Normally I don’t preface my articles with any comments, I let the article do all the talking for me. However, I truly hope this one goes over well with those who read it. It may not seem as emotionally fired up as some of my other missives, but I put more heartfelt thought and emotion into this than anything I can recall ever having written. I hope it gets the message across as I intended.
In a recent e-mail a friend asked if I was involved in any of the local Tea Party groups. This person said that with my political views I would fit right in. I did attend one Tea Party meeting awhile back, and I’m not so sure that if I began expressing my views that I would be so warmly accepted among them.
I have written before concerning my thoughts on the Tea Party movement, and I don’t want people to misunderstand me; I think that overall it is good that more and more people are finally awakening to the fact that their government has overstepped its Constitutional authority. I believe that the Tea Party has done a good job of helping educate people, yet they seem to be avoiding a topic I consider of the utmost importance.
If you could call it that, the mission statement of the local branch of the Tea Party states: “The impetus for the Tea Party movement is excessive government spending and taxation. Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.”
I have noticed that those active in the Tea Party movement spend a great deal of time talking about fiscal responsibility, the FED, and ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet they remain unusually silent when it comes to discussing the steady erosion of our rights and liberty by government at all levels. I am not saying that they consider our unalienable rights unimportant, just that I don’t hear much about how they would go about ensuring that our government adheres to its responsibility of safeguarding them. To me, the importance of preserving our rights is of equal, if not greater, importance than excessive government spending and taxation.
I have written many times regarding our rights, and how government has neglected its primary duty of safeguarding them…in fact it appears that it has gone out of its way to limit them. Yet it is apparent that some people still do not understand what rights are, and from whence they originate.
Our founders believed that our rights are inherent in us by the very nature of us being human beings. In The Farmer Refuted, (1775), Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms, and false reasonings, is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges. You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator, to the whole human race; and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice.”
Furthermore, Hamilton states, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”
Much of what our founders believed about our natural rights has, as its foundation, the writings of John Locke, specifically his Second Treatise Concerning Civil Government. Jefferson drew heavily from Locke’s beliefs and considered him as one of the most important thinkers on liberty. Therefore, it would do us well to understand what Locke considered the state of absolute perfect freedom, “We must consider what state all men are naturally [originally] in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit… without depending on the will of any other man.”
In his 1791 Lectures on Laws, James Wilson wrote “Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind.”
A few years earlier, Albert Gallatin wrote the following “The whole of the Bill (of Rights) is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals …. It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of.”
I often hear the term constitutional rights, and every time I do I cringe, because it shows how truly uninformed people are in regards to the origin of their rights. Neither the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights bestows upon us any rights…they merely list rights that have always existed and can never be legally taken away. Had the Constitution and the Bill of Rights never been written, our rights would still remain.
In the Virginia Declaration of Rights, George Mason states, “That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity…”
In his treatise The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine writes, “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.” As Jefferson outlined in the Declaration of Independence, it is for the securing of our rights that governments are created.
People assume, and incorrectly, that just because a right is not specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights that it DOES NOT exist. However, if they would just read the Ninth Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
I wonder, how upset would you be if the government passed a law stating that you could not watch any television whatsoever on Sundays? I am certain that those of you who sit for hours on end, eyes glued to football games, would pitch a mighty fit, screaming that the government does not have the right to limit your television viewing to Monday thru Saturday. Is that so? Where in the Bill of Rights does it say that YOU have the right to watch TV any time you desire? That is where the Ninth Amendment comes into play, it covers all the rights that are far too numerous to be individually listed.
However there are rights, which are specifically listed, which government, at all levels, has decided to limit, or restrict. Yet why do people not seem to care about the fact that government has, as its goal, “…a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism…”?
For the longest time I have been trying to explain to people that government laws, be they federal laws, or local statutes, cannot be passed which infringe upon your rights. If they are, you are under absolutely no obligation to obey them. I want you to read something, and read it as many times as you must for it to sink in, as it is of the utmost importance that you fully understand what it says.
In the Sixteenth American Jurisprudence Second Edition, Section 177, we read, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed… Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principles follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it…. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.”
Unfortunately, although that is the truth regarding laws which infringe upon any of your inherent rights, the sad truth is that you probably won’t find any law enforcement officer, any court, or any government thug who will stand by it. Therefore, if you choose to freely exercise your rights, as our founders intended, be warned that you do so at your own risk. You will be fully within your rights to do so, but your rights WILL NOT be respected by those who purport to uphold the law.
H. L. Mencken once said, “The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe.” That is so true; otherwise people would fight against even the slightest infringement upon any of their rights.
Ben Franklin once said, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” We are well on the way to that happening, all because of, as Hamilton explained, “…a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind.”
If, by now, you DO NOT understand the nature of your rights, then there is nothing I could ever say to explain it to you; you are too far gone for the truth to penetrate through your conditioning.
It is also one reason why I do not think the Tea Party would welcome me into its fold; I hold the infringement of my rights of greater importance than I do the abolishment of the FED and the limiting of governmental spending.
The Tea Party could be of great service if they would choose to focus their attention upon how THEY would go about restoring our ability to freely exercise our rights. However, all I hear is abolish the FED; end the wars, blah, blah, blah.
You know, it is conceivable that our country could return to economic prosperity while the people of this country live as serfs to an oppressive government. Economic prosperity is all fine and dandy, but I prefer the words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”