Why I Ignore Current Events (And Harp On the Past)

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
To covet truth is a very distinguished passion.”
~George Santayana~

I recall many a time growing up hearing my father say, “Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one and they all stink.” My father was not one to mince words; he said what was on his mind and he often said it unfiltered. I have often wondered how well he would have fit in with today’s politically correct climate. Yet as much as we butted heads with each other, I see a lot of him in myself; I suppose the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in that regard.

But I’m not here to reminisce about my father I’m here to discuss opinions. Since I’ve grown up and become a senior citizen I can see the wisdom in my father’s words; everyone does seem to have their own opinion on things, and most of the time their opinions do stink.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone is entitled to form their own opinion on things, but at the same time they shouldn’t cry foul if someone possessing the facts comes along and rips their opinion to shreds. The way I see it is, if you don’t have any facts to back up your opinion, you should keep that opinion to yourself. That is of course unless you want someone to come along and make you look like a total fool. Believe me it has happened enough times to me to have learned the truth of THAT statement.

Awhile back I was asked why I write so many articles about the past. I really didn’t have a good answer, but my brain has subconsciously been giving it some thought and now I think I have a pretty good explanation as to why I do that. We, as people, are the sum total of all our life experiences. Those life experiences make us into the person we are right here and now. My life experiences are different from the next persons, and theirs are different from all the others. That makes each and every one of us an individual with our own stories to tell.

The same could be said about us as a country. Collectively as a country America has experienced things that have made her into what she is today; and that is true regardless of whether what she has become is good or bad. These collective life experiences are what we call history, and if the history we have been taught is not accurate then our understanding of how and why we got to where we are today will be flawed as well. I have simply learned that much of what I was taught was inaccurate, or missing essential parts of the narrative, and I have taken it upon myself to learn as much as I can about the truth; and share what I have found with you.

Now whether you put that information to use is entirely up to you; but do not be surprised if you state and opinion based upon what you think you know, and then someone armed with the truth comes along and rips your opinion apart and makes you look like a total ass. If that happens the solution is not to get all butt hurt and try and silence those who make you look stupid, the solution is to go out and seek the truth for yourself. But that takes time and effort and most people are simply unwilling to expend either on pouring over old documents and speeches.

The thing is, if you haven’t taken the time to educate yourself then you are at the mercy of those who control your education and the information that you have access to today. When I went through high school I was required to take a year-long civics class on our system of government. I have since learned that the course I went through was wholly inadequate to prepare me to become an informed voter. My son went through a similar course when he went through high school, but this time the course he took was only a semester long; and half of the semester was devoted to microeconomics.

I have seen a plethora of videos in which late night TV hosts or other such people, such as Mark Dice, go out into the general public and test their knowledge by asking them questions a truly informed person should be able to answer. The answers given cause me to cringe inwardly at the overall ignorance of the general public in regards to this country’s history and its system of government.

Yet these people will tell you that they are entitled to vote.

According to Wikipedia, and I don’t trust them to be wholly accurate, there are roughly 250 million registered voters in the United States. Of that 250 million they say that only 138 million voted in the last presidential election; roughly 55%. I wonder, how many of those who did vote have ever read the Constitution? From the conversations I have had with people I would have to say that the number of people who have read it is pretty darned small.

So when these people vote, what is it they are voting for? Do they vote for who comes across as the most presidential of the candidates? Are they voting solely upon partisan lines? Are they voting based upon how certain candidates stand on certain issues of importance to them? Or, are they voting on whether or not that candidate has shown to them that they understand the constitutional limitations on government and have promised to adhere to them?

The question is, if you haven’t read the Constitution how are you supposed to know whether or not the things a candidate bases their campaign upon are constitutional or not? If you don’t know, or don’t care what the Constitution says then you are effectively saying your government can do whatever the majority of the people want it to; making it an elective democracy, not a republic based upon the rule of law.

