The Violation of Our Contract
On September 28, 1787 fifty-five delegates from the states, after several months of deliberation, presented a wholly new form of government to the states and the people for their consideration. The purpose of this government was outlined in the preamble:
“We, the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
This was the culmination of the principles of the Declaration of Independence.
“..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 a new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
“We the people” of the several states had agreed to form a government for a specific purpose. Any such government formed with the “consent of the governed” is now an entity in and of itself and it has a contract with the people. The people contract with this entity, relinquishing some part of their liberty and money, for the purposes of accomplishing ends they cannot achieve individually. Regardless of what President Lincoln said about the government being “of the people, by the people and for the people”, the government, once formed, is an entity in and of itself, just like a corporation, an “individual” separate from the actual people that make it up. However, in a democracy or representative republic, the rights of the people under the contract become obscured because we feel we are part of the government, that it is “of the people” because we elect the people that run it. If those people become despotic and trample on our liberty or steal our money, we are more inclined to accept it because in some sense, we voted for it. This is not how we should think of it, however.
Instead of a representative republic, let’s say that we had set up an absolute ruler for life. We eliminated any elected officials and set up a king to make our decisions and applied all the constitutional limits, including the bill of rights, to this king. What we would have done was make a contract with an individual rather than a corporation of elected officials. We would have given him specific powers and expected him to perform according to the terms of the contract. If he violated that contract, stealing money for purposes not in the contract, restricting liberties guaranteed under the bill of rights, acting with favoritism and refusing to protect the people, we would consider that king in violation of the contract and we would be well within our rights to remove him and replace him with either another individual or a new system that we believe would be more effective in performing our stated desires.
Of course, we do not have a king, at least not yet. We have a group of elected representatives who are supposed to run the government in ways that fulfill the purposes of the contract. If we elect someone who seeks power not provided for in the contract or who supports policies that will be detrimental to the stated purposes of the contract, we can remove them through election or impeachment. It is like getting ready to eat an apple and finding a bruise on one side. You can cut out the bad part and the apple is still good. However, if the whole apple is rotten, there is no saving it. Our government is rotten to the core, we have a systemic problem in which the specific terms of the contract as well as its stated purpose are violated as the rule rather than the exception. The vast majority of the people in the Federal Government, both elected and appointed, who have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, routinely ignore both its letter and spirit. That being the case, “we the people” are justified in responding to those violations. It is our right and duty, considering our posterity, to “alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government.”
Although other essays will detail these violations, allow me a summary. The purpose of the contract was to “establish a more perfect Union.” A union of what? Sovereign states who had sent representatives to the convention to better insure their cooperation as a national confederation. These states have become, for all intents and purposes, simply political extensions of the Federal Government, which is the complete opposite of the original intent. While within the first century of our history, the states theoretically had the right to withdrawal if they found their sovereignty threatened, the Federal Government under President Lincoln decided they no longer had that right. States, like individuals, that are forcibly restrained lose their ultimate right of self determination and have liberty only at the behest of the ruler. God given rights have become state given rights.
“Establish Justice.” Is there any justice in a country where those with the best paid lawyers or connections can get away with anything? Where those who are entrusted with the power of government operate above the law? Where rules and regulations are used to destroy those who threaten the power structure while those within that power structure ignore them with impunity? Where individuals and groups are afforded privileged status not through merit but heredity? The equal application of the law is the hallmark of a just society and is our only protection from the tyranny of man.
“Insure domestic Tranquility.” The purpose of government is to create an environment in which the people can prosper in peace. This requires sound economic policy. As Thomas Jefferson said, government “should not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” The adoption of heavy taxes and policies that disincentive productivity are one thing. Placing upon us debts we have no hope of repaying and destroying our currency is another. There will be no domestic tranquility when the dollar collapses, the economy really goes in the toilet and people have trouble providing for their basic needs. These policies are criminal and put us in grave danger.
“Provide for the common defense.” We have the greatest military the world has ever seen but we hamper it with politically correct rules and regulations that make it impotent, and have done so since the Vietnam War. If we are not willing to do what is necessary to destroy the enemy, we will lose any conflict. To make this worse, we now have an administration whose policy it is to coddle terrorists, cozy up to brutal dictators and allow our monetary policy and energy resources to be held hostage by countries who do not have our best interests at heart. Add to that a decades long dereliction of duty in the enforcement of our borders and we have a government that has put us at risk economically and physically. This is the most fundamental function of government, our common protection, and to expose the people of this country to harm through neglect or active policy is the height of irresponsibility.
“Promote the general Welfare.” This does not mean to create a welfare state! This is to guarantee our right to the “pursuit of happiness.” We should be able to pursue our desires and dreams on a level playing field unencumbered by onerous taxes and regulation. The more government gets involved, the less level the playing field and the more of our wealth they confiscate. Socialist democracies have found very creative ways to wring more and more money out of their people and ours is no different. Politicians who believe they need to protect us from ourselves have passed the most restrictive and absurd regulations. Government is responsible for maintaining a fair and just system and we are responsible for our actions within it. Our government believes it is responsible for us, protecting us from our own failure and stupidity while punishing our success. This is not freedom.
“Secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Will our children be free when they suffer the consequences of our crushing debt? Will we be free when the President, through his communist underlings, silences dissent in the media? Will we be free to live as we want, eat what we want, and live where we want, when the government decides what is good for us and what areas are environmentally acceptable? Patrick Henry said that “Liberty ought to be the direct end of your government.” Our liberty, and that of our children, is the last thing on this government’s mind.
When the people agree to form a government they need to be vigilant to ensure that the terms of the contract are met. We have not been. We have had times when we traded freedom for security. There have been times we have allowed government power to protect the greed of special interests. We have submitted to pressure to do things “for the children” that have done nothing but ensure their slavery. When we start to use government as a means to ends not within the parameters of the contract, there is no stopping it. The person that uses it one day may find it used against him in the next. As each new interest adds another layer of complexity and power, government grows and grows until it no longer becomes responsive to “we the people” but only to itself and the perpetuation of its power. Once that happens, the contract becomes null and void and it is time to start over.
A Case for Secession-Introduction
What I will be sharing with you may be considered by some, perhaps many, seditious at the least, treasonous at worst. Fortunately we still enjoy freedom of speech in this country and political speech in particular. This will not be the time or place to argue the methods of secession. Should a state currently operating under the contract of the Constitution of the United States find these arguments compelling in the future, or if the national government continues its slide into tyranny and obligates free men to act to preserve their freedom, it is my hope that the attitude of Thomas Jefferson would prevail; “Let them part by all means if it is for their happiness to do so. It is but the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, and keep them in the Union if it be for their good, but separate them if better.”
Since the “Civil War”, or the War for Southern Independence, established the preeminent place of the national government over the states, eliminating their ultimate sovereignty and right of self determination guaranteed under the tenth amendment of the Constitution, and the continual implementation of the progressive/statist agenda beginning with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, the people of the various states in the union have been “disposed to suffer, while the evils are sufferable…” In recent years, more and more Americans are no longer finding the evils “sufferable”. We are tired of having our money confiscated for “redistributive justice” or wasted on pork barrel projects. We are tired of distant politicians thinking they know better than we how to raise our children, take care of our own health and well being, and spend our own money. We are increasingly worried that the national government will treat our God given rights as merely privileges to be exercised at the whim and direction of those in power. We are continually offended by politicians who treat us with contempt and disdain. We are fearful of the results of out of control spending and debt accumulation. Many of us believe that if we continue along the path we are on, our children and grandchildren with inherit a country that is merely a shadow of its former self. We believe that the greatness of the United States of America rests in the morality and industriousness of its people and the wisdom of a system of government whose chief aim is to secure their liberty. In a world where tyranny and oppression have been the rule rather than the exception, the United States has demonstrated the great things that can be accomplished by a people unencumbered by class, strict religious ideology or oppressive rulers. To see all that made this country the beacon of light to the world that it has been under attack by the very government we entrust with its perpetuation has become insufferable.
To even contemplate secession brings tears to eyes of every patriot who admires the courage of the men who formulated this Union, remembers the sacrifice of those who gave their all to preserve it, and takes pride in the accomplishments such a great nation has given to the world. Many of the original patriots said the same about Great Britain. It was the best system then available in the world but had become increasingly tyrannical, marring all that was good about it. To see the Union dissolve after all these years is a distressing thing to contemplate. Yet free men are under no compulsion to yield their freedom to perpetuate a government that no longer secures their liberty and happiness, no matter what their affection for its history.
