“Willful ignorance is a shield which protects people
from the Cognitive Dissonance which occurs when they
encounter the truth for the first time in their lives.”
Do you know the meaning of the word liberty? You may think you do, but do you; really? You may think that liberty means the right to do as you please. Okay, if that’s the case, if everyone has the right to do as they please, I suppose you won’t take offense if a total stranger walks up and punches you in the face. I can almost hear the cries of protest; but, But, BUT that’s violating my rights. Damn right it is; so liberty cannot mean the right to do WHATEVER you want; it also entails certain limitations and responsibilities; with the emphasis on responsibilities.
In all my studies, the best definition of liberty I’ve found comes from an 1816 letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to Francis Gilmer, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.” There is more to that quote, but for the time being that single sentence is all I wish to focus your attention upon.
Another way of saying that would be to say; we are free to do whatever we want, so long as we do not violate the right of anyone else to do the same. There is an old quote that best explains that premise, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”
Now when one talks about rights, most people immediately choose one or two which they themselves believe to be of the utmost importance. Some might feel that freedom of speech is the most important right a person has; while others might believe it is the right to keep and bear arms. While I am in no way belittling, or attempting to de-emphasize the importance of those rights, I wonder how many people have ever read, or given much thought to the little known 9th Amendment.
The 9th Amendment reads as follows: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. You believe that you have the right to eat, sleep and seek employment, but where in the Bill of Rights are those rights specifically mentioned? They aren’t, because had the Founders included every single right retained by the people, the Constitution would have been hundreds of pages long.
I know some are aware of this, but did you know that when the time came for creating a Bill of Rights, (as was promised to the Anti-Federalists to secure their ratification of the Constitution), each State submitted lengthy lists of proposals to be included in this Bill of Rights. I don’t know the exact number of proposals which were ultimately submitted; but I do know that it was in the hundreds. Now Madison probably had ulterior motives for choosing some, and leaving others out; but the point is that most people are of the belief that the only rights we have are those which are specifically protected by the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
Before I go any further, I want you to think about what I just said. I did not say that the Bill of Rights grants these rights, I said the Bill of Rights protects these rights; there is a HUGE difference! Our rights are inherent and they are unalienable; two words most people rarely think about; let alone understand.
Inherent is defined as: existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. Unalienable, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated, and often confused with inalienable. Something that is inalienable is something which is not capable of being surrendered or transferred without the explicit consent of the person possessing it. Unalienable, on the other hand, is something which is not capable of being transferred, surrendered, or taken away under any circumstances. Do you see the difference between unalienable and inalienable now?
Our rights are part of our being and all the Bill of Rights does is recognize this and seeks to place restrictions upon the central government from enacting any law which seeks to limit a person’s ability to exercise them to the fullest extent; as long as in so doing they keep in mind Jefferson’s words, “… unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”
You see, every right has a flip side to it, or a responsibility attached to it. I can own guns, but I cannot use them to bring harm to another, or deprive them of their possessions without violating THEIR rights. You can say whatever you want, as long as in speaking your mind you do not bring harm to me or my reputation; that is slander and is punishable under the law.
Are we clear on that? Good, let us now proceed. Now that we’ve established the nature of our rights, and the fact that we have many more rights than those specifically listed in the Bill of Rights, allow me to ask you a question; what do you believe is your most important right in a free and democratic system of government?
If you said the right to vote, you get the prize.
Are you aware that the right to vote is not among those protected by the Bill of Rights? Voting was not mentioned in the Constitution until the illegally ratified 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution. It is then again mentioned in the 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th Amendments; each of which expanded the right to vote to a wider group of citizens.
Are you also aware of what Robert Heinlein said about modern day democracies? Didn’t think so, so allow me to share his thoughts with you, “The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens.” Or, as H. L. Mencken stated, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”
As I said, our rights are inherent and unalienable; that does not mean one MUST exercise them; only that those rights are always there should they decide to exercise them. As that pertains to the right to vote, I have the right to vote; it is just that I choose not to because I believe that by casting votes for any of the hacks which the two political parties offers the public is nothing more than lending my support to a system that has become irreparably corrupt and broken. I could vote if I wanted to, but what’s the use when government needs to be torn down to its foundations and rebuilt upon the organic Constitution which created it. In other words, in my opinion voting is only perpetuating the corruption and illegitimacy of the entity we call government.
People, especially those of the conservative ideology, always tell me, “But Neal, you have got to vote; otherwise __________ is going to win.” Early in our young Republic’s history, John Quincy Adams said, “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” Well what if there are no candidates of principle for me to cast my vote for; should I still vote when by doing so I am knowlingly sacrificing my own principles? You have to remember, George Carlin once said, “The next time they give you all that civic bullshit about voting, keep in mind that Hitler was elected in a full, free democratic election.”
My decision to not vote is based upon a careful examination of the facts and the realization that no matter who I might choose to vote for, our government is going to continue to do things which violate the Constitution and infringe upon my rights. So I choose to withdraw my consent for government by not choosing from amongst the candidates offered to fill the various seats of power within it.
