Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category

Levin’s Proposal May Be Our Last Hope

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

Given the direction of our republic into complete cultural, economic, and political collapse, it may be that drastic circumstances must call for equally drastic measures.  On Friday night, Hannity aired a one-hour special with a studio audience on Fox News Channel that featured Mark Levin and his latest book: The Liberty Amendments -Restoring the American Republic.  Hannity put up Levin’s proposed constitutional amendments for review by the esteemed studio audience, but the first matter to be examined was Levin’s proposed method of amending the constitution: Rather than wait for Congress to repair itself, a hope based entirely in futile notions about the ability of the American people to somehow force the change, he instead argues that Article V of the constitution already provides the means by which to amend it without the approval or consent of Congress or any other branch of the federal government.  He is proposing an amending convention, convened by two-thirds of the states, with any produced amendments requiring ratification by three-fourths of the states.

For those who are somewhat confused about all of this, I would refer you to Article V of the US Constitution that provides for the two legitimate procedures by which to amend the constitution:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”(emphasis added.)

Bluntly, two-thirds of the legislatures of the states can initiate this process.  Three-fourths have the ability to ratify them, just as if the Congress had proposed them.  The difficulty of this process alone makes it entirely unlikely that the process might become a so-called “runaway convention.”  As Levin responded on this point when asked during the course of the Hannity show, the simple fact is that there is nothing revolutionary about this process except that we, the people, have never initiated it, and it could be initiated at any time.  Perhaps it is time we start.

Some of the comments on my last article on this subject seemed to raise the same objections, and while I understand the reservations, the simple truth of the matter is that if the statists existed in sufficient numbers that they could hijack this process, they would have initiated it themselves some time ago.  There are clear dangers, but I think what Levin has here accomplished is marvelous for one particular reason, as became clear in a question from Breitbart’s Joel Pollak during the course of the show: The eleven amendments Levin proposes do not confront any political issue in particular, apart from perhaps taxation.  Instead, they are all structural and procedural issues with respect to the federal government.  Rather than attack a particular issue where the federal government can be shown to be out of control, they each confront defects in the original document, or in one case, reverse a defect imposed by previous amendments.

In focusing so tightly on the constructs of our federal government, Levin avoids the pitfalls of specific divisive political issues, leaving them to be resolved by virtue of a political process amended and restored to the framers’ intentions.  In this sense, the proposal is at once elegant and simple.  It is elegant inasmuch as it addresses the central failings of our national political process and the aggregation of power in the federal bureaucracy, and it inserts new forms of protections against a runaway federal establishment that imposes law and regulation with no effective check by those it purports to serve.  The reversals born of such a slate of amendments would be slow but intractable, as power would necessarily begin to shift from the central government to the states.  His proposal is simple because it relies on a process that is already part of our constitutional system, and need not be invented, nor rely on the approval of the federal establishment that would naturally resist it.

One of the criticisms that was raised had been about the repeal of the seventeenth amendment.  Terry Jeffrey of CNSNews.com asked if returning the selection of Senators to the states’ legislatures wouldn’t hurt the civil engagement of the populace.  My answer would be somewhat different than Dr. Levin’s, because I would tend to consider it this way: Which elections need the most bolstering in terms of civic participation?  National or state and local?  I would suspect that if electing one’s state representatives and senators would be crucial in electing members of the US Senate, interest in state legislative elections would be certain to grow.  I might also point out that in many respects, this might well serve conservatives most of all, since it is we who tend to show up reliably in off-year and state/local elections. The so-called “low information voter” does not.  To the degree this would draw more to the process, it may also help reduce the total number of such uninformed voters by engaging them in their state governments, thereby lifting the veil of ignorance behind which they may now suffer.

Indeed, one could argue that the seventeenth amendment had been contrary to the framers’ intent, not merely because it repealed their process, but because of its net result in muting the states as voices in the federal government. It is fitting then that even in Article V, the point is demonstrated by its closing clause:

“…no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”(emphasis mine.)

It could be said hereby that the seventeenth amendment deprived all the States of any form of suffrage in the US Senate.  After the seventeenth amendment, States effectively have no direct suffrage of any form, thus rendering them voiceless in the federal government that had been their creation.

Naturally, there were ten amendments more than the repeal of the seventeenth discussed, including an interesting proposal that would permit the overturn of federal regulations by the states.  There were also term limits for Congress, and there were term limits for the federal judiciary.  There was even a method by which the states could overturn Supreme Court decisions.  What all of these proposed amendments share is a singular focus on the construction and process of the federal government.  That is a brilliant approach to reform that would have the effect of more slowly and carefully reversing our course.

I’ve given a great deal of thought to Levin’s proposal, as I have proposed some of these same ideas in some form in the past. As Levin points out, the Congress and the Courts, never mind a runaway executive have no reason whatever to reform themselves.  If they are to be reformed, we will need to be the instigators. This then ought to be our mission, the effort of our time.  If we are to be blunt about our nation’s prospects on its current course, it must be admitted that the future looks bleak. None should think this is a project that will be done in a year or in an election cycle.  The fact is that this process begins with local and state politics. It means getting our state legislatures in shape so that the delegates they would send must be of a mind to author the kinds of amendments that Levin proposes here.

I realize there are risks implicit in any move to convene delegates for the purpose of amending the constitution, but the simple fact is that the constitution has been amended in a de facto methodology by the results of extra-constitutional rulings of the court, outrageous legislative initiatives in Congress, and the tyrannical fiat of executive whimsy that threaten every right of the American people.  We are already nearing the precipice from which there will be no return, where plummeting into the abyss will be merely a matter of inertia.  If George Mason insisted on this second procedure as the last effective rampart against federal tyranny, then I say we must exercise it.  The only alternative is almost too terrible to imagine, and violence will be the only feasible outcome.  There are many who make bold oaths, explaining that they would be happy with that occasion, but I wonder how much of that is bravado.  Perhaps it is easier for some to make idle pronouncements than to stand forth and make serious efforts aimed at avoiding that sort of catastrophe.

When I consider even the simple repeal of the seventeenth amendment, I realize Levin is right.  Such an amendment could never pass a Senate now subservient only to the Washington DC establishment, so that to restore the voice of the states, it will require their insistence and instigation.  If you missed this episode of Hannity, I hope FNC will make more of it available. Here is the opening clip:

 


The Inevitable Question Arises: What Shall We Do?

