Honestly, I hadn’t planned on writing another article for 2014, especially one on Christmas Day. Then a friend posted an image on Facebook and got the gears turning in my head and…well here I am again at this keyboard spitting out my thoughts.
I suppose I should begin by sharing the words that inspired this whole thing. As I said, a friend posted an image on Facebook this morning and it was just a simple box with the following words “Rules won’t make a virtuous society because good people don’t need them, and bad people won’t follow them.”
That right there sums up all that is wrong with America today; all that is wrong with society, AND with government. It’s amazing what the proper combination of words can do; eighteen simple words explains what I’ve been trying to get across using thousands of them.
Now I’d like for you to take a moment to compare the quote I just shared to something James Madison wrote in Federalist 51 back in 1788, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”
And one more time I would like you to compare the two quotes I have already given you to something Samuel Adams wrote in the Public Advertiser, “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.”
Do you notice the similarity between the above quotes? They all make the point that our system can only function when the people are virtuous and uphold the principles contained in our founding documents. The moment the people become greedy, selfish, seek riches at the expense of others, in short, become unethical, or wicked, the system will fail.
Is that where we are today? I don’t honestly think that most Americans are unethical, or wicked. I do think that many are complacent and apathetic, and many are misled by the slick talking snake oil salesmen passing themselves off as politicians. I do think that people are, unfortunately, lazy and do not care to take the time to really learn what kind of system the Founders established, and more importantly, upon what principles it was based. I also believe that far too many are unwilling to face the truth that for so many years they have been misled and lied to, and that moneyed interests now control our government, providing us with candidates who will follow their orders and not obey the oath that they all take to uphold the Constitution.
That is where I find America today.
I hear people talking about how our Constitution is outdated, that it no longer applies to society today. I don’t believe that. But, for the sake of argument if this is true then why do we even have/need a federal government…honestly? The Constitution created/outlined this system of government. It outlined how it would be formed, and clearly listed the powers it would wield. If the Constitution is outdated, then maybe, just maybe, the federal government itself is outdated and no longer needed/required.
At the time the Constitution was being written and argued among the states individual liberty was jealously protected by the people. This is why American History should be thoroughly taught to our children, not the limited, distorted view that they currently get. If American History were taught properly our children would grow up knowing the principles which guided our Founding Fathers and which caused them to do things the way they did. Our children would grow up knowing that there was a heated debate over the ratification of our Constitution between those who supported it and those who felt it created a federal government that could/would trample upon the rights of the people and assume powers not specifically listed in the document itself.
It seems, looking back at the Federalist and anti-Federalist writings that the anti-Federalist knew what they were talking about. I’m not saying our Constitution, and the government it establishes are bad. What I am trying to say is that I believe our Founders understood human nature far better than we do today. They understood our strengths as well as our weaknesses and knew that our system could/would only function as long as the people held true to the principles it was founded upon.
That is why, during the convention which created this document, in a speech written by Ben Franklin, James Wilson stated, “I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”
Read that as many times as you must for it to sink in, because it is essential that you understand that our system is no longer administered well and that it has become despotic. Our system no longer functions well because it has ceased being a representative republic. The way our system was designed to function was for government to only act in regards to the specific powers granted it under the Constitution. Those powers were limited and clearly defined in Article 1 Section 8.
Among those powers were the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. This was a power to be used only when the money collected through duties, imposts and excises were not sufficient to manage the day to day affairs of government, as in times of war.
The next power was the power to regulate commerce with other nations and among the several states. Regulate, at the time the Constitution was written, only meant to ensure that commerce flowed smoothly and that one party did not create barriers that restricted the smooth flow of goods between one place and another.
Then the Constitution grants Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of Naturalization and laws regarding bankruptcies. The Constitution also grants Congress the power to coin money, regulate its value, and that of foreign coin while establishing a uniform standard of weights and measures.