There are those who say “This is America, love it or leave it!” Some among the dissent, myself included, have formulated “escape plans” to be implemented when the confiscation of our wealth or restrictions on our liberty become too great. For a small minority, of which we may be, this would be the moral and proper thing to do. However, if the majority of the people in a state or region become dissatisfied with their government, no longer willing to endure the “long train of abuses and usurpations”, finding no reasonable redress for their grievances and envisioning only despotism in the end, then the secession of that state or region becomes reasonable, just and proper. Why should a people who have invested their lives in the soil of their ancestors be expected to pick up and leave because an oppressive government seeks to reduce them to servitude? Do not those who have toiled to reveal the wealth of the land for their own prosperity and that of their progeny have a right to stay on that land without the expectation that they or their children will be brought into bondage? Do we not have the right to stay in an area where our history and culture have developed in conjunction with our geography to make us unique, without subjecting ourselves to the policies of a government that embraces the antitheses of our culture and values?
Most will object to secession with the idea that we still elect our representatives, we just need to put the right people in office, we need to change Washington from the “inside”. Do we really believe that’s possible any longer? Let’s say that in 2010 we “threw the bums out” and there was a historic fifty percent turnover in the house and senate. Would anything really change? Thirty years ago we had the Reagan Revolution. Twenty years ago there was the Contract with America. Where are we today? Did anything change? Is government smaller, did it shrink even a little? Tom Daschle was voted out and replaced by Harry Reid. Wishy-washy Republican leaders are replaced by other wishy-washy Republican leaders whose best plan of action is to give ground slowly and whose worst is to cooperate to give away our freedom. There is a systemic problem in Washington and it is that the two parties are entrenched in power and the radical party leadership calls the shots because they hold the money for everyone’s reelection in their hands. If ignoramuses like Nancy Pelosi, criminals like Charlie Rangle and Chris Dodd and just plain weirdoes like Barny Frank can be reelected time and time again in their gerrymandered districts, the system is broken and there is no hope for real change in Washington. The parties and the huge Washington bureaucracy are holding us hostage and that is not going to change before the economic and moral damage becomes irreparable.
Finally, consider the fact that the liabilities and obligations assumed by our national government are unsustainable and will, in the near future, result in the destruction of our currency and economy. If our ship of state is like the Titanic and some of us can see the iceberg ahead, Obama, Pelosi and Reid have just given the order for full speed ahead. Some may say deliberately, and not just out of ignorance or stupidity. If the national government is going to commit national suicide, are the people of the many states obligated to go down with the ship, particularly if the people in those states have been continually dissatisfied with the policies that brought us to the point of impact? Would it not be a wise course of action to get into a lifeboat now so you are assured a seat when the ship goes down? A state that secedes before the ship strikes the iceberg, develops a sound currency and economy based on free market principles and an efficient private sector utilization of resources will not only survive the catastrophe, but thrive, because it will have recaptured the ideals and values that made this country great.
I have written this introduction and what will follow based on the idea that a single state or a few that make up a region of the country with similar values and culture would choose to leave the union. If a larger number of states would seriously consider this course of action, then we need to ponder the consequences of a constitutional convention. If the many states choose to, in essence, form a new government under a revised contract, restoring freedom and common sense in government, then perhaps this nation can remake itself in the image of its former glory.
Why consider this now? Although this is not the place to consider the history of the secession movement in this country or its legal ramifications, suffice it to say that a country founded on the right of secession has had secession movements throughout its history. Massachusetts was the first and the southern confederation was the last to be taken seriously. The events of the last two years have awakened many people to the deficiencies of their government, while their government has flaunted those deficiencies as if they were a badge of honor. There are those of us who believe that our national government, with its entrenched leadership and bureaucracy, is incapable of relinquishing power. Perhaps the grab for power and control has become too blatant to ignore but it is only the acceleration of a pattern that began with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Even if we put a stop to the current attempts at tyranny like health care or cap and trade, it will only be a temporary reprieve. The vast majority of the people in our national government, and many state and local governments as well, believe that they can do a better job of managing everything than the people can. Democrat or Republican, they believe their job is to fix things the government was never meant to fix, many of which are not broken or are broken because they broke it!. Such an attitude will only lead to more tyranny, more absurdity and the absolute ruin of our economic and moral foundations. The ship is steaming full speed ahead for the iceberg. It may be ten yards or ten miles from hitting but it will hit. The laws of economics and the lessons of history make it certain. Will we jump over individually, swimming for safety as best we can? Or will the people of several states rise up and declare their right to liberty and self determination? If the latter is a consideration, the following essays will provide some powerful ammunition to make a case for secession and provide some of the philosophical foundation for building a free state based on the principles that worked so well for so long in the United States.
What is your liberty worth?
Perhaps the better question is, “How far are you willing to go to preserve it?” This question was brought to mind as a consequence of the most recent protest I organized outside our local congressman’s office. Most protests, especially in our little backwater and with only twenty five people, don’t make much of an impact. In its organization, however, I sent out an e-mail stating that I was going to hang the congressman in effigy, which I did-life size. We had a good protest, the congressman’s press secretary fielded questions and criticisms for over a half hour and I believe we made our point.
Two days later I get a call that informed me that my picture with the hanging congressman was being commented on in the Politico.com. The article and about half the comments were less than complimentary. The main point was that if my action was the face of the GOP’s criticism of Democrat Health Care, the GOP was in big trouble. Of course, I do not represent the GOP nor am I a republican. I am just a citizen trying to get his point across. Quite a few thought it inappropriate and in bad taste to hang our congressman in effigy. Personally, I think these power hungry people in our federal Government are traitors to the constitution and the founding principles of the Republic. None of them are upholding their oath of office. They are unprofessional-what lawyer signs a contract without reading it!? They are foolish for thinking they can spend, borrow and print so much money without consequence. They are enemies of liberty for thinking that government should have the power to determine the temperature of our homes or the medicines we receive. Most of us know this is wrong and it will not end well for this country if it continues. Barak Obama said he was going to “Transform America”. He is trying to transform it into a Marxist state with power concentrated at the top and no aspect of our lives too small or insignificant to be beyond its control. No thank you.
This has not happened overnight, its taken one hundred years. One step here, one leap there, sometimes pausingm, but never retreating. We have an opportunity now, as president Obama tries the biggest leap since the New Deal, to catch the statist monster in the air and throw it back on its heels. The question is, are we willing to do whatever it takes? Are we finally going to draw a line in the sand? If we don’t now, then when? Ten or twenty years from now when you need that new operation or expensive medicine and the health care bureaucrat turns to you and says, “You’ve had a good run, here’s your pain pill.” It will be too late. When ATF shows up outside your home and demands your guns, are you going to give them up or make them pry them out of your cold dead hands? Where’s all that non-violent claptrap then, or when child protective services forces you to send your kid to a government school or deems your “hateful” form of religion nonproductive to the raising of properly adjusted children? What percentage of your income is too much? 60%, 70%, 90%? When do you refuse to allow your money to be confiscated and given to the non-productive and lazy? What will you do when they come to throw you in jail for being so “stingy”, refusing to put your “skin in the game?” When all this borrowing and spending leads to hyperinflation and wage and price controls and the scarcity that goes with it, who are you going to blame? Are you going to be able to look in the mirror and say “I did everything I could” or will you finally understand that by letting the statist set the rules with political correctness and by refusing to consider all options for resistance, the battle and the war were already lost.