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

I am dispensing with the chore of attaching images to posts in this category.  It takes too much precious time, and effort, better spent on other things.  More than a few of my readers noted on Friday night in response to my To Hell With the Republicans… posting that we have no leader.  It is true that there is no formal leader if we are to do this.  At the moment, there is no Lincoln, and no General Patton, and those who might be haven’t stepped up as yet.  Let me take a moment to offer another notion, since it seems that all too often, we seem to wait on some savior to rescue us.  Why can’t you be that savior?  Why can’t you be the next Lincoln, or Patton, or whatever figure you might prefer?  It’s easy to lay about and pretend that we must continue to lose for lack of a leader to show us the way, but even were we to find one, that leader was not born knowing the ins and outs of the task at hand.  Chances are, they learned through trial by fire, and since it’s our damned country anyway, and nobody else has nearly as much as we who know fully the value of the liberties we have enjoyed, I think it’s time to stop waiting for a leader and simply be one.  Besides, it’s a good deal easier to attract an experienced leader to your cause if you’ve already assembled an army.

One of the things I learned during my Army career that had separated us from our Soviet adversaries had been the fact that if a battalion commander of the Red Army went down on the battlefield, his unit would be fairly ineffective, since without that leader in place, there was nobody who could step up into his place and do the job of commanding an effective unit.  In stark contrast, in the American tradition, every man knew the basics of the jobs two steps above him and had already done the jobs below him, so that when the time came, the American unit could continue to fight even if it lost half its chain of command.  This was because in our services, we expected every member of every unit to know at least the rudiments of leading, and I don’t think this situation is any different.  The top of the Republican heap has gone AWOL, but rather than wait around lolly-gagging in the hope they will return to their senses, it’s time we get off our duffs and lead this ourselves.

I have received suggestions that what would be easiest is to simply conduct a coup against the Republican party, take over its rotting machinery, and build a new party within the husk of the old, breaking out and discarding the useless shell when we are strong enough.  One of the problems is that this often leads to a co-opting of the new, as some of the old will try to cannibalize the fresh blood, or contaminate them with the same old diseases.  I think the average conservative to whom I speak is so thoroughly sick of the GOP in its present form that co-opting them will not be so easy a task.  Like any organization, we must start with a goal, and it can be ambitious, or it can be tepid; it can be vague or it can be specific. In any case, it will be up to you to decide what those goals must be, and what the overall mission of your organization is to be.

If you decide that the best approach is indeed to simply take over the Republican Party in place, I would suggest you find a way to differentiate yourselves from the old guard.  “Conservative” has been claimed by other parties, and let’s face it, despite the factually good record of conduct among Tea Partiers, the media has succeeded in destroying their good name in many quarters, but I had thought something like “Restoration Republicans” might do.  In that vein, we might also call it the “Re-Po Party,” since it would be our intention to re-possess the party from the establishment that now denies its own existence, but exercises a stranglehold over its machinery.  On that note, we might choose to call it the “Re-Establishment Party,” since we have a constitution our forebears once ordained and established, but must now be re-established as the supreme law of our land.  As a bonus, since there is an establishment, there would also be now a re-establishment wing of the Republican Party.  I know some of you will think that last is to play with fire, but if we’re going to be burned anyway, we might just as well make the most of it.

The other approach is to start from scratch, or to join an existing albeit obscure party and make something of it.  One of the most devilish obstacles laid before any party that is neither Democrat nor Republican is the matter of ballot access. Depending upon your state or locale, it may be exceedingly difficult to get a candidate onto the ballot for a given office.  One of the things that helps keep the Dems and Repubs going is that they have party recognition on their side.  Many voters will not have heard of the “Constitution Party,” as poster Ken suggests, or the “American Restoration Party,” one I’ve run across, and the reason is quite simple:  The two major parties basically control the vast bulk of media and media resources, even on the Internet.  The news covers Democrats and Republicans, but seldom any of the other parties.  This makes breaking-in that way difficult, not impossible, but very difficult, and the big two know it, and like it that way.

One reader posted a link on my Facebook profile to an older article by Erick Erickson at Redstate, who suggested simply conducting a coup within the Republican Party, and he offered a number of reasons it would be a good deal easier than most people might believe, and at least a few of the comments offered experiences in agreement.  Still, I believe whatever course we will take, we must embark, and we must do so immediately.  What shall be our first destination? I am investigating several things, but I am certain my readers have many ideas, as reflected in the responses to the previous posting.

One thing about which I am reasonably certain is that we do not have much time remaining in which to save the republic. It’s tempting to look at all that has happened and pretend that it will continue to go on as it has gone on for the indefinite future, but I think we’re all mature enough, experienced enough, and otherwise armed with sufficient understanding of our situation to realize that the system is on the cusp of catastrophic breakdown in some form. With the obscenely absurd spectacle of serious people suggesting the minting of trillion-dollar platinum coins, you have to know that it’s a good deal more dire than is being reported.  Time may be as short as that, never mind the gun-grabbing plans and all the other dastardly legislative proposals now in play.  When a country runs its course, and you see the airing of the most preposterous ideas to cure monetary matters, you know the “powers-that-be” don’t know how to fix it, and you know also that they’re not willing to do what it will take.

Let us begin with the premise that we haven’t the time to build a party from scratch in quite the way we might have done it a generation or more ago.  That leaves the notion of a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, from the ground floor, starting in a sweep of the local party offices.  We will need to begin there, and for that task, we will need lots of people, from all over the nation, pulling in the same general direction.  We will also need a few people who have some experience at doing this, and recent Tea Party experiences will likely offer plentiful, salient wisdom as to the pitfalls and the methods that work. As our faithful poster “The Unit” has mentioned, people who helped to form Ross Perot’s “Reform Party” came to discover that not all would-be leaders turn out to be what they had promised.  Let us be wary of any who too easily wish to lead. We don’t have the time to waste, and we don’t want this to die by sabotage or incompetence.  We have enough daunting challenges ahead of us without unnecessarily imposing new ones.

