by a committee which included John Adams and Ben Franklin, were first heard by the delegates who would decide the course the Colonies would take; reconciliation with the Crown, or a complete and total severance of all ties which bound them to the authority of the King and Parliament.

The Declaration of Independence may rightly be called the birth certificate of the United States; as prior to it being voted upon and adopted the Colonies were still holdings of the Crown; and it wasn’t until they adopted what that document says, and then paid for the principles it contains with 7 years of war, that America became a nation unto itself.

The Declaration of Independence states that governments derive their just authority from the consent of the governed. Unless you are over the age of 104 there is not an American alive today who has lived when our government represented both the people and the States as co-equal partners in the legislative authority. Sure, they go by the name of State Senators, but they are chosen by the people and therefore do not represent the State as a sovereign entity.

The Declaration of Independence also states that “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…” While this may not say that the States retain the right to remove themselves from the Union created by the Constitution, a look at the thoughts of the person who penned the Declaration of Independence may show that this concept was accepted as being the right of any State. In his first Inaugural Address, President Thomas Jefferson states, “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

In fact, just a bit over a decade prior to the onset of the Civil War, a young politician stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and made the following comments, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, most sacred right- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to excercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own, of so much territory as the inhabit.” The name of this young politician is Abraham Lincoln.

When the Southern States seceded from the Union they did so with the greatest of reluctance. They did not take the decision to leave the Union any less lightly than our Founders took the decision to sever the ties which bound them to the Crown. Yet they believed, as did our Founders, “…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.”

When the Southern States declared their independence from the Union, Abraham Lincoln violated the Constitution by calling for an army of 75,000 to be raised to invade these States in rebellion against the authority of the government of which he was the head of.

That right there is the cause of the Civil War, the fact that Abraham Lincoln sought to retain the control exercised by the government over the component parts of the Union, and any who threatened to leave this Union would be dealt with by force. The South sought no conquest or riches, they sought only to be left alone to govern themselves as they saw fit. The South did not invade the North, the North invaded the South.

In fact, it wasn’t until Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers that Virginia chose to secede. Governor Letcher’s response to Secretary of War Simon Cameron states, “Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South.”

Let us now consider what I’ve discussed. In 1776 thirteen colonies decided that they had suffered enough under their government and they chose to declare their independence. Eighty five years later the legislatures of 11 States decided that they had suffered long enough under the oppression of their government and sought their independence.

The Crown sought to retain possession of their Colonies just as Abraham Lincoln sought to retain control over the 11 seceded States. If you believe that Lincoln began this war to free the slaves held in the Southern States, you better review your history. In his Inaugural Address Lincoln states, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

In his letter to Horace Greeley, Lincoln states, “I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”

Even his esteemed Emancipation Proclamation only freed the slaves in the areas he held no authority; the areas in the seceded States still under control of the Confederacy. It did nothing to free the slaves in areas held by Union Forces or those held in bondage in Northern States.

If the Civil War was fought over slavery, why didn’t Lincoln come out and say so directly; why the effort to say that slavery was not his reasons for engaging in war against those States which had exercised the same prerogative as had our Founders, and which he himself had espoused 13 years earlier as a member of the House of Representatives?

The war itself was fought because the government of the United States raised an army and invaded the sovereign and independent Confederate States of America. It matters not what their reasons were for seceding, the fact is that they left the Union in peace and it was the North who initiated hostilities against them.

In his book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, author James McPherson tells of “A single ragged Confederate who obviously didn’t own any slaves was asked by a group of Yankee soldiers why he was fighting. The Rebel responded, I’m fighting because you are here.”

That is why the Civil War was fought, because the North invaded the South; an act of war by one sovereign nation against another. You can say what you will about their reasons for leaving the Union, but if you believe in the Declaration of Independence and what it stands for, then you MUST accept that the South had the right to sever ties with the Union and form their own system of government.

That is why Jefferson Davis never stood trial for treason against the United States, because the government could never allow the question of a States right to secede be put to the test of a trial by jury; for it was still held that it was a State’s right to do so and the North would have then been forced to shoulder the blame for the death of over half a million people and millions in devastation and destruction.

Whether or not you choose to accept these facts, as I have presented them to you, is entirely up to you. But know this, the only difference between our American Revolution and the Civil War is that in our revolution those fighting for freedom and independence won, and in the Civil War those fighting to subjugate and oppress won. That’s the only difference, and the sooner you realize that you can move on and realize that no American has truly been free since Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.

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In Honor of Ben Franklin

In 1773 Benjamin Franklin published an essay in The Public Advertiser; a local newspaper run by Henry Sampson Woodfall. Franklin’s essay was a work of satire and a companion piece to another he had written; An Edict by the King of Prussia. Taken together, the two works were designed to show the fallacy of the Crowns views towards the English Colonies in America.

Three years after Ben Franklin published the piece I speak of, America declared its independence from Great Britain. Seven years later a treaty of peace was signed, relinquishing all claims to the Colonies held by the Crown; recognizing each of them as free and independent States. That was 1783 and the America of 2017 would be unrecognizable to those who fought for and obtained their independence in 1776.

Much has changed in the 234 years of our nation’s existence; technologies have advanced making everything from the simple task of writing letters to the cooking of our food much easier. But it is not only technology which has changed; our attitudes and beliefs have changed as well. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again; if any of our Founding Fathers were alive today, and running for political office, there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell they could win an election. Think about that for a few minutes, would you? If the people who fought for our independence, then later went on to establish our system of government couldn’t get elected in today’s political climate, what does that say about the views and beliefs held by those who do the voting in America today?

