“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of
another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”
Prior to June 21, 1788 the government for the United States of America consisted of a Congress with representatives chosen by the State Legislatures of the 13 sovereign States. That’s all there was under the government established by the Articles of Confederation, a Congress and nothing else. There was no Executive Branch with a President and all the various departments, and there was no federal judiciary to interpret the Constitution six ways from Sunday.
One would think that when the people of a country are engaged in a discussion of whether or not to abolish their existing form of government and replace it with another that they would examine the proposed form of government carefully to ensure that they were not adopting a system that would make things worse than they currently were.
Prior to the ratification of the Constitution various well known and respected men spoke out in opposition to the adoption of the plan for a new system of government for America. One such man was Melancton Smith who wrote a series of 18 essays under the pseudonym of Letters from a Federal Farmer to the Republican.
In his first essay Mr. Smith stated, “Whether, considering our situation, we ought to precipitate the adoption of the proposed constitution? If we remain cool and temperate, we are in no immediate danger of any commotions; we are in a state of perfect peace, and in no danger of invasions; the state governments are in the full exercise of their powers; and our governments answer all present exigencies, except the regulation of trade, securing credit, in some cases, and providing for the interest, in some instances, of the public debts; and whether we adopt a change, three or nine months hence, can make but little odds with the private circumstances of individuals; their happiness and prosperity, after all, depend principally upon their own exertions.”
Maybe I’m just a bit on the slow side, but it sure sounds to me like the country was in no immediate danger, and therefore the States had plenty of time to perform a complete and thorough examination of the proposed system of government before deciding whether or not to adopt it.
Did you know it took nearly 4 years for the Colonies/States to ratify the Articles of Confederation; yet it took less than a year to ratify the Constitution? Why the urgency? After ratifying the Constitution, a minority from the Pennsylvania ratifying assembly issued a document outlining the reasons they opposed ratification by their State. In their document they stated, “Whilst the gilded chains were forging in the secret conclave, the meaner instruments of despotism without, were busily employed in alarming the fears of the people with dangers which did not exist, and exciting their hopes of greater advantages from the expected plan than even the best government on earth could produce….”
I don’t know about you, but that process sounds awfully familiar; excite the fears of the people over real or imaginary dangers in an effort to get them to adopt measures they may later regret. In fact, later in his essay, Melancton Smith speaks about that very subject, “It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure, to tell us, now is the crisis — now is the critical moment which must be seized, or all will be lost: and to shut the door against free enquiry, whenever conscious the thing presented has defects in it, which time and investigation will probably discover. This has been the custom of tyrants and their dependants in all ages.”
That sounds strikingly similar to something Rahm Emmanuel said while serving as White House Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”
Regardless of what was said, both in support of and opposition to it the Constitution was ratified and the system of government outlined therein was put into effect. They say hindsight is always 20/20, and now looking back on things, I would say that the ratification of the Constitution was the absolute biggest mistake this country ever made.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that America may not have needed a better form of government than the one produced by the Articles of Confederation; one with a bit more power to perform the tasks a government should perform. What I am saying is that America should not have chosen to adopt the form of government outlined by the Constitution.
When you talk politics with most people today you typically encounter people who consider themselves to be either Republicans or Democrats; conservatives or liberals; or progressives depending upon who you are talking to. These people either support or oppose government based upon how well it adheres to the ideology of their respective political parties.
Yet neither side of the political spectrum seems willing to ask themselves a fundamental question: What purpose is government supposed to serve? The reason they do not ask that question is because if they found the answer they would be unable to support their government regardless of which party was in control of it; not without proving themselves to be hypocrites anyway.
All one has to do is to read the Declaration of Independence if they want to know the purpose government should serve, “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…”
The Constitution may have framed a government, but the Declaration of Independence framed the principles upon which any government has a right to exist and the purposes it should serve.
I have often commented on how short people’s memory spans are, but that really isn’t something new. The Declaration of Independence was written and adopted in a time when the people of British America were suffering under the yoke tyranny imposed upon them by King George III and Parliament. Yet in less than a decade and a half, in a time of relative peace and comfort, they forgot the one thing that led them to risk their lives to obtain – liberty.
