I awoke this morning with a burning question in my mind; what if the reason people pay little attention to what I say is because I focus too much on the past, while they are more interested in current events. I rarely watch the news, at all; not because I’m not concerned with what is happening in the world around me, but rather it is the fact that the coverage they give it is so full of b.s. and lies that it makes me physically ill to watch it.
I believe, and you can take this with a grain of salt if you like, that whatever stories you hear on the news are there to keep your focus on current scandals and crises while keeping the two sides, left and right, at odds with each other. I’m not saying some of these crises and scandals aren’t real, that they don’t affect us in some fashion, I’m only saying that so long as we focus all our attention upon them we fail to take note that no matter who has control of our government, some things never change.
For instance, war seems to be a constant no matter which party is in control of the government. Taxes also remain a constant; although the rate you pay may fluctuate a bit with a shift in which party controls government. Our rights also continue to be infringed upon at an almost exponential rate no matter which party is in control.
Yet while all that is happening all people can think of is getting their side into power, and what can their side do to fix all these problems; most of which are due to the fact that government has already enacted laws that have screwed things up so badly that they even require fixing. What a novel concept it would be that, instead of passing more laws and creating more bureaucracies, they revoked a few laws and eliminated a few bureaucracies and see if the problems didn’t start resolving themselves of their own accord?
That will never happen though, primarily due to the fact that people have been indoctrinated into believing that they need this huge, all powerful government; that without it chaos and anarchy would run rampant without its guiding hand in our lives. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I think I can manage my own affairs far better than the government can, and I’m man enough to accept the consequences of any stupid decisions I might make.
I’m not a huge fan of Theodore Roosevelt, not after learning how he abused Executive Authority while serving as president, but he did get a few things right in the speeches and editorials he wrote. One of the things he got right was when he said, “If an American is to amount to anything he must rely upon himself, and not upon the State; he must take pride in his own work, instead of sitting idle to envy the luck of others. He must face life with resolute courage, win victory if he can, and accept defeat if he must, without seeking to place on his fellow man a responsibility which is not theirs.”
You see, that’s the flip side of freedom that no one wants to look at, accepting complete and total responsibility for all your wants and needs. A simple example to explain how one feels about freedom is how they would react if a burglar broke into their home. Would that person pick up a phone and dial 911 or would they pick up a gun and send the burglar to an early grave? If you would rely upon an agent of the state to do what is, ultimately, your responsibility, then you choose bondage over freedom. If you believe that those who do excercise a little freedom by shooting a burglar should be charged with a crime, then you don’t know the first thing about what it means to be free, and accepting complete responsibility for your own needs.
That is why I do not focus too much on current events; I prefer to focus on how we got to where we are today with this massive government that intrudes upon almost every aspect of our lives, while denying us the freedom our forefathers fought for in 1776. History provides the answer to how we got to where we are today, if you would just look back in time instead of focusing all your attention upon whatever manufactured scandals and crises consume the airwaves and keep you from focusing your attention where it is really needed.
For a people to be truly free 3 things regarding government must occur. First it must be kept small with its scope of powers kept very limited. Secondly, it must be local; meaning that those governing are familiar with and respectful of the needs of their constituents. Finally, the purpose of government should be to secure the rights of all classes of the people against infringement.
For a very limited time Americans enjoyed the most freedom that they have ever seen; that period being between the years 1783 to 1789. I’m not saying that they enjoyed perfect freedom, but they enjoyed a whole lot more then than they do now. For instance, during that period the government in Massachusetts imposed a tax to help pay for the debt accumulated during the Revolution. This didn’t sit well with some of the citizens, so they rebelled.
This event, known as Shay’s Rebellion, was one of the things that gave weight to the idea that a stronger central government was needed to maintain peace throughout the union. Yet Thomas Jefferson felt that a little rebellion now and then was good, that it kept government within the strictest confines of its delegated authority. In a letter to Abigail Adams he wrote, “The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.”
The history of the world is rife with examples of times when ambitious and power hungry people sought to gain control over their countries system of government, and America was not immune from that tendency either. In 1787 a convention was held in Philadelphia where the delegates were given specific instructions to deliberate on amendments, “…for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union.” (Source: Report of the Proceedings in Congress, 21 February 1787)
That was all they were supposed to do, propose amendments that would strengthen the existing government, not abolish that government altogether and replace it with one of their own creation. Can you imagine if such a convention were to be held today, and they proposed abolishing Congress altogether, while making the presidency a life term, while granting that office almost monarchal powers? How would you react if that were to happen today? I imagine some of you would be all for it, while others would say, “Hold on a second, I don’t support that idea.”
