I find it to be ironic how passionate and opinionated people are regarding which candidates, or which political party should be in control of our government, yet at the same time are so damned ignorant about the very document that gives government any authority whatsoever. It’s almost like they are saying, “Yeah, yeah, we got a constitution, but let’s just ignore that and see how effectively we can use the government it created to benefit us.”
In some of my recent commentaries you may have noticed I’ve become quite critical of the Constitution, when at one point all I did was rant about how it was being violated. This change in opinion came about as I learned more about how the Constitution came into being and the process by which it was ratified; it was a consequence of acquiring more knowledge rather than a simple changing of my mind on the matter.
I recall once using the scene from the Bourne Supremacy to explain this phenomenon, when Jason Bourne travelled to Moscow to tell Irena Neski how her parents had been killed by him rather than the murder/suicide she had been told was the reason for their deaths. In the scene Bourne tells the young Neski, “It changes things, that knowledge. Doesn’t it?”
If all you know is that you have this system of government that can pass laws that you must obey, your sphere of knowledge is quite limited. If, however, you study the document that delegates power to this government, your sphere of knowledge increases. Then, if you begin to study the process by which that document came into being, the arguments both for and against it your sphere of knowledge expands even more.
In each instance you often find that the new knowledge you acquire forces you to revise your beliefs on the subject in question. A healthy mind, one that values the truth above all else, more easily adapts to these changes in beliefs, while a brain that is lazy or has been conditioned to accept what it has been taught without question, often finds it difficult to incorporate new data and change their beliefs on an issue.
I have always felt that, although the brain is stationary, trapped inside our skulls floating in cerebral fluid, it is like a muscle; if it is not used it will weaken and atrophy. There is a saying regarding the brain that I believe effectively describes how so many people have such flawed opinions regarding politics and government. That saying is, “Garbage in, garbage out.” If what you have been taught on a subject was an outright lie, or only part of the story, then the opinions you form upon that subject WILL BE FLAWED. You cannot form an accurate opinion on something when the information you are given on it is inaccurate or incomplete.
The problem arises when people are introduced to facts that contradict what they have been taught to believe. Those whose minds are healthy will compare these new facts with what they have been taught and, if the new facts are convincing enough, revise their opinion on a subject. A week, or lazy mind, will disregard the new information and go on believing whatever they previously believed; the old red or blue pill analogy from the Matrix.
I have gotten into numerous debates, mostly with supporters of President Trump, over my not supporting him and my decision to no longer vote in national elections. The arguments hurled at me range from, “If you don’t vote you can’t complain” to “A non vote is a vote for the Democrats”.
I really don’t like to sound as if I am insulting to some of these people, for I actually like some of them, but those arguments show me how narrow their perspective is on politics and government. Most of these people are trapped in the two party paradigm; believing that you have to support one side of the political spectrum or the other; that there is no other alternative.
Now whether it is due to the knowledge that I have acquired, or just a stubborn streak within me, I simply refuse to participate in the process of voting when none of the candidates seeking office care about defending my liberty or limiting their actions to the few specific powers the people were promised this system of government would exercise.
While most people view the ‘other’ party as the enemy, I view the entire system as my enemy; and I refuse to participate in selecting who will be my slave master. The other day at work a young man asked me what’s the difference between him, who supports President Trump, and me. As it pertains to how much freedom we both enjoy there isn’t that much difference. The difference rests in the fact that I realize the entire system enslaves me while he still believes you can bring about a change in the system at the voting booth. I recognize the futility of voting and he doesn’t.
Now I need to sidetrack for a moment, but the reason will become readily apparent. Are you aware that when the Constitutional Convention adjourned and presented their finished document to the States for consideration they sent along with it a series of demands regarding how it was to be either ratified or rejected? One of those demands was that it be accepted or rejected in toto; meaning that no modifications or alterations to the proposal would be allowed. So the States were basically told, “Accept the entire constitution as is, or reject it as is.”
How many people today pick and choose which sections of the Constitution they choose to uphold when making their decisions as to whom they will vote for? How many people give the Constitution no thought whatsoever when making their decision who to vote for; their only concern being how their candidate will benefit their life?
It appears to me that in most cases the Constitution has never been read by those who vote, and if it has what it says is of little importance to those who make up the majority of the voting public. If people had read the Constitution, and understood it, they wouldn’t be putting all their eggs into one basket so to speak by placing all their hopes and dreams upon the election of whoever becomes President.
The President is the public face of our government in both foreign and domestic affairs, that much is true. But had you read the Constitution you would have known that he has very little lawmaking authority. The job of the president is to EXECUTE the laws enacted by the government; hence the reason they call it the EXECUTIVE BRANCH. So if you’re voting for a candidate for President based upon all the campaign promises they make, then how can you say you understand the Constitution when the person you are voting for has no authority to fulfill the promises they are making to you?
