I wish I could go into a busy shopping mall or WalMart, lock the doors, then tell the customers inside that before they could leave they would be required to sit down and write down what they thought liberty was. I’m certain that if I did so, my liberty would be taken from me; for that would be considered a form of kidnapping, or hostage taking. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to peek into people’s minds and see what they thought liberty meant.
Liberty is far more than the simple ability to fully exercise a few rights; it is a state of existence that covers everything about your existence as a human being. However, to truly understand liberty you must also understand that you, as an individual, are a sovereign. I know I talk a lot about sovereignty, even providing the dictionary’s definition of the word, but I get the feeling that there are still some who don’t understand what it truly means.
Think of sovereignty this way; if you are a man, then you are a King but your kingdom is confined to all that you can rightfully call your property. The same goes for women, they are Queens ruling over their kingdom, but that kingdom is restricted to what they can rightfully call their property.
Liberty is inexorably tied to property; meaning that the more you can enjoy the full use of your property without coercion, or threat of violence against it, the more liberty you have; and the reverse is true; the more rules that apply to how you can enjoy what is rightfully yours, the less liberty you have.
The thing about it is that I don’t think people actually understand what property is. I think the moment someone says the word property people think they are talking about their homes, their vehicles, and all their other personal belongings, such as their clothes, and yes, their money.
While those are all property, property is not confined to those few things; it is all inclusive in things we can assign personal ownership of. Do I think for you? If not, then your thoughts are yours; meaning they are your property. Madison defined property as, “…that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”
Then Madison goes on to hint at what liberty is by saying, “In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.”
Madison then goes on to list those things he considers as falling under the general category of property:
In the former sense, a man’s land, or merchandize, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.
He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.
He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.
In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.
Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.
Where there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho’ from an opposite cause.
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.
Read that, ponder it, read it again; but do this – firmly implant it into your minds, for it lies at the crux of what liberty is, and how it has been stolen from us by the system of government we have; the system which most of you consent to.
Liberty is the ability of each individual to enjoy the full use of their property, their faculties, and the fruit of their labor, so long as in so doing they do not deny anyone else the same right, or deny them any of their fundamental rights.
I think people also fail to realize that there are two kinds of liberty; unrestricted liberty, which is chaos, and liberty that is restricted only to the extent that people cannot do whatever they want when their actions restrict or violate the rights of others. Thomas Jefferson explained that concept as follows, “Liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of it’s extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”
The thing about liberty, and this is true about our rights as well, they predate government. What that means is that man had liberty and rights long before he had government. Our liberty, our rights, come to us due to the fact that we are sentient beings, capable of providing for our own wants and needs, while also being capable of defending what is rightfully ours; although some people seem to have shirked those responsibilities.
As sovereigns, and I truly hate using that word, for it has been hijacked by some people and turned into a movement that I do not totally agree with, but as sovereigns each of us is bestowed with both rights and liberty, and we can exercise them to the fullest extent, so long as we do not deny anyone else the ability to do the same.
Although the State, (and I don’t mean a particular State, I mean the State as the entity that governs or controls our lives), would never allow it, I think John Locke’s Second Treatise on Civil Government should be thoroughly discussed in any civics class if people are to have an understanding of their rights and liberty as human beings, their responsibility to defend their rights and liberty, and the nature of government, and what to do if government no longer serves the purpose of preserving and protecting those rights and their liberty.
Beginning in Chapter 2 of his book, Locke states:
TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.
A state also of equality, wherein all the power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one having more than another; there being nothing more evident, than that creatures of the same species and rank, promiscuously born to all the same advantages of nature, and the use of the same faculties, should also be equal one amongst another without subordination or subjection, unless the lord and master of them all should, by any manifest declaration of his will, set one above another, and confer on him, by an evident and clear appointment, an undoubted right to dominion and sovereignty.
Then Locke goes on to say:
But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence: though man in that state have an uncontroulable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of one sovereign master, sent into the world by his order, and about his business; they are his property, whose workmanship they are, made to last during his, not one another’s pleasure: and being furnished with like faculties, sharing all in one community of nature, there cannot be supposed any such subordination among us, that may authorize us to destroy one another, as if we were made for one another’s uses, as the inferior ranks of creatures are for our’s.