It then goes on to provide for the punishment of counterfeiting of securities and coins, establish Post Offices and post Roads, and then establishing what we now know as copyrights.
It also grants Congress the power to constitute, or create, tribunals, or courts, inferior to the Supreme Court which is outlined in Article 3 of the Constitution. It grants Congress the power to define and punish piracy and felonies committed on the high seas and offenses against the law of nations.
The next 5 clauses refer to the militia and the raising of armies and the navy.
Then there is the final clause, a necessary and proper clause which says that Congress has the power to enact all laws that are necessary to ensure the specific powers can be implemented.
Those are the ONLY powers the people granted to government. Then you must consider that along with the powers granted government by the Constitution there were prohibitions placed upon it, specifically those listed in the first ten amendments known as the Bill of Rights.
Most people can name at least one right out of all those protected by the Bill of Rights. Yet few are aware of the last two, the 9th and 10th Amendments.
The Ninth Amendment states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” When the Bill of Rights was being considered the states all submitted lists of rights they felt ought to be included in it. Many of them did not end up becoming part of the Bill of Rights. The Ninth Amendment covers those by basically saying that just because a right is NOT included does not mean it does not exist.
Then there is the Tenth Amendment, 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.” This basically means that if the powers are not clearly spelled out in the Constitution as belonging to the federal government, they revert to the states, or to the people.
Now that we’ve covered that we need to go back to our Founders understanding of human nature. As a representative republic our elected representatives were supposed to represent the will of the people with the Senate being the representatives of the individual states and the members of the House being the voice of the people.
The Senate, as representatives of the states was designed to be a check upon the will of the people when they became impulsive, or acting upon emotions and sudden outrageous. That balance of power shifted when the 17th Amendment was ratified, making the people the electors of the Senators, taking the states say entirely out of the picture when it came to the function and actions of the federal government.
James Madison spoke of the importance of the Senate being the representatives of the states in Federalist 62, saying, “It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust. In this point of view, a senate, as a second branch of the legislative assembly, distinct from, and dividing the power with, a first, must be in all cases a salutary check on the government.”
Madison also went on to say, “The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions.” That right there was Madison’s way of saying that the Senate was created to be, first, a check upon the government, and secondly, a check upon the passions of the people at large.
As a representative republic a large portion of our government’s effectiveness fell upon the shoulders of the people who were expected to be familiar with how it was supposed to function, and to hold their elected representatives accountable for limiting their actions to the specific powers granted.
That was a heavy burden, but one which was shouldered by a people who had seen the effects of tyranny and oppression by their government first hand. However, as generations passed by the people forgot the past and began to become lax in their understanding of the powers granted government, and the rights it was created to protect. Now our schools do not teach our children these things, as well as people being consumed with entertainment and self-gratification, along with our becoming less virtuous, our system is merely a reflection of the people at large. If we are corrupt then we tolerate corruption in those who represent us. It is that simple.
We no longer care about our government adhering to the limits imposed upon it. Instead we openly ask that it do things to make America safer, more secure, and more importantly, to provide things for the individuals which inhabit this land.
The first thing you must consider is that our government has no money. Before the ratification of the 16th Amendment and the creation of an income tax, our government only had the money it either borrowed, or took in from imposts, duties and excises. Now with an income tax the only money it takes in is that which it confiscates from you and I.
There as those who claim that the 16th Amendment was never properly ratified, and therefore is not lawful. I will not go into that. All I will say is that they now have the authority to take from you a portion of your earnings, and use it for whatever purposes they desire. If you choose not to pay, or lie or cheat them out of what they consider their right to take from you, they will come down upon you with the full might of the IRS and their injustice system.
I could go on and on with quotes and veto messages by presidents stating that it was not the purpose of the government to provide charity or to take care of those in need. But the best quote of all comes from Ben Franklin who stated, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
My gosh how many agencies exist now whose sole purpose is the distribution of federal funds, (and remember the government only has the money it takes from you), for the easing of suffering, or the care of those in need? To think the colonists rebelled over a 3% tax on tea, what do you think they would say about a 35% tax upon your income?