So if you have not read the Constitution you CAN NOT say that you are voting to perpetuate the government that was originally instituted in 1789. The only claim you can make is that you are voting to perpetuate government as it exists today; or to make it even worse than it already is.

The thing is, the Constitution itself can be interpreted differently; the fact that we have two opposing parties who each seek to use government to benefit their own political base ought to be enough to convince you of that fact. So how are you to know what the Constitution actually means?

A good place to start, and notice I said START, is to read the arguments between those who supported the ratification of the Constitution and those who opposed its ratification. Those who supported the ratification were known as Federalists, and the Federalist Papers were a series of essays written in an effort to sway the people of New York towards ratification. There were 85 of these essays written, and unfortunately they have come to be known as the comprehensive explanation of the Constitution. The Federalist Papers were written by 3 men; Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay; with the Hamilton essays making up the majority of them.

On the other side there were the Anti-Federalists who wrote a great many articles explaining the dangers of adopting this proposed system of government. I’m sure I don’t have all of their writings, but currently I have 179 essays and speeches by those who opposed the Constitution. These weren’t written by your run of the mill dissidents either; they were written by prominent men, some of whom played a major role in America’s war for independence. Among the Anti-Federalists were Patrick Henry; who gave us the famous line, “Give me liberty or give me death.” There was also Richard Henry Lee; who introduced the Lee Resolution to the Second Continental Congress calling for America’s independence. There were John Lansing and Robert Yates; both of whom were in attendance at the convention that wrote the Constitution, but left when they felt it was overstepping its delegated authority.

So to understand what the Constitution actually means one might want to begin by reading the arguments both for and against its ratification. Basically what it boiled down to was this; the Anti-Federalists tried to warn people that if they adopted this new system of government, this, this and this would happen to their State governments and to their rights, while the other side, the Federalists, tried to convince the people that those things would not happen.

It is interesting to note that the prominent Federalist James Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.” (Source: Federalist 45)

That is the promise Madison made in an effort to convince people to adopt the system of government outlined by the Constitution. Whether or not Madison lived up to his promise through his actions is possibly the subject of a later article, but for the time being I’d like for you to ask yourselves: Does that sound even remotely like the balance of power between the States and the federal government today? And if not, then why are you voting for government to DO MORE for you when that power supposedly belongs to the States?

Like I said earlier, a study of the arguments both for and against ratification is a good place to begin your search if you want to learn what the Constitution means; but it isn’t the only place you can go for that knowledge. One could also read Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention. Yet those are suspect to a certain degree because Madison is claimed to have edited them continuously throughout his life and they were not released until every member of the Constitutional Convention had passed away; including himself. So there was no one left alive to confirm the accuracy of those notes. Nevertheless, those notes provide a certain insight into how the delegates felt this new system of government they were creating should operate; what powers it should hold and what role the States should play in the operation of this new government.

But if you really want to know what the Constitution was supposed to mean you must go to the notes taken during the various State Ratifying Assemblies; for it was there that the fate of the proposed Constitution was decided. The people who attended these Ratifying Assemblies were those who ultimately gave a yes or no vote to its adoption and it is there where you can learn what promises were made regarding the power this new system of government was supposed to exercise on behalf of the people and the States.

Taken together, a study of all 3 of these things will give you an insight to and understanding of the Constitution that 99% of the people in this country do not have; and it will go a long way towards convincing you that the government we live under today is not the one that was promised to those who were charged with accepting or rejecting it 230 some odd years ago.

Unfortunately all a study of this does is teach you what the Constitution says, what powers the federal government was supposed to exercise on our behalf; it doesn’t teach you how we went from such a limited government to the one we have today that micromanages, regulates and taxes almost everything we do.

It does not teach you that, from the moment this new system of government went into effect, it began to prove that the Anti-Federalists fears over what would happen if the people adopted the Constitution were justified. It doesn’t teach you that George Washington himself violated the Constitution when he raised an army and sent it into Pennsylvania to quell a rebellion over a tax upon whiskey. It doesn’t tell you how Alexander Hamilton introduced the theory of implied powers; powers hidden between the lines of specified powers found in Article 1, Section 8.

