Thomas Hobbes, a 16th-17th century jurist and philosopher, believed that self preservation was among the laws of Nature; meaning that it was inherent in all sentient beings; from animals all the way up to humans. Self-preservation is what causes a rattlesnake to strike at you if it feels threatened; using whatever gifts nature itself has given it for its own defense. Self-preservation is also what causes a predatory animal to stalk, and then kill another animal for its sustenance; for without the means to feed itself that predator would starve to death.
As man is the most evolved of all nature’s beings, (although I sometimes question that when I see how people act towards each other), man has developed more sophisticated means of defending himself from others; means which also have been utilized to subjugate or eradicate those they wished to conquer; i.e. war and genocide.
Yet the fundamental laws of nature still apply, even though an individual, or group of individuals may find themselves vastly outnumbered and out gunned; a person, no matter how outnumbered or out gunned, still retains the right to do whatever it takes to defend themselves.
If you were to think about it, the Laws of Nature must come from whoever created nature. So, if you believe in God, then the Laws of Nature must come from God Himself. Although he didn’t mention Him by name, in the Declaration of Independence Jefferson stated that our rights come from our Creator and that government exists to secure or protect those rights.
In his book The Rights of Man, published in 1791, Thomas Paine wrote, “If any generation of men ever possessed the right of dictating the mode by which the world should be governed for ever, it was the first generation that existed; and if that generation did it not, no succeeding generation can show any authority for doing it, nor can set any up. The illuminating and divine principle of the equal rights of man (for it has its origin from the Maker of man) relates, not only to the living individuals, but to generations of men succeeding each other. Every generation is equal in rights to generations which preceded it, by the same rule that every individual is born equal in rights with his contemporary.”
Later, Paine goes on to say, “Hitherto we have spoken only (and that but in part) of the natural rights of man. We have now to consider the civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates from the other. Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.”
I suppose the best way of explaining the difference between natural rights and civil rights would be to say that natural rights are those given us by our Creator and civil rights are those which are understood by man, and codified into law; given certain protections…such as the Bill of Rights.
Government is not a divine creation; it is something that was created by man to serve certain purposes. Government can exist only by two means; either by consent of the government or by the threat of force imposed upon those governed by government. One grants liberty to those who are governed by it and the other deprives those governed of their liberty. As Paine would later say in the Rights of Man, “All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.”
If all power is delegated, then there must be some written law which limits the power of those who govern over the rights of those being governed. In America this law is known as the Constitution, and Bill of Rights; ten amendments further restricting the power of our federal government to violate certain rights.
I have been quoting a lot of Paine, but now I would like to shift gears and begin quoting from John Locke and his Second Treatise on Civil Government.
Where does government derive its authority? Well, Jefferson said it derives its authority by our consent to it; but that is only part of the answer, for it leaves out the fact that we are the true sovereigns in our system; those will all the political power. As Locke states in his Second Treatise, Chapter 2, “To understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.”
Yet this law of nature that Locke speaks of is not limitless; we are not free to violate the rights of those around us. You see, Locke goes on to say, “The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”
You see, our Constitution has this little thing called a Preamble; a statement of intent if you will, which explains the intent of the document that follows. The Preamble states, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (My emphasis)
Locke, and many of our Founders, believed that Natural Law grants us the authority to defend ourselves and our property; but what is property? Is it the land we live on; the things we purchase; or is it something intangible; something we inherently understand but cannot put our fingers upon it?
Well, aside from other things he said and did, James Madison did a halfway decent job of explaining what property is when he wrote the following in 1792, “This term in its particular application means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”
In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.
In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.
He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.”
Our rights, or our liberty if you prefer, are as much our property as are our homes, the clothes upon our backs, or the money in our wallets; they are ours and no one is entitled to take them from us without our consent.
In 1772 Samuel Adams wrote a Report to the Committee of Correspondence, which was delivered to the Boston Town Meeting on November 20th of that same year. In his report Adams writes, “Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can–Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature.”
Not only does Adams explain what our Natural Rights consist of, he also says that it is our right to defend them “…in the best manner they can…” This concept of self-defence; including the right of defending one’s liberty, can be traced back to Locke’s Second Treatise, where in Chapter 3 Locke wrote, “This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else. And therefore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who has put himself into a state of war with me, i.e. kill him if I can; for to that hazard does he justly expose himself, whoever introduces a state of war, and is aggressor in it.”