You see, the pertinent point in my previous statement is ‘a careful examination of the facts.’ What that means is that I have studied the facts and formed an intelligent decision based upon them. I have freed myself from the two party paradigm which holds so many in this country captive; the my party is the best party and your party is destructive to what America stands for bullshit that most people cling to as they would a life raft in the middle of the ocean. In short, I have thought about it and came to the conclusion that, at this stage of the game, voting is a waste of my time; with the emphasis on the words, ‘thought about it.’
You know, there is a quote by the late Thomas Edison which I fervently believe to be true, “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
I don’t think that people have been taught to think; at least not think critically. Sure, people’s brains may be functioning, and they may be coming to conclusions and making decisions upon the outcomes of these neural synapses, but that does not necessarily mean they have been thinking critically. It could very well be that what most people call thought is more akin to the weighing of opposing emotions and coming to a decision based upon the stronger emotion.
In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIV, Thomas Jefferson talks extensively on his thoughts on the education of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As I was reading through that last night I came across something which provided the inspiration for everything you have read, and all that you will read if you decide to continue reading; that quote being, “There is a certain period of life, say from eight to fifteen or sixteen years of age, when the mind like the body is not yet firm enough for laborious and close operations. If applied to such, it falls an early victim to premature exertion; exhibiting, indeed, at first, these young and tender subjects, the flattering appearance of their being men while they are still children, but ending in reducing them to be children when they should be men.”
Jefferson then goes on to make a very telling statement, “If this period be suffered to pass in idleness, the mind becomes lethargic and impotent, as would the body it inhabits if unexercised during the same time.”
Do you grasp the significance of those words? Jefferson was saying that there is a window of opportunity, we as adults have, in which to teach our children how to fully use their minds; TO THINK! If we miss that window of opportunity we will have ended up producing a generation of adults who are incapable of critical thought; something which I experience firsthand on a daily basis.
Our school systems, or indoctrination centers as I prefer to call them, do not produce graduates who are capable of thought; they produce drones who have been programmed to fit into society, run the machines that keep our economy moving, but NOT to question authority or peer behind the smoke screen of media manipulation and political rhetoric for the truth. The truth is dangerous to those in power, and the best way for those in power to stay in power is to produce entire generations of people who have been lied to, and then programmed to reject the truth if they should ever encounter it.
Sure, our school systems, (even with the implementation of the madness they call Common Core), is attempting to teach our children math, but it is dismally failing in teaching them about the history of their country and the intricacies of our system of governance.
You see, there is something else Jefferson went on to say about what our youth should be taught in those early years of their lives, “For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as had been said, to be chiefly historical. History, by apprizing them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat it.”
That is why our country is in such sad shape; because we have failed to teach our children history and civics; it is what has produced generation after generation of adults who think nothing of our government’s repeated violations of the Constitution and the infringements upon their most sacred rights. Not only have they not been taught these vital subjects, they have been taught not to care about them; and to reject any attempts to dispel the lies they have been told.
Jefferson was not the only Founder who believed a thorough understanding of history and civics was crucial; Noah Webster, the father of American dictionaries also believed these subjects to be vital. In 1788 Webster wrote, “But every child in America should be acquainted with his own country. He should read books that furnish him with ideas that will be useful to him in life and practice. As soon as he opens his lips, he should rehearse the history of his own country; he should lisp the praise of liberty, and of those illustrious heroes and statesmen, who have wrought a revolution in her favor.
A selection of essays, respecting the settlement and geography of America; the history of the late revolution and of the most remarkable characters and events that distinguished it, and a compendium of the principles of the federal and provincial governments, should be the principal school book in the United States.”
That is why I harp so much on the ignorance of the average voter in this country; because to make an informed decision at the polls requires that the voter be…well, INFORMED. How can they be informed if the only thing they know is the difference between the Republicans and Democrats? How can they be informed when the vote for a president based upon all the campaign promises a candidate makes; when the Constitution does not authorize them to fulfill any of them; that is the job of Congress.
If you were truly informed, you would not support government simply because the person from your party occupies the Oval Office; you would see government for what it has become; tyrannical, oppressive, and completely unconcerned with upholding their oaths of office to support and defend the organic Constitution of 1787. Knowing this, you could not, in clear conscience, continue to support that government, nor could you stomach voting for any of the candidates to fill the various positions within government.
Our Founding Fathers did not take the violations of their rights lying down; they opposed them from the very first instance; and when they oppressions became unbearable, they sought to sever the ties which bound them to their government and establish one which would better protect their liberty.
As Madison said in his Memorial and Remonstrance, “It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties–we hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle.”
Yet when one today talks about resisting government they are treated as if they had the plague; people shun and ridicule them; treating them as if they were threats to society. It only goes to show how well people have been indoctrinated; thinking that by standing up for liberty is a danger to society. As historian Charles A. Beard said, “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”
I’m sorry if my beliefs offend, or scare you, but I have broken free of the prison of ignorance and see the truth for what it is; our government is a cesspool of corruption and in no way resembles the one outlined in our Constitution; and it is way past time it be held accountable for the damage it has done to our country and the liberty it was established to protect.
I can provide you with the limited information I have, (I say limited because I know many who know far more than I do), I can point you in the right direction to expand your own knowledge. What I can’t do is think for you; you must do that on your own.
It’s up to you; choose willful ignorance and servitude, or choose knowledge and freedom. I think you know which path you’ll find me on. I just hope that I’ll see you there with me before it’s too late. For as Winston Churchill once said, “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”