The government holds all the cards, or so it thinks. They become more and more bold the more they get away with. Every time an election rolls around and ninety-five percent of them are returned to office irregardless of their out of control behavior, they behave more like kings, and thugs. When the opposition whines about things they may pause or simply try a new way of accomplishing their goal. I want you to understand something very important. The goal of the majority of people in government, particularly this current crop, is totalitarian control. Do you get that? They want to control everything. Sure, you may think you have choices but they are only choices approved of by them. The car you drive, it has to meet hundreds of government specs, few of which have to do with safety. This is only going to get worse. They have nationalized banks, they control behavior through taxes and regulation, they want to control the food you eat, the people you associate with (racist!), how much money you earn, the list could go on and on. This is the very definition of totalitarianism and the antithesis of liberty. It has all happened because we let it. And because it has happened over such a long period of time, we are often unaware of how much we have lost. When do we say “enough?” And if we say it now, how far are we willing to go to show we mean it? If a little thing like hanging the congressman in effigy bothers you, then our cause is lost. The occasional quiet protest, the calls and e-mails, even the occasional turnover of congress will only be a pause in the march to total state control. I for one, do not want my children to grow up in that nation, do you?
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 nations of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which lead them to separation.
We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Property, 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, abolish or withdrawal from it and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing and limiting its powers in such a form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness, and secure their Liberty. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they ae 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 and Duty to throw off such a government and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffering of the citizens of the United States of America in the State of ________ ; and such is now the necessity which constrains us to withdraw from from our voluntary association with the other states and the Federal Government of the United States of America. The History of the Federal Government for more than a century has been one of continual and flagrant violation of the compact under which we agreed to live in unity as united states and through usurpations and injuries, it has reduced the liberty of individuals and the sovereignty of the states with the direct object of establishing an absolute tyranny. To prove this, let these Facts be submitted to a candid world.
The national government, through word, law, and regulation, has made war on the free market system, private property and individual liberty, that have historically been the foundation of this nation and responsible for its strength and prosperity.
The congress has voluntarily relinquished its responsibility for drafting or even reviewing the legislation it passes, outsourcing the legislative process to special interest groups that have agendas often at odds with the well being of the citizens and the nation as a whole.
The congress has routinely written laws in ways that are unclear, or obscure their true intent, leaving their interpretation open to a variety of abuses, removing the protection of the law and exposing us to the tyranny of men.
The national government has refused to assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good, and has substituted laws and regulations that are injurious to the welfare and prosperity of the people.
The national government has burdened us with debts and obligations far beyond our ability to repay.
The members of congress and the administration have refused to be held accountable for illegal and criminal actions, setting themselves above the laws they have imposed upon the people.
The national government has multiplied departments and offices with the complicity or negligent consent of congress and has allowed these offices to compound statutes and regulations that have the force of law with no input from the representatives of the people and no opportunity for redress. These new offices have done little more than send swarms of new officials to harass the people and eat their substance.
The national government has refused to secure the borders of the United States from those who desire to do injury to its citizens and institutions.
The national government is seeking to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws and traditions. Through treaties and obligations to the United Nations, it has sought to undermine the sovereignty of the citizens of this state and nation, and in so doing place us under an authority wholly unaccountable to us.
The national government has sought to bring suit against those whose duty is to protect us from foreign invasion and attack, trying them for acts not criminal under previous administrations nor according to the dictates of common sense.
The national government has used and misused the military forces of the United States, imposing rules and regulations upon them detrimental to their stated mission and purpose. Such actions unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of those who serve in the armed forces and emboldens the enemies that desire to do us harm.
The executive branch has embarked upon a course of foreign policy that serves only to anger our staunchest allies and strengthen our enemies. It has also long pursued a course of action that has placed the acquisition of our most crucial resources dependent upon the whims of our enemies while unnecessarily restricting the development of those same resources domestically.
The national government has infringed on our right to adequately protect ourselves as we see fit as guaranteed under the Constitution.
The national government has forbidden the governors and legislators of the many states discretion in their affairs and has imposed burdensome regulations upon them while refusing to provide the means for their implementation.
The national government has by law codified discrimination, setting one class of citizens over another, when the other has been responsible for no wrong or injury to the priviledged class.
The national government, through word and statute, has shown contempt for the religious tradition largely responsible for the foundations of this nation and its system of law and justice, and embraced by the vast majority of its citizens, while supporting and granting priviledged stsus to religious traditions that lead to the degradation of society or seek to inflict physical harm upon the people and their institutions.
The national government, through regulation and statute, has made continual efforts to dilute the cohesive nature of our common language and culture.
The national government through legislation, treaty and judicial fiat, has continually eroded the privileges and responsibilities inherent within the family, seeking to substitute itself as the primary educator and caregiver of succeeding generations.
The national government has used the courts to impose upon its citizens policy they would never have agreed to through their elected representatives. Those same courts have nullified referenda legitimately passed by the people of the states in their effort to reestablish some degree of control over their various destinies.
The national government had abrogated its responsibility for monetary policy, entrusting it to unelected officers, and has cooperated with their institution, adopting policies that will lead to the destruction of the national currency.
The national government has imposed a system of taxation that is inherently unjust, placing heavy burdens on some while exempting others. Coupled with this system is a structure of subsidy in which wealth is taken from one citizen and given to another. Such a system destroys the motivation for productive enterprise within the one who is forced to give and the recipient.
The national government has imposed a code of taxation of such complexity it perplexes even those whose are tasked with its enforcement, and provides an easy pretext for the government to find wrongdoing among its citizens.
The national government has abused its taxing authority, requiring payment not only for privildged endeavors but for the exercise of our fundamental rights, reducing us to mere servitude.
The national government has stated its intention to develop a domestic security force with powers equal to the military and accountable only to itself. The purpose and targets of this force have not been made clear.
The national government has intimidated and coerced private businesses and financial institutions into accepting regulation and domination by the national government.
The national parties, in order to maintain their power, have used the law, intimidation and outright fraud to ensure their continual appointment, making a mockery of the electoral process.
The executive branch, without the required consent of the legislature, has taken upon itself the power to make war and peace, suspend at times the right of habeas corpus, utilize the treasury and impose regulations and orders with the force and penalty of law.
The national government has detained and murdered its citizens without due process or just compensation for the exercise of their rights under the compact of the Constitution or as a consequence of their ancestry.
The national government has appropriated for itself the power to confiscate the property of its citizens for any use whatsoever, without just compensation.
The national government has made repeated attempts to intimidate those who oppose its growing power through the exercise of their rights under the Constitution. It has labeled them traitors and has sought to use the power of the government and its various agencies to silence them.
In every stage of these oppressions we have sought to petition our government in the most humble and orderly terms. Our petitions have been answered only by ridicule and repeated injury. A government whose character is thus marked by every act a tyranny, is unfit to govern a free people.
Therefore, in the interests of preserving the ideals and principles that made America the most free and prosperous nation in the world before they are completely obliterated by the totalitarian policies adopted by the National Government of the United States of America, And in order to insulate ourselves and our posterity from the disastrous results of the economic and moral policies long adopted by said government, we, the representatives of the people of the Sovereign State of___________ and by their authority, do hereby relinquish all ties to the United States of America, Absolve ourselves of all allegiance to the same and dissolve all political connections, responsibilities and privileges of that union, and take our place among the free and sovereign nations of the world with all the rights and responsibilities of an independent state. We do so appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions and relying on the Protection and Wisdom of Divine Providence. We the Unersigned, do hereby pledge to one another our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor in support of this Declaration.
A Case for Secession-Monetary Policy
In this part of our case we are going to explore Washington’s monetary policy, focusing on two areas. First, who is driving our monetary policy and why. Second, what will be the result of this policy for us as individual Americans. These are crucial areas of inquiry because economics affects everything. The fundamental ability to buy and sell to meet our basic needs, to say nothing of our wants and desires, is at stake. If Washington is no longer following monetary policies, or even the dictates of common sense, for our benefit over the long term, but is instead seeking to line the pockets of a few for the short term and in so doing is putting the nation itself at great risk, something must be done. If it is systemic, which I believe it is, then it is more than reasonable to consider detaching ourselves from such a corrupt and insane system before we are sucked into the abyss of total economic collapse.
Article one, section eight of the Constitution gives the power to the congress to “coin money and regulate the value thereof”. The people, through their representatives, are supposed to be the ones driving monetary policy in this country. This is no longer the case. Nearly one hundred years ago we turned this most crucial regulatory power over to the Federal Reserve and a group of unelected bankers. The promise was that a central bank would even out the business cycle, tempering the highs and protecting us from the lows. In less than twenty years there were two depressions, one which we labeled “great”. Yet the folly continued and does so to this day. Why? Power and money, pure and simple. Through monetary policy the Fed can move the economy and by doing so make or break elected officials. It can also use its power to create and regulate the value of money and its increasingly broad regulatory powers to benefit those whom it chooses. This creates an incestuous relationship between national politicians and the “money men” who run the bank. It is the first and greatest special interest.