I believe our single-minded goal must be to restore constitutional government, in all the meanings explicit and implicit in that charge.  Our constitution worked until the politicians began to work around its restrictions and tempt us into turning a blind eye to it, as they bought votes with our treasure.  Now, there’s not enough treasure to be looted in order to satisfy all the promises, and the politicians are pointing fingers.  The problem is that we should have kept these people on a much shorter leash all these years, but how many times have we ourselves bent to the expedient measures of the moment?  If we are to take over the Republican Party, let us start now, this day, this week, and in this moment.  We must keep the pressure on Washington DC Republicans, but we must turn our immediate focus to the state and local levels in order to have any impact.  I believe it can be turned around with your efforts, and the efforts of your friends and neighbors.  Let us resolve that this will be the year that we will begin the task with redoubled efforts to wrest this government from the demagogues and incompetents.  Let it begin today.

Who’s with me?

 

New SarahPac Video “Chords of Memory”

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This new SarahPAC Video is excellent.  It’s no wonder that so many Americans wish Sarah Palin would have sought the presidency. In this video, her voice is overlaid with images of our great presidents, particularly Lincoln, and she expresses our indebtedness to them.  She also reminds us that we can restore our country, and this hopeful message is one for which Americans have been hungering.  She may not be a candidate, but her message resonates with most Americans, and it’s a message we should take to heart.

Frédéric Bastiat’s Nation of Plunderers

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Frédéric Bastiat

That’s what we’ve permitted ourselves to become, isn’t it?  Rationalize it in every conceivable way though we may, when we get beyond all of the petty justifications we spout in order to sound less monstrous, we have become a nation of plunderers.  There are exceptions, as with any generalization, but it cannot now be said that a majority of Americans have clean hands in the matter.  To some degree, greater or lesser, the blood of this fact taints most of us.  Some of you will know what I mean, but others may be less familiar with the concept.  I believe in informed consent, which means that to give one’s consent to an action, one must have full knowledge of the consequences, risks, and tribulations that may attend that action.  What I do not believe is that by ignoring the full facts, but still giving one’s consent in willful ignorance, one can somehow hope to evade moral responsibility for the results.  In his great text, The Law, Frédéric Bastiat, the great French economist, statesman, and author offered all of the reasons a nation must avoid transformation into a den of thieves and villains, though the robbery be legalized.  It is important to note that as the United States has been on a long and progressive march to precisely the sort of nation Bastiat lamented, most of our citizenry have accepted this devolution.

Our founders, imperfect though they may have been, understood clearly what Bastiat would tell us only a half-century later.  Though they were no longer alive to appreciate his works, appreciate them they would have because in them may be found some of their own ideas.  What the founders understood, but Bastiat made explicit, is that the only thing a government offers to its people is force.  By force, I mean the legal monopoly on power to coerce, compel, and even kill.  Strip all of the other dressings from the function of government, and this is all that remains.   Bastiat asked the question: In which purposes may that force be turned?  His answer was simply: “Justice.”  At this point, many become confused, because the term justice has been likewise demolished and diluted and demeaned to have virtually any and all possible meanings at once.  In Bastiat’s conception, justice was merely the protection of the rights of life, liberty and property, as well as the enforcement of compensations and punishment for the violation of same.  In short, Bastiat argued that government exists to create an objective guarantor of these simple human rights.   For students of American history, familiar with our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, this idea should be very familiar indeed:

“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,[74] 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.”

How familiar would Bastiat’s words on the subject have seemed to our founders, and the framers of our Constitution?  Let us consider his thoughts on government’s purpose as laid forth in The Law:

Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

What Bastiat understood too well, as his own nation began its collapse into socialism, is that there can be no law that does not respect the rights of life, liberty and property without destroying the entire purpose of law.  Limited to these ends, but nothing more, the law serves all people equally, showing favor to none, but merely confirming the natural rights of all people.  His enduring argument is that a nation based on such an objective standard of law could flourish, and that its people would have none to blame but themselves for their particular predicaments or standing.  Of a “Just and enduring Government,” Bastiat wrote:

If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever its political form might be.

Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.

It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and population that are caused by legislative decisions.

The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the government with increased responsibilities.

This is a monumentally important concept Americans must finally reconsider:  So long as government extends into all parts of every American’s life, no American is safe from the predations of other Americans.  So long as it is accepted that government’s duty is merely to guarantee the rights of individuals, the government is correctly limited, and it does no harm to any citizen.  Each citizen is then safe from predation, or as Bastiat calls it, “plunder,” because protecting people from plunderers, or punishing plunderers is the government’s only just purpose.  As Bastiat explains, man can live by only two basic methods: by his own ceaseless labor in creation of property(material wealth,) or by seizing the property(and wealth) of others.   That’s really all there is, and no exceptions exist in all the world.  What Bastiat noticed is that since people have a tendency to exert themselves to the least necessary extent, they will easily be convinced to engage in plunder by their own rationalizations, or the justifications provided by others.  This is the siren song of socialism, or indeed any form of statism, and Bastiat knew it well.  In explaining how plunder is to be prohibited by the law, he wrote:

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Bastiat also understood what would happen when the law is turned to the purposes of legalized plunder.  When the proper purpose of law is to prevent or punish plunder, turned to the purpose of managing the plunder instead, the law becomes a great and vast evil from which no man is safe.  This is the reason our framers gave to us a Constitution that protected against plunder, even if the understanding of that Constitution has been perverted precisely to permit the very practice it had been instituted to prevent.  On the Results of Legal Plunder, Bastiat wrote:

It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

What are the consequences of such a perversion? It would require volumes to describe them all. Thus we must content ourselves with pointing out the most striking.

In the first place, it erases from everyone’s conscience the distinction between justice and injustice.

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. Slavery, restrictions, and monopoly find defenders not only among those who profit from them but also among those who suffer from them.

Consider this carefully in examination of our own country, not as it was founded, but as it has come to be over the span of the last century of Progressivism, from both the left and the right.   His enduring prescience was to realize that such a system would of necessity destroy and obscure the differences between actual justice and all the fraudulent forms we’ve been offered in its place.  What else could be the meaning of such contrived notions as “social justice,” “environmental justice,” “economic justice,” “racial justice,” and any other contrivance and dilution of actual justice you can imagine?  Consider only one of these, for instance “economic justice,” by which the speaker intends to say that taking from one person to redistribute to another person or person(s) is a matter of justice.   Is it?  Or is it truly injustice?  If plunder is the determinant, then such notions are all only plunder dressed up behind a facade of some bastardization of actual justice.   As Bastiat notes, justice concerns itself only with the protection of life, liberty, and property.   With what does “economic justice” concern itself?  The answer is clearly: The collective violation of the rights of life, liberty and property.