Such was the case in 1787 when the finalized constitution was presented to the people for consideration, there were those who supported it’s ratification and there were those who opposed it. One of the leading proponents for liberty during the Revolution, Patrick Henry, was among the staunchest opponents of this new system of government. In a speech to the Virginia Ratifying Assembly Henry stated, “Here is a revolution as radical as that which separated us from Great Britain. It is radical in this transition; our rights and privileges are endangered, and the sovereignty of the states will be relinquished: And cannot we plainly see that this is actually the case?”
You may not see it because all you’ve known is the system you were born into, but back then it was a radical change in the structure of government. The government under the Articles of Confederation gave a lot of power to the States and very little to the central government. Furthermore, it took a unanimous vote of approval from the States before anything became law; a single state could stop the passage of a measure; thereby preventing it from going into effect.
Therefore the States were a major stumbling block in the way of those who sought a much stronger and more centralized form of government; so whatever form they came up with had to be one which sought to weaken, and subordinate the States under the central authority.
Yet like it or not the existing law at the time, the Articles of Confederation, was created by the States and the members of Congress were to act as representatives of the States, not the people, but the States as political entities. Furthermore, the Articles of Confederation stated that for any alterations to occur to them they must be approved by both the Congress, AND the unanimous vote of all the State Legislatures. As I said, that was the law, and anything that occurred that did not conform to those requirements should have been considered a crime.
Yet when the Constitution was finalized and sent to the Congress that body never voted either to approve or reject it, nor did they submit it to the State Legislatures for their consideration. Instead it was submitted to assemblies and conventions consisting of the people.
This was another aspect of the radical revolution that Henry spoke of. Instead of a government created by, and serving the States, this one would be given its authority by, and effective upon the people themselves. Numerous times Patrick Henry spoke out against this aspect of the proposed system of government. For instance, on June 5, 1788 Henry said, “The fate of this question and of America may depend on this: Have they said, we, the States? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing-the expression, We, the people, instead of the States, of America.”
One day prior Mr Henry addressed the convention, saying, “My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of a confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all the states…”
Now if you recall there were 3 things I said that must occur for freedom to remain secure for the people. One of them was that the government should be kept local so that it would know and be respectful of the needs of its constituents. Can you honestly tell me that your representative in Congress is aware of, and mindful of the things that affect you in your day to day life? I can tell you right now that not a one of those serving me in Congress has the slightest concern for my wishes and desires, nor the preservation of my liberty.
That was another concern of those who opposed the constitution, that the government they were attempting to establish could not possibly be mindful of the wants and needs of the people of such a large consolidated Republic. In his second essay writing under the pseudonym of Federal Farmer, Melancton Smith stated, “The essential parts of a free and good government are a full and equal representation of the people in the legislature, and the jury trial of the vicinage in the administration of justice — a full and equal representation, is that which possesses the same interests, feelings, opinions, and views the people themselves would were they all assembled…”
Are you aware that after the Constitution was put into operation, the ratio of representation in Congress was roughly 1 representative for every 57,000 people? Now that may seem like the people were not effectively represented in Congress, but let’s look at the ratio of representation today. The current ration of representation is one member of Congress for every 747,000 people, plus or minus a few hundred here or there. How can one member of Congress know the wants and needs of 57,000 people, let alone 747,000 people? Simple answer, they can’t; proving that the anti-federalists concerns over a fair and equal representation were valid.
Now this may be a tad long, but in his first essay writing as Brutus, Robert Yates stated the following, “History furnishes no example of a free republic, any thing like the extent of the United States. The Grecian republics were of small extent; so also was that of the Romans. Both of these, it is true, in process of time, extended their conquests over large territories of country; and the consequence was, that their governments were changed from that of free governments to those of the most tyrannical that ever existed in the world.
Not only the opinion of the greatest men, and the experience of mankind, are against the idea of an extensive republic, but a variety of reasons may be drawn from the reason and nature of things, against it. In every government, the will of the sovereign is the law. In despotic governments, the supreme authority being lodged in one, his will is law, and can be as easily expressed to a large extensive territory as to a small one. In a pure democracy the people are the sovereign, and their will is declared by themselves; for this purpose they must all come together to deliberate, and decide. This kind of government cannot be exercised, therefore, over a country of any considerable extent; it must be confined to a single city, or at least limited to such bounds as that the people can conveniently assemble, be able to debate, understand the subject submitted to them, and declare their opinion concerning it.
