Ben Franklin once said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” Now while this may not be the Merriam Webster’s definition for the words, I believe that ignorance is simply the lack of knowledge regarding a subject, while stupidity is ignorance and apathy combined. Ignorance can be remedied by the acquisition of knowledge. Stupidity, on the other hand, has no cure; for you cannot force people to care enough to seek out knowledge on their own, and you can’t force them to accept ideas and beliefs that contradict existing opinions and beliefs.
I believe that the purpose of our public schools should be to teach our youth how to think. Unfortunately instead of teaching them how to think, more often than not, they are teaching them WHAT to think. Instead of teaching our children how to question, to argue, to debate an issue they are simply cramming their heads full of whatever the school administrators have decided shall be the prescribed course curriculum.
I don’t know what your definition of an education is, but I don’t call that an education, I call it an indoctrination. If the facts our children are being taught are one-sided, or outright lies, then the opinions our children form based upon that education will be faulty. If you can’t see that then there is no use in me continuing this essay; you have lost the ability to reason – or perhaps you never had it to begin with.
Education is a process by which a foundation is laid down and then built upon. For instance, before one can be taught to read they must first be taught the alphabet; before one can be taught algebra or calculus they must first be taught the numerical system; or how to count from 1 to 10.
It is much easier to provide someone with a good education if you begin with a blank slate; a mind that has not been corrupted by years of indoctrination. On the other hand it is exceedingly difficult to undo years of indoctrination so you can teach people the truth. While that can be done if the person is willing to abandon everything they once thought to be true, I have found it is next to impossible to get people who don’t care to care. Apathy and complacency are, to me, the bane of a free society. I believe it was Plato who said, “The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
Most people that I encounter are of the belief that we have this system of government and that we are stuck with it. People believe that if there is a problem in this country the way to fix it is to vote, to petition your elected representative and ask them to vote one way or the other on a certain piece of legislation; and if that doesn’t correct the problem you just repeat the process over and over again.
Rarely, if ever, does it cross the minds of most voters whether or not the issues being debated are among those for which our government was established to act upon. For instance abortion is a very hot topic issue that divides this nation into two primary camps; those who believe that it is a woman’s right to abort an unborn fetus and those who believe that abortion is murder and that it should be made illegal. The problem arises when someone introduces the idea that it is not within the purview of the federal government to legislate upon this issue at all.
According to my understanding of how our system of government was supposed to work it was to be delegated certain specific powers, and all others would be retained by the State Legislatures. So, abortion should be a State by State issue; with each State deciding for itself whether or not to allow abortions to be performed within their own borders. Now I’m not saying I support abortion, I don’t, I’m only saying the federal government should have no say in the matter.
The same principle should also apply to issues such as whether or not to legalize the recreational use of marijuana or whether or not the Bible should be taught in school – the federal government should stay out of issues like these, for they are not within its sphere of authority.
Unless it comes from the public schools, I don’t know where people get the idea that the function of the federal government is to fix all of society’s problems and to provide social justice for all the inhabitants of this expansive country. As far as the people as individuals are concerned, the federal government has but one purpose – to ensure that they enjoy the maximum amount of liberty.
With all the studying I’ve done of the Constitution, the convention that produced it, and the debates over whether to adopt or reject it, I have yet to come across a single instance where it was mentioned that the purpose of the federal government should be to provide things like universal health care, Social Security, college grants, and subsidies for business and industry.
I have, however, come across numerous instances where those who opposed ratification of the Constitution felt that if this system of government were to be implemented the liberty of the people would be endangered. As Patrick Henry so pithily said, “Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.”
How can there be liberty when you have two political parties vying for control of a system so that they can impose their will upon the other? How can there be liberty when we have a system that takes from some and gives it to others who society has deemed are in need? How can we have liberty when our rights are subject to the will of a majority and can be sacrificed in the name of public safety or national security?
If you were to really think about it, that’s all that happens each election cycle; two parties vying for control of a system, a system which is then used to impose the will of the victors upon those who were defeated in the election process.
Just look at the animosity, the vitriol exhibited by the two political parties towards each other. When one side wins their candidates do all manner of things that, in truth, violate the Constitution. At the same time, the losing side cries out against the winners, trying to discredit them through scandals and claims of unethical behavior. However, when their side wins the election they turn a blind eye to the same things they just got done accusing the other side of doing. All this back and forth bickering between Republicans and Democrats, all while government as an entity is doing things it simply is not supposed to be doing, is why nothing will ever change. The only thing that changes is the letter next to whatever ruling class of tyrants have control of government; either an R or a D.
I was reading something touching upon this subject last night in Lysander Spooner’s book No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, “As a conjecture, it is probable that a very large proportion of those who vote, do so on this principle, viz., that if, by voting, they could but get the government into their own hands (or that of their friends), and use its powers against their opponents, they would then willingly support the Constitution; but if their opponents are to have the power, and use it against them, then they would not willingly support the Constitution.”
Now be honest, isn’t that an accurate description of you, and those you disagree with from the ‘other’ political party? Isn’t all you care about the fact that your party gets to control the government; not that the government be bound by any silly limitations or restrictions contained in some document written over 200 years ago?