Our Founders also realized the importance of the people’s right to be armed to stand up against a government that could become tyrannical and oppressive. The actual fighting of the American Revolution did not begin until agents of the lawful government moved to disarm the people at Lexington and Concord. Yet now people clamor for stricter laws on firearms, and limiting the ability of the people to fight back if the need arises.
Yes, that comment in today’s climate might be considered as treasonous and seditious. Yet it was that very belief, that the people had the right to rise up against tyranny that was so eloquently stated by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, “… That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it… But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…”
The Southern States attempted this once in 1860, and regardless of whether you believe it was due to slavery or not, the majority of the people in the land felt it was their right to throw off such government and seek to establish one which seemed most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Yet the federal government, in what Lincoln thought was his Constitutional obligation to bind the Union together, took the nation to war at the cost of over 600,000 lives, to force the South to adhere to the Union. This was the first major attack upon the checks and balances established by the Constitution and the final nail was the ratification of the 17th Amendment.
From this point forward in our nation’s history the entire government would be elected by a fickle and easily corrupted people. With only two major political parties, each having access to huge amounts of funds, but both essentially controlled by the same corporate/banking interests, the people were given the illusion of choice between right and left, yet the reality is that every candidate we are presented with is a pawn for these moneyed interests that really run things in America. And we are too concerned with our lives, our entertainment, and our self-gratification to either learn, or accept it.
We no longer have a republic, what we have is a Fascist state disguising itself as a democracy. Benito Mussolini, who was Prime Minster of Italy during World War II, once said, “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” That is what we have in America today, a state where the corporations/banks, control our government. They enact laws to benefit big moneyed interests, selling it to us as programs designed to benefit the individuals.
Government will allow us our First Amendment right to speak out against such corruption only to the point at which we become a threat to them. People such as myself pose them no threat because no one takes me seriously and I have a very limited following. But there are others who have openly stood up to government oppression and they have suffered greatly solely because they stood up for their rights.
Tell me that is not tyranny, I dare you!
When we have government agencies which tell us we cannot eat this, smoke that, drink this, buy that, which guns we can own, and how many rounds the magazines they have may carry, and all with the power to enforce by police action, we have tyranny, or at best a police state.
Those are not powers granted the federal government, and some of them directly infringe upon rights the government is sworn to protect.
Tell me again that is not tyranny!
Our country, more specifically, our system of government is in shambles. It is that way because you, and You, and YOU do not know the purpose for which it was created. You mindlessly follow whatever your respective political party tells you is a ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ position. You mindlessly vote for candidates without ever questioning if the Constitution authorizes them to act upon the promises they make on the campaign trail.
In short our country is in sad shape because of YOU!
I don’t care who you vote for, be it Republicans or Democrats, things are not going to get better until we turn this country around and start voting for people who will stand up for the Constitution. We need representatives who will uphold their oaths to support and defend the Constitution and stand up against the moneyed interests who currently control our government.
Until that happens things will only continue to get worse, if it is not too late to change things already.
Truthfully I don’t see things getting any better. I do see them getting worse, and I do see the chickens finally coming home to roost when the people finally realize that they’ve been duped. The question is will there be enough people left who are willing to do what is needed and lead this country out of the ruins that it eventually will become if things don’t change right now?
Remember, our Founders understood human nature. Franklin spoke of the time when people would need a despotic government. Madison was also quoted as saying, “As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust, so there are other qualities in human nature which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form.”
The only real question that needs to be asked at this point is, have we reached the tipping point where the depravity in mankind is in firm control of things and there is no turning back? If so I hope that I am either dead when it all falls apart, or that I die quickly in the fighting that is sure to come if America doesn’t change course.
This is a lot to swallow, so I shall keep my promise and not write anything further until after the New Years. I hope yours is pleasant and safe.