That is the rightful liberty that Jefferson spoke of, that no man has a right to violate or infringe upon the equal rights of others, or bring harm to them in their persons or their property. In Chapter 3 of his book Locke explains what happens when that law is not followed:
And hence it is, that he who attempts to get another man into his absolute power, does thereby put himself into a state of war with him; it being to be understood as a declaration of a design upon his life: for I have reason to conclude, that he who would get me into his power without my consent, would use me as he pleased when he had got me there, and destroy me too when he had a fancy to it; for no body can desire to have me in his absolute power, unless it be to compel me by force to that which is against the right of my freedom, i.e. make me a slave. To be free from such force is the only security of my preservation; and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy to my preservation, who would take away that freedom which is the fence to it; so that he who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby puts himself into a state of war with me.
Then Locke says something that may in today’s society would not agree with:
This makes it lawful for a man to kill a thief, who has not in the least hurt him, nor declared any design upon his life, any farther than, by the use of force, so to get him in his power, as to take away his money, or what he pleases, from him; because using force, where he has no right, to get me into his power, let his pretence be what it will, I have no reason to suppose, that he, who would take away my liberty, would not, when he had me in his power, take away every thing else.
Now let’s pause for a moment and discuss the American Revolution. What was it that the Colonists were fighting for; aside from independence? By that, I know they were fighting for their independence, but why, after 150 some odd years did they rise up against their system of government and seek that independence; why not continue living their lives under the authority of that system of government; something must have happened which caused them to take such drastic measures.
What happened was that their government began imposing laws upon them that attacked their rights and their liberty. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that fact:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.
Prior to that passage, Jefferson laid out the principles upon which just and enduring government should be founded upon and what to do if government does not abide by those principles:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — 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.
So it can be rightfully said that the American Revolution was a war for America’s independence, but it was independence from a tyrant who sought to deny them their rights and their liberty; which is why Patrick Henry did not say, “Give me independence or give me death” he said, “Give me LIBERTY or give me death.” (My emphasis)
I don’t know, maybe I’m a dolt, (a stupid person), but it would seem obvious to me that a people who were willing to risk death to regain their liberty from a tyrant would not turn around and establish a system of government that was capable of, or designed with the sole intent of taking it away from them again.
Yet if you were to put aside your political party allegiance, your conservative or liberal ideologies, and just look at government today, you would see that government does not respect our rights or our liberty; in fact it views those things as being in the way of its amassing total control over us and our property; which is why it is working so hard to take every last vestige of liberty we have.
You have to remember, government is our creation; or at least the creation of those who lived 230 some odd years ago. We the people existed before government did; therefore government is our creation, our servant, and answerable to us – not the other way around as some people seem to think.
Any government, whether it be of its own volition, or by the will of a majority of the people, that seeks to deny the rights and liberty of a segment of the society it governs, can only be labeled as tyrannical; for government should be established to protect and defend the rights and liberty of ALL the members of the society it governs; not just a chosen few, or the few represented by a political party.
That is why there is so much truth to the statement, “That government is best which governs least.” Thomas Jefferson once said, “I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” What he meant by energetic is a government that does a lot of things for those it governs. That is why Jefferson said the following in his first Inaugural Address; for it explained his beliefs as the extent of, and purpose for which governments are established:
Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
Can you imagine a candidate for the presidency saying something like that in a campaign speech, and winning the election? I certainly can’t; not with the mindset of most American voters. Most people today base their votes upon what the candidates promise to do for them; denying the words of John F. Kennedy just a few decades ago, “Ask not what your country can do for you ― ask what you can do for your country.” And what you can do is, you can stand for and defend the principles it was established upon; not go to the voting booth like a bunch of greedy panhandlers or beggars asking for handouts.
You see, government has become a tool that rival beliefs seek to gain control of so that they can exert their beliefs upon others whom they disagree with. Yet beneath all that there is something that remains constant and steady regardless of which faction gains control of the system; that being that our rights and our liberty are being undermined and stripped away from us.
If we are not FREE to speak our mind; if we are not FREE to worship our God as we see fit; if we are not FREE to protect and defend ourselves without a permit or license; if we are not FREE to do with our property as we please, or dispose of our income as we see fit; if we are not FREE to put whatever substance we want into our bodies, then we DO NOT HAVE LIBERTY WE HAVE BONDAGE TO THOSE WHO TELL US WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO!