Many will have noted that when Governor Palin began making use of the term “crony capitalism,” others began to notice the issue.  “Crony capitalism” is merely another form of plunder:  Use the law as an instrument to get from others that which you otherwise would not have gotten.   What it describes is a system in which plunder is not merely legalized, but normalized and institutionalized through the political process.  Two parties, a politician and a corporation, collude to the benefit of both by using the power of the politician to enrich both.  Is there any doubt but that this is the meaning of Solyndra, or any of the other “green energy/jobs” initiatives in which the current administration has invested our precious dollars?

This is ever the purpose of those who extend the meaning of justice from that which it is, to that which it is not.  How many plunderers do you know?  Are you a plunderer yourself?  Before you blanch at the suggestion, consider it carefully:  Do the things you may receive from government, directly or indirectly, spring from the plunder of the property and wealth of others?  In short, are they yours, in fact, or are they really the property of others bent to your purposes, or so-called “needs?”  You need not even have consented to it, at least not knowingly, and yet there you are tied as another perpetrator and victim in this institutionalized plunder.  Examine all the ways you are being plundered, but then examine more carefully all the ways in which you plunder others.

You might claim, as most will, that: “I had no choice, and besides, they plundered me, first.  Mine is just compensation for an earlier plundering of my property(wealth.)”  Let me ask you bluntly then: If your neighbor’s house is robbed, is it thus acceptable for him to rob the houses of his neighbors?  You would decry that suggestion, and tell me that “two wrongs do not a right make.”  I say to you the same, but that some robberies are given cover of legality does not excuse them.   You might say, for instance, that your situation is dire, and having been plundered all these years, you now have no choice but to resort to legalized plunder.  Is this your best offering against justice?  I am in that stage of life in which I am the constant victim of the plunder, but as a child, I was the beneficiary once too:  Did my parents pay directly for my education, or did they rely upon the plunder of their neighbors, many without children, to pay for said primary education?  I could offer that I was a child, but then I must admit that my daughter also received a public education for most of her schooling, and I might note that for one child, the taxes I paid might well have been roughly proportional to the benefit, but nevertheless, I cannot ignore the timber in my own eye on this matter.  Very few of us have unstained hands.

Yet, even if this is so, that we have nearly all participated to some degree, greater or lesser, does it excuse our continuing the practice?  Bastiat thought not.  He completes The Law with a brief suggestion, exhorting readers “Let Us Now Try Liberty:”

God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of persons are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! A way with their rings, chains, hooks, and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations!

And now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.

Whatever else you may say about Bastiat’s work, we must admit he had been thorough, and we must acknowledge the wisdom of his position.  He knew what most of our founders and framers had known with respect to the purpose of the law, and why it must be kept to those vital purposes, but permitted no more.  In subsequent centuries, we have permitted the law to fall into disrepair, beguiled with promises of plunder, as we have been plundered, but there exists now a burgeoning front of Americans who have never lived by any means but plunder, from cradle to grave, and they expect it to grow and magnify.  Politicians, engaged in a different form of legalized plunder, have created this army of plunderers to excuse and offer cover for their own(as detailed by Sarah Palin, Peter Schweizer, and a number of others.)  Unless and until the American people recognize that these interwoven systems of plunder are the root cause of most of our discontents, our miseries and our pain, we will continue to suffer them until revolution begets even greater and more perverse systems of plunder.  None of us should think ourselves absolved, but let us take Bastiat’s words and restore justice in law.  That’s the only way we’ll save our nation.

Note: I would encourage readers to read The Law in its entirety.  I’d also encourage you to read Bastiat’s other works, translated here.

Update: Caliphate a’Coming; None Dare Call It Treason

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Coincidence?

Further evidence has begun to mount on Sunday that the “Arab Spring” is merely the prologue to a Sharia Winter. In Tunisia, where all of this really got started earlier this year, Islamists are poised to sweep the elections. It gets better, as in Libya, their new transitional leader says Sharia will rule the country.  If that’s not enough, over in Iran, there are now Occupy Wall Street protests.  As I told you yesterday, this entire movement has the look and feel of an Obama/Soros operation.  Considering the systematic destruction of our national economy, our global influence, military readiness, and the complete breakdown of our society that is unfolding under Obama, we must  wonder what we shall do if these people succeed.

To win, they needed to take down America, and they’re well on their way, and at the top of it all, Barack Obama stands with George Soros’ hand up his backside. In what could only be considered a more modern iteration of the book None Dare Call it Treason, this country is being wiped out, and I think it’s time we say so.

What has been the purpose of all of this coordination between the leftists groups from America participating in the Gaza Flotilla, or in the Tahrir Square revolution?  What could be the meaning of poking Israel in the eye with the entire September threat of a move by Palestineans for Statehood?  I realize that even three years ago, this kind of talk would have gotten somebody branded a conspiracist, but let’s be honest shall we?  I believe coincidences exist, and that correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but this is frankly too much to accept on that basis.  We have all known for a long time, those who paid any attention, that America was the last best hope for freedom anywhere on Earth.  We are now watching it wrecked.  It’s not accidental. There’s a reason the Dodd-Frank financial reform act permits certain facts to be kept secret from the American people.

Ordinary people like me are now turning to me and asking “what shall we do?”  As one of my loyal readers comments, it’s like from the movie 300:  “What can we do?”  I have heard a fair number of oaths muttered under the breath of those who have their own solemn answer to the question, but I suppose I have always wondered at what point the American people simply say: “Enough!”  What recourse remains?  Your President and his party have spit on this country fearlessly for three years.  They’re supporting our enemies both at home and abroad.  Will you call Congress and demand he be impeached?  What will that accomplish?  Would the Senate act? Even if it did, what then?  Biden?  Do you think that useful idiot would do any better or different?

No, I think you’d better prepare to live as slaves.  Your masters will be the Occu-Pests, and your children will struggle the length of their stunted lives in support of them and their Marxist agenda.  This way, you risk nothing.  Let me be brutally honest with you: Some of you haven’t had the intestinal fortitude to face up to friends and family and congregation and neighbor and even state what it is that is transpiring, for fear of ridicule.  I know, because I get the e-mails.  I have writers telling me: “I don’t even bother with the kids, they are so busy living their lives and watching garbage on TV that they think Jon Stewart is news.”  I have grown people who should be the object of respect and reverence in their communities telling me: “Well, you can’t say that in public because somebody will think you’re nuts.”  What courage will we have when it comes down to it if now, when we could speak, we instead cower and say nothing?