Our Founders lived in an era that didn’t have the comfort and endless options for entertainment that we enjoy today. One of the differences was in the way in which they communicated with each other; they didn’t have cell phones, e-mail, and Facebook in which they could just tap out a quick message to others; they had to resort to writing letters the old fashioned way, with quill pens and paper.

One of the most prolific of the letter writers was Thomas Jefferson; writing hundreds, if not thousands of letters; sharing his ideas on politics and governance. In one such letter to Spencer Roane, Jefferson stated the following, “Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.” (March 9, 1821)

I have lived for just over half a century now; and during my short lifetime I have watched as principles became corrupted, or ignored. I can only imagine what the Founders of our nation would think if they could see America today. If you ask me, I think it would break their hearts to see the widespread corruption of the principles they left for us to adhere to. I think if they could see what has become of this country they would, to a one, be saying, “What are we wasting our time for if this is what is to become of the country whose independence we are fighting for?”

It is with that in mind that I write the following piece, based upon Franklin’s Rules by Which a Great Empire May be Reduced to a Small One. Franklin’s essay may have been written in the spirit of satire, which Franklin was a master of; while I may use satire, mine will be based more upon the key things I believe have led to our current situation and status.

An Open Letter to the People of the United States:

America is a great and mighty nation; just ask most people and they will readily tell you so. They will tell you it is the greatest nation on the planet due to the freedom that it offers those who come here and choose to make America their home. Our elected leaders tell us that America is great; that is why we must strive to install democracies in all that lands of the world that have not achieved our own wisdom and understanding. It seems to matter little that the average person does not know that America itself is not a democracy; it is, or it at least it was a Republic. Our President, every year, stands before Congress and tells us that the state of our nation is STRONG; never once mentioning that we are so far in debt that we will never see daylight again.

But hey, maybe that’s why Ronald Reagan was considered such a good president; because he made Americans feel so good about themselves and their country. Maybe it has become the job of politicians to keep the illusion going; to keep people from seeing their true status as serfs whose labor, taxes, and property are owned by their government. As von Goethe once said, “None are so hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” I think there is a great deal of truth in that statement.

In 1822 James Madison wrote the following in a letter to W.T. Barry, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

But what good is knowledge if it is not based upon fact? If one truly wanted to alter, or change the course of a nation, the easiest way would be to slowly change what people believed their country was all about; revise or replace its core principles and beliefs. It would then be an easy task to enslave those who were, in fact, the true masters of a country; thus fulfilling Goethe’s warning.

Most people hate studying history; I know I did in school. I couldn’t see the need to memorize names and dates of certain events; I could not see how that would benefit me in later years. In a way, I was right; history is not simply the memorization of names and dates, it is the recorded story of the events themselves; who participated in them, where they took place and so much more. However, the history we are taught was written by other men; some of whom were not even alive when the events they write about transpired. Therefore, history is subject to revision by people who hold certain prejudices and want to portray it in a manner which leans towards their views.

Let me give you a quick example. Up until recently our Founders were put upon pedestals and held the lofty position of heroes from the past that fought for America’s independence. That is what we were taught, and it is what we believed all our lives. The British, on the other hand, were considered the ‘bad guys’ the ones who sought to tyrannize and oppress the Colonists. Again, this is what we were taught.

But if you think about it, the Colonies were British possessions, and therefore the Crown had the obligation to protect them from other nations; such as France and Spain. Shouldn’t the Colonists share in the burden of paying for that protection? Why then the violent reaction to the Stamp Act; which was the first major act performed by Parliament which culminated in the American Revolution?

You see, any true study of history requires that you put aside all you have been taught and see things from both perspectives. In history there is always two sides to a story, maybe more. There was the Colonists vs. the Redcoats in our Revolution; there was the North vs. the South in the Civil War; and there were the Federalists vs. the Anti-Federalists in the contest to ratify our Constitution. To know what really occurred you need to learn what motivated both sides and what thoughts they had on the cause they fought for.

Therefore, if you control what history people are taught, you control what they believe their country stands for. You may as well have taken a page out of Orwell and establish the Ministry of Truth; where history is whatever the government tells us it is.

I find history to be fascinating; it is full of little tidbits of information that make the hours spent studying it worth every second. For instance; did you know that the longest Inaugural Address ever given was by William Henry Harrison; clocking in at one hour and forty five minutes? Did you know that within a month Harrison died from pneumonia because he delivered his Inaugural Address without wearing a hat or a coat in the middle of a snowstorm?

Did you know that after being shot in the chest by a would-be assassin, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a 90 minute speech before he allowed himself to be taken to the hospital to have the bullet removed?

Did you know that Robert E. Lee freed his slaves before the start of the Civil War, but that Ulysses S. Grant did not free his until he was forced to by the ratification of the 13th Amendment?

Did you know that Rhode Island played no role in forming our Constitution; as the State Legislature refused to send delegates to the convention?

Did you know that two New York delegates, Robert Yates and John Lansing left the constitutional convention in July, leaving Alexander Hamilton alone as the sole representative from the State of New York? Did you know that John Lansing disappeared off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again?

I didn’t learn these facts in school; I learned them because I dug into the history of this country with a passion. I constantly hear from some that they don’t have the time to spend studying history and politics like I do. Rubbish; it’s a matter of what is important to you. If you cared you would make the time. If you don’t care then you can wallow in ignorance and be easily lied to and manipulated like the puppets you are; it’s that simple.

Another way in which a nation can be brought to its knees is by taking from the people their belief that they are responsible for providing for all their needs; their self-sufficiency and self-reliance. If you can convince them that their needs are the obligation of government, or society, you create a cycle of dependence which is difficult, if not impossible to break.