The thing is, while you guys play your stupid partisanship games there are those of us who simply do not consent to the idea of an all powerful government that worms its way into almost every aspect of our lives, and taxes us beyond what could be considered moral or acceptable to fund things we believe to be unconstitutional. You could think of us like innocent victims who end up getting shot in the crossfire between two opposing armies. We take no sides in this war for control over government, we have no skin in the game, yet our rights are being denied us and our income is being stolen from us through taxation to fund things we disagree with.
So far I’ve kept this relatively simple, not wanting to cause a mental meltdown; but now need to discuss something that may be beyond most people’s ability to wrap their heads around; that being sovereignty.
I know I’ve defined it before, but to refresh your memories sovereignty is the supreme, or absolute, political authority in a society. Now who do you think is sovereign in this country; the people or the government? Did man create God, or did God create man? The creator is ALWAYS sovereign over their creation. Therefore we, meaning mankind as the creators of government, are sovereign over our creation.
In 1793 the Supreme Court heard the case of Chisholm v. Georgia, and in their decision they stated, “…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.”
As a sovereign each individual has absolute and total control over how they live their lives and how they shall manage their affairs. They may, by contract, enter into an agreement with one another to form civil societies, or governments, bestowing them with certain powers to exercise on their behalf, but whenever the entity created by the contract breaches the terms of that contract, the entire contract becomes null and void, and the entity created by it relinquishes its authority.
No man, as a sovereign, can be required to submit to the authority of an entity not of his choosing; not unless you want to consider them to have done so under duress; placing them into a state of bondage and servitude to a system he had no say in creating. If you disagree with that, then any group of men may form a group or society and then tell you that YOU must obey the rules they enact, simply because they have given themselves the title GOVERNMENT.
If this truly is the case, that each of us is free to enter into, or not enter into a contract, creating a system of government, then what status do those who voted against this system of government hold once that system goes into effect?
Let me explain that a bit better. Each State held their own ratification assembly for the Constitution where the document was discussed and a vote taken whether to adopt or reject it. Those votes were NEVER unanimous; there were always those who voted against it. So, are we to believe that just because a simple majority agrees with something, the rights of those who disagree with it have vanished? Does that not make those who disagree with a measure slaves to the majority that agrees with it?
If that’s true, what happened to the people being sovereign, with each of us being allowed to govern our own lives as we see fit?
Let’s take this a step further. I think we can all agree that the Constitution framed our system of government, and once it was ratified it established this system of government. However, not a sole who lived during the ratification debates now lives; meaning the document that established our system of government was a contract between those who have long ago passed away.
Do they have a right to bind us in perpetuity to a system that we may, or may not like anymore?
In his Second Treatise John Locke explains why men enter into civil or political societies, “The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a legislative, is, that there may be laws made, and rules set, as guards and fences to the properties of all the members of the society, to limit the power, and moderate the dominion, of every part and member of the society.” I don’t know about you, but that certainly sounds similar to what Patrick Henry said the direct end of government is.
But then Locke continues by saying, “… whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who. have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society.”
Now I could be wrong, but I think that passage is where Jefferson got the inspiration to write this for the Declaration of Independence, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
That certainly sounds to me as if Jefferson believed that no form of government is perpetual; especially one that becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted.
Yet what happens to those who understand why government is instituted, and who cherish their liberty when the overwhelming majority of the people do not? Must we submit to a system we no longer care to submit to? Must we pay taxes to support a system we do not want telling us what we can and cannot do with our lives, or property, and our money? Does that not makes us slaves to you and your ignorance?
There is a line of thinking that, since the Constitution was adopted by men who have long since passed away, it is no longer binding upon those living today. Let me ask you something, have you ever formally declared your support for the Constitution, or the government it established? Your support is taken for granted every time you vote, but what if you decide you no longer wish to support the Constitution, or the government it established; can you opt out of the system and live your life free of the taxing and regulating control of government?
I think not. The Civil War was a perfect example of why I say that. It does not matter what issues led the South to secede from the Union, what matters is that the government would not allow them to leave the Union; believing this Union to be perpetual and that it was their responsibility to hold it together; even if it required military force to do so.
Tyrants cannot and will not tolerate those who try to separate themselves from their authority. King George used force to try and keep the Colonies under his control and dominion. Abraham Lincoln used force to try and keep the South under his control and dominion. And more recently, Bill Clinton used force against the Branch Davidians, a small sect of people who tried to live as free from governmental control as possible.
Once government, be it tyrannical or good, gets its hooks into you, it is unlikely that it will simply let you leave its sphere of dominion; not without a fight. All one can do is try to limit the ways in which government can control their lives, and stay free in spirit and mind.
But I’m going to tell you right now, liberty has never been won, or restored, at the voting booth. Liberty has always come at the cost of blood; the blood of patriots who were willing to die seeking it, and the blood of tyrants who sought to deprive the people of it.
These articles I write won’t restore liberty. All I can, and hope, to do is to inform and educate as many as I can, so hopefully someday enough people will see government for what it is, our enemy, and they will gain the courage to rise up against it and take back what it has stolen from them – their freedom.