Let’s look more closely at this relationship. Who are the Federal Reserve and the Treasury populated with? Men from Wall Street. Particularly Goldman Sachs of late. Who are these men and women going to be concerned with pleasing? Investors and bankers on Wall Street. It is a cozy relationship that leaves most of us on “Main Street” out in the cold and footing the bill. Why should “we the taxpayer” be on the hook for hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars in bailout money for private businesses? Why should we pay to protect the investments of insiders while our own investments have plummeted in value? Where did this idea come from that anyone or any business in this country is “too big to fail”? Failure is a essential part of the free market economy. Capitalism is the survival of the fittest and it is the fittest that provides us with high quality goods and services. The failure of businesses that become sloppy or inefficient provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to provide a similar good or service at a better price or with better quality. However, if a business knows that it has a government safety net and government help through regulation, it can afford to be sloppy and inefficient and remain confident a new small business will not come along and threaten its monopoly. Is it any wonder that Lehman Brothers, a primary competitor of Goldman Sachs, was not “too big to fail”? Or that General Motors, with all its union contracts, was bailed out while the independent dealers, who are small businesses, were forced out? Government should not be in the insurance business at all, at any level. It should not insure deposits at Bank of America, it should not insure homes in Florida, it should not insure the viability of General Motors. These are our tax dollars, money taken from us and given to others who were not smart enough to protect their own assets or run their business efficiently. Why should an employee at Ford be forced to have his money taken from him and given to General Motors? Why should my money be taken from me to rebuild a home in South Carolina after it has been washed away for the third or fourth time? Why should you be fleeced to pay the deposits of someone who put their money in a failing bank when you did your homework to ensure your bank was sound? None of it is right and we should not put up with it or expect to benefit from it.
When government relinquishes its role as referee among businesses, ensuring a just playing field, and becomes a partner with business, business decisions becomes political decisions with all the baggage that brings with it. Political considerations, corruption and special interests dominate decision making on both sides. On the business end, service and quality suffer because the primary goal of the business is no longer to be efficient and profitable but politically astute, because its survival depends more on the people it knows in government than on the customer. On the government end, special interests and lobbyists multiply, corruption abounds and the primary consideration of politicians is reinforcing their power through cooperating with or shaking down businesses, large businesses in particular. The big loser; we the people. We are no longer the focus of the business model and therefore the quality of goods and services we receive falls. We are denied opportunities to compete as small businesses because the friends big businesses have in government tax and regulate us to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, to compete. The playing field is no longer level. Government is no longer focused on our desires as constituents. It passes laws and regulations to benefit the big businesses and big labor regardless of how much they cost us in money and freedom. This is not the people’s government, it is no longer even a representative republic.
Now let’s see what grave consequences this abdication of responsibility and common sense has wrought. Consider first the great “hidden tax” that is the result of our absolutely insane monetary policy. The amount of debt and fiat money we have created to pay off special interests and create programs of dependency has led to inflation, the rate of which has varied over the years. Consider that in the first 124 years of our history before we had the Fed the dollar actually rose in value. Since that time it has fallen over ninty percent. Right now we consider it benign but there have been times where it has gone into double digits and destroyed wealth just as surely as a stock market crash. Look at it this way. Let’s say that inflation is a rather modest three percent. You put your money into a bank CD that has an APR of 2.75. At the end of the year the money you have invested will have lost buying power yet you will be taxed on the gain, stealing more of your wealth.
Inflation results from two things in our case. One is too much money. Anytime the there is too much of something, its value decreases. It is the law of supply and demand. Unfortunately, the people in Washington no longer understand basic economic reality. By printing money in the vast amounts we have been, we are making each individual dollar worth less. And this is not just the printing presses at the treasury we are talking about. It is the money the Fed creates out of thin air, simply adding zeros to its ledger to loan troubled banks and then being paid back in “real” money. The only thing keeping inflation in check now is our depressed economy. Know this, however. The only way Washington is going to extract itself from the insurmountable burden of debt and obligation it has created is to inflate the currency, making the debt shrink in real terms. Such hyperinflation may solve that problem but it will create true hardship among “we the people”. The second cause of inflation is the perception people have of the worth of the medium of exchange. In our case, the dollar. Pull a dollar our of your pocket and look at it. What is it worth? Only what you and I think it is worth. It is just paper and ink and it represents no tangible asset. Once upon a time it was backed by a certain amount of gold, but no longer. For the dollar, this issue is complicated by the fact that since World War Two, the dollar has been the reserve currency of the world. This means that it no longer depends only on what we think it is worth but what everyone else in the world thinks it is worth. Having one’s currency be the reserve currency can be a great benefit but it also comes with great risk. Today we see the risks. By piling up debt, printing money and engaging in tax and regulatory policies that weaken our economy, we have put ourselves in a weak and dependent position. We depend on foreigners to purchase the instruments of our debt in order to finance all the spending. As the Bible says “The borrower is the servant of the lender” (Prov 22:7) We have already allowed our foreign policy to be held hostage by our lenders but at some point those lenders will no longer see us as a good risk and will cease to believe the dollar is worth what it once was. If those foreign nations, particularly those who are less than friendly with us, decide to drop the dollar as their choice of investment and international exchange, our dollar will fall in value like a rock. I don’t think most of us understand what that would mean. We could fall from being the first first world nation to a third world nation virtually overnight. If the dollar becomes essentially worthless, with what will we purchase goods from other countries? We will have no credit, we produce so little in this country any more and we have put so many of our natural resources off limits. The people themselves will be reduced to poverty. All our investments, all the assets that exist in a series of ones and zeros in some computer will be gone. We will be much like the Soviet Union, perhaps more so than just economically. We will have a strong military that will become more ineffective over time because we will be unable to develop new technology or maintain the old. The people themselves, however, will be reduced to poverty. What will be on the shelves if imports dry up? Luxury goods will become scarce and there will be shortages of even the basic staples.
What will make this so much worse for us? Washington will be unable to ride in to rescue all the dependent people it has created. Washington under FDR could afford to experiment during the Great Depression. The fundamentals of the economy were strong. We had a manufacturing base that was the envy of the world We were utilizing our natural resources. We had had a sound basis for our monetary policy. The people themselves were capable of meeting their own needs and had strong communities and families for mutual support. None of that exists today. What will happen in our cities when the welfare checks stop arriving? We have removed morality and created dependency among so many that when the support structure is removed, chaos will result. If the poor of the cities riot and destroy property and lives as a result of a sports event or judicial decision, what will be the result when their basic needs are no longer being met? Is it far fetched to believe our cities will be burnt to the ground? That thousands of people will die? And for what? So one more politician could create one more program to pay off one more special interest or make one more person dependent so that one more person would vote for them and that politician could maintain their power.
We have dug ourselves a deep, deep hole of debt and obligation. We all know it, even the politicians know it. Yet instead of trying to fill it back up, we just keep on digging in the insane belief that the very act of digging will fill in the hole! Our actual debt owed is now about equal to our entire Gross Domestic Product and everyone in Washington is expecting it to double in the next decade, which means it will probably triple. That is impossible enough. On top of that there are the liabilities under Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid which are ten times that debt. There are only two ways out. One, Washington stops spending on anything but the essentials, the constitutionally authorized powers, and phases out its support of the welfare state, all of it. We all know that is not going to happen. Too many special interests and dependent voters ensure the workman will keep digging until he collapses and dies in the hole. The only other way out is to purposely inflate the currency to reduce the debt, destroying our economy and buying power and leading to the emergency that this administration is waiting for. Their reaction to it, if it happens under their watch, is perhaps even more frightening than empty shelves at Wal Mart. It is time to opt out of this insanity and its consequences. We and our children should not have to suffer the effects of this incomprehensible irresponsibility.