This is something I have witnessed happen over the course of my own lifetime. When I was growing up it was shameful for a breadwinner to seek government assistance of any kind; it was a mark of failure on their part to admit that they needed help from the government to feed their family. Now look at all the benefits that are available, and readily availed of by families who have forgotten what it means to be self-reliant.

Our kids are taught in schools that they are special, that they deserve a living; and that if they don’t achieve it on their own, then society owes it to them. How different that is from when I was growing up and we were taught that the key to success was hard work. Hard work was rewarded by pay increases, or promotions; now in many instances, pay increases are the same across the board no matter how hard you work; and promotions are available based upon seniority, not job performance.

And it is not only work ethics which have suffered under this ideology; it is the belief that what is ours is our responsibility to protect. Look at how people answer the question of what they would do if an intruder broke into their home to see that we have created a society where most believe it is the duty of government; i.e. law enforcement to provide protection for us and our possessions. Those who take that responsibility upon themselves are looked upon with scorn for ‘taking the law into their own hands.’ Not only that, in many instances the law has been written which makes it a crime, under certain circumstances, to use deadly force to protect what is rightfully yours. How can that be if we are truly free and among our freedoms is the right to protect what belongs to us?

And the final way in which a country can be destroyed from within is to deprive it of any sense of morality. When a people aren’t taught that there is good and evil, right and wrong, then anything is acceptable.

Now I know this will offend some, but the best way to instill a sense of morality in the people of a nation is through an adherence to the teachings of Jesus Christ. I know that our Constitution declares that no religious test be required for those seeking office; but that does not mean that our country wasn’t founded by men of strong religious beliefs; it was. Throughout the writings of those men who participated in our country’s battle for independence and the establishment of its system of government there are numerous references to their belief in God and how providence played a strong role in America becoming the free and independent nation it did.

In a 1792 letter, George Washington states, “I am sure that never was a people, who had more reason to acknowledge a Divine interposition in their affairs, than those of the United States; and I should be pained to believe that they have forgotten that agency, which was so often manifested during our Revolution, or that they failed to consider the omnipotence of that God who is alone able to protect them.”

In his Defense of the Constitutions of Government in the United States, John Adams writes, “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If ‘Thou shalt not covet’ and ‘Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.”

In his Summary View of the Rights of British America, Thomas Jefferson writes, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

I know that today people believe in this impenetrable wall of separation between church and state, but they misunderstand Jefferson’s intent when he used those words in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. Jefferson was promising them that the government would not seek to hinder them from worshiping as they saw fit.

The First Amendment guarantees us the right to worship when and how we see fit. It does not prohibit us from having religious discussion or prayer in schools; it only seeks to prevent the government from establishing a national religion that all must adhere to; while leaving the people free to choose how they will worship, or whether they will worship at all.

Pay very close attention to the following, for in his Kentucky Resolutions Jefferson states, “One of the amendments to the Constitution… expressly declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,’ thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others.”

Did you get that; if you deny a person, or group the right to freely exercise their religion, you are denying them their freedom of speech. This whole idea that a person can have their rights taken from them simply because exercising them offends someone else is rubbish. Freedom of speech means freedom to say whatever I want as long as I don’t bring harm to another by my words. I am offended daily by the language I hear some people use but I can’t censor their speech simply because I don’t like what they say. Nor can they censor anyone else’s speech simply because religious discussion is offensive to them.

This is another area where change has occurred gradually over time. In fact, going back 170 some odd years, the Supreme Court held, “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles morality inculcated? … Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (Source: Vidal v. Girard’s Educators, 1844)

If you take away a nation’s morality then there is no respect for life or the law. Look at how many shootings we have today compared to when I was born in 1958. Look at how babies are viewed as disposable with abortion on demand. Look at how what we use to call queer is now accepted as normal behavior and any talk of how it violates God’s law is considered a hate crime.

But religion today is like politics, something we do once a week to make ourselves feel good about ourselves. If you compare religion to politics you’ll see we go to the polls and vote for candidates without knowing the first thing about the system of government we are electing them to, just as we go to church and listen to the words of a pastor, sing a few hymns, and then feel our obligation to God is fulfilled for the week without knowing what the Bible really tells us is our obligation to God if we wish to enter into His Kingdom.

I have heard all the arguments that say science has proven the Bible to be fiction, that there is no God. But you see, it doesn’t matter if that’s what you believe today, our Founder did believe in God and built a system that, for it to work, required that we adhere to the same fundamental beliefs they did. As Noah Webster once said, “No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

These are the three things I believe can bring down any nation; you first deprive the people of a knowledge of their country’s history, then you create in them a dependency upon the services government provides; and finally you take away their sense of morality. If you accomplish these three things any nation will crumble from within; without a shot ever being fired; and I see all three in existence in America today. That is why it won’t matter who you vote for, nothing is going to change until the people of this country return to the values and beliefs of the men who established it all those years ago.

I know I did not even come close to doing honor to the memory and words of Ben Franklin, but nonetheless this is dedicated more to him and his words than it is to the people today who will read and ignore it. At least he would have understood what I was trying to accomplish.

Neal Ross
Anno Domini 2017

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I Do Not Consent

There is a quote that has been attributed to the 18th Century Scottish Judge, Alexander Fraser Tytler, which states the progression which all great nations and empires undergo, “The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.” While there is some doubt that Tytler himself actually said that, it really doesn’t make much difference; somebody did, otherwise I would be finding references to it all over the internet.

Now if you were to apply that timeline, or progression, to America herself, you might find that it is pretty darned accurate. America began as 13 Colonies under the will and authority of whoever wore the Crown in Great Britain. While being a subject is not as bad as being a slave, it is still a form of bondage that binds you to the will of another.

