An Exercise in Critical Thinking

Yesterday I wrote a piece that I had hoped would get a specific point across. However, after posting it I decided that I had failed to do a good enough job of expressing the thoughts that were floating around inside my head. So today I’m going to cover the same basic subject, but I intend to come at it from a different direction. So, if what I’m about to say sounds vaguely familiar, that’s why.

People believe that America began its existence in 1620 when the Mayflower disembarked its passengers at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Yet by the time the Mayflower set sail the Colony of Jamestown, Virginia had already been around for over a decade. They fail to realize that even prior to the establishment of Jamestown the Spanish had held territory in Florida; having established a fort at St. Augustine in 1565. The French also began colonizing the New World as well, with La Baye des Puants, or modern day Green Bay, being established in 1634 by the French settler Jean Nicolet.

The point being that, although there were already indigenous people living here, for the most part European monarchs viewed America as this vast uncharted territory that they wanted a slice of to add to their empires. What eventually happened though is that, although the French and Spanish had both colonized the Americas, it was the British who opened the floodgates for colonization.

When the Mayflower first landed at Plymouth there were roughly 100 people aboard who made America their new home. A century and a half later when the Colonies declared their independence there were roughly 2.5 million settlers living along the Eastern Seaboard in British held Colonies.

What exactly is a colony anyway? Well the simple definition is: a country or are under the full or partial control of another country, typically a distant one which is occupied by setters from the controlling country. So basically, although they lived on the other side of the Atlantic from Great Britain, the settlers in the British Colonies were still British subjects; under the full jurisdiction of the British government.

So, with July 4 quickly approaching, I want to ask you to ponder what it is you are celebrating – if anything other than simply a day off work. Oh Neal, that’s simple; we’re celebrating America’s independence. While that may be correct in some regards, July 4, 1776 was not the day America gained its independence; it was merely the day that has been established to celebrate that event in American history.

American did not gain its independence until it had fought a war against its existing government; throwing off the yoke of tyranny for liberty and independence. So, an argument can be made that the July 4th holiday is one in which we celebrate rebellion against government; especially one that has made it clear that it seeks not to protect and defend liberty, but to restrict it. That, at least in my opinion, is what we should be celebrating on July 4th; not so much the event, but rather the spirit of those who made that day such an important date in American history. I honestly think July 4th should be renamed from Independence Day to Resistance to Tyrants Day; for that is what our Founders were doing when they declared their independence from Great Britain.

Therefore, the Declaration of Independence is a legal document which explains what they were doing, (severing the ties which bound them politically to Great Britain), and listing the reasons which led them to do so. As such it could be said that the Declaration of Independence is America’s birth certificate. Prudence, therefore, dictates that if you truly want to know what this country stands for then you should have a thorough grasp of the principles outlined in that document.

For the sake of brevity I will keep this short. The Declaration of Independence explains 4 great principles this country was founded upon, and those principles are:

-Our rights do not come from government, they come from our Creator.

-Government is instituted to secure those rights.

-Government derives its authority from the consent of the governed.

-And finally, when government no longer serves the purpose for which it was established it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.

Now it may not seem like it is of any great importance now, but to understand the transformation that has taken place in this country it is essential that you understand the status the States, and the people held, after the conclusion of the American Revolution.

First off, did America suddenly become this big inseparable Union at the conclusion of the Revolution, or was it something else altogether? To answer that one must look to the document ratified by the States/Colonies during the Revolution; the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. According to that legal document, “The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.” (Article III of the Articles of Confederation)

That would seem to imply that each State was independent from the others, that it was not a consolidated Union like we believe it to be today. That belief is supported by what Article II of the Articles of Confederation say, “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.”

Although they may have varied in size and population, in regards to their political standing within the Confederation each State was a co-equal partner in this agreement to “… assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them…” In regards to that co-equal partnership, that is why for anything Congress proposed to become law it would have to be approved by the legislatures of each and every member of the Confederation, “And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; 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.” (Article XIII of the Articles of Confederation)

Now I want you to think about something; what did the Articles of Confederation actually do? Did they establish a system of government to which the people were forever bound, or did they do something else? I tend to think that they declared to the world, and to each other that they pledged their loyalty and friendship towards one another; and for that purpose a Congress was established to act as a central hub to manage the overall affairs of the Confederation; while leaving the States free to regulate their own internal affairs as the pleased.