A Case for Secession -Taxation
We will begin with the area that was one of the primary motivations for the colonists to declare their independence from Great Britain-Taxes. Suffice it so say that the amount of taxes England sought to impose upon those Americans do not hold a candle to the taxes we already pay our imperial national government today. All governments require taxes to perform their functions and we all grudgingly admit the necessity of paying them. Our government has taken upon itself a myriad of functions it was never designed to perform and has therefore required large amounts of money. It is not the purpose of this section to debate the legitimate functions of government. Instead we will concern ourselves primarily with the morality and justice of taxing particular areas of human endeavor and for general purpose those taxes are utilized.
Thomas Jefferson stated that “government should not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.” All governments require money to operate. Obviously, the smaller the government, the less it will require. Consider, however, where the government gets this money. Again, obviously, it taxes its citizens and it is right to do so. Governments are a form of voluntary organization among free people to accomplish ends they are not able to do as individuals. Because these individuals have contracted together in such a fashion, there is the expectation that they will support their creation. However, the people retain the rights they received from their creator under the contract and the government has no right to infringe upon those rights. When it does, we consider it tyrannical.
Back to taxes. An individual should be able to provide for his basic necessities-food, clothing and shelter, without having to pay a fee to the government to be allowed to do so. If I am not free to purchase food without paying a tax, I am a mere servant to a government that will allow me the privilege of eating only if I pay a fee. If I can live on my property only as long as I continue to pay a tax, the property is not mine, I merely rent it from the government. Consider also the exercise of our rights to speech, worship and protection. If the government taxes and regulates these activities they are no longer rights but privileges granted by government that can be limited or revoked at any time.
Let us consider another area of taxation. An individual should be able to contract with another for the free exchange of goods and labor. If I exchange my labor for the goods or the medium of exchange (money) that provide my basic necessities, the government should not tax that exchange. We refer to such taxes as income taxes. But our ability to utilize our labor, physical or intellectual, to provide for our necessities is a fundamental right. If the government requires a fee for our labor, working is now a privilege that can only be exercised as long as the tax is paid. Consider what happens if the tax is not paid. One ends up in prison and the privilege for gainful employment is over. The point of all of this is that the government does not have the right to tax the exercise of our fundamental rights. If it does we are no longer free people and our rights are no longer rights but privileges that are dependent upon the whims of those in power.
There is no question that government at all levels in these United States believes it has the right to tax and regulate our rights to life, liberty, property and even our pursuit of happiness. Let us consider first what most people think of when they hear the word “tax”-income tax. Legally or illegally, government at all levels collects tax on our labor even though that free exchange of labor for goods should not be subject to a tax. Through intimidation and perpetuation of misconception, the government has duped up into willingly complying with its demands. The so called “tax freedom day” is now pushing six months. That means we work for the government six months out of the year. That means that for those six months we gain no benefit from the fruits of our labor, it goes to inept politicians and is consumed by a wasteful bureaucracy whose sole purpose is to find more ways to tax and regulate our lives. In some states the people still believe that the government does not have the right to our labor for free and those people should not be subject to a immoral tax imposed upon them by the national government.
If the income tax is immoral on the grounds it violates our fundamental rights, the Social Security tax is immoral on the same grounds that makes Bernie Madoff one of the most reviled men in America. Here is another area where the national government lies to us and perpetuates misconceptions. The common belief is that we pay into social security and there is a government account with our name on it where those funds are accumulating until we retire. Most people know that there is not actually money in the so called “trust fund”, it is just a bunch of government IOUs because the money really went right into the general fund. The reality is, there was never a trust fund and social security was not set up to be anything more than a pay-as-you-go program. People working today have their money confiscated by the government and it is given to those who are no longer working. Like a ponzi scheme, it works rather well when lots of people are paying in a few are taking money out. However, that time is at an end. Now, instead of a sixteen to one ratio, it will soon be two to one. It is unsustainable and immoral. It is immoral because the government has no right to take my money and give it to someone else for any reason. It is no different that if a thug came and stole my wallet and gave it to a homeless person. The homeless person may need help and I may be inclined to give it but is still thievery if a third party forces me to do so against my will. It is also immoral because it makes people dependent upon a government that will not be able to live up to its promises. When those who are nearing retirement or are recently retired have their benefits cut because there is no longer enough money coming in, they will find themselves in dire straights. It is immoral because it destroys the family unit, taking the responsibility children have for their aging parents and placing it upon the government. It is immoral because it disincentives personal responsibility and creates dependency, which is the enemy of liberty. We should not be forced to be part of a reckless scheme that is bankrupting the country morally and financially, a scheme that puts those in the private sector in jail.
The tax collected for Medicare and Medicaid is immoral on may of thesame grounds and others. It is based on our income, it is “legal” thievery, it destroys personal responsibility and creates dependency. What I would like to focus on with Medicare, however, is the waste, fraud and abuse as well as the fact that the Medicare system itself and government intervention in health care that is destroying the system that is the very best in the world. This is not the place to detail the waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare system but only to say that everyone acknowledges that it is there and that it is substantial. Even president Obama has stated that there are hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud. It is a fact that government bureaucracies are inefficient and subject to corruption. The larger the bureaucracy, the greater the waste and corruption. Out of all government programs this is probably the worst. On top of that is the fact that the program itself is making health care less affordable to everyone else by driving up costs through government regulation and payout structures. It is incomprehensible to me why we would trust government with the entire health care system when it has made such a mess of it just by inserting itself in the limited way it has. We should not be forced to continue to contribute and participate in a system that is not only wasteful and corrupt but is leading to the destruction of the health care system we rely on for the maintenance of our fundamental right to life. I disagree with those who say that health care is not a right because health care is inseparable from our right to life and happiness. Because it is a right, the government has no more authority to control my access and utilization of it than it does my right to speech, protection or property. My access to health care should depend solely on my ability to trade my labor or property for it or my voluntary cooperation with others to do so and should in no way be regulated or rationed by the government. That the government has done so and is seeking to expand its ability to do so is all the more reason to reject the system and the mindset that encourages politicians to pursue such power.
Allow an other example of legalized thievery. We have seen the immorality of taking money from one individual by force and giving it to another individual. President Obama rightly defines this a “redistribution of wealth” which he considers just and I consider immoral and unjust. This occurs not only on an individual level but on a state level. Money is taken from individuals in one state and used to pay for projects in another. Why should the people of one state pay for a bridge, museum, water park or any other project in another? Consider also the ramifications of all the “pork barrel projects” in the stimulus bill. That bill was paid for with borrowed money so the national government has put debt obligations on the people of one state in order to pay for projects in another. Would it be right to take out a loan in my neighbors name to pay for new landscaping on my friends property? No, we would call that identity theft on a personal level. On a state level, it is just plain theft and we should be under no obligation to continue to subject ourselves to such thievery.
There is the hidden tax of inflation that is a result of our monetary policy but that will be covered in another part of the series. There are the unseen taxes on productivity that result from compliance with all the rules and regulations not only of tax law but all the other government agencies that impose their will upon us. There are a host of other taxes, “nickel and dime” impositions, “sin taxes” and the fictional taxes under “cap and trade” that may be individually evaluated by the aforementioned criteria. Ultimately, there are three main reasons why the tax structure as it exists today in the United States would be grounds for secession. First, it is immoral and tyrannical to impose taxes on the exercise of fundamental, God given rights. Second, the taxes collected are used for purposes not enumerated in the constitutional compact. Finally, those taxes are collected in a manner not consistent with the Constitution, specifically Article I section 8 (1) and section 9 (4) and the Sixteenth amendment does not change these stipulations. Any state which has voluntarily entered into a compact with the others to form a government to protect their liberty and that of their citizens would be well within its rights to secede under the breach of that contract in both law and spirit. Considering that the American Revolution was a tax protest, it would be just and proper for people under a government that has devolved into their previous oppressor to rise up and throw off the chains of bondage once again.
The Case for Secession-Lawmaking (part one)
These next several entries are going to focus on the most fundamental aspect of our representative republic. The whole point of our form of government is that “we the people” choose representatives who meet to pass laws and make decisions that best reflect our values and desires and fulfil the purposes of the contract; in our case, the Constitution.
For much of the following, I am indebted to the work of Peter Hendrickson in his comprehensive work on taxation in America; “Cracking the Code”. Hendrickson states there are three characteristics of legitimate law; legitimacy of authority, clarity of command and conformity to established procedures of notice. We shall explore all three of these ideas as they relate to the present federal system of government and its lawmaking function.