Then our Founders underwent a change of sorts where they found a form of spiritual truths; that all political power is held by the people, and that government should be introduced to safeguard their rights. This led them to exhibit great courage; for it was no little matter for them to declare to their King that they would no longer be subject to his will. Nonetheless, when the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence placed their signatures on that document, they did so pledging their Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor.

This courage led them to obtaining their independence, and the liberty that accompanied it. They were now free to decide for themselves what type government they should have, and what powers it might exercise.

The liberty that was the thing our government was established to secure for the people led America to becoming a mighty nation; a nation of abundance and wealth. But then people became selfish; they sought not to choose for leaders those who would adhere to the Constitution, but those who would provide the most benefits for them.

This led to complacency; the willingness to suffer under unjust laws so long as the benefits kept coming. Complacency led to apathy; where the people no longer care about truth or justice. Apathy, of course, led to dependence. Don’t you find it strange how people panic when there is talk of a government shutdown? Why would people panic unless they were dependent upon government for something? A free person does not need government, or any of the services it provides, to live their life in happiness.

Which leaves us with but one final step; a return to bondage; and if you ask me, I’d say we are well on our way to that already.

Well let me tell you something right here and now; I do not consent to bondage in whatever guise it may come. I am a free man and no man or group of men hold any power or authority over me unless I have expressly given that power to them; which I have not!

Getting back to Tytler for a minute, how many of you truly understand the meaning of the word complacent? Simply stated, complacency is a lack of concern for or the awareness of certain dangers. Complacency is, more often than not, brought about by an overall ignorance of the people who exhibit it.

People have this misguided, and dangerous belief that government is their master, that they must obey whatever laws it enacts simply because it is the ‘government.’ Have you ever stopped to think about the meaning of the word governed? Being governed is having power and authority imposed upon you; being controlled in your thoughts or actions. If you cannot see that being governed is at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum from freedom, then there is absolutely no hope for you and you may as well enjoy your ignorance and your servitude.

Those whom we elect to hold political office ARE NOT our masters; they are our servants. We are the true masters in this country; you, me, the guy who delivers your mail, the person who fixes you car when it breaks down, and the person who stocks the shelves at your local WalMart.

I’m guessing that you are not aware that 4 years after our Constitution went into effect the Supreme Court held, “…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)

There’s that blasted word sovereignty again. I’m guessing that although people may think they have a rudimentary understanding of the meaning of the word sovereign, or sovereignty, they don’t fully realize the importance of it. The sovereign political authority of a nation is the supreme or absolute power from which all other power flows, or emanates.

I find it absolutely mind boggling that most people can’t grasp the simple concept that we are the sovereigns in this country, and that our government is under the obligation to obey the law which we have enacted governing their actions. I find absolutely no justification in the writings of our Founders for the belief that our government is supreme and that we must obey its will in all cases.

Are people so woefully ignorant that they cannot see that this is one of the things which led our Founders to seek their independence; that King George III and Parliament had sought to bind, by statute, the Colonists in all cases whatsoever? Can people not see that by consenting to this belief that the government is supreme and its authority absolute, they are consenting to the very belief which led our Founders to revolt?

I sometimes marvel at how people can read through documents from our nation’s history, but not allow them to form the basis of their opinions and beliefs. This belief in unquestioned submission to an arbitrary government is one of the things that have absolutely no basis in historical fact; yet people believe that to question, to resist government is unpatriotic.

Our Declaration of Independence states that government derives its authority from the consent of the people and that it is instituted to secure those rights, not annihilate them. The Preamble to our Constitution declares that it was We the People who ordained and established the Constitution.

Government did not simply will itself into existence, it came into existence when the plan for government was submitted to the people and they voted to accept the plan. Even then there were those who felt that there were insufficient safeguards for certain rights; so a Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution to protect those rights.

How is it that people can revere the Constitution as a historical document, but not care one whit that the specific Articles and Clauses found within it are violated daily by the government it establishes? How is it that the people can care so little for their rights that they allow government to enact law after law which violates them? Why is it that people submit to such tyranny without even recognizing it exists? How can it be that a people who claim to love liberty care more about sporting events and Social Media than they do about learning the true history of their country, or the principles upon which America was founded?

These are all questions that I ask myself when I see people scurrying about in their daily lives; and they are questions for which I have found no suitable answer.

If we truly are the sovereigns in this country, how is it that the minutest details of our lives are open to governmental intrusion and examination; yet they routinely classify things they do not want the public to see? If we truly are the sovereigns, how is it that those who represent us can enact law which restricts what type firearms we are allowed to keep and bear, and then turn around and give government the right to keep and bear the very arms it prohibits us from keeping and bearing?

Do you understand the meaning of the word consent; and I mean really understand it? Consent means to give permission for something. By drafting and ratifying a Constitution, we gave government permission to exist and enact laws for certain specific purposes. Our government was not one of wide reaching and unlimited authority.

In 1792, as a young member of the newly created House of Representatives, James Madison stood upon the floor and voiced the following in opposition to a bill granting bounties to Cod Fisheries, “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, everything, 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.” (My emphasis)

Well, I’m here to tell you that the principle of a limited government with few and defined powers has certainly been subverted! The thing is, nobody cares because nobody knows what the true powers given our government are; and even if you tell them they still don’t care.

You may not care, you may find bliss in your ignorance and your apathy, but I care and I DO NOT CONSENT to a government of unlimited authority that can restrict my rights just because the majority of the people think they should be restricted. I do not consent to having my wages taxed; just so they can be given to someone in need, or worse, given to some foreign country in the form of foreign aid. Do you hear me people; I DO NOT CONSENT!