For all intents and purposes each State was a sovereign and independent country unto itself. This fact was recognized by the treaty which ended the Revolution, “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States…”

Now if you recall, one of the great principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence is that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed. Therefore, the Congress established by the Articles of Confederation was given life by the consent of the people living in 13 distinct and separately independent States.

Now what do you think would have happened had, say Virginia and Maryland chose not to ratify the Articles of Confederation; would their status as free and independent States changed? No, it wouldn’t; they would have remained free and independent. The only difference would have been that the other 11 States would not have pledged that same degree of friendship towards them; meaning they might not have offered assistance had they come under attack by foreign enemies.

Another point that is crucial for you to understand is that, at this point in our history, government was not sovereign and supreme, the people were. The people, joining together and acting as sovereigns, formed a system of government which they felt would serve certain purposes. Government did not create itself it was created by the people and given life by their consent. Any form of government that does not rest on this fundamental principle is tyrannical.

The fact that the people were sovereign was later upheld by the Supreme Court in 1793, when it held, “…at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects…with none to govern but themselves; the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty.” (Source: Chisholm v Georgia)

As co-equal sovereigns no one man, or group of men, can join together and attempt to enslave others. So if a system of government by sovereign citizens is established, by their common consent, and then that system becomes harmful or oppressive to a particular segment of society, must those who are being oppressed remain subject to its authority forever; or do they retain the ability to revoke their consent and resume their prior status as free and independent people?

If you answer no to that question you are basically saying that a majority may subject the minority to their will and authority for time immemorial; making them slaves. If you truly believe that, then you also have shown that you care nothing for the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, for that document clearly states, “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.” It does not say that this decision must be unanimous among all the inhabitants, only that it is the right of the people to throw off any system of government that oppresses them.

So, in 1787 along comes this Constitution which was proposed to form a more perfect Union. Now there are a few questions I have about that. First, what is meant by a more perfect Union? Do they mean that the glue that binds the States together would grow stronger under the system of government outlined by the Constitution? If that is the case then what the Constitution was designed to do was to eradicate State sovereignty and independence; making them forever subject to the authority of a centralized form of government.

Secondly, as the Articles of Confederation were still in effect, for any changes to them to become law those changes would have to be approved by all 13 State Legislatures. Yet the requirement for adopting the Constitution was only that 3/4 of the States approve of it. Also, ratification was not to be accomplished by the consent of the State Legislatures, rather it was to be done by the people.

Now you may not have given this much thought, but I have. At the time the Constitution was being written and debated there was a subtle and unspoken hierarchy of authority, or sovereignty. First there was God, who was, as Adams described, the Supreme Legislature of the Universe. God created man, bestowing him with the gift of liberty and the power to make and unmake governments to serve his needs. Then there were the State governments, having been established by men to serve their day to day needs and regulate the internal affairs of each sovereign and independent State. Finally there was the Congress established by the Articles of Confederation; whose powers were limited and applied only to the States as political entities; not directly affecting the lives and liberty of the people.

It is my firm belief that the Constitution was written to shut the States out of that hierarchy; to place the government they were attempting to establish as one being supreme over them, and with its power and authority to extend to the lives and liberty of the people within each State.

This, more than anything else, differentiates between a federal and a national form of government. Under a federal form the central government only affects the component parts; the States. Under a national one the power of the central government extends directly to the people; shutting the States out of the process of governing.

James Madison himself hinted at that in a letter to George Washington prior to the drafting of the Constitution, “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.”

