I know some may not agree with me on this, but I think the closer one gets to understanding why we have a federal government the less they support the government they actually have. I find it ironic, and a tad hypocritical, that people love to point out the crimes those belonging to the ‘other’ party are guilty of, but ignore the crimes the person belonging to ‘their party’ is guilty of; or the crimes government itself commits on a daily basis.
If people truly cared about upholding the principles this country was founded upon there is no way they could support the government we have today; no matter which party holds a majority in Congress or the Presidency. But people don’t care about principles, all they care about is whether the government is being run by people of their choosing; people holding the same political ideologies they do. The principles held by those who fought a war for their independence are old-fashioned and outdated; people could care less about liberty and small government; instead they want comfort and security, and they are more than willing to sacrifice their rights to get it.
If facts mattered to people they would be forced to conclude that government was not established to be their babysitter and caregiver, it was established to secure their liberty. The Declaration of Independence is the document which established America as a free and independent nation among the nation’s of the world. Therefore, doesn’t it make sense that whatever that document says is the purpose of government should be taken as gospel; that whatever form of government we might choose to implement should adhere to the principles found within it?
Well here is what the Declaration of Independence says about that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (My emphasis)
For any thinking person that should be enough to convince them that their government was not created to provide for their every need – it was created to protect them in their Life, Liberty and their pursuit of Happiness. But, seeing as how people often need a bit more convincing, let’s look at the document which actually created their system of government to see what it says about the reasons for which this form of government was created.
The Preamble to the Constitution is not a grant of any power or authority; it is simply a declaration of intent for the document that follows it. I’m not a big fan of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, but in his Commentaries on the Constitution he says this about the Preamble, “The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powers confided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them.”
Taken in that context let’s look at what the Preamble says about why this system of government was created; what purposes it was supposed to serve, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (My emphasis)
I have heard it said that in a staff meeting one of President Bush’s staff members kept warning him of the unconstitutionality of the things the President was proposing. Bush is claimed to have said, “Stop waving the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper.” Now regardless of whether Bush actually said that, the sentiments are basically true; it is just a piece of paper with words scrawled across it. What gives it life is the consent of those who are to be governed by the government it outlines. Without the consent of the people our government would be no better than any third world dictatorship; not that it is any better right now as far as I’m concerned.
The point I’m trying to make is that, just like our currency, government only has any authority, any value, any worth because the people put their trust and faith in it. If the people were to withdraw their consent there isn’t much the government could do about it. In their 1968 release The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees there is a song entitled Zor and Zam, about the leaders of two countries who called for war, but no one showed up to fight it. In the closing lyrics the Monkees sing, “The war was over before it began.”
That is what is meant by government by consent of the governed; what power would any form of government have over the people if the whole of the people simply refused to consent to it? Could they arrest or kill us all? Who would they govern if they did? No, the government needs us, they need our consent to validate their existence. The problem arises when the people consent to a government that no longer serves the purpose it was originally created to serve.
Yet our two founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both say that the preservation of our liberty is one of the primary reasons for which governments are created to serve.
Before the Constitution was adopted a heated debate raged across the country over whether to accept or reject the proposed plan for a new system of government in America. Those supporting the ratification of the Constitution were known as Federalists, while those who opposed its ratification were known as Anti-Federalists. It should come as no surprise that Patrick Henry, who during the buildup to the Revolution said, “Give me liberty or give me death” would take the side of the Anti-Federalists because he feared this new system would pose a grave threat to the liberty they had so recently won. So, when the time came for Virginia to debate the question of whether to accept or reject the Constitution Patrick Henry stood up and told his fellow delegates, “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.”
However Mr. Henry did not stop there, he continued by saying, “But I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an fellow: Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American.”
If Patrick Henry could say that about his countrymen in 1788 I wonder what he would have to say about the people living in America in 2018. I know that whenever I hear a political discussion amongst the people I come into contact with I never hear any discussion over whom to vote for to restore our liberty; all I hear is people debating what new powers to give our government which further deprive the people of their liberty.
I honestly think that few people in this country actually know what liberty, real liberty is. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines liberty as: the power to do as one pleases. Yet that implies that people are free to do whatever they want without fear of punishment. You see, liberty does have restrictions imposed upon it, which are best summed up by something Thomas Jefferson said, “…rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”
Therefore, if governments are instituted to secure liberty then can it not be said that governments are established to keep us from depriving others of their rights? I have the right to seek employment, but I do not have the right to require that someone hire me if I am unqualified to perform the work that job entails. The pay that I receive from whatever job I choose is what is known as the fruits of my labors; and they are my property; not the property of society of the government. Therefore when government takes my money in the form of taxes, then turns around and spends it on programs I disagree with, or which are blatantly unconstitutional, aren’t my rights being violated?
I have the right to put whatever I want into my body without the government telling me I can’t. Yet they criminalize certain substances and they tell us certain substances are not authorized as legitimate means of treating disease; simply because to do so would undermine the profits of the pharmaceutical companies who are major contributors to both the political parties, and the individual candidates seeking office.