That is why I no longer vote. You may think that by my not voting I lose all say in what our government does. Well, you’re partially correct in that I don’t care what goes on in government because I have withdrawn my consent for government itself. Were I to vote I would be tacitly giving my consent for government’s authority; which I don’t. I don’t recognize their authority because 99.9% of the things our government does exceed the powers given them by express consent of the people who established our form government back in 1789.

I may be forced to obey the laws this government enacts, but I do so under duress; and being under duress is NOT the state anyone lives in if they consider themselves free. I recognize that I am a slave, a serf, a tax paying cog in the wheel whose life and earnings are possessions of the bankers and corporate interests which have purchased the souls of those the people elect to represent them. I simply choose not to play the game of choosing which party will be my slave master. I may submit to their authority, to a certain extent, but I do not recognize their authority as being just, and I damn sure am not going to consent to it by voting.

That is also one of the reasons why I will no longer repeat the Pledge of Allegiance. I owe no allegiance to anyone but God; and certainly not to a government that has overstepped its legal authority and made a tyrannical use of the limited power originally bestowed upon it. Secondly, I refuse to pledge allegiance to the flag that was carried by the Army which sought to subjugate and subdue the people of the Confederate States of America; that last true vestige of truly constitutional government in America. I simply refuse to pledge allegiance to any symbol that represents tyranny and oppression.

If you call these things unpatriotic, I believe it is because you have no idea of what it really means to be a patriot. A patriot would NOT stand by while their rights were being taken from them. A true patriot would not vote for candidates who openly promise to do things which the Constitution forbids them from doing. A true patriot would not stand for party over principle.

You can call me whatever name you want and I will wear them as badges of honor; as I believe it is the overwhelming majority of people in this country who are the ones who are unpatriotic; for if they actually were patriots there would be elected officials hanging from lampposts across the nation for their crimes against the people and the Constitution which they all took an oath to support and defend.

Now that I’ve explained my position and views, maybe now you will understand why this quote from Samuel Adams means so much to me, “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.”

Patriotism is non-partisan; it is a loyalty and attachment to the principles upon which a country was founded. Therefore, as Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Well, if you weren’t so ignorant you might see that the government you give your consent to does not deserve your support.

Then again, what do I know; I’m a danger and a radical; right? Just keep in mind the words of H.L. Mencken, “The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.”

I’m absolutely certain that, in today’s political climate, that were there 1,000 Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry’s on the internet blogging about freedom and liberty that they would be on every government watch list and that the general public would view them as radicals and terrorists too.

That ought to cause any thinking person to question their views and positions. Unfortunately for America, there aren’t many who have been taught how to think, all they have been taught is that government deserves their support and their consent.

That’s okay consent to your government if you wish; just don’t expect me to. I will never consent to bondage; and if you were a true patriot, if you truly valued freedom and liberty like you claim to, neither would you.

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Tyranny Is Alive and Well In the US of A

I’m relatively certain that everyone realizes that when you break the law there is a penalty attached which you may have to pay if you are caught breaking the law to which the penalty is attached. This is true no matter if the law you break is a simple parking violation all the way up to first degree murder; the only difference is the severity of the penalty.

You may not agree with me on this, but the purpose of any justice system, especially OUR justice system, is to ensure that all are treated equally and fairly under the law, and to ensure that our rights are duly respected and protected. Bouvier’s Dictionary of Law defines justice as: The constant and perpetual disposition to render every man his due.

Now, based upon the writings of those who established our Republic all those years ago, each of us is endowed with certain unalienable rights, granted to us by our Creator. These rights are ours by virtue of us being human beings; they are not gifts or privileges granted us by our government. This is easily provable as at one point in time our government did not exist, and does this therefore mean that because government did not exist that those who lived BEFORE government had no rights?

Therefore, for a government to be just, for it to provide justice, it must strive to protect the rights of the people it governs. After all, that is one of the purposes for which our government was established. If you don’t believe me, just do a quick check of the Preamble to our Constitution and you’ll find that it states that two of the purposes for which our Constitution was written was to establish justice and secure the blessings of liberty to those who wrote it, and those who would follow in future generations; and what is liberty but the ability of the people to exercise their God-given rights.

Therefore, for any law to be just, for it to provide justice, it must seek either to protect the rights of the people, or to punish those who violate the rights of another. Any law passed which seeks to limit or restrict the ability of people to exercise their rights is therefore unjust, or in other words, unconstitutional; as it violates the spirit and intent for which our Constitution was written.

In 1850 Frederic Bastiat wrote the following, (and I want you to read and ponder it carefully), “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. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute.”

It is clear, therefore, that the purpose of law is threefold; to protect our lives, our liberty, and our property. Does it not make sense then that any law which serves an ulterior purpose is therefore unjust? If a law unjustly deprives a person of their life, their liberty, or their property, then the law itself becomes, as Jefferson said, the tyrants will.

Now I want to ask you a couple quick questions, and I hope you will think about your answers before you just blurt out an answer, and that you answer them honestly.

Question: Do you agree that those whose job it is to provide justice have the right to use force, even deadly force, to compel obedience to the law?

Question: Do you believe that our Constitution is, in fact, the Supreme Law of the Land?

Now I want to first address the second of these two questions, whether or not you believe the Constitution to be the Supreme Law of the Land. Article 6 of the Constitution states that it, and all laws passed in pursuance of it are in fact, the Supreme Law of the land. But the key point is the statement, “…in Pursuance thereof…”

You have to realize that the Constitution is nothing but a grant of power from the true sovereigns in a nation, (the people) to a government. Our Constitution clearly outlines the shape our government shall take, the specific duties of each branch, and the specific powers given to government as an entity to act on our behalf. It also has additional amendments which list certain rights which the government CANNOT, under any circumstance, pass laws to restrict.

