“The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections”
~Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson~
West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette (1943)
What would you say is the most fundamental right that we, as human beings, possess? Knowing how many people in this country are progressive thinkers I can only begin to imagine what answers I would get if I were to ask that question of people face to face. I can only speak for myself, and as far as I’m concerned the right of self defense is the most important of all our rights. I think if one were to think logically about it, that makes sense; because the urge for self-preservation is one of the most powerful driving forces that we, as humans, have.
Unfortunately, we as a society have been conditioned to believe that self-defense is limited to our ability to ward off and defend ourselves against attacks against our persons; when in reality it is our ability to defend all that is rightfully ours. Many, if not most of our Founders, believed that the right of self-defense was the first law of nature; meaning that it sat at the list of all the rights that we, as human beings, are endowed with by the very fact of us being human beings.
I can’t be 100% sure, but I’d be willing to bet that there are a great many in this country who believe that our rights come from the Constitution, or the Bill of Rights. I don’t see how anyone with an ounce of common sense can come to that conclusion, but apparently there are a great many in this country who are suffering from a severe deficiency of common sense because some people actually believe that nonsense.
Thomas Jefferson summed it all up best in the Declaration of Independence when he said that our rights come from our Creator. Government may be able to do many things, but it damn sure can’t pick up a handful of dust and breathe life into it; creating man. Therefore, if our rights come from our Creator, then they come from a higher power than government, and government is violating Natural Law when it attempts to restrict or limit the full exercise of ALL our fundamental rights.
Now if you would but put on your thinking caps for a second that you’d see a very important point in that last statement; that point being that those who create hold more power and authority than do their creations. God created man; therefore God has more power and authority than we do. Now if you follow that train of thought you will find that man created government, therefore man has more power and authority than does any form of government – especially when their system of government is SUPPOSED to be one dedicated to preserving the liberty of those it governs.
In his Second Treatise John Locke points out a very important fact, one that many people simply don’t seem to recognize, “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)
There is a word that describes the condition that man lives under when they are ruled by a system of government that does not respect their rights; it’s called tyranny. The best way to explain that is by saying that you are governed by tyrants if it is a crime for you to do the things your government routinely does.
For instance, if I were to confront someone on the street and demand that they hand over a portion of the money they had in their wallet or purse I would be accused of attempted theft. Yet government, by calling it a tax, gets away with it because people simply accept that this is what governments do. It does not seem to matter to most people that the power to tax is tied to the specific powers delegated to our government by the Constitution.
In arguing against the constitutionality of a national bank Thomas Jefferson summed that concept us 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.” (My emphasis)
Or, you could look at it from the perspective of Lysander Spooner, “If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers have only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.”
The point I’m trying to make is that our Founders created a system of government and bestowed it with certain powers for certain specific functions; and that when their creation oversteps the boundaries separating just powers from unjust powers is breached, then their actions become tyrannical – and that is even more so when the laws they enact restrict the liberty government was established to secure.
Getting back to the right of self-defense, 5 years before Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence Samuel Adams wrote a report for the Committee of Correspondence for the city of Boston, wherein he stated, “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.”
True freedom comes when each individual is free to govern their own lives as they see fit, and at the same time defend their lives, their property, and their rights from attack from wherever those attacks may come. Or you could quote Jefferson, who said, “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.”
I have the right to life, to own property, and to enjoy liberty, and when anyone, be it an individual or a group of individuals calling themselves a government, attempts to limit my ability to enjoy those things it is my right to defend them, and no human law can make that a crime; for that right comes from my Creator, not my government.
When our Founders wrote the Constitution they encountered stiff opposition to it from a segment of society that felt it did little to preserve the liberty they had recently won; as well as the fact that it consolidated the States into a single Union under the supreme jurisdiction of a national government.
Now I know that many of you don’t know, or care, about the difference between a national and a federal form of government, but it is essential to the discussion that you understand the difference between the two; and what the Constitution attempted to do.
A national form of government is one whose authority extends to each and every person living under its jurisdiction, while a federal one is one in which the authority of the government extends only to the component parts of the Union; meaning the States. In arguing against the ratification of this proposed Constitution, Patrick Henry warned, “Sir, would not all the world, from the Eastern to the Western hemisphere, blame our distracted folly in resting our rights upon the contingency of our rulers being good or bad. Shew me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty? I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.”
That is one of the reasons why the adoption of the Constitution was consented to by some, so long as once established and in operation, this new system of government would include a Bill of Rights; protecting certain rights from infringement by the government created by the Constitution.
It’s important that you understand this; the Bill of Rights was written to apply only to the federal government, not the States. The Constitution established our central government, did it not? Then if the first 10 amendments to the Constitution add restrictions to the powers held by that government, how can they also apply to the States; as each State already had their own constitution which described the powers to be held by the various State governments.
