Last Friday at work I mentioned to a friend that I as getting a tattoo this weekend of a Minuteman with the word Oathkeeper above him. My friend jokingly said something like it was sure to reserve me a bunk in a FEMA camp. After I got the tattoo I sent photos of it out to some friends via e-mail and one responded that now I am ‘officially’ a terrorist. While I take these comments seriously, I do find them funny to a certain extent. Allow me to explain why I say that.
I fully realize that, with the current political climate in America, that public displays of patriotism, or at least public displays of the Founding principles, are not widely accepted as being politically correct. Self-reliance, limited government, gun rights, opposition to the war on terror, and a whole host of other beliefs can easily get one labeled as anti-social or a threat to the government. My fears about this were confirmed in 2009 when the Missouri Information Analysis Center issued a report listing Ron Paul supporters, people who display political bumper stickers, equating them with hate groups and potential domestic terrorists. I see this trend increasing as more and more people are becoming unhappy with the direction their government is taking this country because the government fears that the people will one day rise up against it so they have to begin labeling us as potential threats to its very existence.
But I also find it funny that by public displays of the principles that this country was founded upon can be considered anything but patriotic. I recently saw a graphic on the internet that said “Patriotism is not obedience to government. Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which government is supposed to stand.” I find it both funny and sad that people such as myself who make public declarations of support for the principles America was founded upon can be considered terrorists. What a crazy mixed up place America has become.
Some people who read my commentaries are under the assumption that I am proposing armed rebellion against the government. Let me make something perfectly clear, I am not saying we should take up arms against the government. Although that time may come, I don’t believe it has gotten to that point where it will be necessary at this point in time. But if things continue on their current path that day will become inevitable.
What I am proposing is a revolution of sorts, just not one were people are carrying guns. What I am hoping to do is start a revolution of the mind. By that I mean that I am hoping the I can get enough people to stop believing everything they have been, and are currently being told. By providing all the quotes I do from our Founders and other sources I hope to get enough people to think, “Hey, the guys who created our system of government said it is supposed to only do this, this and this, but it is actually doing much more. Maybe it’s time we time we changed how government is viewed in America.” That is all I am trying to do at this time, and so far I have not been very successful. A good friend of mine suggested that perhaps America is being punished with spiritual blindness due to her sinful nature. If that truly is the case then I am beating my head against a brick wall because nothing is going to change until the people in this country stop sinning. But I don’t want to turn this into a condemnation of the people of this country, rather I want to show that my so-called revolutionary beliefs are not something that is unique in American history.
There are plenty of quotes from notable figures in history who support the belief that when a government becomes tyrannical, or oppressive, it is the right of the people to stand up to it, to change it, or to abolish it altogether. Take for instance John Locke whose writings influenced many of the Founders. In Section 202 of his Second Treatise Locke states, “Wherever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command to compass that upon the subject which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate, and acting without authority may be opposed, as any other man who by force invades the right of another.” If you truly believe that the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, then when government violates that law then what Locke said applies, it loses its authority and may be opposed.
Locke goes to much greater detail a bit later in Section 222 where he states, “The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society, to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society: for since it can never be supposed to be the will of the society, that the legislative should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure, by entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to legislators of their own making; whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty…” Yeah, that’s a mouthful, but you really need to read it, and re-read it until you understand what he is saying.
Now the idea of opposition to government may sound radical to some but it was this very belief that led to our country coming into existence. After all what is the Declaration of Independence but a statement that reflects the very things Locke speaks of? So why are people such as myself who support these beliefs today labeled as terrorists?
I see you’re still not convinced. Guess I need to try harder.
In 1794 the Supreme Court heard the case of Glass v. Sloop Betsy wherein it ruled, “The sovereignty of a state does not reside in the persons who fill the different departments of its government, but in the People, from whom the government emanated; and they may change it at their discretion. Sovereignty, then in this country, abides with the constituency, and not with the agent; and this remark is true, both in reference to the federal and state government.” I have used the word sovereignty many times in my writings yet I still don’t think people understand what it means. Basically sovereignty is the supreme power or authority. So the government does not tell us what to do, we tell it what to do. How then can an entity which we created, call those who demand that it adhere to the limits we impose upon it, terrorists?
Still not convinced?
Well how about this. During his tenure as a Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglass wrote, “When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen’s constitutional rights it acts lawlessly and the citizen can take matters into his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.”
Then there is this. From the Second American Jurisprudence, the definite encyclopedia of legal terms and premises I quote, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.” (Section 256 137, 180)
Then there is this, taken from the same source, “Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection and justifies no acts performed under it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.” (Section 177)
I think I have provided ample proof that my beliefs are not that uncommon, or at least not without precedent. Yet there are still those who would say that this is the way it’s been and this is the way it is always going to be. Well to those who say that I would remind them that in Amos v. Mosley the Court ruled, “If the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.” So just because that is the way they’ve always done things does not make how they are doing them right, or, in this instance, legal.
In closing I would like to leave you with one last thought. In 1979 I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is the meaning behind the tattoo I got this Saturday. Every person who has served in the armed forces has taken a similar oath as have every elected official who has sat in the halls of power in the state and federal government. The difference between many of them and people such as myself is how seriously have we taken that oath?
You also have to ask yourself, if one who takes that oath seriously and is then labeled a terrorist by those who have not taken it seriously, what does that tell you about the nature of the people you have been voting for? And one final question. If they can label us terrorists today for standing up for what we believe in what is to stop them from labeling you as a terrorist tomorrow for standing up for something you believe in?
Ponder these things and have a pleasant day. I have weeds that need to be pulled.