I have never accused anyone of being stupid without first giving them the benefit of the doubt. I may call you ignorant, but ignorance is only a lack of knowledge regarding a subject. However, I will unequivocally call anyone stupid who ignores the truth just because it conflicts with currently held beliefs.
Government is either good or bad. It does not matter that the badness of it can be measured in degrees; the fact remains that it can either be considered good, or bad. Good government is one which serves the purpose for which it was established; bad government is any government which seeks to expand its power and authority beyond those for which it was established.
In 1775 Thomas Paine wrote his pamphlet entitled Common Sense, (something which is sorely lacking in people today by the way), in which 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.”
Why would Paine call government an evil; even in its best state? Well the answer, I suppose, is because government, even good government, restricts the freedom of those it governs. For government to be effective a certain amount of sovereignty must be surrendered to it so that the laws it passes with have force upon those it governs. But when government goes beyond the specific powers granted it and becomes arbitrary in the exercise of power, it becomes bad government.
Before our system of government was established our Founders fought a war to obtain their independence. But it wasn’t merely independence they fought for; it was liberty as well; the right to enjoy all the freedoms that comes with not being subject to the will of a tyrant or a monarch.
In writing the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson did not merely lay out the reasons why the Colonists rose up against their King, he also laid out certain undeniable principles which formed the foundation upon which any system of government should be built.
Jefferson declared, first and foremost, that our rights come not from government, but from our Creator; i.e. God. Secondly, those rights were Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Thirdly, that government derives is authority from the consent of the people it governs, and finally, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.
Therefore, good government would be government which sought to secure the rights outlined by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, and bad government would be that which, by its actions, restricted those rights.
When a people are given the chance to decide for themselves what shape their government might take, and what powers it will be given, it is important that we understand one basic principle. This principle is that any form of government created by the people is a grant of power by the people as a whole. It is not an assumption of unlimited power, it is a grant of specific powers; and when the government created by this grant of power oversteps the specific powers laid out in its charter, it becomes bad government.
Yet, although we may grant government certain powers, those powers cannot be any greater than those we had prior to the creation of government. This is a fundamental principle of Natural Law as spoken of by the men whose writings inspired many of our Founders. For instance, in John Locke’s Second Treatise we find where Locke declares, “This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power, is so necessary to, and closely joined with a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it, but by what forfeits his preservation and life together: for a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another, to take away his life, when he pleases. No body can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.” (My emphasis)
One hundred sixty years after Locke wrote that, another man, Frederic Bastiat, would write a book entitled The Law, wherein he states, “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. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force—for the same reason—cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.”
Prior to our Constitution being written, prior to the Declaration of Independence even being considered, Samuel Adams wrote the following, “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–”
These are natural rights, those which Jefferson would later say were given us by our Creator; they cannot be taken away, or restricted by any laws written by man; not without the grossest of violations against human rights being committed that is.
We have a right to live, and the right to defend our lives. Governments may be established to better secure that right; but government cannot deprive any individual from exercising that right on their own.
We also have a right to liberty, which is nothing more than the ability to fully exercise all our other rights without interference; as long as in doing so we do not restrict others from enjoying that same freedom. As Jefferson said, “…rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.” (Letter to Isaac H. Tiffany, 4 April 1819) Therefore, if each of us has the right to liberty, then we also have the right to defend that liberty against any, including government, who would restrict it.
Finally, we have the right to property, along with the right to defend that property. But what is property? One might think that property is your possessions; such as your house, your car, and the things inside your house. But property is much more, as explained by James Madison 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 this sense our rights are our property; as they belong to each of us. The same goes for our liberty; as it belongs to us and cannot be taken away by any form of government which we might establish.
Yet Madison said something else as well, “Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.”
When government exceeds the powers granted it and begins arbitrarily passing laws which violate our rights, our liberty, these possessions, our property, are not respected. When that happens our government becomes one which is destructive of the ends for which it was established; it becomes bad government.
When our Constitution was in the process of being ratified there were those who felt that it did not do enough to secure the blessings of liberty to future generations. They felt that a Bill of Rights was needed to protect certain unalienable rights from violation by government.
How many of those rights today are, in some manner, violated by the laws passed by our government, or the programs our government enacts? Hmmm, how many? Can’t answer that? Here, let me help you.
Among other things, the First Amendment protects our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to petition our government for a redress of grievances. How free are we to speak whatever we want, whether our speech be silenced by laws declaring certain speech to be hate speech, or by the politically correct crowd who silences opposition to certain principles? How free are we to obtain a redress for our government’s continued exercise of unconstitutional arbitrary power?
The Second Amendment protects our right to keep and bear arms. Yet our government is allowed to decide what constitutes a legal arm, all the while they allow themselves to carry arms which they prohibit the general public from owning or carrying.
The Fourth Amendment protects our right to be secure in our persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and that no search shall take place without a warrant being issued by a judge declaring the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.
Yet our government routinely monitors our electronic conversations, can search our banking transactions, our online purchases, our homes even; often without a warrant, all in the name of fighting terrorism. Yet were we to invade the privacy of our government to the extent which they invade our privacy we would be prosecuted for breaching national security.
These are just a few quick examples of how far our governments abuse of power has extended; yet you still think this is the land of the free? Freedom does not mean the freedom to choose whether to eat steak or chicken for dinner; drive a Ford or a Toyota; watch football or play video games; freedom means to be free from governmental control over our lives and having the fruits of our labor, (income), taken from us to fund programs which we disagree with, or which violate the limits imposed on government by the Constitution.
Where I to go to a rich person’s house and demand, or take, money from them to give to those in need I would be accused of theft. Yet our government routinely does that in the form of social service programs such as Welfare; not to mention all the foreign aid it takes from us and just gives to other countries without our consent.
And people still call this ‘GOOD’ government. People still foolishly believe that by changing out a few key players every couple of years that things are going to miraculously improve?
Government only gets away with the things it does because we allow it to. We may whine and complain about the things they do, but we fear taking a stand against them; they are too big, too powerful.
What was it that the old saying said, “When the people fear the government there is tyranny. When the government fears the people there is liberty.” On June 5, 1788 Patrick Henry said something that far too many of us have forgotten, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
If our government does not provide us with, or secure our liberty, then it is bad, it is evil. Why is it that we continue to believe that government is fundamentally good, that it has our best interests in mind when it routinely violates the law which created it in the first place?
Government, if you want my honest opinion, is public enemy number 1, and we would do well to realize that it no longer seeks to serve those it represents. Rather it seeks to enslave us. The sooner people get that through their thick heads, the sooner we can restore America to the principles our Founders fought and died for.
Until then I will continue to consider most of my fellow Americans ignorant and stupid.