“What if I told you everything you knew was a lie?”
“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those
who falsely believe themselves to be free.”
~Johan Wolfgang von Goethe~
Every so often the news media will report on the President’s, or Congresses, approval ratings. Have you ever wondered how they come up with the numbers they give you? What happens is a polling agency will call a certain percentage of Americans and that, supposedly, gives them an accurate assessment of the overall sentiments of the country.
I got one of those calls once and what they do is they ask you a series of questions and you are confined in your answer to providing them with a number; which is representative of a specific answer. For instance, they might ask you if you agree with how the President is handling the economy, and a 1 means you strongly agree, a 2 means you somewhat agree, a 3 means you’re not sure, a 4 means you somewhat disagree, and a 5 means you strongly disagree.
The one time I got called I asked the lady who was conducting the poll why they didn’t ask why I agree or disagree, and she told me that she didn’t establish the guidelines, but it was probably because they didn’t care about why a person agreed or disagreed, they only wanted to gauge the support or opposition to either Congress or the President.
I mention all this because I sometimes think that people don’t even know why they support a particular candidate; beside the fact that they weren’t the person who was running against them who belonged to the ‘other’ political party. Rarely do the reasons our government was created, or the powers it was given, come into political discussions today, and I believe that is intentional so as to keep the people fighting against each other rather than focusing their attention upon the crimes of government as a system, or as an entity.
The important point for those in power is not who gets elected, it is maintaining the public’s faith in the system. It does not matter to those in power whether people disagree with what they are doing, so long as they continue to vote, continue to pay their taxes, and continue to obey the laws they pass.
You see, our system derives its authority by way of our consent to it; and nothing says you consent to it more than participating in the process of electing people to it. No matter how hard I try, or how I word it, I can’t seem to get people to care about how our country went from 13 independent nation/states into this consolidated entity known as the United States with an arbitrary and despotic government. It’s almost as if people think, “Well that’s all we got, so we might as well play along with their game.”
Was that the mindset of our Founding Fathers? Did those of the 2nd Continental Congress say, “Well gee whiz guys, all we got is this King and his Parliament, so we might as well just play along and obey the laws they impose upon us.” No, they said, “Gee guys, it seems like this King and his Parliament have grown a bit too big for their britches; passing all these taxes and laws without our consent. I think it’s high time we told them to take a hike and see if we can’t do things better on our own.”
Of course those aren’t the exact words they used, but they echo the sentiments expressed by those who adopted the Declaration of Independence; our nation’s birth certificate and the foundation upon which any American system of government should rest – and for awhile, it did.
I think everyone, at least those who are somewhat politically active and informed, have their own beliefs as to the extent to which our current system is either broken or corrupt; and we each have our own beliefs as to what can be done to remedy that. My intent here is not to provide you with a means of fixing what is wrong, but to show you how we were screwed from the get go; how our current system of government was designed to devolve from one designed to protect liberty to one which destroys it from the onset.
If I were to ask most people their citizenship status, most would answer that they are Americans. That shows me that most do not truly understand their status within a system of government that they are told is a Republic. The men who fought in the Revolution, and later went on to write and ratify the Constitution did not think of themselves as Americans, or United States citizens. In fact, back in 1787 there was no such thing as a U.S. citizen; each was a citizen of the State wherein they resided.
Let me ask you a question, and I’d like for you to think about it for a moment before you answer. Why do we even have a government for the United States of America? After all, doesn’t each State have its own government; so what is the purpose the US government is supposed to serve?
Before the American Revolution there was no centralized system of government for the United States; yet each Colony thrived and enjoyed pretty much perfect liberty…that is until King George III decided to impose his will upon them. Our first system of government; the one created by the Articles of Confederation, was established as a body to act as a central point to manage the war effort so as not to have 13 individual and separate states trying to fight a war against a common enemy.
One of the key points the Articles of Confederation established was, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.” (Source: Article II of the Articles of Confederation)
If each State already had a system of government to manage their own internal affairs, then the ONLY purpose for which a centralized system of government should serve was to act as an intermediary between the States; having no direct authority to affect the lives, property or liberty of the people. If you read through the Articles of Confederation you will see that the powers given the Congress they established primarily are directed towards the States, not the people. The only reference made which applies directly to the people is in regards to them being able to travel freely between the States and enjoy the same rights they had in their native State, “The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States.” (Source: Article 4 of the Articles of Confederation)
So, if each State was free and independent from the other 12 comprising the ‘United States’, then why would they need to replace the existing government with the one outlined in the Constitution? There can be but one answer from two options. Either the government created by the Articles of Confederation was weak and ineffective, or there were those who sought to expand the powers of the central government and provide it with the means of annihilating the States as sovereign entities.
On February 21, 1787 the Congress of these United States issued a declaration which said, “Congress having had under consideration the letter of John Dickinson, Esquire, chairman of the commissioners who assembled at Annapolis during the last year, also the proceedings of the said commissioners and entirely coinciding with them as to the inefficiency of the federal government and the necessity of devising such farther provisions as shall render the same adequate to the exigencies of the Union do strongly recommend to the different legislatures to send forward delegates to meet the proposed convention on the second Monday in May next at the city of Philadelphia.” (My emphasis)
That was the sole reason delegates were sent to Philadelphia in the Spring of 1787, to come up with proposals for amendments to strengthen the existing Congress so as to better serve the exigencies of the Union. It is inconceivable that the State Legislatures would send delegates to a convention whose stated purpose was to deprive them of their sovereign authority.