Therefore, for our government to be just it must confine itself to the powers given it and it must ensure that each branch does not seek to usurp powers held by the other branches. In 1785 James Madison stated the following, “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.”

That is the criteria one should use when determining if their government is just or unjust; whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional. Not whether it provides things for you which the Constitution does not authorize it to, but whether each branch confines itself to its specific functions, and that it seeks to protect the rights of EVERY person living in the nation.

Now, to turn to the second of my two questions; if you believe that those whose job it is to enforce the law have the right to use force to compel obedience to the law, why can’t we, as those government derives its authority from, use force to compel its obedience to OUR LAW; i.e. the Constitution?

In 1788 Alexander Hamilton wrote, “It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience.” Yes, I know Hamilton was referring to the power of government to impose sanctions upon the States to compel their obedience to the laws it passes, but the principle remains the same whether the law in question was written by government to control the actions of the people, or written by the people to control the actions of their government.

So in what Article and Clause in the Constitution can one find the sanctions, or penalties, for those who violate it? You can either look for yourself, or you can take my word for it; there are none. Did you hear me, there are NONE; there is no mention made of how to punish those who violate the Supreme Law of the Land.

Doesn’t that seem a bit strange to you; that government can pass laws and impose all manner of penalties upon those who violate them, but we lack the reciprocal power to impose penalties upon those who violate the law we have enacted which limits the power and authority of our government?

I want you to think about this, SWAT can kick in your door, subdue you, and search your home based solely upon their suspicions that you may be guilty of violating any of the myriad laws which government has passed which say what is and is not legal for us to do. Yet were 50 heavily armed men barge into Congress, based upon legitimate concern that what Congress was doing overstepped its legal authority, how would you personally react? I’m pretty sure I could guess; you’d be outraged and call them lawbreakers or terrorists.

Even if you didn’t, even if you felt that the people have the right to hold those they elect accountable for violating the Constitution, what judge, what prosecutor would try them for their crimes? And yet you tell me we have justice in America? If that’s the case, I’d sure like to see some of it imposed upon those who take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, only to turn around and ignore the limits it imposes upon their actions.

This is a non-partisan issue; the violations of our Constitution and the infringements upon our rights are committed by both sides of the political spectrum. Yet the people of this country often turn their heads when their party is guilty of these crimes, then turn around and get up on their soapbox, all high and mighty with righteous indignation when the ‘other’ party commits the very same offenses. Where is the consistency, the integrity when it is okay for the law to be broken simply because it is your party which is breaking it? Where do you see justice for those whose liberty and/or property are taken from them due to the unjust laws your government enacts?

Try answering that, and then justifying your continued support of government; in the same sentence if you can.

Before George Washington placed his hand upon a Bible and repeated the oath of office to become the first president under our Constitution, there were those who foresaw the dangers this Constitution posed to us and our liberty. They saw the flaws contained within the document and how it provided us with no true means to defend against those who would violate it.

On June 7, 1788 Patrick Henry argued to the Virginia delegates to the Ratifying 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.”

He was certainly right in his fears, there are no laws by which we can punish even the grossest of violations of the Constitution; and those we elect certainly haven’t taken any measures to censure and limit their own power and authority; in fact the reverse is true.

Henry’s fears can best be summed up by something he’d said two days prior, “My great objection to this Government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants.”

You might say, “But Neal, we don’t have tyranny in America.” To which I will reply, “That is because you do not understand what tyranny is.” Tyranny is not a bunch of jack booted thugs marching around demanding to see your papers; tyranny is the unjust or unlawful use of power to subdue and subjugate the people. And I tell you we do have tyranny in this country; it is only that people do not care because it comes cloaked in the colors of established political party ideology, aided and abetted by the complete and total ignorance of the people when it comes to the purposes for which their government was established.

I don’t know who said this, (it certainly wasn’t Jefferson as has been attributed) but nonetheless it is true, “When the government fears the people there is liberty, when the people fear the government there is tyranny.” You tell me, who is more afraid of whom? Are you more afraid of breaking the laws your government passes, or are they more afraid of breaking the law which was passed which governs what they can and cannot do? That ought to provide you with your answer regarding whether or not we have tyranny in America.

After all, Blather Myles was right, it makes no difference whether we are governed by, “…one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?” Tyranny is tyranny, and the sooner you wake up to the fact that it is alive and well in America, and that by your continued support of the entity you call government is only granting your consent to be tyrannized.

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All I Want Is To Be Left Alone (Or Is That Too Much To Ask?)

Does the word coercion mean anything to you? Coercion is defined as: the practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats. Using that as the definition, does it mean anything to you now? If you were to pick up a thesaurus and look up the word coercion, some of the synonyms for it are: intimidation, bullying, and oppression.

If you were to encounter an armed robber who then holds you at gunpoint and demands that you give them all your money; you are being coerced into surrendering to them what is rightfully yours. But robbers, rapists and other criminals are not the only ones who use coercion to obtain their goals; governments use it too.

In Federalist #15 Alexander Hamilton talks about the coercive power of government as follows, “Government implies the power of making laws. It is essential to the idea of a law, that it be attended with a sanction; or, in other words, a penalty or punishment for disobedience. If there be no penalty annexed to disobedience, the resolutions or commands which pretend to be laws will, in fact, amount to nothing more than advice or recommendation. This penalty, whatever it may be, can only be inflicted in two ways: by the agency of the courts and ministers of justice, or by military force; by the COERCION of the magistracy, or by the COERCION of arms.”

