In a letter to Samuel Cooper, a Boston clergyman, Samuel Adams once wrote, “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” Then in another instance, his cousin John, 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.” (Source: Defense of the British Soldiers accused of murder in the Boston Massacre)
People tend to form their opinions one of two ways; they either carefully examine the facts to form an opinion, or they react emotionally to an issue and form their opinion based upon what makes them feel good. It is my belief that most people fall into the latter category; they react emotionally to stimuli and form their opinions so as to make them feel good about their decisions. I, on the other hand, seek out the truth, and form my opinions based upon whatever facts I encounter.
I suppose there is a time and a place for both; logic and emotion. One would not want to try to solve an algebra equation using emotion, and one wouldn’t try to describe a beautiful sunset using logic and reasoning. The problem, as I see it, comes when people allow one or the other to take over and guide their entire decision making process.
I’ll admit that I tend to be more analytical; that I like to examine all the facts and form my opinions based upon whatever evidence I encounter. If I had chosen to base my opinions solely upon what I had been taught or told, then I suppose I would hold very similar opinions on the issues as most people do. However, for some strange reason I chose to expand my knowledge on history and our system of government beyond what I had been taught in school or heard from others – I sought out the truth.
This process was not instantaneous; like in the Matrix when Tank inserts a computer disc into a slot and all the information on a subject is instantaneously uploaded into Neo’s brain. No, this process takes time and a careful study of the things you encounter – it is a journey. Have there been times I’ve stumbled, been misled? Of course there were, but that didn’t deter me from continuing my quest for the truth. If you took a wrong turn going home would you just park your vehicle somewhere along the wrong path and give up your effort to get home, or would you turn around and then seek out the correct path? It’s the same when you seek out the truth; if you stumble or get misled, you backtrack and correct your course.
There are two things I have discovered on this journey of mine. The first is that you will revise your opinions time and time again as you encounter new facts. Although you may not be applying that when it comes to politics and history, you are applying it, otherwise we would all still believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.
The second thing I’ve discovered is that your brain becomes more adept at understanding things that others find difficult to wrap their heads around. I’m not saying people are stupid, I’m simply saying that the brain needs to be challenged to grow. That is probably the reason I feel so much frustration towards others; because they have not challenged their minds by considering facts that force them to think and to question their own beliefs. They are content to remain stagnant; believing whatever has been spoon fed to them by their educators and by the news media.
While I can’t be 100% sure about this, I believe that people who are lacking in facts to support their beliefs need some kind of support group to surround themselves with so as not to be forced to justify their position on an issue. This support group may consist of family, friends, or members of a political party, but it serves the same function; to provide people with a group of like minded individuals who can counter any threats to their common beliefs.
On the other hand someone who has carefully studied an issue is not afraid to stand alone in defending their position. In fact, a person who has carefully studied an issue likes an open and intelligent debate on the issues; until those they are debating give up on providing facts and begin the insults and name calling because they can no longer support their position.
I am more than willing to admit that I am wrong about a subject – if a person can provide enough evidence to prove that to be the case. However I refuse to admit that I’m wrong when all I hear are emotional excuses and outbursts. If you can’t provide facts to support your position, do me a favor and stay out of the debate.
I know this has been a lengthy introduction, more lengthy than I would have preferred, but it all boils down to one simple point; what I aim to do by these commentaries is to challenge you to think; to question your own beliefs by comparing what you believe against the facts I provide; and if your beliefs are found lacking that you change them to be in accordance to the facts. Like I said, I would be more than willing to do the same if anyone can provide enough evidence to prove my position wrong; that’s called integrity.
What I’d like to do from this point forward is to put forth a series of questions and simple statements that, I hope, will cause you to think and to question your beliefs regarding our American system of governance.
I’ll start off relatively simple; by what authority does our government enact laws? Does it enact them as representatives of the people or does it enact them as an entity that is beyond the control of the people?
If this system we have truly is a representative one, then shouldn’t there be some kind of document dictating what powers we have delegated to those representatives?
In legal circles there is something known as a power of attorney. A power of attorney is a grant of power by an individual to another to act in their stead. There are 3 primary types of powers of attorney, but for simplicities sake I will discuss only two of them. The first is a general power of attorney in which Person A delegates general powers to Person B to act in their stead. Then there is a limited power of attorney in which Person A grants specific powers to Person B to perform on their behalf.
In 1787 a group of men decided that they were going to write a document which would abolish the existing form of government and replace it with one of their own creation. Now I’m not going to go into whether this system they proposed was either good or bad, (I think it sucked), all I want to discuss is the process by which that proposed plan went into effect.
Instead of having the State Legislatures adopt or reject this proposed plan, (which would have been in accordance with existing law; i.e. The Articles of Confederation, Article 13), they chose to have the issue decided by the voice of the people.
State Ratifying Assemblies were called for, and held, and the issue of whether or not to adopt the proposed plan for a system of government was debated. Votes were taken and the consensus was that this system of government should be implemented. Now whether or not that decision was wise I will leave for historians to decide; the fact remains that it was the voice of the people that gave this system of government life.