On the other side of this, I get e-mails from people who tell me how somebody who loved them re-directed them in their thinking as a result of long, heartfelt and frank discussions about what we now face. One young lady wrote to tell me:

“My dad was always pestering me to follow the news. I have a five-month-old baby and a toddler, and I just don’t have the time.  My husband works two jobs, and right now, daycare costs more than any job I could get, so I just stay home with my kids.  He sent me a link to your story about “Downgraded America” and I read it.  I was really bothered by it, but I didn’t know what to think. My dad, you know, he’s always sending me this scary political stuff. Then I went back and read some of your other stories. I talked with my husband about one because he’s interested in some of this stuff, but he doesn’t have time.  He looked at me and said “Yea, that’s what’s happening.” The look on his face was like he was letting me in on a secret that I should have known. I am going to learn more about this, and I’m going to talk with some of my friends. None of them are very political. Neither was I, but I have my babies to think about, and I can’t afford not to know what’s going on….”

Ladies and gentlemen, if we’re to stand any chance at all, we can’t have any more secrets, and we can’t fear to state what is.  It’s Sunday. It’s a day to repair for the week ahead.  It’s a moment of pause before we re-enter the storm.  Use it to good purpose.  Prepare the ones you love.

The Question of Federalism and Abortion

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Are These Truths Self-Evident?

On Friday, I brought you the story of Herman Cain’s confusing stance on abortion.  Some of you disagreed with my position on this, citing the notion of federalism as the “out.”  I’m sorry to say that I can’t help but disagree with anybody who tries to evade this issue by pointing to federalism as their escape mechanism.  Federalism is certainly an important principle in our constitutional republic that has been denigrated and dismissed too easily by statists, but in this instance, it’s a concept out of place by virtue of the question at hand.  By the application of federalism that some of you have advanced, I’m confused as to how you see any federal role anywhere in safeguarding any liberty of any American at any time under any circumstances.  Frankly, it’s an absurd claim, and it’s time we debunk it right here, and right now.

Our founding document, the Declaration of Independence, sets forth the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness of its citizens as the great pursuit and ultimate object of our government.  Our framers were so concerned that they decided to enshrine certain rights within the Constitution in specific language in what was ultimately adopted as our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to our federal constitution.  I would like it very much if one of the advocates of federalism would explain to me how it is that our federal government protects the freedom of speech, the press, religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to individual due process if the rights in question are subjected to any level of government outside the federal sphere.  Explain to me why it is that we have need of a federal murder statute, if murder is a crime to be handled by the states.  Explain why we have any protections of any sort, including voters’ rights, that supersede local or state laws in many, many instances.

The argument of federalism really has no place in this argument if you believe there is a right to life, and that life begins at conception.  If there is a right to life, that life gets all the same protections of law from the federal all the way down to the individual, otherwise, why bother with the concept of rights at the federal level at all?  Do not suggest to me that you do not want rights enforced at the local level of government by federal observance of these fundamental rights, else how do you support the rulings of the court that have held that the gun laws of Chicago are too restrictive of the right to keep and bear arms, and are a de facto prohibition.  In this case, most of you cry out for the protection of your rights by the federal establishment.  How do you now suggest that federal authority has no effective reach, in the case of abortion?  This is a preposterous dichotomy that does not withstand even momentary consideration.

There were a few who rightly suggested that this is about when “person-hood” begins, and this is the more effective argument.  If one becomes a “person” under the law only at birth, then no form of abortion can be restricted on any grounds.  To effect this discontinuity, however, you would have to define the legal standard of “person-hood” as beginning at conception.  My point to you is that whether you agree with abortion or not, it’s perfectly useless for the debate to focus on any other object but this one.  If abortion is to be illegal, it must be specified that rights commence not at birth, but at conception.  To obfuscate the matter by putting it off to an issue of federalism has already failed miserably: How many state laws restricting abortion have been overturned by the federal judiciary on the basis that a woman’s right to abort falls under the federal protection of some elusive and illusory right to privacy not mentioned in the constitution?

If the question of abortion is to be attacked in a sincere way, it must be confronted on the issue of when rights commence.  Our constitution is silent on the matter, however, our Declaration of Independence speaks to the matter:

“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.”

Now, armed with that piece, again consider this one:

“…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…”

Once more, if the laws of nature are the point of reference, what does nature tell us about when life commences? A human being becomes an individual at conception, with his own unique genetic code, and from that moment forth, it’s dictated by nature.

You can argue about this indefinitely, but my point to you is that our founders understood that nature dictates the rights of all mankind, and that government exists only to guarantee those rights. They held that God was the author of nature, and in that sense, all rights are therefore God-given, but in any case, as a matter of pure logic, the rights of individuals must be an a priori prerequisite to existence as a person.  If that is the case, the only argument to have is this one.  What I’m saying to you is that this business about Federalism with respect to individual rights negates the entire purpose of the federal government.  If the federal government has no place in the matter of the guarantee of individual rights, then there can be no legitimate purpose to the federal government in any sense.  Again, referencing the Declaration of Independence:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”

In this single line is the sole legitimate purpose of our federal government, and indeed any government.  Those of you who would suppose yourselves conservative or libertarian ought to know this well.  To then argue that the abortion debate can be dispensed with by simply passing it off to a lower level of government under the aegis of federalism is to ignore what is the entire purpose of any government, and I simply won’t hear of it.  Not on this site.

Texas Republicans Have a Clear Choice For Senate in 2012

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Ted Cruz

In 2012, the Republican Senatorial primary will come down to a fight between former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz and current Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.  Dewhurst is the guy who was for the In-State tuition for illegals before he was more recently against it.  He supported an income tax for Texas.  Meanwhile, Cruz has been a strong advocate of liberty, and has won landmark cases before the US Supreme Court.  I support Mr. Cruz unreservedly over David Dewhurst, who is another Austin big-government Republican who likes to hang out with all the liberals at all the cocktail parties among the “liberal smart set.”  Mr. Cruz appeared on Mark Levin’s show during the final hour on Wednesday’s show.