The first point is that any laws passed must be done so by a legitimate authority. This means that “we the people” must have delegated to the lawmaking authority the appropriate jurisdiction. After all, it is “we the people” upon whom the law will be imposed. If we choose to delegate to the lawmaking body our decisions over the clothes we wear, we cannot complain when they outlaw striped shirts. However, if we have not given them jurisdiction over our attire, any law they pass seeking to determine our decisions over our apparel would be illegitimate and we would be well within our rights to resist its implementation by any means we see fit. On our case, the constraints of lawmaking authority are determined by the specific powers delegated to the federal government through the constitution. If “we the people” believe that the government should have additional powers not outlined in that contract, the amendment process is available to ensure that the vast majority of the people agree that such a grant of additional authority is necessary and proper. Foolproof, no, but if followed, it is a pretty good safeguard.
As an example, lets consider the right of the federal government to regulate what you ingest. It could be food, drink or drugs. One hundred years ago, the federal government had no authority, legitimate or otherwise, to determine what you ate or drank. There was no regulation of pharmaceuticals and very little even of food safety. The constitution gives no power to the federal government to do so. There were two approaches to correct this. One group believed that alcohol was a great evil and that society should seek to eradicate it and the federal government should have the power to do so. This resulted in the eighteenth amendment and it was the proper way to expand the power of the federal government. The people soon realized this was not such a good idea and repealed it.
The second group believed the federal government could exercise such power through simple law and regulation which is how we have dealt with it to this day. We have the FDA, the ATF and a multitude of other agencies that “regulate” everything we eat, drink or otherwise ingest. Certain substances become illegal or subject to special regulation or taxation. Alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals, legal or illegal, are the most obvious. We have accepted these restrictions because they have been around so long but by allowing the government to exercise authority in this area outside the contract’s jurisdiction without protest, we have unwittingly made our bodies subject to the jurisdiction of the state. We have tied the hands of doctors who would like to prescribe treatments that have not been “approved” by unelected government bureaucrats. We have wasted billions of dollars on our “war on drugs” and filled up prison space with non-violent offenders when we should have the room for the cold blooded killers who too often are released early. Now we are considering allowing the federal government to regulate and tax carbon dioxide, the air we exhale, or to tax the food we enjoy that may contain sugar or fat. Do we realize what we have done?
I will tell you exactly what we have done. First, we have allowed the federal government to continually involve itself in areas our contract does no authorize. It does it through small increments, appealing to our desire for safety and security, but once begun, it never stops. It is the nature of governments to expand their power, to break their bonds with their creators (we the people) and the restraints they have placed on them (the contract-constitution) and it is only through eternal vigilance governments can be kept in check. We have not been vigilant and now when our government is seeking to stamp out the last vestiges of our perceived freedom we wonder why they ignore our plaintive cries.
The second thing we have done is allowed our elected representatives to delegate the authority we have bestowed upon them to unelected bureaucrats. This is illegitimate on it’s face. It is one thing for a lawmaker to allow the creation of a bill to be delegated to “experts” (more on this later) and then vote on it, but it is another thing entirely to allow an unelected bureaucrat to develop rules and regulations that have the force of law independent of the congressional process, rules and regulations we must obey on pain of fine or imprisonment. Our contract gives specific authority to our legislators to create the rules and regulations under which we live within the parameters of their defined powers. We have relinquished a small part of our freedom to them in order that they may regulate specific areas for the greater good. We have not relinquished our freedom or rights to a “czar” or other unelcted bureaucrat and we are under no moral or legal obligation to heed their directives. The fact is that if we did relinquish our authority to delegate we would be acting against our own best interests and contrary to the natural order. If I gave up my ability to make any decisions over my life whatsoever to a perfect stranger, my mental condition would rightly be questioned. Such an act would be a voluntary abandonment of my natural rights, and act which is impossible. The Creator has bestowed those rights irrevocably upon every man and we can reject them no more than we can reject our own breath. Not only is such an act morally impossible, if we adhere to the illusion that we could transfer dominion over our natural rights to another, given the nature of man, such authority would be subject to the worst abuses. “If men, through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave.” Samuel Adams.
In “The Violation of Our Contract” I stated that governments, once created, are like a corporation, an entity in and of itself. A legitimate state exercises authority by the consent of those upon whom it exercises that authority and it derives its authority, its very existence, from those who created it. Such a state cannot authorize its own authority. If that were the case the creation could argue with the creator concerning what powers it had been granted and do so with equal standing. Government should be like a robot, only doing those things programmed into it by its creator. We are the creator and the program is the contract, the constitution. The federal government the founders created had the potential for great power and horrible tyranny if operated outside its specific parameters. Over time, we have allowed the program to become corrupted and instead of pulling the plug we have allowed it to exercise more and more power over us until we now believe that it is the creator and we exist to serve it. How foolish we have been! Would we consider any data from an infected computer legitimate? Why do we consider anything from our government as legitimate? As one of President Obama’s czars has stated, political power comes at the point of a gun. We have put an ever larger weapon in its hands and allowed this government to become the instrument of our own demise. It is a powerful monster running on a corrupt program bent on our complete subjugation. It is beyond tinkering, it must have its power cord unplugged. It is within our power to do so if we have the courage necessary to do it. If we are willing to make the sacrifices required to restore our freedom. If not, we will only fall deeper into servitude and access to the power cord will come at greater and greater cost.
The Case for Secession-Lawmaking (part two)
In this edition of “The Case for Secession”, we will consider Hendrickson’s two other characteristics of legitimate law; clarity of command and conformity to established procedures of notice. The clarity of the command has come to the forefront over the few last years as we consider the sheer volume of the bills being passed and the utter incomprehensibility of the language they contain. A few months ago, responding to the criticism that the congressmen themselves don’t read the bills they vote on, representative Conyors stated that unless he had two days to read the thousands of pages and two lawyers to tell him what the pages said, there was no point in reading it! Yet these bills that the majority of congressmen find incomprehensible are the bills that become, or will become, the law of the land and in so doing, assume our unquestioned obedience on pain of fine or imprisonment. Yet, can we be expected to conform to a law whose understanding is beyond even the lawmakers who impose it?
Simple clarity is essential for legitimate legislative exercise. The whole point of lawmaking is for the lawmaking body, exercising its legitimate delegated authority, to inform those to whom a law will be applied exactly what is expected of them and how others will react to any given set of behaviors. A legitimate law must be specific in scope and application and it should be clearly understood by the average person in the society to whom it applies. A law that can only be applied with the assistance of an interpreter: i.e. government bureaucrat, or understood by those to whom it applies only with the assistance of a translator, be it a lawyer, accountant or other “professional”, is illegitimate. Not only does such a law violate the principles of delegation detailed in the previous edition, it has created a situation where we have devolved into a nation ruled by men rather than law.
Consider the tax code, the poster child for incomprehensible Federal regulation. It is readily admitted by those whose job it is to implement this abomination that even they do not understand it. Its application, therefore, is dependent upon the individual government bureaucrat to whom the citizen is subject. Any time the law is unclear, that bureaucrat needs to rely on other information, correct or not, in order to make a decision. He may consider stereotypical prejudices, political affiliation, whether or not he “feels” the citizen deserves a break or whether he is behind in appointments and needs to hurry it along when he makes a decision that could financially ruin an individual or even put them in prison. A government official like the treasury secretary or a congressman may be allowed to slide on some major infraction while you or I will be nailed to the wall for the tiniest indiscretion. Such a system makes us all potential lawbreakers based on the subjective criteria of the ruling class as opposed to the objective criteria of the law. Law and regulation, instead of fulfilling its stated function of providing order to society becomes a weapon in the hands of those in power to suppress dissent.
In addition to a multitude of faceless government bureaucrats interpreting the intricacies of the law passed by our legislators, the majority of us have also bought into the idea that such interpretations should be left to the courts. We have come to believe that the judges are there to interpret and clarify the various products of the legislate process. This is not what the judicial branch was designed to do. Judges are responsible to see that the law is fairly and properly enforced. It is their job to implement the law as it is, not to interpret what the law might or should say according to their own whims of understanding. This is “legislating from the bench”, a practice so properly derided by “conservatives” but one apparently made necessary by the cowardly activities of our legislators.
