Our Government Is Obsolete
In 1791 Thomas Paine wrote a book entitled The Rights of Man in which he said, “When I contemplate the natural dignity of man, when I feel (for Nature has not been kind enough to me to blunt my feelings) for the honour and happiness of its character, I become irritated at the attempt to govern mankind by force and fraud, as if they were all knaves and fools, and can scarcely avoid disgust at those who are thus imposed upon.” I can relate to how Paine must have felt when he wrote those words because disgust is the overriding sentiment I feel towards a good many people in this country.
Although there has been a renaissance of sorts, an awakening by citizens concerned with the actions of their government, has it come too late in the game to make a difference when it comes to preserving our few remaining unalienable rights?
In his 1850 book The Law, Frederic Bastiat describes exactly what has happened in this country, “But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect.”
Few may know the name James Wilson, but he was one of our nation’s founding fathers, and was one of the six original Supreme Court Justices selected by George Washington. In 1791 he wrote a series entitled Lectures on Laws, in which he states, “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.”
In an 1829 speech at the Virginia Convention, James Madison declared, “It is sufficiently obvious, that persons and property are the two great subjects on which Governments are to act; and that the rights of persons, and the rights of property, are the objects, for the protection of which Government was instituted. These rights cannot be separated.”
Our rights have been attacked since nearly the earliest stages of our nation’s history. In 1798 President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts to protect our country in a time of national crisis. Yet these laws were so offensive to some that Thomas Jefferson was compelled to draft the Kentucky Resolutions, in which he stated, “Resolved, That the several States composing, the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government…that whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force…”
Now, here we are two centuries later facing a so-called global war on terror, under the banner of which our government has passed countless laws which render our Bill of Rights, for all intents and purposes, obsolete. Just recently Barack Obama added insult to injury when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives a sitting president the power and authority to indefinitely detain anyone they consider to be a terrorist threat to this country.
As if that wasn’t enough, sitting in committee is a bill, S 1698, introduced by Joe Lieberman, the purpose for which is “To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.”
I am not going to engage in a lengthy discussion of whether or not our country faces serious threats by potential terrorists from all over the world, as it is not the point. The point is that under the banner of this so-called War on Terror our rights are being taken from us at an alarming pace, and aside from a small percentage of people, nobody seems to notice, or to care.
Going back to Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man for a moment, let me provide you with something to think about. Paine also stated that “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.”
Even the Supreme Court, in the case of Bell v Hood, stated, “History is clear that the first ten amendments to the Constitution were adopted to secure certain common law rights of the people, against invasion by the Federal Government.” They did not make any qualifying statement saying that under certain circumstances our rights could be temporarily infringed upon, it simply said that the Bill of Rights was put in place to prevent the government from EVER violating those rights.
In another case the Court opined “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties ... which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.” Think about that whenever you begin feeling that a few violations of your rights is acceptable just to that you can feel a bit safer from terrorist attacks. You may say to yourself that as long as you aren’t engaged in terrorist activities, or supporting groups who do, you have nothing to fear. Yet Paine warned that “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
Many do not recall what happened in this country to American citizens during World War II. Although of Japanese descent, American citizens were detained and sent to internment camps JUST BECAUSE our government feared that they may pose a threat to national security.
It is not too far a stretch to imagine that those of us who openly question the actions of our government, belong to a local militia group, wish to see the FED abolished, or a whole host of other issues, could find ourselves labeled as domestic terrorist terrorists and interned in a FEMA camp should our government feel threatened by us.
You may feel all safe and secure in your little cocoon, believing all the lies being told to you by the media and the very men who are robbing you of your rights, but there are those of us who have had just about enough of their tyranny and are saying enough is enough already.
I would like for you to read something that Alexander Hamilton wrote, which comes from Federalist #33, “If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people, whose creature it is, must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” Read the underlined section as many times as needed to let it sink in, as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify…
Lest you have forgotten, our nation was founded by men who had their rights infringed upon, whose peaceful petitions to their lawful government had gone unanswered, until they decided it was time to fight back.
I am not a big fan of Abraham Lincoln as I feel it was he who really took the first steps towards consolidating the power of the federal government at the expense of the rights of the states and of the people. Yet two things he said I am in complete agreement with.
First off, in his inaugural address he said, “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember it or overthrow it.”
And secondly, he said, “Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Our government has clearly shown that it is content to pass laws which violate our rights, which is in direct opposition to the purpose for which said government was established. Once they have a taste for that power and authority, they are not likely to give it up without a fight. Johan Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.”
YOU may believe that the Constitution authorizes the government to do these things, but YOU would be wrong. In The Rights of Man, Paine wrote, “A constitution is not a thing in name only, but in fact. It has not an ideal, but a real existence; and wherever it cannot be produced in a visible form, there is none. A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution. The constitution of a country is not the act of its government, but of the people constituting its government. It is the body of elements, to which you can refer, and quote article by article; and which contains the principles on which the government shall be established, the manner in which it shall be organised, the powers it shall have, the mode of elections, the duration of Parliaments, or by what other name such bodies may be called; the powers which the executive part of the government shall have; and in fine, everything that relates to the complete organisation of a civil government, and the principles on which it shall act, and by which it shall be bound.”
Our Bill of Rights is part and parcel of that Constitution, and therefore it is the supreme law of the land, which all our elected representatives are bound by oath to obey. When a government becomes destructive to the principles for which it was established, it becomes obsolete. Or, as Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…”
In a recent article I read that only 12% of the people in this country are happy with the conduct of their government. Yet 50% of them intend to vote in the hopes of finding a candidate who can put this country back on the right track.
My question then is as follows; how much longer are we going to seek to find a solution to our problems, seek to have our rights restored to us, by the very people who have shown no inclination to confine themselves to the powers granted them by the Constitution, or uphold their sacred oath to safeguard our rights?
The sad truth is that our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights are dead, they are meaningless documents that the vast majority of people in this country do not understand, or care to even try. People are much like the characters in the film the Matrix who have absolutely no clue as to the reality that is just outside their cocoon. And that is why I can relate to Paine, because I can scarcely avoid my own disgust when I see what the people of this country have allowed to happen to their God-given rights and liberty. Our nation’s best days are well behind us, and James Monroe saw it coming, because in the Virginia Ratifying Convention he is quoted as saying, “How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism.”
I’m sorry I was so long-winded, but I had a lot on my mind and I wanted to get it all off my chest. As my good friend Jeff Bennett said at the close of his radio show the other night, “If I have offended you, I offer no apologies.” Couldn’t have said it any better myself…thanks Jeff.