It’s time to take Texas back for conservatives.  Mr. Dewhurst isn’t a fair representative of Texans or conservatives, but now we have a chance to correct all of this because when Mr. Dewhurst seeks a seat in the US Senate  next year, we can send him back to Austin for a couple years longer until we finally ditch him in 2014 in favor of a Tea Party candidate.

Ted Cruz looks like a promising up-and-comer in the conservative movement. Texans should pay particular attention to this primary race. He’s got the endorsement of Jim DeMint, and Rand Paul among others.

I encourage you to learn about Ted Cruz at his website.

To hear the full interview with Ted Cruz, listen below:


To check out Mark Levin’s audio archive, go to his site and click the Audio link on the menu.

Occupy Wall Street: Prologue to Mayhem in 2012?

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Coming Soon to a Flea Party Near You

Wednesday evening, hat-tip to Drudge linking to a CBS report that the organizers of the Occu-Pest fiasco in New York and around the country are planning a bigger event for next summer in Philadelphia from July to October.  It’s being called a “National Assembly” and the aim is clear:  They intend to intimidate Americans and US institutions.  Mayor Nutter said: “I understand national Occupy would want to be in Philadelphia — this is birthplace of freedom, liberty, and democracy for the United States of America — so I look forward to a conversation.”  One would think Mayor Nutter was talking about responsible people.  The people of Philadelphia should already be speaking out against bringing these goons to their city.

It’s worse than that, however, as they consider themselves akin to the Committees of Correspondence.  That’s right, these nut-jobs actually see themselves as the founding fathers, but the bastard they intend to sire will be birthed not in liberty, but instead born of terror and tyranny.  This is a warning, and one you had better heed:  These people intend to destroy your constitution and the Republic it had created.  They are plotting to supplant your form of government with a full-on Marxist regime, and these people are the useful idiots.

You need to prepare yourselves and your families.  It’s time to tell folks you know about the serious nature of this threat.  It’s time to begin considering how you will react, and it’s also time to understand that there are going to be a number of conspirators in all of this, and you had better understand that none of them are your friends.  These people intend to do for the US what Hugo Chavez has done for Venezuala.  If your tendency is to read this sort of article, and subsequently avert your eyes for fear of becoming a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, just this once, stick around.  I promise: No tin-foil hats are required.  This is the time for your thinking caps, and for collaboration with your fellow patriots. You may remember the recent discussion of suspended elections.  What do  you suppose their “National Assembly” is intended to do?

We have a serious problem.  At least 70 members of the US Congress are members of the DSA.  Obama has many long-term close ties to the group, and the Occupy Wall Street crowd is largely managed by them or their cohorts.  These people want to wipe out your form of government and your way of life, and they make no apologies for it.  They have infiltrated all levels of government, and they are largely responsible for the transformation the Democrat party has undergone since my childhood.  Many of them are closely tied, or are in some cases the same people who constituted the SDS back in the 1960′s and 70′s.  Many have been tenured professors since then, and what they all share is a hatred for your freedom to choose.

The useful idiots huddling in tents in Zuccotti park and more like them will become the foot soldiers in the war against you.  They have been aligning themselves with Islamists as part of the entire “Arab Spring” fraud, and you can bet that they will use Islamo-terrorists against Americans domestically too.  If you didn’t catch the story about the emails, I’d strongly suggest you download the file, import it into Outlook, and see what these nuts have been working on all these months.  The simple truth is that for all the wishing in the world, the left sees this as their golden opportunity to finally crack the United States.  We’re weakened economically to a greater extent than in generations, our armed forces are more spread-out than at any time since World War II, and the radical left finally has nearly all the pieces in place.  Our culture has been shredded by three generations of a growing welfare state that by its nature encourages the worst possible outcomes for families, and actually creates poverty under the guise of curing it.

You’re all well aware of the state of our country.  I intend to cover the actions of these people as closely as possible.  At one point, I made the mistake of wondering if they weren’t impotent, but now I understand their game.  The politicians who are using them as foot soldiers are going to use these fools as the excuse for whatever it is they wish to inflict upon us.  It’s really coming down to the time in which you’re going to be confronted by some serious choices about your future actions and plans.  It’s clear that they have been rigging this operation for a long, long while, perhaps decades, and yes, it is as bad as all of that.  I know there are those whose “kook-alarms” are now going off.  It’s hard to believe any of this, except for the fact that all the evidence is right in front of you.

It’s time to become more vigilant at the very least.  It’s time to become more prepared both as individuals and as families, but alsos in your congregations and communities.  Those who wish to inflict their tyrannical vision of government upon you are now working almost entirely in the open.  We have a Federal establishment that is largely under their control.  The establishment Republican fools still think they can cut deals with these people to save their own necks.  Even if they can, for now, you won’t be able to get that kind of deal.  They represent Marxist revolution, and they intend to bring it to our shores in full force.  I have no intention of going quietly.  What about you?

On the Issues That Matter Most to You

Monday, October 17th, 2011

How Nearly All of You See Government

As a follow-up to my post Boiling It Down, This Is What You’ve Said, where we discussed first principles, it’s now time for we conservatives to talk about the particular issues on which we agree.  I notice that there is a fairly libertarian streak in most of what you’ve offered, which suits me just fine.  Let’s see what sense we can make of all of this. One of the things you’ve told me in various forms is that you want a platform of issues that are positive actions, rather than a bill of all the things against which you stand.  It’s true that there are certain things against which we must all align, but the truth is that most of you would rather see issues in which we are for something, rather than merely against something, which seems to be the reactive role into which Conservatives are all too frequently shoe-horned.

You are for a massive overhaul of the tax-code, in part by repeal of the 16th amendment, and by then instituting some other form of tax with some specific limits enshrined in the constitution.  I don’t think any person who responded expressed any sort of support for our current tax code or system.  Many of you referenced the gargantuan compliance costs for the entire economy that ultimately produce no net wealth.

You are for a balanced budget amendment that will severely curtail the run-away spending of government, with no recourse to additional taxes, but instead to some form of line item veto.  A line-item veto amendment was popular.

You are for the national defense, but not wastefully so, in either men or material, and you are for defending our few actual allies around the globe.

You are all some flavor of pro-life, those of you who mentioned the abortion issue, although there were some differences on any exceptions.

You are for a return to strict constitutional adherence.