The major problem that has led to these actions so destructive to our republic is the fact that the federal government has gotten its hands into so many diverse areas, areas it was never meant to be involved in and for which our system of government is ill designed to handle. Before the progressives placed their hands on the wheel of our ship, legislators involved themselves in a few specific areas. They understood their job was to protect the rights of the citizenry and involved themselves with laws that ensured a fair and just society. Into that mix were thrown issues related to foreign and monetary policy and a few other specifically constitutional areas. The majority of legislators understood the issues and most of them were still citizen lawmakers who appreciated the impact of their work on the average American.
Today, things are very different. Our legislators are career government workers who rarely have an understanding of the impact of their work on us, particularly since they exempt themselves from the vast majority of the laws they pass. And, of course, those they are not exempt from, they feel safe in ignoring for the prosecution of those in power is a rare event indeed. The issues they involve themselves in are diverse and many. They pass laws concerning health, science and the environment, business, the manufacturing process and products, the food we eat, our property utilization….the fact is there are really no areas the federal government does not feel it has the right to regulate. Our legislators, because they are not scientists, physicians, economists or business people are ill equipped to pass laws in these, or most other, areas. We are now well aware of the fact that our legislators are not writing these thousand plus page bills. They are put together by leftist special interest groups and unions to achieve the Marxist ideals of the most radical members of our society, people who now populate the executive branch. The only purpose our esteemed congressmen and women have in this scheme is the horsetrading necessary to ensure passage. They modify here and change the language there to make it acceptable to the majority of their members and fool enough Americans so its passage and implementation are assured. Those that are not persuaded by the language can always be bribed with earmarks. A few hundred million here, a billion there, and the next thing you know the fence sitters become enthusiastic supporters. These snakes use our tax dollars to push through agendas that take even more of our money and freedom. Its like forcing a condemned man to buy his own rope!
If we move even beyond the legislative process, consider the myriad of regulations put out by our plethora of federal agencies. Again, the fact that these agencies pass regulations in violation of the principles of delegation has already been explained. Consider now the fact that these agencies crank out tens of thousands of pages of regulations that affect the most minute aspects of our lives. This will bring us to the final area of consideration, conformity to established procedures of notice. There is the old saying that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” but that is only true where proper and legitimate law exists. If we are ignorant of a law passed in secret, or tucked away in some bill as an ambiguous amendment, or buried in the tens of thousands of pages in the Federal Register, it is a perfect and legitimate excuse. Can we be held accountable for a law whose meaning, authority or even existence is a mystery to us? If I discipline my children for breaking a house rule I neither informed them of or clarified, or apply inconsistently, do they not have the right to object? Of course they do! As citizens, our rights are no different.
“A legitimate state will institute, and scrupulously abide by, explicit and well publicized rules for construction, language and dissemination of the law. (Indeed, no less than as regards clarity of meaning, a failure to do so must be viewed as an attempt to create a favored class within the greater host of participants, equipped with knowledge to be ransomed by their fellows.) (Hendickson, Cracking the Code, pp 40-41, italics mine) In order for you and your business to remain in compliance with the all the regulations passed by these agencies, you have to keep lawyers and accountants on retainer, spend money and order your life according to them and hope your political views do not put you on the wrong side of some bureaucrat with an attitude. It is all a waste of time and money. But our federal bureaucracy has become an entity all its own populated with unionized federal workers whose most basic inclination is to make sure government grows more and more so their jobs are secure. Particularly since their salaries have been rising at an exponential rate compared the the rest of us. So every year they crank out tens of thousands of pages of rules and regulations that encompass every aspect of our lives. All of these people are unelected yet they pass all these regulations that have the force of law. You can easily be hauled into court and fined or imprisoned for the breach of a myriad of these regulations. Congress has been aiding and abetting this transfer of power by writing open ended and vague bills that leave it up to the particular regulatory agency and its people to interpret and “clarify” the meaning and implementation of their bills.
Let’s conclude with a recent example that will encompass all three areas of illegitimate lawmaking. In the debate over the Cap and Trade bill, a bill that would do more to hamper our worldwide competitiveness, stifle innovation and cost us boatloads of money as individuals and families, the Environmental Protection Agency has threatened to do an end run around congress. When president Obama could not broker a deal in Copenhagen and it looked as if Cap and Trade would be stalled in the senate, the EPA declared that it would use its power to regulate carbon dioxide. The general regulatory power was granted it by congress, a violation of the principles of delegation, and its ability to regulate carbon dioxide specifically was given to it by the supreme court, a grant of power to the federal government found nowhere in the constitution. It will create a ream of rules and regulation regarding this that will impact every area of your life because almost every modern human activity, including the very act of breathing, produces carbon dioxide. No doubt, only a lawyer specializing in environmental law will be able to understand much of the language, violating the ideal of clarity of command, and its sheer volume initially and the plethora of later additions will make reasonable notice for you and I a practical impossibility. Yet our compliance will be expected and our non-compliance will result in fines and/or imprisonment. Congress, to whom we have delegated the authority to protect our interests, could step in and remove this authority from the EPA or eliminate it entirely by defunding it but they won’t because they want to expand federal power as well. If it can be done by some other agency so they can keep their “hands clean”, so much the better. They are all complicit in the destruction of our individual sovereignty, God given rights, our wealth and the moral foundation of our nation. To them it is a game, each play designed to take more power from “we the people”. It is time to do one of two things. Either we get up our of our seats and rush the field (revolution) or leave the stadium (secession). If we do neither, we will soon find ourselves chained permanently to our seats, a captive audience subject entirely to the whims of the ruling class.
What’s Going to Change?
As many struggle to defend the last vestiges of the freedom entrusted to us by the founding generation, we are looking forward to the possibilities November’s election may bring. A scant eight months away, Republicans in particular are salivating over the prospect of replacing the Democratic majority in congress with their own. Some in the TEA Party movement have fostered alliances with their local or state Republican party in the belief that if they can “turn” the Republican party from “moderate” to “conservative” and that once they are in power they will lower taxes and rein in government. What in the long history of the Republican party gives them the confidence this will happen, I am at a loss to understand.
Consider what has happened in the Federal Government since the time of Franklin Roosevelt. There has been a definite pattern established that continues to this very day. The Democrat party grabs the reins of power. Since the time of Woodrow Wilson, this party has been home to progressives, socialists, communists and their sympathizers. In short, they believe in a government that knows no bounds, a government that intrudes into every area of the lives of the governed, a totalitarian government. Instead of a revolution, which the American people would never tolerate, they have taken their time, educating, brainwashing and deceiving the people to accomplish their agenda.
Big government, socialism, whatever you call it, is anathema to prosperity. The more successful the Democrats/statists were in implementing their agenda, the more the economy suffered. The Great Depression, the Johnson/Nixon recession, the Carter years, and our current recession are all cases in point. Each one, Carter excepted, followed a major government expansion. Americans don’t like anything that interferes with their pursuit of prosperity. “It’s the economy stupid” is always the case. Once the socialists in the Democrat party damage the economic engine enough to cause pain to the majority of the people, the people vote for the other guy figuring they will fix it. That’s when the Republicans get their turn.
The formula for prosperity is rather simple. Keep taxes low, don’t make any sudden policy moves and the American people will adapt to their new circumstances and prosper once again. The twenties followed Woodrow Wilson, the fifties followed FDR, the eighties and nineties followed Johnson/Nixon/Carter. Even John Kennedy cut taxes and created a burst of economic activity before Johnson destroyed it. Once these policies are enacted, prosperity returns, the American people are happy, and money flowes into the treasury. The government, however, never shrinks. Liberty relinquished under the socialists never returns. For all their talk of liberty and “small government”, the Republicans never actually make any serous attempts to dismantle any of the socialist structures the Democrats build. The pattern is so obvious it is almost as if it was planned. The Democrats grow the government until it reaches the point where it makes the people unhappy and results in economic destruction, then the Republicans take power, restore prosperity, and make the people comfortable in their new bonds until the next government expansion. I speak in generalities, of course. As I stated previously, Democrat Kennedy cut taxes and Republican George W. Bush expanded government exponentially, but in general, the pattern holds.
