I had just about finished this when a friend posted something on Facebook that I felt was so astute that I absolutely had to begin with it, even though it meant rewriting the entire article from scratch. What my friend posted was, “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
In a letter to Samuel Cooper, Samuel Adams once said, “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” Therefore, people often choose not to seek out the truth, or at least disregard it, when it contradicts, or conflicts with what they have chosen to believe. Or as the famous Greek playwright Sophocles once said, “What people believe prevails over the truth.” In these commentaries of mine I attempt, to the best of my abilities, provide you with the truth. It is up to you whether or not you choose to accept it.
The Republican National Convention has officially concluded leaving Mitt Romney as the sole Republican candidate running for president, their focus now turned towards the hope that in November he will defeat Barack Obama. I’ll be the first person to admit that seeing Barack Obama lose in November would produce a huge sigh of relief, but the thought of Mitt Romney as the 45th president does absolutely nothing to kindle any excitement on my part.
First of all, even if Mitt Romney were the kind of candidate I could throw my support behind, which he isn’t, the fact remains that replacing presidents every four years will do nothing to solve all the problems this country faces. Switching back and forth between Republican and Democrat presidents is like putting a band aid on tumor and while neglecting the cancer that is the 535 members of Congress which continue to eat away at the core principles upon which our nation was founded.
If you ask me, we Americans focus far too much attention upon the presidency. We tend to place all our hopes and dreams upon one man, or woman for that matter, to solve all the problems we face. However, it is the political parties themselves who have prostituted themselves and sold the people out to a myriad of special interests whose only goal is to ensure that only candidates loyal to their platform ever achieve the highest office in the land.
As long as we remain divided along ideological lines the two political parties continue to play us against each other, keeping our minds off the more serious issues in this country. It is a hard thing for people to put aside their animosity towards those of who voice an opposing political viewpoint. Yet it is the discord along these party loyalties, often based solely upon people’s concern over a single issue, which divide this country into factions and make it an easy task for our government to steadily deprive us of our rights.
Our founding fathers warned us of the dangers of factions and political parties. In Federalist #10 James Madison described a faction as, “…a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
In 1796 George Washington warned, “The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.”
In 1789 Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Finally, in his farewell address George Washington may as well have been predicting the future when he said the following about factions and political parties, “…they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the Power of the People, and to usurp for themselves the reins of Government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”
I fully realize that every one of us have issues that we feel strongly about, be they the threat of terrorism, illegal immigration, gay rights, lower taxes, or gun control, just to name a few. Our differing opinions prevent us from seeing eye to eye on who, and what is best for this country overall. Yet if people could simply take a few steps back and consider what I am about to tell them, they may realize that they have been missing the bigger picture.
First of all people need to realize that our system of government is not a true democracy where the wishes and desires of a simple majority can decide what laws our government passes, and more importantly, which rights may be infringed upon. To fully understand how our system was supposed to function one must first understand the concept of sovereignty. According to the dictionary sovereignty is defined as: “1); supreme authority, especially over a state. 2); the right to self-government without interference from outside. 3); a politically independent state .” Why do I bother bringing this up? Because it is crucial to know who is sovereign under our system of government.
Although our founders may have understood who was sovereign, in 1794 the Supreme Court set it in stone when they delivered their ruling on the case of Glass v. Sloop Betsy, “The sovereignty of a state does not reside in the persons who fill the different departments of its government, but in the People, from whom the government emanated; and they may change it at their discretion. Sovereignty, then in this country, abides with the constituency, and not with the agent; and this remark is true, both in reference to the federal and state government.”
So, although it is our elected representatives who make the laws which we must all obey, ultimately we are their superiors, and, by virtue of the Constitution being the Supreme Law of the Land, we have imposed limits upon what they can, and cannot do.
In Federalist 45 James Madison clearly states that ” 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.”