Your government was not established to serve the needs of business and industry; yet from the moment of its implementation, under the direction of Alexander Hamilton, that is what it slowly began to do. Hamilton felt that the power of government should be used to help do exactly what Patrick Henry said was not the purpose of government, increase trade and make us a great and powerful people.
Did you know that back in 1907 Congress passed a bill known as the Tillman Act which restricted corporations from donating to political parties? In support of this bill President Theodore Roosevelt said, “I again recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party. Such a bill has already passed one House of Congress. Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly.”
Look at your government today, it bails out banks and infuses huge sums of cash into a faltering economy in the hopes of artificially propping it up; while suffering the unavoidable consequence of a massive growth in the inflation rate.
When you think about it who is it that has the ears of those you elect; you or the donors who make huge campaign contributions and hire K Street lobbyists who have easy access to YOUR representatives? Sure, they need your vote to get into office, but once there they serve a different master, and the sooner you realize that, the better.
How many of the laws passed by your government have you been told are in your best interests, but in reality serve the corporate masters who really run our government? How many wars have we fought just so that the bottom line of the military industrial complex stays in the black, or so that other American business interests can have easy access to the resources of those we fought?
Have you ever heard of Smedley Butler? Butler was a former 4 star general in the Marine Corps, and at the time of his death in 1940 he was the most highly decorated Marine to have ever lived. As such one would think that Butler would be the living embodiment of patriotism. Why then did he say, “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” Makes you think twice about the justification for all these wars we have been in; at least it makes me think about it –I don’t know what you’re thinking–or if you are even think at all.
But getting back to liberty, James Wilson, who was a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, once wrote, “Government … should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.”
Therefore, if government does anything that restricts the liberty of the people then that government IS NOT LEGITIMATE AND SHOULD BE OPPOSED! I’m sure most of those who signed the Declaration of Independence would agree with me on that point; while I’m not so sure about those who signed the Constitution; as I believe it was knowingly written to create a system of government that would eventually lead to one that served business and industry and obliterate the rights of the people and the States as sovereign entities.
After all, when you do away with the various causes which led the Southern States to secede from the Union, the Civil War was basically just another war for independence; with the South seeking to withdraw from the Union and establish a system of government of their own, while the North sought to keep the South in a Union against their will so that the government could retain its authority over them, and continue to collect the taxes that were being imposed upon them. After all, Lincoln did say that his purpose for the whole war was to restore the federal authority; and this comes from his own pen in a letter he wrote to Horace Greeley in 1862, “The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”
Americans today have very limited freedom; with a few paltry privileges…but they don’t have liberty. In fact, most Americans not only wouldn’t recognize liberty, they wouldn’t want it if it were offered to them on a silver platter. With liberty comes responsibility for their own lives; and that is something many people simply do not want to accept. So, they prefer what I like to call soft servitude; where they are free to do many things without much interference, but while having the important rights like freedom of speech, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to privacy having been denied them.
But if Jefferson was right, that rightful liberty has only the boundaries protecting the equal rights of others, then for anything to be a crime there must be a victim; someone’s rights, life, or property must have been threatened for there to be a crime. Who do I harm if I smoke a little marijuana in the comfort of my home? Who do I harm if I own a fully automatic rifle? Who do I harm if I wear something with an image of the Confederate Flag on it? Whose rights do I deny if I pray in a public place? Who is being harmed if I want to be free of the prying eyes and ears of my government inside my own home?
See what I mean? Sure, you can watch whatever you want on TV; you can choose between beef and chicken for supper; you can choose to dress in a suit or wear blue jeans and a T-shirt; but as for the important rights, you are a slave…for you don’t have any unless the government permits you to exercise them; and when you require permission to exercise a right it ceases being a right and becomes a privilege; and privileges can be revoked!
If the Constitution is, in fact, the Supreme Law of the Land, and if government is established to secure your rights, your liberty, then what would you call those who pass laws which violate your rights and restrict your liberty? I can’t speak for you, but I would call them criminals; and I certainly wouldn’t stand behind them and support them in their crimes against me.
In 1850 Frederic Bastiat published a book simply titled, The Law. He begins his book by stating, “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!”
That is the state of affairs in America today; the law has been perverted and now seeks to limit and restrict the very liberty government was established to secure. Yet millions of Americans flock to the polls every election and do what…vote for more of the same.
Not me, I refuse to vote for any candidate, or to place any candidate into an entity that has proven time and time again that my liberty is of no concern to it. I revoked my consent to this government a long time ago, and I only acquiesce to the laws they pass so that I don’t end up in jail or dead.
You see, in 1775 Thomas Jefferson posed the following question in a letter to William Small, “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?”
Knowing people as I do, I would have to answer yes, they would suffer people to be consigned to execution simply for developing and asserting their rights. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you try asking the survivors of Waco how their right to live as they please ended in flames in April of 1985…