Allow me an analogy. The American people are like a herd of wild mustangs, free to roam the prairie. The Constitution put a fence around them, encompassing hundreds of square miles, mainly to keep predators out. Most in the herd never even saw the fence. Each Democrat/statist administration uproots the fence and encloses a smaller area. This construction annoys the herd and they resent the intrusion. Then the construction stops and the mustangs settle down, accepting their new limitations. A decade or so goes by and then the statists move the fence again. This time the area is too small to provide sufficiently for the whole herd. The statists start providing food and pacify many of the horses. They become accustomed to the new situation even though many are now dependent. Today the fence has become a corral and the current crop of politicians are trying to make it a stall. The important thing is the fence never expands, it always contracts, no matter who is in charge of it.
The majority of the Democrats are trying to eliminate liberty for the people and reduce them to serfdom. The majority of Republicans are simply enablers, although they too are increasingly infected with the statist ideology. It is almost a good cop-bad cop act. No matter what, however, the accused is going to jail. The fact is that we are, and have been for some time, ruled by an oligarchy. Real power in our nation is held by the career bureaucrats and the leaders of the two major parties. All of them are interested in one thing, the expansion and retention of government power. If health care or cap and trade become law, do you really think they will ever be repealed? Changed, perhaps, just as welfare was “reformed” for a while, but never eliminated. Reagan was right. The closest thing to eternal life is a government program. An individual congressman or even a president from either of these parties is not going to change anything, none of them are going to break down the fence. Time is rapidly running out and we don’t have the time to try to reform either major party from the ground up. It has not worked for the last forty years anyway. Once upon a time the Republican party was the new kid on the block and in less than a decade they captured the presidency. If we really want change this November, we need to “throw the bums out”, all of the bums from both parties and replace them with independent individuals who are not interested in perpetuating power and privilege but are willing to break down the fence and restore freedom to the people. If all the angry Americans in the TEA parties and other anti-big government movements really want change, they need to move beyond calling for lower taxes and simple opposition to the current expansion and seek out people to support who will actually dismantle the wall that is strangling our liberty. The Republicans have never demonstrated the courage to actually back up their rhetoric. It is time to look elsewhere.
What Do You Really Want?
Amidst all the debate over government involvement and intrusion in our lives, we need to explore the more fundamental questions that underlie the arguments. Too often we are caught up in the policy questions. Should our government provide health care or housing or “old age pensions” as they were called in socialist Europe before we adopted the idea and called in Social Security. The more fundamental question is what kind of government do we have and what kind do we want? Some talk of “saving the republic” but are we a republic any longer? Others talk of “threats to our democracy” but are we a democracy? Then there are those who warn of our “slide into socialism” or even “fascism”. Who are we really, and what do we want?
Let us start at the beginning. The vast majority of the founding generation in the late eighteenth century understood the value of establishing a republic. They were throwing off a monarchy but were just as afraid of the tyranny of the majority that would result from a democracy. So what is a republic? It is a form of government in which the citizens posses ultimate and absolute sovereignty and choose to voluntarily relinquish certain freedoms or powers to the collective to accomplish things they found difficult or impossible individually. For example, securing the integrity of their territory or the establishment of more formal venues for pursuing justice. In a republic, each citizen possesses as much of the collective sovereignty as any other. In other words, no citizen possesses greater or lesser rights or freedoms than any other, not even those entrusted with the responsibility of governance. That governance is restricted only to the specific areas to which the citizens have granted it authority.
Aside from the anarchy that only works among small nomadic tribal groups with strong social traditions, a republic offers the maximum freedom within a large nation-state. With little interference from governmental authority, the individual is able to maximize his or her potential. However, a republic will only exists as long as the people themselves exhibit certain characteristics. John Adams understood that our republic, and I would add, any republic, is designed for a moral people and no other. The citizens must be willing to obey a public authority with little external force to back it up. They must also exhibit a disposition to sacrifice their own self interest or personal desires for the greater common good. Without this characteristic the American Revolution would never have happened. The only glue that holds a republic together is voluntary patriotism, a collective esteem for the freedoms and advantages of their situation. Finally, without an appreciation for personal responsibility, persnal liberty becomes license and devolves into lawlessness.
Based on that definition, we little resemble the founder’s vision for our government and country. Deep down, many Americans still embody the characteristics that make a republic work but we have turned over so much of our sovereignty to the state that the exhibition of those traits is no longer necessary. In a republic one’s primary relationships are with one’s family and immediate community. It is in these relationships we define our freedom and demonstrate our morality and responsibility. We have turned all that over to the state. The state is now responsible for raising and educating our children, we think is it the state’s responsibility to ensure our employment and take care of us if we are unable to secure any and it is the state’s responsibility to care for our parents when they are old. Therefore, our time and treasure now go to fostering this new relationship with the state as opposed to our families and neighbors. When we have relinquished this much freedom by allowing our government to ignore the restrictions placed upon it by our founding documents and redefined ourselves and our responsibilities according to our relationship with the state, we can hardly call ourselves citizens of a republic.
So what are we? Have we become a democracy, are we characterized by “mob rule”? To a large degree, that was true but it has become much less so today. When we decided at the turn of the twentieth century with the election of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilosn to expand the role of government beyond its specifically enumerated powers, we transformed ourselves from a republic into a democracy. Politicians were once constrained in their activities by the constitution. Now, if they received the majority of the votes, they considered it acceptable to embrace new powers and responsibilities for the government. The people could have objected but they did not. The majority decided an ever expanding government that did more and more things for them was desirable. It is said that the American people ultimately get what they want. When it comes to government that should not be true. If the American people want to persecute a minority or give up some God given right or vote themselves into slavery, they should not get what they want. That, of course, requires real political courage and statesmanship, something we have not seen for a long, long time. This change to democracy comes at the expense of both the majority and the minority. For everyone, an expanding government meant shrinking sovereignty and freedom. For the minority, their wealth and property is be stolen from them to pay for it all. This “democratic” experiment reached its height during the presidency of Bill Clinton. In that administration polls were everything and they were treated as votes of the majority. We, the American people, were playing with fire. Now we are starting to get burned.
After allowing so much power to be concentrated in a central government, it was only a matter of time before individuals came into possession of that power who would ignore the will of the majority when it no longer suited their purposes. Over time, as government grew, the political class evolved into a permanent edifice. This is, in reality, rule by an oligarchy. The “movers and shakers” from both of the established political parties have exercised this authority for years, dressing it up in the costume of liberty and patriotism. But underneath the mask was the desire for raw power. Now the mask has come off. The political class of today has become nakedly blatant in their corruption and exercise of power. They have placed themselves above the law and consider the people as mere pawns in the games of their ambition. The will of the people is referred to only as long as it supports their agenda. When it does not, they move ahead anyway, stating that they are the experts and they know what is best for all.
What is next? At some point one person will rise up and take control of the whole system and wield unlimited power. The shell of the government will remain just as it did in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia but everyone will know where the real power lies. A dictator is really only a modern monarch whose right to rule is no longer divine but fueled by his own narcissism. A monarchy is the opposite of a republic. A republic is held together by morality and shared responsibility. A monarchy is held together by fear. Monarchies tolerate a great deal of self interest, moral license and corruption among individuals because it is subservience to the ruler and not positive relationships with one another that hold the society together. The monarch is the parent and the people are his children. The monarch is the expert and knows what is best for them by the simple virtue of his being in charge. The people are dependent upon the monarch for everything. Few think about what dependency really means. The one who is dependent is under the obligatio to perform for the one to whom they are dependent. They have lost their free will. In reality they are no better than slaves for they are all merely the property of the monarch, property to be utilized as he sees fit. He can send them out to be slaughtered on the battlefield as a sacrifice to his ambitions or he can take their sustenance and leave them to starve merely to feed his voracious appetite for luxury. Anarchy is absolute individual freedom, Under a monarchy, freedom does not exist.
The question about what kind of government we want really devolves into the question of what kind of people we want to be. Do we want to be a citizens or subjects? Do we want to be a sovereign individuals or the slaves of a sovereign? Right now many find our servitude easy. We have our flat screen televisions and cell phones and believe we have freedom because we can eat at McDonald’s or Burger King or we can watch CNN or Fox News. The reality is we only exercise our liberty within the ever shrinking confines of permissible government activity. The republic is gone, our will is increasingly ignored and we are very close to returning to the absolute servitude we rebelled against.