None of that teaches you how the government sought to benefit Northern business and industry by pillaging the wealth of the South, or how Northern Abolitionists sought to interfere with the institution of slaver; which as reprehensible as it was, was perfectly legal under the precious Constitution the North claimed to uphold. It doesn’t teach you that after years of subjugation the South chose to exercise their fundamental right to self governance by withdrawing from the Union so they could establish a system of government that would better represent their needs; a right which was enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

You won’t believe any of this because it is not what you have been taught; and to think that your educators might lie to you is something most aren’t willing to accept. But a careful examination of the facts will prove this to be the case; you have been lied to, and therefore any and all opinions you hold on the history of this country and its system of government are flawed.

That is why I focus so much on history. Current events are just that, current events. They are things which are currently happening that affect you in some way. Yet current events do not explain why we have all these unconstitutional military interventions in other countries; they don’t explain why our government deprives us of the right to live our lives without its interference; it doesn’t explain why our government has amassed a debt well over the $20 Trillion mark. Only a study of the past can teach you how we got from a government of very limited power to the one we have today.

Yet people don’t want to study the past, they think it’s boring and dry. I find it fascinating, and with every lie that is dispelled I become more convinced that the government we have today is not worthy of my support. The more I study the more convinced I become that those who drafted the Constitution intentionally left it weak and ineffective in restraining the government they were creating to its few specifically enumerated powers.

Did you know that over 200 years before the Constitution was even written a French Judge wrote a treatise on how people voluntary submit themselves to tyranny? Entitled The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude by Etienne de la Boetie writes, “It is incredible how as soon as a people becomes subject, it promptly falls into such complete forgetfulness of its freedom that it can hardly be roused to the point of regaining it, obeying so easily and so willingly that one is led to say, on beholding such a situation, that this people has not so much lost its liberty as won its enslavement.”

I find a striking similarity between that statement and something Patrick Henry said during the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, “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.”
Today when one speaks about restoring liberty to America their words fall upon deaf ears and people look upon them as if they had lost their minds. People say, what would we do without all these government rules and programs to take care of us, to which I reply, we could be free. But people don’t want freedom these days, they want comfort and security.

That’s why the Matrix is such a perfect example of the world we live in today; people believe they are free, but it is an illusion where they think they are free, but they are enslaved to a system that uses them for its own benefit. In the Matrix there is a scene that pretty accurately describes the difference between those who are enslaved to the system and those who have broken free from it. This scene comes when Morpheus is teaching Neo about the Agents, where Morpheus says, “The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.” If you were to take that speech and replace the word Matrix with Government you end up with an accurate description of the American political system.

They say the truth shall set you free. If that is the case, then I suppose the reverse is also true; that a lie will enslave you. The truth regarding your system of government, and how it became so big and oppressive is out there, but you have to be willing to seek it out, and accept it once you find it. I can only point you in the right direction, or as Morpheus also tells Neo, “I can only show you the door, you must go through it.”

You might think I’m a raving lunatic for my positions and opinions, but I can support them with fact and evidence; can you do the same for yours? If you can’t then you’re just proving that Dresden James was right when he said, “When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic.”

But as John Adams said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” Well, the facts are out there, but that might not always be the case. I have seen how it is becoming increasingly difficult to find certain speeches or documents. So if the truth means anything to you, I suggest you get off your ass and start looking before it before you prove William Casey right, who told President Reagan the following, “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

So, if you cannot back up and support your opinions with any facts, then I suggest you consider the fact that you are a slave to the system which was supposedly designed to protect your freedom. If that is the case, you can either submit to it, or become a virus like I have; a mouthpiece for the truth where the truth has become the new hate speech.

Your call…

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