To take the subject of sovereignty one step further, in 1839 the Supreme Court ruled, “The States between each other are sovereign and independent. They are distinct and separate sovereignties except so far as they have parted with some of the attributes of sovereignty by the Constitution. THEY CONTINUE TO BE NATIONS, with all their rights, and under all their national obligations and with all the rights of nations in particular except in the surrender by each to the common purposes and objects of the Union under the Constitution. ” (Bank of Augusta vs. Earle)
Our entire system of government, all the way from the federal down to the local level, is based upon the rule of law with the Constitution being the Supreme Law of the land. If government were not bound by these laws, then it would be free to do whatever it pleases, making it a dictatorship, and not a representative republic.
In discussing law, there are certain maxims, legal principles that are commonly accepted as truths. One of these maxims states, , “The Child CAN NOT give birth to Its own Mother. He who creates is Master over that, which he has created…” To apply that to the issue currently under discussion, we the people created government and therefore we limit what it can do, not vice versa.
So, if the Constitution still remains the supreme law of the land, it therefore limits the government as to what laws it can enact, and it limits us as to what laws we can ask them to enact on our behalf. And nowhere is that more important than when it comes to laws which infringe upon our rights. If we are sovereign, then no government, be it state or federal, may pass a law which prohibits anyone the free exercise of their rights.
Today we it is a common misconception that government can appropriate funds for just about anything it pleases. The recent bailouts are a perfect example of what I am talking about.
Yet I would be willing to bet that most people are not aware that during the very first Congressional session, immediately following the ratification of the Constitution, a bill was introduced which would subsidize cod fishermen. In opposition to the proposed legislation, James Madison stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and declared, “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare…it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”
Think about something for a moment, over the course of the past two centuries what has changed? The Constitution, although amended 27 times, remains basically the same as it did when it was ratified with the powers granted Congress and the President being the same as they were over 200 years ago.
What HAS changed is what people believe to be the purpose for which government exists. For the most part, and I say this from firsthand experience, most people don’t have the faintest idea what powers the Constitution actually grants our government; they don’t understand the concept of sovereignty; and they don’t seem to understand that no matter how much it may appear to be in our best interests, no law may be passed which deprives us of our unalienable rights. Our lack of understanding concerning these important principles has allowed government to expand its scope of power and control over our lives, transforming itself from our servant into our master. The level of ignorance is so pervasive that those who do stand up for Constitutional principles are labeled as radicals and extremists, and are considered a threat to the American way of life.
Again, returning to the subject of sovereignty for a moment, in 1886 the Supreme Court ruled, “Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.”
When our government enacts a law, or a long series of laws, which overstep the boundaries imposed upon it by the Constitution what does it prove? Does it prove they are simply ignorant as to the limits of their power, or does it prove that they don’t care, making them tyrants? Thomas Jefferson provided us with the following which may provide an answer, “Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (administrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery.”
In previous articles I have done my best to show how government, at all levels, has passed legislation which far exceed the limits the Constitution imposes upon them, and in so doing has infringed upon our unalienable rights.
Everything they have done has, supposedly, been in our best interests. Yet our rights, specifically those listed in the first ten amendments to the Constitution, were to be out of bounds, secured from infringement by any legislative act, be it local, state, or federal. Thomas Jefferson put it in simple terms when he said, “Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.” We may change those who represent us, we may change our own attitudes, but our rights remain constant, and therefore beyond the reach of any government agency.
The list of agencies created by our government, all to enforce laws, which in some fashion, limit our ability to freely exercise our rights is almost boundless. We are coerced into surrendering our rights by way of fines, imprisonment, and even death, if we disobey agents of the government who enforce these unconstitutional edicts. If a tyrant is an unjust and oppressive ruler, then what does it make those who enforce the tyrants will, and more importantly, what does that make us? Our founders fought, and died, against tyranny so that we may live in a nation where we were free to exercise our rights. Now the very government we have instituted to preserve those rights punishes us for exercising them. Thomas Jefferson once said, ” When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” So, you tell me, when our government makes the exercising of our rights a crime, do we have liberty or tyranny?
Yet as serious as the concern over our loss of liberty is, there is something else that is happening in this country which poses just as dire a threat to our survival as a republic. Because we have allowed government to grow into this behemoth, with power and authority eclipsing the few enumerated powers found in the Constitution, our government has placed this country in a financial predicament that we may never find our way out of. I am speaking of the national debt, which now is rapidly approaching $16 trillion.