According to the Constitution Congress is the body which has the authority to write the laws of this country, with the President only being given the authority to either sign them into effect or veto them. Yet how many people know who their representative in the House is, or who the 2 Senators are that represent their State? How many people are aware of what bills they have introduced and which ones they support and oppose?
How many people realize that the Constitution only grants Congress a few specific powers; with all the other powers they have assumed being classified as implied powers; meaning they aren’t specifically mentioned, but it is implied that those powers actually exist.
How many people realize that before the Constitution was implemented that there were those who felt that the government it outlined would abolish the State authority and threaten the liberty of the people? How many people realize that certain promises, or assurances were given by those who supported ratification of the Constitution, that these fears would not come to pass?
Many of the opponents of the proposed Constitution felt that, if implemented, the government it outlines would become tyrannical; subjugating the people under a strong centralized authority with nearly unlimited power over their lives, their property, and their liberty.
To counter that argument and calm the fears of the people, James Madison wrote this in Federalist 45, “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. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
I hate to come across as insulting, but are you so brain dead that you cannot understand what Madison was saying in that passage? Or could it be that Madison was only saying what he thought people wanted to hear, and that his real intent was to just get the Constitution ratified so that the government it outlines could go about proving its opponents were correct to fear it?
Regardless, I feel I must make an effort to explain what Madison was saying. First off he says that the powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. No whether or not that statement is true is a wholly different story, as I believe that the powers outlined by the Constitution aren’t as limited as he would have us believe. Nonetheless Madison said that they are few and defined; which means there aren’t very many of them, and the ones it is delegated to exercise are clearly defined; meaning no implied powers.
Then Madison goes on to say that the power reserved to the States is the exact opposite of those delegated to the federal government; numerous and indefinite. I take that to mean that the States would hold a lot of power and the federal government very little power.
But then Madison says, “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
The way I understand it is that the federal government was to be given the power to externally affect the States as political entities, but its powers did not extend to the internal affairs of each individual State, nor the people living in those States.
So in effect the federal government was instituted to benefit the country as a whole, while the State governments were to see to the needs and desires of the people occupying the individual States. Aside from its power of taxation none of the specifically delegated powers of government could be said to have been written to benefit the people, with the possible exception of granting copyright privileges to authors and inventors.
Yet how much powers has this government amassed that does just that; affect each of us at a personal level? Due to the government’s interpretation of the Commerce Clause, if we open a business we must then submit to a plethora of federal rules and regulations. The government can dictate what we can and cannot put into our bodies; by criminalizing certain things like marijuana, and regulating others as the Food and Drug Administration. The government regulates and controls the sale of alcohol and firearms; the BATF, it regulates and controls drugs; the DEA; it spies upon us in our homes and personal belongings; the NSA and Homeland Security; and it does all manner of other things that restrict our ability to live our lives in full enjoyment of the liberty government is supposed to secure for all of us.
How much of that has changed with your repeated voting for candidates from one party or the other? Regardless of which party is in control of government, government as an entity continues to do things it wasn’t supposed to do; all of which restrict your liberty. Yet you support it because YOUR CANDIDATE is in office.
Yet people tell me that because I do not vote I am helping the enemy to win. The government is my enemy, not one specific political party. Can you not see that? Yet the government, as corrupt and evil as it is, still requires your consent for it to have any authority over you. If ten people decide that they will no longer adhere to the laws being passed, or the pay the taxes being imposed upon them, it is an easy matter for law enforcement to come after them and arrest or kill them.
BUT, if hundreds of thousands, or millions of Americans suddenly decided they would no longer comply with the laws being enacted by their government that would be an entirely different story. It is your consent that gives government its power over you; and you consent by voting; by choosing who will be your rulers. I simply no longer consent to that aspect of my enslavement.
I hold no illusions that my non-participation is going to make any difference, make things better. I believe that if you take this quote from the film the Matrix and replace system with government, it applies well to most people in this country today, “You have to understand. Most people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured and so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.”
That is why most people go into a panic whenever there is a government shutdown; for they simply would not know how to live their lives without all the benefits and services this government provides them. A truly free man would celebrate a government shutdown, not fear it.
I’m not saying anything new with these commentaries of mine, I’m only echoing the fears those history has labeled as Anti-Federalists had about the proposed Constitution. I’m just using my own words to repeat what they feared. But just as the people of 1788 did not listen to them, the people of 2019 don’t listen to me. That seems to be one thing that hasn’t changed over the course of the past 230 years.
Regardless, the quest and desire for liberty will always burn bright in the breasts of some people, and it is only when that fire spreads to enough people that a land governed by tyrants can become one governed by those who respect and defend the liberty of the governed.
So until that happens I will keep climbing on my soapbox and crying out about the loss of liberty in this country; hoping that someday enough people will join the ranks and take up the call as well. Until then, I offer a toast to those few who stand beside me in this fight, “To us and those like us…so damned few left.”