It should therefore come as no surprise that people two centuries after the adoption of the Constitution wouldn’t give a second’s thought to obtaining or defending liberty. Yet, just as in 1787 and 1788 there were those who cried LIBERTY to all who would hear them, there are those of us today who cry about the loss of liberty due to the laws being enacted by your government. And just as the voices of those who cried for LIBERTY in 1787 fell upon deaf ears, so do our cries today.
People today look to government to do all manner of things for them; from creating jobs to keeping them safe, healthy and secure. But, is that why governments exist, to keep the people employed, safe and secure? I suppose it could be the reason – if you were hiring a nanny and not a system of government designed to secure and enlarge your liberty.
Patrick Henry tried to remind the delegates to the Virginia Ratifying Assembly of what they had so recently fought to obtain by saying, “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.”
But then he went on to say, “Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings-give us that precious jewel, and you may take every thing else: 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 people who had so recently fought a war to obtain the precious jewel of liberty, imagine how much harder it is for someone two centuries later to get people to give liberty a second’s thought. Not only do most people today not give liberty much thought, they mistakenly believe they actually enjoy it. Yet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe accurately stated, “None are so hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
As an example, I’ve had people tell me that we are free because we can hop in our car and drive from one end of the country to the other. You know what that tells me; that tells me that people don’t know what it means to be truly free. Being free means that there are no restrictions, no limits, no fees, no permits required, and no conditions placed upon a person’s ability to do something.
So let’s just take a look at whether or not you’re free just because you can hop in your car and drive from, let’s say, California to Florida. When you buy that car there are taxes attached to your purchase as well as registration fees. Those fees are not a one-time deal; they slap you with them every single year for as long as you own that vehicle. The gas you put into that car so that it can take you from Point A to Point B is also taxed. Then on top of all that you need an operators permit, called a drivers license, to be permitted to operate that vehicle on public roads.
So tell me again how free you actually are.
Government should be instituted to protect and defend the equal rights of all its members. To understand the significance of that statement you have to also understand that our system of government was not created merely to serve the fickle and impulsive needs of the people; it was established to serve the States in their independent and sovereign capacities as well. Therefore, a just government should strive to secure liberty and secure the equal rights of both the citizens and the States.
Liberty is more than just the ability to live your life without anyone else telling you what you can and cannot do; it is also the ability to enjoy the fruits of your labors. [your income], without them being confiscated and spent upon things the government was never supposed to do; or to benefit one class of society at the expense of another.
Whenever government becomes a tool by which one segment of society can impose its will; subjugate, oppress, and tax another segment for their own benefit, that form of government becomes unfit to exist; for it is abandoning the fundamental purpose for which it was instituted.
My freedom of speech, my right to keep and bear arms, my right to worship my God as I see fit, my right to be free from unwarranted intrusions upon my privacy are not based upon whether or not the exercise of those rights makes you feel safer, more secure; they are unalienable and not subject to the whim and caprice of an ignorant populace; or the desire of a tyrannical government to subjugate and oppress me.
Yet people wonder why I don’t vote, why I’m so cynical. I have yet to see any of the laws which violate my fundamental rights, along with the police power of enforcing them, abolished or repealed no matter whether government is run by Republicans or Democrats. I have yet to see my government stop taking my tax dollars and spending them to fund or subsidize the lives of others. I have yet to see my government refrain from involving itself in the internal affairs of other sovereign nations just so that American business interests can gain a foothold upon their soil and exploit their natural resources, or because it is based upon some resolution passed by the United Nations; an unelected body which cares nothing for my rights and liberty.
In short, I haven’t seen this government do a damned thing it was supposed to do; yet I’ve seen it do plenty of things it was never supposed to be doing. And yet people still ask me why I don’t vote for more of the same?
Voting isn’t going to change a damned thing; unless of course it only makes the tyranny we live under more oppressive and more burdensome. If you can’t see that then you are as much a problem as those who actually create, enact, and enforce tyranny and subjugation upon the people. There is but one answer, one way in which we can restore America to its former greatness, and I’ll let a graphic produced for me by my friend Louis Turner speak for me…