In a free republic, although all laws are derived from the consent of the people, yet the people do not declare their consent by themselves in person, but by representatives, chosen by them, who are supposed to know the minds of their constituents, and to be possessed of integrity to declare this mind.
In every free government, the people must give their assent to the laws by which they are governed. This is the true criterion between a free government and an arbitrary one. The former are ruled by the will of the whole, expressed in any manner they may agree upon; the latter by the will of one, or a few. If the people are to give their assent to the laws, by persons chosen and appointed by them, the manner of the choice and the number chosen, must be such, as to possess, be disposed, and consequently qualified to declare the sentiments of the people; for if they do not know, or are not disposed to speak the sentiments of the people, the people do not govern, but the sovereignty is in a few. Now, in a large extended country, it is impossible to have a representation, possessing the sentiments, and of integrity, to declare the minds of the people, without having it so numerous and unwieldly, as to be subject in great measure to the inconveniency of a democratic government.”
Those are but two aspects of this new system of government that concerned the anti-federalists; I could list more, but you’d quickly lose interest in what I was saying. The point I was trying to make is that there were many valid concerns over this system of government, yet the voices of reason were ignored for the promise of a great and powerful American empire. Gee, that sounds kind of familiar. I wonder where I’ve heard that before…(spoken with a heavy dose of sarcasm)
Yet Patrick Henry warned about that as well, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.” Much as few listen to what I have to say today, few listened to what the anti-federalists had to say, and the Constitution went into effect, establishing our current system of government.
The government established by the Constitution didn’t suddenly become this monster we have today, it was a slow and gradual process that has been going on since the day it was put into effect. It’s not like we elected a Hitler or a Stalin who suddenly started oppressing the people, it has been slowly growing in power since the day it went into operation. It began under the administration of George Washington, and it has continued almost unabated ever since.
The only hiccup along the way came in 1860 when a bunch of Southern States had the audacity to stand up to this system of government and reclaim their status as free and independent States. I mean, HOW DARE THEY??? But before I get into that, let me tell you a little story you weren’t taught in your American History class.
You may not be aware of their political party tendencies, but the first two presidents of these States united were strongly federalist; meaning they felt the powers granted the government were not limited to those few specific powers found in Article 1, Section 8; that they could exercise implied powers as well.
This belief served many in the North well as the power of taxation was a means by which the wealth of one part of the country could be used to finance economic growth and expansion in another. But then another party began to rise in popularity which threatened the interests of the Northern industrialists and bankers; the Democratic-Republicans, led by none other than Thomas Jefferson.
The policies being espoused by Jefferson were such that the Northerners feared what would happen should he, or one of his followers were to be elected to the presidency. It was during this time that two leading Northern Congressmen, Rufus King and Oliver Ellsworth, approached the Southerner, John Taylor of Caroline, with a proposal; that the Union be divided into two segments which would be free to govern themselves as they saw fit.
The two Northern Congressmen argued, “it was utterly impossible that the Union could continue―that the South and East never agreed, and that the former clogged and counteracted every operation of the government.” They then went on to say, “Under the circumstances, therefore, a dissolution of the Union by mutual consent was preferable to a forced dissolution.”
This proposal was delivered to James Madison, who kept it among his personal papers until his death. It then fell into the hands of his wife, and upon her death it fell into the hands of her nephew. Upon his death, his widow finally sold them and they became public domain. But you won’t be taught this in school because it proves that the Union was not believed to be permanent and irrevocable; that in fact it was the North that first spoke of dividing the Union into two separate and independent entities; thereby justifying the South’s claims that they had the right to secede – which makes Abraham Lincoln a war criminal for engaging in an unprovoked war against a sovereign nation.
The ultimate question of the Civil War was not whether or not slavery should exist, that was not the cause of the war, not the issue solved by it. The question posed by the Civil War was, does a State, or group of States, have the right to revoke their consent to a system of government, and return to their status as free and independent entities?
Abraham Lincoln claimed they didn’t, and he felt it was his duty to use whatever means were at his disposal to hold the Union together. Which is why you’ll never be taught that it was the North that first proposed splitting the Union in two; for it would shoot Lincoln’s whole justification for his war of aggression down in flames.