There is a half-page of agencies and departments of the federal government you would like to see eliminated.  Those that showed up most frequently in your comments and emails are: Department of Education, EPA, and Department of Energy. Let’s call them the three E’s of disaster, because nearly all of you wanted these three gone, at a minimum.

Virtually all of you wish to see the repeal of Obamacare, with the only replacement being what I would term a de-regulation of health insurers so that they can compete across state lines, among other things.

You want the borders secured, and most of you have no sympathy with the notion that “we can’t deport 12-20 million people.”  Your idea seems to be that while we won’t do so in one day, or even one year, we need to take away the reasons illegals come to the US by instituting a uniform set of rules with respect to benefits and employment. You also want the practice of “sanctuary cities” specifically banned and all federal grants to cities which adopt that policy denied.

You want the government out of medicine except perhaps for veterans, and there is some variation on Medicare.  What you seem to want most in the medical care arena is government to take its nose out of it.

You have varying opinions on social security, although there seems to be a sentiment if not universally held, than held by a clear majority of opinion that the program is fatally flawed, probably unconstitutional by a strict yardstick, and certainly in need of overhaul. At least two people suggested that while they believe the program to be unconstitutional, they suggested amending the constitution to include it long enough to phase it out over twenty years.  Some of you actually said you’d be willing to do without it in the future if you could stop paying into it now.

There were a number of differing opinions on issues like gay marriage, and assisted suicide and such things,  but all in all, the bulk of the comments and suggestions were in relative agreement on most issues.

Of those who spoke of foreign policy, almost all of you wanted a radically reduced American role in any sort of global alliances like the UN.  From there, proposals differed radically, but one thing surfaced repeatedly: You want the United States to continue its support of Israel, with only one exception.

There was near unanimous support for term limits, although ideas on how long varied.  I saw a suggestion for a maximum of six terms in the House, two terms in the Senate, while leaving the President as is.  There was one that suggested nobody needed to serve more than a single term as President.  There was one that I found interesting suggesting that we should have a total of twenty years federal service for elected officials, but that the presidential term limit still ought to apply.  The idea was to discouraged lengthy federal careers, giving the edge to people from the states to move up.  More than one of you suggested that staff be term-limited just like the officials under which they serve.  It was a mixed bag of ideas from very sedate and practical to much more radical and creative.

Speaking of ‘radical ideas,’ the number of you who thought it would be a good idea to reform the Federal Reserve system, or abolish it outright was rather high.  I always knew that conservatives never really liked the Federal Reserve, but I figured this to be mostly a libertarian position.  Apparently, that’s not at all the case. You want a stable currency with a stable store of value providing its backing.

Most of you wanted the bulk of the welfare state eliminated, particularly for able-bodied people.  You wanted strict lifetime limits. You wanted to see cash and cash-like subsidies replaced with food allotments to discourage widespread fraud. Three of you expressly called for a requirement to establish paternity of any child for whom support would be claimed.

You wanted work and savings and thrift to pay.  Four of you suggested eliminating the minimum wage outright, citing its negative effects on total employment and inflation.

Most of you thought our energy policy is a joke.  You think the government is discouraging rational energy ideas while subsidizing what some of you called boondoggles(“green energy” and ethanol subsidies) and others among you called corporate welfare.

There were a few other things you expressed.  Most of you were in favor of harsh punishments for corruption. Almost all of you favored a federal death penalty, those who mentioned it. Anybody who mentioned “affirmative action” did so in the negative.

There were various opinions on drug legalization, some strongly against, and a couple strongly in favor.

Everybody was angry about debt growth and deficit spending.

That’s covering a lot of ground, and I hope you’ll help me with the next step in this.  What I’d like to do is get your help in prioritizing these things.  So, here’s what you can do:  Select your top five, in order of importance, and if you think there’s something not mentioned here that must be mentioned, make  it number six on your list, and I will add it for the second round.

I think this gives us a good toe-hold on this cliff, but it’s a long and treacherous climb ahead.  I expect there will be disagreements, but the general sentiments expressed suggested to me that you’re mostly willing to work around some issues in favor of your most important priorities.  Much of what you’ve offered comports well with what I’ve seen of Tea Party doctrine, insofar as I know it, and you all seem willing to give this a go.  I want to thank all the respondents who filled my inbox, and submitted comments.

Submit your new lists with the subject line [Priorities] to markamerica@embarqmail.com

Thank you!

Boiling It Down, This Is What You’ve Said

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

The Hard Work Has Been Done

I’ve gathered together all the material and information so many of you have sent me these last few days, in response to my article Note to the GOP Establishment: Forget It!   I first wish to thank you all for your contributions, as they were from a diversity of sources and yet they all seemed to abide by a set of principles that I believe we can distill down to just a few things.  One of the recurrent themes was that we must adhere to our Constitution, and that we must bear in mind the reasons for our founding as expressed in our Declaration of Independence.  One of you actually submitted the Declaration and said: “Here, it’s all right here.”  Indeed, much of it is, but I think in order to carry our nation forward, and up out of its current morass, we must make clear what it had meant.

Let us begin, again, with our Declaration of Independence:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Our founders were breaking away from the King, and they were laying out their justifications.  They were making a case that we must not ignore, because in many ways, it has become our case too, although there is no official monarchy now oppressing us.  Here, they told us something critically important, and I want my readers to pay special heed to it, because we will revisit these concepts repeatedly:

…the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…

I should very much like to drill down on this for a moment, in reflection on its explicit meaning, but also its implicit reasoning.  “Separate and equal station” means the rights of all men as equals under the law.  Which law?  The “laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”  What does this mean to us, now?  It means that our rights are not a gift from the State, but arise from our nature.  It also tells us something else: The founders wanted posterity to understand that irrespective of the particulars of a particular faith, or of a lack thereof, we must acknowledge that all people possess these rights because nature demands it, and if you hold God to be the great author of Nature, then you must admit that these natural rights are those of all mankind.  In other words, it really doesn’t matter if you believe in God, or not, or which version of God, with respect to various religions, because Nature’s laws lay out what are the rights of people, so that if you believe in a God that created the heavens and the Earth, He also created the laws of nature.  Even if you do not believe in a God Almighty, still you must respect the laws of nature.  In this way, the great mind who wrote this document was already laying the groundwork for our nation’s eventual basis in fundamental rights in a way that its people could universally agree, irrespective of the particulars of their individual and very diverse faiths.