I want to sidetrack for a minute and talk to you about the men whose thoughts influenced a majority of our Founding Fathers; the political thinkers who gave us the Age of Enlightenment. The Age of Enlightenment was a period of World History that saw political thinkers, scientists, and even musicians revising their thoughts on a wide range of subjects. Among those whose thoughts influenced our Founders were men like Sir Francis Bacon, John Locke, Cesare Beccaria, and on Jean Jacques Rousseau.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was Swiss born but later relocated to France; where his thoughts influenced those who fought against monarchy in the French Revolution. The reason I bring this up is because there is something that Rousseau said that I think deserves your attention. Rousseau is quoted as saying, “Force does not constitute right … obedience is due only to legitimate powers.”

Yes, government implies the ability to make laws, and the coercive power to enforce them; but government can, and frequently does, become oppressive; especially when those whose duty it is to keep government in check neglect their responsibilities.

When I first began this quest for knowledge I sought out everything I could find that was ever written that could explain to me the purpose and intent of our Constitution. Among the many books I read was Associate Justice Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States. As I have progressed in my knowledge and understanding I realize that the substitution of the word for with the word of between Constitution and United States completely alters the meaning, I still believe Story makes some valid points in his lengthy treatise.

For instance, in Section 900 Story states, “Who can preserve the rights and liberties of the people, when they shall be abandoned by themselves? Who shall keep watch in the temple, when the watchmen sleep at their posts? Who shall call upon the people to redeem their possessions, and revive the republic, when their own hands have deliberately and corruptly surrendered them to the oppressor, and have built the prisons, or dug the graves of their own friends?”

We the people are the watchmen whose duty it is to keep an eye on our government to ensure it does not exceed the powers given it, and by virtue of usurpation, become oppressive. I have often wondered, if our Founders were alive today, how they would feel about the manner in which we have fought to keep our government from usurping unconstitutional powers and becoming oppressive. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too complimentary; in fact, I think it would be downright insulting.

People, at least most of them, are of the belief that, “Well after all, it is the government; so if it passes a law we have got to obey it.” I’m sorry to be so blunt, but that is the creed of slaves. Was our country founded by men who submitted unquestioningly to the authority of their government; or was it founded by men who resisted any and all laws which they felt were a violation of their rights as freemen?

It boggles my mind how anyone can even consider them self a loyal American, or a true patriot, yet not know the first thing about the document which forms their government or the first ten amendments to that document which protect just a few of our unalienable rights. It angers me beyond words how those of us who do understand these things are labeled as threats to society or domestic terrorists; when all we really want is to be left alone; to be free from the coercive power of government in the enforcement of unconstitutional laws.

In numerous political debates I have heard the argument that our Constitution was written over 200 yrs ago by men who could not have foreseen the changes that society would undergo, and the advancements in technology that make the world what it is today; therefore the Constitution is no longer relevant in 21st Century America.

Okay, I’ll buy that for arguments sake, and say, let’s abolish the Constitution. But, and this is a huge BUT, if you abolish the Constitution then you abolish the government it establishes; for you can’t have a legitimate government without a document granting it the authority to enact law on behalf of the people of this country. If you cannot see that then you may as well admit that what you want is a dictatorship or an oligarchy; a government whose existence is not based upon the rule of law, but upon the whim and caprice of men.

In all the political debates I have had, I have discovered that a vast majority of people believe that it is the governments job to take care of those in need; at the expense of those who have achieved some level of success. This idea that the redistribution of wealth goes against all that our Founders believed in and fought for. For instance, Ben Franklin once wrote, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

Thomas Jefferson, author of our Declaration of Independence and our nation’s 3rd President, once wrote, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

This philosophy was still in existence as recently as the early 1900’s, when Theodore Roosevelt made the following comments, “If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.”

What the hell happened America? I can venture a guess; we have forgotten something fundamental about the purpose for which our Constitution was written, best explained by the following quote by Ben Franklin, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

Those who espouse these socialist ideologies, and yes, they are socialist, still have the unmitigated audacity to talk of freedom and equality in the same sentence; when in truth their ideologies are destructive to the principles of freedom and equality. When Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal he did not mean that they were entitled to equality of wealth and stature. In fact, he specifies that we are all equal in our rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Can’t you see that by requiring that one segment of society be held responsible for providing for the needs of another that you are, in fact, enslaving those who are the providers to the beneficiaries of their stolen wealth; and yet you talk of freedom in the same sentence? All that does is it proves to me that you don’t know the first thing about what freedom really is.

While researching for this article I stumbled across a quote that I was unable to find the source from whence it was taken. Nonetheless I believe it to be pertinent to the discussion at hand, therefore will share it with you now, “Entitlements are not rights. People are not born with a claim on the property of others.” But that’s just it, people do believe that they are entitled to the property of others; they have been taught that from the time they took their first breath of life to the time they became eligible to vote; and they vote according to how they have been indoctrinated.

Previously I had touched upon the men whose thoughts formed what we call the Age of Enlightenment. I would like to share a quote from another of those men, this time John Locke. In Locke’s Second Treatise he mentions the following in regards to slavery, “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.”

Can you go to your neighbor’s house and demand that they surrender a portion of their earnings so that you may give it to the charity of your choice? Of course not, that would be considered criminal and a violation of their rights. Then by what authority does the government have the right to this same power which would be considered criminal if you were to exercise it on your own? Remember, you cannot give anyone more power than you yourself possess; so again, how can government have the power to do something that you yourself do not have as an individual?

A year or so ago I got into a very heated argument online with an individual who said that I would be violating the rights of welfare and food stamp recipients if I required them to undergo a drug test before becoming eligible for their benefits. REALLY? According to the individual I was arguing with it is perfectly acceptable for an employer to require that I submit to random drug testing, and yet the recipient of the money which is confiscated from my earnings cannot be asked to submit to the same conditions prior to receiving his benefits.

