By What Authority? (Part 2)

“Where’s the justice, where’s the law;
raise your healthy voice.”
~Ted Nugent~
(Stormtroopin, 1975)

Before I continue with Part 2 I want to do a short recap of Part 1. I hope that I have firmly established 4 distinct points. The first is that the people of the United States are the true sovereigns in this country; that they alone hold the supreme political power and authority. Secondly, prior to the Constitution the States were sovereign and independent entities which were loosely united for their mutual benefit; a Confederation. Next, the Constitution was a compact written under the delegated authority of the State Legislatures and implemented by the voice of the people who lived within the 13 States. Finally I addressed the subject of what a Preamble is; a declaration of intent which states the purpose for which our Constitution was written and adopted.

Before I take one step further in my discussion, I need to make absolutely clear what a constitution is. This may be my own personal opinion, but the best definition of what a Constitution is can be found in Thomas Paine’s book, The Rights of Man, wherein it states, “A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound. A constitution, therefore, is to a government what the laws made afterwards by that government are to a court of judicature. The court of judicature does not make the laws, neither can it alter them; it only acts in conformity to the laws made: and the government is in like manner governed by the constitution.”

People today seem to have forgotten that the Constitution is a law. Yet in 1866 the Supreme Court held that to be its status, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” (Source: Ex parte Milligan) If I might impose upon you to answer a question, what term do we use in society for those who break the law? Why, isn’t it criminals? Therefore, if those we elect do not obey the restrictions placed upon them by the document which created our system of government, does that not make them criminals? Not only has the Court held that the Constitution is a law, but the Constitution itself declares that to be the case, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in the Pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme law of the Land.”

But people fail to see that little caveat within that statement regarding the laws our government might choose to enact, that they be in pursuance of the powers given Congress by the Constitution. Our government cannot decide for itself the extent of the powers it might choose to exercise on our behalf. This fact is attested to by both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

In 1798 Thomas Jefferson declared, “…that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…” (Source: The Kentucky Resolutions)

Madison also stated something very similar, “[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.” (Source: Speech in the Virginia Ratification Assembly, June 6, 1788)

As Congress is the lawmaking body of our government, it should be obvious that the powers given our government be contained in the Article of our Constitution which outlines the powers given Congress. Those powers are found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. Depending upon how one interprets Article 1, Section 8 there are either 16 or 18 powers given Congress; and therefore our government as a whole.

The reason I say there are either 16 or 18 powers is twofold; the first reason being is that the first power listed is the power to raise taxes. The power to raise taxes is a power, of that there is no doubt, but the power to raise taxes can only be exercised if it is to raise the money required to perform the other specific areas our government was given authority to legislate upon. In 1791 Thomas Jefferson explained this point as follows, “To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, ‘to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.’ For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.” (Source: Jefferson’s opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank)

The other reason I say there may be either 16 or 18 powers given Congress is due to the last power described, “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.”

This clause is known as the Necessary and Proper Clause, and has been used to justify many an expansion of our government’s power. Yet once again this is not an open door for all manner of implied powers, but is specifically directed towards the fulfillment all powers mentioned beforehand. This belief is confirmed in Federalist 33 where Alexander Hamilton declares, “This simple train of inquiry furnishes us at once with a test by which to judge of the true nature of the clause complained of. It conducts us to this palpable truth, that a power to lay and collect taxes must be a power to pass all laws NECESSARY and PROPER for the execution of that power; and what does the unfortunate and culumniated provision in question do more than declare the same truth, to wit, that the national legislature, to whom the power of laying and collecting taxes had been previously given, might, in the execution of that power, pass all laws NECESSARY and PROPER to carry it into effect? I have applied these observations thus particularly to the power of taxation, because it is the immediate subject under consideration, and because it is the most important of the authorities proposed to be conferred upon the Union. But the same process will lead to the same result, in relation to all other powers declared in the Constitution. And it is EXPRESSLY to execute these powers that the sweeping clause, as it has been affectedly called, authorizes the national legislature to pass all NECESSARY and PROPER laws. If there is any thing exceptionable, it must be sought for in the specific powers upon which this general declaration is predicated.”

Let me sum up what I have proven to be the case so far. Our Constitution is a law; in fact it is the supreme law of the land. Yet it is only supreme when the laws our government enacts are in pursuance of those specifically enumerated powers found in Article 1, Section 8. Anything our government does that exceeds those powers can be called many things; usurpation, unconstitutional, and yes, even criminal.

Now I must address a point that I know will anger some, and make others uncomfortable. If the very act of our government passing laws which the Constitution does not authorize it to enact is a criminal violation of the Supreme Law of the Land, what then do you call those who enforce such unconstitutional laws upon the people?

I’m not specifically targeting local law enforcement; although they are certainly included in my question. I’m also talking about every government agency whose job is to enforce the laws passed by Congress; from the Drug Enforcement Agency all the way to Park Rangers who enforce federal law upon land the government has no authority to claim jurisdiction over.