Thomas Paine once said something that you really ought to think about, “Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured.” The question you should be asking yourselves when you vote is not whether or not the candidate you are considering voting for is going to do more things that benefit you, rather it should be is that candidate going to restore and protect your rights and your liberty; if not, then that candidate is unworthy of your vote – that is if you care about the protection of your rights and liberty.
The thing about being sovereigns is that each of us has the right to decide how we will live; meaning we have the right to choose whether or not to submit to the authority of a system of government that either secures to us our rights and liberty by their every action, or a system that, by their every action, seeks to undermine and restrict our rights and liberty.
However, our system denies that principle. Today we are told submit, comply, obey, or be arrested, imprisoned, or killed. Our system denies the very principle of freedom of choice – what if someone does not choose to consent to this system of tyranny that so many seem willing to submit to; what choices do they have? Can they simply say, “Uh, Uncle Sam, I’ve decided I don’t like the taxes and laws you are imposing upon me, therefore I’m returning to my status as a sovereign and independent citizen, free from your jurisdiction and authority.” Good luck with that; under our existing system it is either submit or be killed.
How, in God’s name, can you say that you live in the land of the free when you have a system governing over that tells you that? You don’t believe that to be the case? Maybe you should ask yourselves what you would call the invasion, and subsequent murder of those living in the South who sought to free themselves from the authority of this system in 1860 – known as the Civil War. Maybe you ought to ask the remaining members of the Weaver family what happens when the SYSTEM comes after you, or the Branch Davidians; I’m sure they can tell you how much the system respected and protected their rights and their liberty.
Any time you have a system that makes the exposing of its crime a crime, you are ruled by criminals. If a system is supposedly founded upon the principle of individual rights and liberty, and someone exposes the governments attacks upon those things, then is subsequently pursued or persecuted by the government whose crimes they exposed, that system is not worthy of your support. Look at Edward Snowden and Julian Asange; all they did is expose how YOUR government is doing things it isn’t supposed to be doing; but you, the faithful worshipers of your god government, believed the lies and called them traitors.
Our Constitution does not grant us liberty; our Bill of Rights does not grant us our rights; those things existed before government, and they will continue to exist long after government ceases to exist. The only thing that changes is how much the people of this country care about and defend them. As Judge Billings Learned Hand said way back in 1944, “I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save it.”
You, the voting public, seek your liberty at the altar of the entity that is depriving you of it. That, to me, is like begging the guy who is stealing from you to leave you a penny or two while taking the rest of your money.
Liberty is, more than anything else, a state of mind; either you have it or you don’t. The preservation of your liberty is a constant and unending struggle; for there will always be those who seek to take it from you, and it is YOUR duty, YOUR responsibility to constantly be on guard against every infringement upon it. The moment you beg that your rights and liberty be restored from the very entity that has stolen them from you, you have already surrendered to the idea that those rights and that liberty can be taken from you, and you have lost the battle for them.
There are only two ways of existing in this world, either you can live as a free man with the perfect liberty to govern your own life, or you can live as a slave under the arbitrary will of a majority of those around you, or the despotic will of your system of government; everything besides perfect liberty is just a varying degree of bondage and servitude. And when the system that enslaves you denies that you have the right to alter or abolish it, even though it was created by the people, that system should be your enemy; not something you flock to the polls to every couple of years so that you can choose who your next masters will be.
As Jefferson said, “…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…” He did not say to vote harder, or beg your government to restore your stolen rights and liberty.
And Jefferson probably got his idea for that from Locke, who said, “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: for since it can never be supposed to be the will of the society, that the legislative should have a power to destroy that which every one designs to secure, by entering into society, and for which the people submitted themselves to legislators of their own making; 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.”
But please, as a ‘FREE’ person, don’t let me stop you from voting for the candidate of your choice. Just don’t expect that any of them will ever work with your best interests, your rights, or your liberty as their motivation in choosing what laws to enact. They seek power, power over you, over your rights, your liberty, and your property; and all you’re doing is handing it to them on a silver platter when you vote. But by all means, go right the fuck ahead; just don’t ask me to join in with you; for I have a brain, and I use it to think, not be told WHAT TO THINK.
So vote if you wish, just don’t fall for the lie that your vote actually matters in the grand scheme of things…