Now you might say, But the Civil War answered that question when the South lost, didn’t it?” Do you believe that; that a superior armed force achieving a victory is all that is required for determining right or wrong? Well, how would you feel if a group of 20 or so armed men stormed into your home and began pillaging your property and raping your wife and young daughters, would the overwhelming use of force justify such an act? I didn’t think so; so just because the North won the war, doesn’t make their cause just or noble; and it certainly doesn’t make Lincoln a national hero!
What the Civil War did do was prove that the government could, and would use whatever force it felt necessary to maintain its control over the entire union. Now please, perform some mental gymnastics and explain to me how that even comes close to being a government based upon consent of the governed. I’ll wait; this ought to prove quite interesting…
After the war ended the South was treated even worse when they were treated as occupied territories; governed by former Union Generals to manage them until they had proven their worthiness to rejoin the Union. The Southern States had to rewrite their Constitutions and then submit them to Congress for its approval. No one loyal to the Confederate Cause could hold office in the South; opening the door for Carpetbaggers and Scalawags to come flooding in from the North. Then to make matters worse, they were told that they MUST ratify the 14th Amendment before anyone selected by them could resume their positions in Congress.
We are taught the nobleness and compassion of the North after the war with its Reconstruction efforts; yet you should read about the conditions in the South during Reconstruction if you want to learn how it was a continuation of the pillaging of their wealth that led them to secede in the first place. It truly makes me ashamed to call myself an American how our government treated them after the war.
Oh, and for those of you who still claim that the North was fighting a noble war to free the slaves, you may want to do some research on a place called The Devil’s Punchbowl in Mississippi. The Devil’s Punchbowl was a UNION run concentration camp for freed slaves. These were slaves that had been granted their freedom, yet the Union tossed them into this hellish concentration camp where they were barely fed, and suffered disease and starvation. It is estimated that 20,000 freed slaves died under the ‘protection’ of the Union Army at the Devil’s Punchbowl.
Yeah, the North was real noble and considerate of the slaves…You keep on believing that, history proves it to be untrue.
Something else you may not be aware of regarding the period following the end of the Civil War. By the year 1877 the Union occupation of the South had all but ended, with only 3 States remaining under Union control; South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. 1876 saw the presidential election take place between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden. Tilden won the election with 51% of the popular vote and 203 Electoral Votes to Hayes 165. Yet the Electoral vote came into question due to the fact that 19 of those votes came from the 3 occupied Southern States.
A commission consisting of 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats was established to settle the issue, and the Democrats agreed to give the election to Hayes if the Republicans would agree to 4 demands. Those demands were “…that the military occupation of all the former Confederate States be brought to an end; that a Democrat be named to the Hayes cabinet; that a transcontinental train line be created through the South and that Federal legislation be passed to assist in the actual reconstruction of the region.”
Although the demands were agreed to by the Republicans, the final request for federal assistance in rebuilding the South after the war never saw a single dime of federal money flow into the South; even though for decades prior to the war Southern wealth had been confiscated by taxes and tariffs and saw its way into federally funded programs to benefit Northern interests.
And yet people wonder why there is still such hatred and animosity between those living in the South and those living in the North? I don’t even live in the South, but I feel a kinship to those who do; and I hate and despise the Yankees and their system of government as much as any rebel ever did.
That’s why I study history and ignore current events; because not knowing how we got to were we are with all these problems only means that we will find ourselves stuck in the rut of repeating the things that caused them in the first place. It is why I don’t vote; because I believe the entire system to be morally corrupt, and intentionally so. I believe that whatever answer to our problems will not come from more government, but from the complete and total dissolution of this current system and the establishment of one more closely related to the Confederation established by the Articles of Confederation.
I also realize that, to use modern terminology, that shit ain’t ever gonna happen. I realize that 99% of the people don’t care about their freedom, that they are happy as a herd of free range cattle just so long as they have a job that pays the bills, or are on the dole from some government program that provides for their needs. Freedom comes at a cost, and too few are willing to pay it, so we’ll just keep on trudging on down the pathway to absolute despotism until we get to the point that even a blind man can see what has happened. But by then it will be too late; you will have given up all the means you had of fighting tyrants, and you’ll have no recourse other than submission or death.
But hey, don’t let me get you down with all this gloom and doom talk; there’s a new episode of The Voice tonight, and hey, the Super Bowl is coming up real soon; so what’s there to worry about, right?