The 16th American Jurisprudence is an encyclopedia of law. It holds no authority and cannot be used to try those accused of breaking the law; its sole purpose is to explain legal principles and maxims. That said, there is something contained within its covers that one needs to understand, “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.”

Where exactly in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution does it give Congress the authority to enact any law which requires that the public obtain health insurance? Where in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution does it give Congress the authority to criminalize the use of a naturally occurring substance such as marijuana; and to create an entire agency dedicated to enforcing that law; the Drug Enforcement Agency? Where exactly in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution does it authorize Congress to regulate environmental issues and establish the Environmental Protection Agency? Where exactly in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution does it authorize Congress to regulate the food supply of our nation and create an agency dedicated to enforcing that law, such as the Food and Drug Administration?

Do you want me to go on? I can you know, I can provide you with dozens of other examples of laws our government has enacted that are unconstitutional, and the agencies it has created to enforce these unconstitutional laws.

Then of course there is the pink elephant of local law enforcement enforcing unconstitutional laws as well. And if you don’t know what a pink elephant is, it is something which is obvious, but something nobody seems to want to notice or discuss.

Listen, I’m all for having a police force to serve and protect the people from the true criminals amongst us; but I am against them enforcing laws which are unconstitutional, or which violate my rights.

I realize that law enforcement officers hold, for the most part, a thankless job; that they are forced to face the underbelly of society, and that they often encounter situations where they have to make split second decisions that may mean their lives, or the lives of criminals are forfeited.

Nonetheless, they take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, and if they enforce laws that are unconstitutional they are violating that oath.
I have heard the saying that they are only doing their job; following orders. Well that’s no excuse when the orders they follow violate my rights, or the rights of someone else. They would do well to remember a little thing called the Nuremburg Trials where it was held that following orders did not shield the burden of guilt from those who were charged with violating simple human rights.

If you go all the way back to where I discussed the Preamble, you’ll recall that one of the reasons our Constitution was written was to secure justice. People believe that justice is the fair and impartial application of the law. While that may be what some dictionaries define it to be, that is not necessarily the true meaning of the word justice. I say that because what is the purpose of law? If we are to believe that America was founded on the concept of liberty, then there is something Thomas Jefferson said that you need to permanently embed in your minds; that being, “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within 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 rights of the individual.” (Source: Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816)

If a law is unconstitutional, or if it violates any of our unalienable rights, how can anyone say that justice is being served when these laws are being enforced by the coercive power of law enforcement or some governmental agency; all who have been given the authority to use deadly force in the enforcing of these laws?

How can one say that justice is being served when our court system does not recognize the limits imposed upon government by the Constitution, or the rights which have been placed beyond the legislative authority of government by the Bill of Rights?

In 1829 James Madison made the following comments to the Virginia Assembly regarding the purposes for which governments are instituted, “It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot be separated.”

If you’ll note, Madison did not say regulate or manage, he said protect. Therefore when any law passed by our government deprives us with our right to property, or any of our rights as declared under Natural Law, then that government and those who enforce such laws become tyrants.

Thomas Jefferson once posed the following question to William Small in letter he wrote in 1775, “Can it be believed that a grateful people will suffer [individuals] to be consigned to execution, whose sole crime has been the developing and asserting their rights?” Were Jefferson alive today I think he would be astonished at how readily the public stands to condemn those who do just that; assert their rights that is.

There is no justice when the power of the government is arbitrary and routinely violates the limits imposed upon it by the Constitution. There is no justice when a standing army of law enforcement and jack booted thugs hiding under the cloak of law enforce unconstitutional laws upon the people.

You know, back when our country was beginning to tire of the tyranny of King George, there was no law enforcement as we know it today. Those who enforced the Kings law were the Redcoats; the Regulars of the British Army. It was they who our Founders squared off against in the Revolutionary War; as the King himself, and Parliament damn sure didn’t travel across the Atlantic to enforce the Kings laws. That is why our Founders spoke so often about the threat posed by standing armies. I wonder what they would say about how foolish we have been in allowing our government to create a standing army of its own as it has in the various agencies which enforce federal law. I wonder what they would say if they could see how our local law enforcement has become a militarized force that uses force at the drop of a hat and routinely violates the rights of the people they are sworn to protect.

And that is why I began each segment of this two part series with that quote from the Ted Nugent song, Stormtroopin; because I’m wondering where the justice has gone, where is the law to protect our rights? I certainly don’t see it in operation, do you?

What I see is exactly what Frederic Bastiat says in his opening statement in his book The Law, “The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!”

I’m just wondering when the rest of the country is going to wake up to what I see with such clarity? In closing I’d like to return to another quote found in Federalist 33, “If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.”

When are the people of this country going to recognize that their government is corrupt and that it is evil; and has forgotten the purposes for which it was established? When are they going to stop supporting it and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution and restore America to a nation where the rights of the individual are respected and where justice once again reigns supreme?

As Mr. Nugent said, I have raised my healthy voice; the question is, will anyone hear it?

About Br'er Rabbit

I'm just one person out of millions of others. The only thing different about me is that I don't walk around with my head up my ass.
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