We may argue yet what are Nature’s Law, but this much we can be certain:  All people must observe and ultimately obey it.  Since governments are merely fictional entities created by mankind, they too must obey.   No government can be permitted special dispensations to ignore Nature’s Law, just as no individual may ultimately ignore it.  This is a great basis for law, since it represents the most objective basis upon which mankind can derive a governing philosophy.  In their day, the founding fathers and the framers of our Constitution were called “liberals.”  This is because they believed in liberalizing governance, and freeing individual men to pursue their own rational self-interests with minimal interference from other men.   Let me suggest to you that before we go any farther down this road, we must understand these labels, how their meanings have changed over time, and how we must recapture the language that has been stolen from us.

In the days of our revolution, the “conservatives” were those who did not wish to break free of England and its monarchy.  They were adherents of statism, since monarchy is merely another manifestation of the state’s supremacy over individuals.   In the very early 20th century, this went through an odd transformation, in that those who were mere “progressives” grabbed the label for their own use.  They were in fact a sort of counter-revolution, inasmuch as their policy ideas were intended to undo much of what our founders had put in place.  In a burst of Amendments, we got the 16th, establishing the statists’ income tax, the 17th, making the election of Senators by direct majority of the people of the states, thereby silencing the States in the federal government, the 18th, making alcohol illegal(Prohibition,) and the 19th finally giving women the right to vote anywhere in the US where it had been denied to them previously.

For fourteen years, the nation suffered under the idiocy of the 18th Amendment, until it was repealed in 1933 by the 20th.  Two of the other three Amendments of the period were equally awful, those being the 16th and 17th, both put into place in 1913 during the Wilson administration’s first year.  These two Amendments have done more damage to our nation than any others, even prohibition.  The people who put those in place, and carried us into WWI were “progressives,” who were in both parties, but predominately the Democrats, and who were intent upon reversing the ethos of natural law upon which our government had been built.  It was after their ideas became known that they beat a hasty escape to the label they appropriated for themselves: “Liberals.”  It was at this time that conservatism as we now know it was truly born.  Understand with care and attention to detail: Today’s conservatives are the founders’ era’s liberals, and what we today call “Liberals” are in fact nothing but statists, particularly of the leftist persuasion, but nevertheless interested in the supremacy of the state over individual men.

This is a long way of getting  back to our discussion, but it needs to be firmly understood:  We believe in the supremacy of individual rights over the authority of  state.  Our founders were exceedingly careful to build a small sphere of authority in which government could, under specific conditions, temporarily ignore the individual rights of people, but these were remarkably limited.  Several of you have gone to some lengths to remind me precisely how limited, most frequently in the context of Obamacare, but also with respect to other programs and actions of the federal government. Let us then remember that individual liberties are the cornerstone of our Republic, without which it will fall. Let us now consider the preamble of the Declaration of Independence carefully:

“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. 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.”

Here, the founders through Jefferson’s mighty pen specified that the aforementioned natural rights are unalienable, and that they were numerous.  “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a phrase with which we ought all be familiar, but its meaning is lost on many who mouth the words not knowing their full meaning.  “Life” seems clear enough, and by “Liberty” they meant a variety of things, but remembering the times, they meant even so basic a notion as the concept of Habeus corpus, that people would not be held indefinitely without charges or trial.  Their view of liberty was broad.  “Pursuit of Happiness” has been a phrase of some controversy because the inevitable tyrannical minds wish to reduce its meaning, but we can learn much if we understand that this phrase had been “Life, Liberty and Property,” but that property alone had been deemed too narrow a concept.  This phrase was chosen not to exclude property rights as some statists will argue, but instead to augment those rights with a good deal more.  It was in recognition that men may find happiness in property, but in all manner of things to which they ought properly have a right. Now consider what they told us of the relationship of people to their government:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”

This is very important as a basic tenet of our form of government. Government exists not to rule over Men, but merely to secure their rights.  This means that government is to be strictly limited to the role of a policeman, a judge, a prison warden, and a military force.  This is what they were explaining to the King who ruled over them, together with the parliament.  Government does not exist to fund the ambitions or benevolence of some men at the expense of all others.  Having told us the proper function of government, they then tell us what gives cause to changing it:

“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.”

Ask yourself:  Has our current form of government become destructive of these ends?  In my view, it is plain to see that it is not the explicit form of our government that has become destructive, but all the incessant adulterations of that form that have been implemented over the last century. In point of fact, the framers of the Constitution would ultimately build a framework in which we could abolish most of any given current government in a single election, for in every fourth year, we can elect a President, all of the House of Representatives, and approximately one-third of the Senate.  The courts and the other departments are institutionally more immune, but nevertheless, we can abolish the corruptions of our system through the electoral process in no more than six years. The founders made clear the great struggle it is to abolish a bad form of government, and carefully explained the reasons why changing form should never be undertaken lightly:

“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.”

This is a warning, and one we also should heed, because even now, their are elements within our country agitating to change our form of government in large part for complaints arising from ideas, notions, and practices that are not rightly part of our form of government.  I have read a lot of material from you, my readers, submitted and thoughtfully offered, and what all of them seem to have in common is the notion that our Constitution, if strictly observed, with the Declaration of Independence providing its purpose, really is the answer to our problems.  We don’t need a new form of government, but only to adhere to and practice the one we had been gifted, until the statists wrapped their dictatorial hands about its throat roughly a century ago.

Let us then start from this place, and resolve that we still hold these truths as self-evident:

  • That government must adhere to the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God
  • That government must serve its people through the guarantee of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • That we believe in the supremacy of individual rights over the authority of  state
  • That Governments do not properly exist to fund the ambitions or benevolence of some men at the expense of all others
  • That our form of government ought only be changed after all efforts to repair it have been expended

We will surely expand upon these, and I will continue this series as time permits.  Sadly, it is true that we are running out of time to restore our Republic, but if we are to do so, I believe we must begin with our fundamentals, so that we know that affirmative idea for which we struggle.  Than you to all the many contributors, and even the many who sent an email stating “Interested.”  Even as I finish this more material is coming in.  I’d ask those of you who haven’t read them to consider two articles I’ve previously written as a primer for where we next take this discussion:

If our government is to be in the business of protecting our rights, we ought to know what is or isn’t a right.  If we’re going to restore our form of government, we ought to know what that form had been intended to be.