As I type this I am also looking at the White House webpage containing the federal budget, with the estimates going all the way to the year 2022. For this year, the federal government has approximately $2.4 trillion in revenues coming in, but it is spending $3.6 trillion, leaving a deficit of $1.3 trillion dollars…money that it MUST BORROW just to keep functioning. You can verify the data yourself if you want. Just type 2012 Federal Budget into any search engine and then click the link. The information I quoted is on table S-1 on page 205.
Now, if you scroll down to table S-5 on page 210 you will see that the expenditures are listed in two categories; appropriated and mandatory. Appropriated programs are the government itself, the various agencies along with the Department of Defense. The mandatory expenditures are programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and TARP. The total amount our government spends to keep itself in operation is $1.3 trillion, the exact same amount as the deficit.
So, when I hear these guys running for office, saying they are going to balance the budget, I have to restrain myself from shooting my television. The ONLY possible way they could balance the budget is to shut the government down completely! Every penny taken in is already accounted for to fund Social Security and those other mandatory programs. Look at the data yourself, I am not lying to you!
It took this nation roughly 200 years to accumulate its first trillion dollars of debt. That occurred in 1981 under a Republican president, Ronald Reagan. In thirty one short years since then we have added close to $15 trillion more to that debt. I have read reports that unless something is done to drastically reduce federal spending the debt will reach $25 trillion in less than a decade.
We simply cannot continue to spend money at this pace and expect to survive as a nation. Currently our national debt is over 100% of the entire nation’s gross domestic product. In layman’s terms, we owe more than this country is worth. Yet still we squabble over which candidate we will vote for based upon issues that pale in comparison to the financial apocalypse which is on the horizon.
This is not a Republican issue, or a Democrat issue, it is the simple fact that we expect too far too much from our government, and they are more than willing to borrow us into a black hole to oblige us.
The year I graduated from high school our national debt stood at $653 billion under Republican President Gerald Ford. After four years of Democrat Jimmy Carter it edged up to just under a trillion at $930 billion. By the time Republican Ronald Reagan left office it had more than doubled, shooting up to more than $ 2.684 trillion. Under another Republican, George Bush Sr. it went up another $1.2 trillion to $4.177 trillion. Under 8 years of Democrat Bill Clinton it went up to $5.662 trillion. Then along came George Bush, another Republican who nearly doubled the debt, increasing it to $10.699 trillion. And it continues to increase under the Democrat Obama, standing just short of $16 trillion It wouldn’t surprise me at all if by the time I finish this article it passes $16 trillion!
Yet you people out there in America are still divided along party lines when it is clear that both parties are equally guilty of spending us into debt, the likes of which the world has never seen.
Let me ask you one question, who profits from debt? The lender. What happens if they decide to demand payment of that debt, how could we conceivably repay $16 trillion dollars when the government has to borrow over a trillion dollars just to keep functioning? What happens when you take out a loan and cannot pay it back? The bank seizes, or repossesses the property. So, if our national debt is higher than our gross domestic product, (estimated value of the country), what do you think is going to happen to America should we default on that debt? Our lenders will OWN THIS COUNTRY! Now do you see why I am so cynical and pessimistic? Do you see why I get so mad at people who ridiculed Ron Paul and his fiscal policies?
We have already seen most of our rights severely infringed upon. Now we are facing an economic crisis that could cost us the country itself. What do you think your status is going to be when the land you live on can no longer be called your own, when all your wages go towards paying off the national debt, AND you no longer can exercise your rights? Does the word SLAVE mean anything to you?
People say they are patriotic, that they love their country. Is it too much to ask that you cease bickering over issues that mean so very little, when compared to what really is at stake? Unfortunately I don’t see it happening. Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Field once described exactly what America has now become, “The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping stone to others, larger and more sweeping, ’til our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war constantly growing in intensity and bitterness.”
Like I said earlier, they like it when we stay divided along partisan loyalties, and as the old saying goes, united we stand, divided we fall. Well, the cliff over the abyss is getting awful close, and unless we get our act together real soon, this country will fall.