I think that is a fundamental principle that far too many in this country have forgotten; that those who break the law, and in so doing violate the rights of another, are the aggressors; and those whose rights are being violated have the right to defend whatever is theirs, by whatever means they can; without fear of prosecution. For if the law truly exists to provide justice and secure liberty, then why punish those who are only defending what is rightfully theirs?
After all, does not the Constitution itself give government the authority “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” (Article 1, Section 8)
If we, as the creators of government, are the true sovereigns, with all the rightful political authority, then how can we say that an entity which we created, with the purpose of protecting our liberty, can turn around and tell us when, where, and by what means we can defend ourselves, our property or our liberty? How can they pass laws which punish us for defending what is ours, yet we have no laws to punish them when they violate the law our ancestors wrote to restrict their actions?
Getting back to Paine for a moment, in his pamphlet Common Sense he wrote, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
I don’t care who you vote for; honestly I don’t. You can vote for either a Republican or a Democrat for all I care. You can vote for a man or a woman; a white man or a black man for all I care; none of that matters to me. What matters is whether the person you vote for is going to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution; which means leaving my rights and my liberty alone!
It seems like every law that is passed today requires the surrender of one of our Natural Rights for it to have any teeth. Take for instance this abomination of a health care law passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama; it requires that those making a great deal of money pay a higher premium for health care coverage so as to subsidize those making less money. Is that not depriving a person of their property, (their income) without their consent?
What about all the gun laws that have been passed to keep us safe; do they not deprive all the law abiding gun owners of their fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and use them in our defense?
What about those of you who say that people like me are radicals, and threats to society, because we believe we have the right to rise up against a government that deprives us of the liberty it was established to protect?
When Paine said that government is a necessary evil, he meant that government in its most limited scope is an evil we must put up with to maintain some semblance of order in society; either a society of individuals or a society consisting of sovereign states in some form of a union. That government was a necessary evil is something that was understood by even the most ardent lovers of liberty. It is when government oversteps it’s just authority and begins depriving the governed of their rights that they took offense to government, and rose up against it.
How many of you reading this have even felt an increase in your blood pressure at the repeated violations upon your rights? How many of you have sought to learn what your rights are, or the extent to which they have been taken from you? How many of you don’t care about your rights; caring only whether your party gets to be in control of government?
Our country did not become a free and independent country because our Founders voted it into being; it became free and independent when they defended their liberty at the risk of their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.
I hear all this garbage about supporting Trump; supporting the troops; or supporting law enforcement. Wouldn’t it be unique if people started giving a damn about supporting the Constitution?
The other day my friend Michael Gaddy posed an interesting question; one which I would now ask those who are always saying we must support law enforcement, “If it was “constitution enforcement” instead of “law enforcement” who would be charged with crimes, go on trial and then to prison?”
If that causes you to wonder whether those you voted for would go to prison or not, then you are not voting to support the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or the very liberty our government was established to secure…and that makes you just as much a part of the problem as are those you vote for.
Liberty does not come cheap; it comes with the cost of eternal vigilance and a willingness to die in its defense. But the alternative is tyranny and servitude; be it tyranny by usurpation or by consent of the majority, (democracy). And to quote the immortal words of Patrick Henry, “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
I don’t care whether we have just been blinded by corrupt politicians and scam artists; whether the Freemasons are to blame for subverting our government; or if it was the Illuminati behind the Deep State; the root cause of our problems is that our elected people do not support and defend the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. The reason they don’t support it is because YOU don’t demand they support it.
As I said, our Founders did not vote themselves into independence, they told their government to take a friggin’ hike and then they picked up their guns and backed up their words with their lives. If you really want America to be great again, that’s what it’s gonna take to do it; everything else will only be half measures and a repetition of the same errors which got us here in the first place.
America never was, nor will it ever be great due to its system of government. America was, and can only become great again when the people of this country place liberty above all other concerns, and are ready to risk their lives to secure and defend it.
If you truly think you can vote liberty back, then Lysander Spooner was talking to YOU when he said, “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.”
As Judge Learned Hand said in 1944, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.” Either you love liberty, or you love government; you can’t serve two masters. Which do you serve?