Yet, if this Constitution was written to establish a truly national form of government, why were 13 distinct and separate ratifying conventions held to discuss whether to adopt or reject the proposed Constitution? If they truly sought a consolidation of the States into a single entity, (a United States), why not hold a single ratifying convention where the States would send delegates to argue over whether or not to adopt or reject the proposed system of government? I mean, they did it that way when they wrote the Constitution, why not do it that way when they argued over whether the implement the proposed plan for a new government?

As it was ratified on a State by State basis, I’m inclined to think that each ratifying assembly chose to approve of the system, not with the intention of forming a consolidated Union, but as citizens of their respective States. Whichever the case may actually be, it still rested upon the fundamental principle outlined in the Declaration of Independence; government derives its authority by consent of the governed. Keep that in mind as we continue.

Now there is some argument over whether the Constitution created a system of government with very few powers, or that it outlined general principles and the government was free to enlarge its own powers as the requirements of governing demanded; a living Constitution as some have taken to calling it.

Regardless of which of these premises is true, government still derives its authority from the consent of the governed…right? That fact remains true whether we have a Republic or a Democracy; government gets its authority by the consent of those it governs.

Now in a truly free system the rights of each and every person is respected by the whole; meaning that government cannot enact a law that violates the rights of a single individual; not without becoming tyrannical and oppressive. But what if government, in whatever form it takes, becomes co-opted, hijacked by those who seek to use its coercive powers to tyrannize and oppress another segment of the people do the oppressed have no recourse; must they suffer forever under a system that they feel deprives them of the liberty government was supposed to secure for them?

Had our Founders believed that once enslaved to a system of government that tyrannizes and oppresses a people there would never have been an American Revolution. But they believed that it is the right of the people to shake off the yoke of tyranny, and they would be sorely disappointed in us for allowing our existing government to become so tyrannical with hardly a whimper of protest.

This is also why I harp so much on the Civil War, not because I either support or defend the owning of slaves, but because I believe it is the right of any portion of the country to revoke its consent to being governed by the government established by the Constitution, and to return to their previous status as a free and independent State.

Which leads me to my final point. If we truly are, or at least were, co-equal, or joint tenants in sovereignty as explained in Chisholm v Georgia; and if we acted as joint tenants in establishing this system of government, does that mean that when the Constitution was ratified we lost our status as co-equal sovereigns; that we must forever submit to a system of government we no longer consent to?

What if a single individual decides that they don’t like what this system of government has become; must that person remain bound to it for the entire duration of their life, or are they free to revoke their consent and return to, as Locke would call it, a state of nature free from the jurisdiction of any form of government? What if I decide that I no longer want to be governed by that beast in Washington D.C; that I no longer want to obey the laws it passes or have my income stolen from me to fund things I disagree with; must I forever remain bound in servitude to a system I do not agree with?

People mistakenly believe I am attempting to subvert or overthrow the government. I’m not. I seek not to overthrow or destabilize the government; I only want it to leave me alone; to let me live my life as I please so long as my actions bring no harm to the life and liberty of others. Now it wouldn’t hurt my feelings a bit if the government were to suddenly vanish into a huge sinkhole, but that is not my goal; I only want to be free of it.

Is that so wrong, the desire to be free of anyone or anything that seeks to control, tax and regulate every aspect of my life? People today tell me that slavery was abolished by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. I believe otherwise. I believe that chattel slavery as it existed prior to the 13th Amendment may have been banned, but slavery still exists; as each and every one of us is a slave to a system of government that can pass whatever laws it wants which tell us what we can and cannot do.

Does it really matter if your slave master is a Republican or a Democrat? It is the system that enslaves us, and the sooner people recognize that fact, and revoke their consent to being governed by this system, the sooner we can get about the business of restoring liberty to this once great country.

All I ask of you is that you read what I have said with an open mind; if that’s even possible with today’s level of indoctrination. If you can do that, you may find that you agree with me when I say that government, as it exists now, is our enemy and we should not support or defend it; regardless of whom we elect to sit in the seats of power within it.

Until that happens, the quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe applies to each and every one of you, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

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One Response to An Exercise in Critical Thinking

  1. Pingback: Mornin’ Coffee with Bonnie: May 10, 2019 | The Federal Observer

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