Yet that is exactly what James Madison intended from the onset, stating to George Washington, “Conceiving that an individual independence of the States is utterly irreconcileable with their aggregate sovereignty; and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable, I have sought for some middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful.”
Madison sought to diminish the State authority to such an extent they would rendered as nothing more than subordinately useful. Not only that, he wanted the government he was about to create to have an absolute negative, or veto power, over all laws passed by the States, “Over and above this positive power, a negative in all cases whatsoever on the legislative acts of the States, as heretofore exercised by the Kingly prerogative, appears to me to be absolutely necessary, and to be the least possible encroachment on the State jurisdictions.”
Madison was saddened and discouraged when, during the convention, the Senate was given so much power in determining what laws this new government would create. He sought not to give the States that much say in what laws this new government would be passing; choosing rather to have the representatives of the people, (The House of Representatives), having most of that authority.
What Madison sought was a consolidation of the States into a United States; which would have eradicated the federalist system established by the Articles of Confederation and replaced it with a nationalist system. Thankfully there were those in attendance at the convention who saw that his plan would place the smaller States at the will of the larger more populated ones, and they sought to give each State an equal voice in the Senate; thereby giving them the ability to more readily oppose laws that might threaten their sovereignty.
On December 12, 1787 delegates from the Pennsylvania Ratification Assembly issued a statement opposing the finished document submitted to the States for their consideration; i.e. The Constitution. In it they stated the following about the proceedings which produced the finished document, “The doors were kept shut, and the members brought under the most solemn engagements of secrecy. Some of those who opposed their going so far beyond their powers, retired, hopeless, from the convention others had the firmness to refuse signing the plan altogether, and many who did sign it, did it not as a system they wholly approved, but as the best that could be then obtained, and notwithstanding the time spent on this subject, it is agreed on all hands to be a work of haste and accommodation.”
Not only did the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention exceed their authority; not only did they keep their proceedings secret from those outside the walls of Independence Hall, they also, upon completing their work, dictated the terms by which their finished document would be accepted or rejected.
As little as it means today, back in 1787 the Articles of Confederation was the constitution which governed the actions of the Congress they had created. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, it WAS the Supreme Law of the Land; much as our current Constitution is supposed to be the Supreme Law of the Land. Therefore, whatever that document said about amending it was the ONLY legal means by which it could be altered or abolished. So what did the Articles of Confederation say about this process? Well, in Article 13 we read, “… nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.”
Is that what happened, the constitution was confirmed by the State Legislatures? No, it was submitted to assemblies; consisting of residents of the various States. Not only was it submitted to the people directly, a simply 3/4 majority was all that would be required to implement the proposed plan of government; not the unanimous consent of all 13 States.
So, not only was our system of government conceived in secrecy; violating the authority given the delegates who created it, it was also implemented contrary to existing law. In short, our system of government was conceived in fraud, and enacted illegally. Great start for a system of government; wouldn’t you say?
Even with all that, what the delegates ended up producing wasn’t a bad system of government. Ben Franklin, in an address to the delegates before they voted upon the finalized document, stated, “In these Sentiments, Sir, 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 I 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.
I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does.”
The key point is Franklin’s comment that their proposed system of government could “… 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.” If we vote for corrupt or unprincipled people, then we deserve the government we get; and this applies doubly to those who consistently vote for the lesser of two evils.
As Noah Webster once said, ” When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, ‘just men who will rule in the fear of God.’ The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.”
Had our government strictly adhered to the Constitution instead of seeking implied or hidden powers within it, we might never have ended up with this monstrosity we have today; one that sends our men off to defend American values in countries we have no business being in; one which accrues debt faster than electricity flows from the light switch to the light bulb; one that destroys liberty instead of defending it.
Yet, even though from the moment our government went into effect it sought to expand its powers beyond those specifically granted, there was the Declaration of Independence; lurking in the background providing us with the means of restoring our sacred and unalienable rights if government should ever become tyrannical and despotic.
In fact, a certain young member of the House of Representatives once said, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, most sacred right- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to excercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own, of so much territory as the inhabit.”
Do you want to know who said that? Why, it was none other than Abraham Lincoln, who did as all politicians do; reversed his position when those he sought to govern chose to shake off their existing government and form one which better suited their needs – the Confederate States of America.
If the Philadelphia Convention built the coffin that would hold our Republic and the liberty government is supposed to defend, Abraham Lincoln and his invasion of the South, and the resulting Reconstruction Laws passed after the Civil War drove the final nails into that coffin; and we have lived under despotism ever since.
There isn’t an American alive today who has lived in a country that enjoys true liberty, or one which is part of a real Republic. There are, however, those who see what has happened – and how it has happened – but our voices fall upon the deaf ears of a populace who still believe in the system simply because they are ignorant and apathetic about how it was created and for what purposes it was created to serve.
You can play your silly game of partisan politics all you want, but no matter who you elect government will continue to grow; it will continue to amass record debt; it will continue to interfere in the affairs of other sovereign nations; and it will continue to pass laws that erode what liberty you have left…of that I can assure you.
In closing I’d like to leave you with two final quotes, both from Lysander Spooner. Ponder them and then ask yourself why you still consent to being governed by tyrants.
– A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.
– But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.