The preamble to the Bill of Rights points that fact out quite plainly, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.”
Their use of the phrase ‘its powers’ states that the Bill of Rights applies to a single entity; the federal government; otherwise they would have said ‘their powers’ in reference to both the federal and State governments.
Since everyone is talking about walls these days, let’s use a wall as an analogy for the Bill of Rights. As our rights come from our Creator, they were in existence prior to the establishment of our system of government. What the Bill of Rights does is build a wall built which protects those rights from attack by our government.
Now when I say government I am not limiting my speech to the President or Congress; I am also including the almighty black robed clowns who call themselves the Supreme Court; as they are part of the entity known as the federal government. What that means is that Congress can pass no law; the President can issue no decree; and the Supreme Court can hand down any ruling that either limits or prohibits the exercise of any of the rights protected by the first ten amendments to the Constitution. That’s it, end of story; and should they do so they have violated the trust we have placed in government and every liberty loving person in America should raise their voice, and their arms against them.
Now that may sound dangerously close to treason; for it implies taking up arms against our government. But why should that frighten you unless you, somehow, depend upon government for something? If you truly understood, and cherished liberty you would not need government for a damned thing. After all, Thomas Paine did say that government was but a necessary evil, and in its worst state an intolerable one. And did not Jefferson say “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” (My emphasis)
Yet to even mention resisting, or rising up against government causes some to quiver in fear. I wonder, where would these people have been on the morning of April 19, 1775 when the British marched upon Lexington and Concord; would they have been at home quivering in fear, or would they have been on the front lines ready to resist tyranny?
One final thought and then I’ll wrap this all up. There are two things a tyrannical government fears; a knowledgeable people and a well armed people. That is why what you are taught in school about government can be summed up in one sentence, “You have a government and it is your duty as a patriotic citizen to support it, and to obey the laws it passes.” Yet our country was founded by hell raisers and rebels who resisted the authority of their government to enact any law which violated their fundamental rights as freemen.
Among the many fears Patrick Henry had regarding the government outlined by the Constitution was the fear of the coercive power it would hold over the people. Henry saw that it allowed for standing armies and the establishment of federal sheriffs to ‘…execute the execrable commands of tyranny.’ Henry warned, “And how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your Mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment?” It is ludicrous to think that those who cherished liberty as much as men like Henry, Adams and Jefferson would think that their government should be allowed to possess the latest in high tech weaponry, while the people were only allowed to own semi automatic weapons with a 10 round magazine.
The Bill of Rights, including the 2nd Amendment, was written at a time when the guns owned by the army were the same as the guns owned by many private citizens. To say that our government should enact laws which prohibit the people from owning these weapons of war shows a blatant, and inexcusable ignorance as to the purpose for which the 2nd Amendment was written; that purpose being so that the people could raise up a well armed militia to fight against their government should it ever become tyrannical.
But people today don’t think about things like what I have just spoken of anymore; and that’s assuming they even give a moment’s thought to what their government is doing at all. There are some in this country who are so apathetic that the government could send in troops to herd them into rail cars and cart them off to a concentration camp; and their only concern would be whether that camp had wifi.
The remaining people are so divided along political party lines that they cannot see that government as an entity has become far worse than the one our Founders fought against in the Revolution. The motto of the majority of American voters may as well be, “Tyranny is okay as long as it is insert your party affiliation here tyranny. It is only when it is insert opposing party name here that I oppose it.”
The inability, or unwillingness of people affiliated with the two primary political parties to see that their candidates are just as much tyrants as are those of the opposing party only ensures that government, as an entity, is in no danger from the people; for most people prefer, comfort, security; or bread and circuses, over liberty and the ability to defend it.
That is why people like me scare most people. We don’t need government, and we damn sure don’t like it telling us what we can do with our lives. We also don’t like people who use government as a tool to impose their views upon us by restricting our rights or by taxing us to support measures we find blatantly unconstitutional. We pose a threat to their way of life and their entire belief system; and that causes most people to react negatively to what we say.
And if you ask me, there can only be one reason why this happens; people are mentally comatose; they are unable to take facts and form an opinion based upon them. And if you weren’t paying attention, I just said that most people are basically brain dead zombies who think that voting for their own slave master equates to freedom.
Well you can be a slave if you choose; that is your right. But you cannot impose slavery upon me, or upon others like me. We understand what it means to be free, and we know also understand that the tree of liberty is in dire need of watering; with the blood of both patriots and tyrants.
Or, to quote Robert Heinlein, “Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.” (Source: Starship Troopers)
And if you stand in our way when that time comes to refresh the tree of liberty, don’t be surprised if you should happen to end up as collateral damage. We may lose, as did the Confederate Army in 1865, but we know one thing that you don’t, “It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”
I now return you to your regularly scheduled progra