I told the person that if the recipients of these benefits do not want to undergo drug testing, then all they have to do is stop asking for the benefits. Then the person I was arguing with said, “But they are entitled to them.” According to whom; him, the government? I’ve read the Constitution and Bill of Rights many times, and I’ve never encountered anything in there that says that someone in need is entitled to satisfy their needs at the expense of someone else.

In fact, in 1794 James Madison once said, “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” Once again, the fool I was arguing with spoke frequently about freedom and equality.

People, especially people who know absolutely nothing about me, think that I’m cold hearted and care nothing about the suffering of others. I’m all for charity; just not government mandated charity. The job of our government was not to assume the role of elective Robin Hoods who take from the rich and give to the poor. I wonder, if I were to ask all those who believe government should tax the people to provide for the poor how much they have personally contributed to those in need, how would they respond? Since I got married in 1989 I’ve been sending money to my wife’s family in the Philippines. Yes I know, that is not those in need in the United States; but I still contribute funds to support them. We have paid for the construction of the homes they live in, paid for medical expenses and college for my wife’s nieces and nephews. My wife keeps detailed records of how much money we have sent them; and the last time I checked the total sat around $60,000. So don’t tell me I am cold-hearted; how many of you would be willing to part with that much of your own money to help those in need!

In 1850 the Frenchman Frederic Bastiat wrote something that sits at the root of this whole social justice, redistribution of wealth argument. In his book The Law, Bastiat states, “Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others.”

If you do not have the right to deprive anyone of their property, then you do not have the right to ask government to use its coercive power as a substitute for your own lack of power and authority. What happens when this occurs is best explained by the opening words of Bastiat’s 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!”
The problem is this, people believe our government to be god, with unlimited power and authority; and that it is treason to question and resist the laws they pass. King George III said the same thing about the Colonists when they chose to sever the ties which bound them to him and his laws; yet we celebrate what they did with a national holiday while at the same time we insult and denigrate people today who seek to live by their same beliefs and values.

You see government exercise its coercive power every day without realizing it. You see it when you pass a police or sheriffs cruiser on the road. You see it on the news when you hear of a drug raid or someone arrested for some violation of the law. What you have to realize is that laws can be good and they can be bad; they can be benevolent or they can be used to oppress. As Jefferson so aptly said, “Law is often but the tyrants will.”

If laws are passed which are in strict accordance with the purpose for which government was established, then we have an abundance of liberty. If, on the other hand, the laws being passed exceed the government’s authority, and especially if they deprive the people government represents of their property or their liberty, then this is when government becomes tyrannical.

Can’t you see that our government is, in fact, tyrannical? Or have you been so indoctrinated that you could not see it even if your elected representatives held a press conference and openly admitted it? All you see is R versus D, liberals versus conservatives; you are so blinded by the two party paradigm that you cannot see that government as an entity is corrupt, evil and seeks to enslave you. So you still support it, when if you understood the purpose for which it was established you would be fighting it with every ounce of courage you had.

Maybe that’s it, maybe there is no more courage and resolve left in America, and freedom is simply too costly and bothersome for people to worry about. Maybe people today just don’t have what it takes to offer up their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to seek it.

Our Founders believed that it was our right to defend our lives, our liberty AND our property. Samuel Adams stated it thusly, “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…”

This same sentiment was echoed 80 yrs later by Bastiat when he said, “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.”

Just because you do not believe in liberty, or are unwilling to defend it, does not mean that there aren’t those who do know what it means, and are ready and willing to defend it. You can call us rebels if you wish, we will wear the name with honor; as our Founders were considered rebels as well; as were the brave men who fought for their own liberty in America’s Second War for Independence.

It is at this point that I’d like to share the full quote from Joseph Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution that I partially shared with you earlier, as I believe it explains exactly what has happened in America. Ponder this well, as it applies directly to those of you who believe me to be a threat to your security or belief systems, “Yet, after all, the fabric may fall; for the work of man is perishable, and must for ever have inherent elements of decay. Nay, it must perish, if there be not that vital spirit in the people, which alone can nourish, sustain, and direct all its movements. It is in vain, that statesmen shall form plans of government, in which the beauty and harmony of a republic shall be embodied in visible order, shall be built up on solid substructions, and adorned by every useful ornament, if the inhabitants suffer the silent power of time to dilapidate its walls, or crumble its massy supporters into dust; if the assaults from without are never resisted, and the rottenness and mining from within are never guarded against. Who can preserve the rights and liberties of the people, when they shall be abandoned by themselves? Who shall keep watch in the temple, when the watchmen sleep at their posts? Who shall call upon the people to redeem their possessions, and revive the republic, when their own hands have deliberately and corruptly surrendered them to the oppressor, and have built the prisons, or dug the graves of their own friends?”

If you truly understood me, and what I stand for, you’d know that I pose a threat to nobody as long as they respect my rights and do not seek to use coercion to force their views upon me. But that’s the difference between what I consider the true patriots of America today and the rest of the people in this country; for your beliefs to work you must coerce others into playing by your rules, while all we ask is that you leave us be to our own devices. We don’t need you or your government to be happy, while you can’t live without us or the coercive power government gives you to fund your programs and shove your politically correct social justice beliefs down our throats.

It’s the old concept of the Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You leave us alone and we’ll get along just fine, but you start forcing your views and beliefs on us, then you’re gonna end up pushing people to the point that they begin pushing back. And believe me, there is a lot of pent up anger and frustration that is going to be unleashed if we ever start pushing back.

Keep that in mind…

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