Therefore, in theory this system is a representative one; with those doing the actual governing being chosen by, and beholden to the people. The Constitution, therefore, is the charter or contract between the people of this country to constitute a system of government to act on behalf of the people who occupy this country. The question is, as powers of attorney can be either limited or general, is the government we gave life to one with limited powers or one with unlimited powers?
Another point that must be addressed is; the Constitution was written in 1787 and ratified in 1789. All those who participated in that process are long since dead. The question is, did their actions bind all posterity for all time to the system of government they chose to adopt, or are we free to pick and choose whether or not to consent to it?
Have you ever signed any document saying that you support the Constitution? Now if you have served in the military you have taken an oath to support and defend it; but I’ll get to that in a moment.
If this government is one which represents the people, and if there are limits imposed upon it, then if the agents of the people, (our elected representatives), violate those limits, they, in effect, violate the terms of the contract; thereby nullifying that contract; making everything the government does null and void.
Now you, as average voters, may be able to claim ignorance of all this, but those who served in the military and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, are not getting off that easy.
When you sign a contract and do not read the fine print, does that negate any consequences if you violate that contract, or can you be held legally responsible for a breach of the contract? If you have ever sworn to support and defend the Constitution, then you are legally bound to do so; and this also includes all those corrupt politicians who abuse their authority and those who enforce the laws they pass.
To recap so far, we either have a system of government that is representative of the will of the people, but at the same time bound by certain limitations found within a written Constitution, or we have a government that acts beyond the control of the people and is bound only by whatever limits it imposes upon itself; or whatever it can get away with without raising the ire of too many voters.
Now, if this government is a representative one, but bound by certain restrictions and limitations, then what would you call it should it begin exercising power beyond those specifically delegated it to those we elect?
In his Second Treatise John Locke says that usurpation is the exercise of power which another has a right to. So if someone exercises power that is not theirs to exercise, then that is usurpation. Then Locke goes on to say that tyranny is the excercise of power no one has a right to.
If our government was established, as we all claim it was, to secure liberty to all the people, then any law which restricts that liberty is tyrannical; because it was written by those exercising authority they had no right to exercise. In so doing they have violated our trust and broken the contract granting them the authority to act on our behalf.
Now from a purely legal standpoint it doesn’t matter that the vast majority of people in this country are ignorant of this fact, or that they willingly support this government no matter how tyrannical it becomes. The fact is that this government has violated its charter, or the contract entered into by those who ratified the Constitution, and therefore is acting without any legal authority.
The only authority this government now holds, and this has been true for over a century and a half, comes at the end of a gun. Our government enacts laws, and then those laws are enforced by government and local law enforcement agents with the threat of fines, jail time, and death to those who resist.
If that isn’t tyranny then I don’t know what is!
In 1870 Lysander Spooner wrote, “No body of men can be said to authorize a man to act as their agent, to the injury of a third person, unless they do it in so open and authentic a manner as to make themselves personally responsible for his acts.”
Think about that. If you support government, you are authorizing the people you elect to act on your behalf. Therefore, if that government enacts laws that deprive a person of their life, their property, their liberty, then YOU are ultimately responsible for the actions of those who act on your behalf; making you as much of a tyrant as those who enact the laws, and those who enforce them at gunpoint.
If the government can enact whatever laws it wants, and have those laws enforced by a standing army of law enforcement officials, then by what power are we to ensure that they obey the law governing their actions? If the Constitution truly is the law that governs both the government and the people, how are those of us who have read the Constitution, and understand its limitations upon government, to impose those restrictions upon government and our fellow citizens?
Can I dial 911 and tell the dispatcher to send a cop to arrest Dianne Feinstein for violating such and such Article and Clause of the Constitution? Can you do the same when you believe that any of those you elect have violated their oaths of office to support and defend the Constitution? If not, then to whom were those oaths given; each other?
If they can enforce their laws upon us at gunpoint, and we cannot do the same to them, then we live under a tyrannical government that is capable of depriving us of all our liberty; and it DOES NOT MATTER whether or not Republicans or Democrats are at the helm.
And you, by voting for these people are just as guilty of being tyrants as are those who do the actual passing of laws; because you are voting to use to coercive power of government to impose your will upon others or to benefit you at the cost of someone else’s property, (income) or their liberty.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have government. What I’m saying is that we shouldn’t have THIS government. We should have a government that is more effectively restrained from violating the liberty of those it governs, and one which is more efficiently held accountable for breaches of the trust imposed upon it.
As Patrick Henry said in opposition to the Constitution, “They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, by what law? They must make the law — for there is no existing law to do it. What — will they make a law to punish themselves? This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility — and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves.”
The only way to establish a government that serves the purpose of defending liberty is to make it, and those who choose the people to fill the seats of power, accountable for violations of that liberty. Lysander Spooner offered up this solution, “We will consent to no Constitution, except such an one as we are neither ashamed nor afraid to sign; and we will authorize no government to do any thing in our name which we are not willing to be personally responsible for.”
If you, if those who enforce the laws, if those who wrote the laws, were all equally accountable for any infractions or intrusions upon the property and liberty of the people, then maybe our government could be just and serve its intended purpose.
Until that happens, it will remain tyrannical and all your doing by voting is swapping out one tyrant for another.
If you can’t see that, then maybe you ought to go back and re-read my introduction; for you are not reasoning, you’re reacting emotion