Let’s Try Some Logic

Can it be believed that a grateful people will suffer [individuals] to be consigned to execution, whose sole crime has been the developing and asserting their rights?

(Thomas Jefferson to William Small, 1775)

I would like to lay the groundwork for what I want to say by asking y’all a series of questions; hopefully to get you thinking in the same mindset that I think. While I can’t guarantee my success, I can always cross my fingers and hope; so let’s begin, shall we?

The first question is: Do you believe the Constitution is a law which governs what our government can and cannot do?

Now these will be simple yes or no questions; either you believe what I ask or you don’t. So with that in mind, let’s see what the facts say about my questions.

Those who wrote the Constitution felt it was a law, and they said so in Article 6, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” (My emphasis)

In 1866 the Supreme Court reaffirmed that belief in the case of Ex parte Milligan, where it was held, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” (My emphasis again)

Call my stupid if you will, but my understanding of that ruling is that the Constitution not only limits what our government can do, but what we as voters can ask it to do for us. In any case, I think I have established that the answer to my first question is yes, the Constitution is a law; and if it is a law, then it follows that those who violate it are criminals.

My next question is: Do you believe that, once ratified, amendments to the Constitution also become law?

What is a constitutional amendment? It is an amendment which does one of two things; it either adds something to or takes something out of the Constitution; does it not? Therefore, if the Constitution is the law, then the changes made to it become law as well; do they not? If you have a will, leaving your estate to a family member, then you amend that will, once completed the changes you have made become legally binding. Why should an amendment to the Constitution be any different?

But, if you still have your doubts, let’s revert for a moment back to the answer to the first question; if the Constitution is the law, then what status do changes made to it have? Well, to answer let’s look at what the Constitution itself has to say about changes made to it.

Article 5 is where the Constitution outlines the method by which it can be modified, altered, or amended, and it states, “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof…” (My emphasis)

Therefore, once ratified by the required number of States a constitutional amendment becomes a part of the Supreme Law of the Land. Is that not a logical conclusion based upon the facts I have provided so far? If it isn’t, then maybe you need to readjust your thinking caps.

My final question for you is: Do you think the Bill of Rights is absolute when it comes to the restrictions it imposes upon our government’s ability to pass laws which touch upon the rights listed in the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments He did not inscribe any clarifying clauses in them; they were absolute. Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal were not qualified by extenuating circumstances; they were absolute restrictions placed upon the actions of the people in the form of laws handed down to the people directly from the hand of God Himself.

While the Bill of Rights was not handed down to us from God, the Bill of Rights is a list of certain rights that those who created government sought to impose restrictions upon the government’s ability to restrict or limit. This is supported by the preamble to the Bill of Rights, which states, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (My emphasis)

If the Bill of Rights was written so that it placed restrictions upon government to ensure that it served the beneficent ends for which it was instituted, then doesn’t it make sense that the preservation of our rights is one of the primary reasons our government was created? Does that not hold a glimmer of truth to you, or is it too much a stretch of the imagination for you to consider? Patrick Henry once said that we were not to ask how our trade could be increased, or how we could become a great and mighty empire; rather he said that liberty was the purpose for which government should serve. (Source: Speech to the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, June 5, 1788)

In 1960 Justice Hugo Black delivered a lecture at the New York University of Law where he stated, “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.”

Now if you follow my line of thinking, God created man, so He had the authority to impose laws upon them. Man created government, or at least we did under our system, therefore we have the authority to impose restrictions upon the extent to which our government violates the rights given to us from God Himself. After all, didn’t our Founders believe that our rights are gifts given us by our Creator; God? That simple fact was affirmed by Jefferson in both the Declaration of Independence and his Summary View of the Rights of British America, wherein he states, “God who gave us life gave us liberty.”

If liberty is the freedom to live your live according to your own dictates, free from restrictions so long as you do not deprive others of the same right, then isn’t any law that violates any of our rights to the smallest degree, a violation of our liberty and in opposition to the very purpose for which our government was established?

Now when I say your government I am not merely talking about the Congress or the President, I am using the term to define the entire entity that has the authority to enact and enforce laws upon you. By using the term government I am including the Supreme Court and all the various agencies established under Executive authority; such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Security Agency, and so on and so forth. Each and every one of them are bound by the limitations imposed upon them by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; as those apply to anything calling itself part of the federal government.

If you truly believe that our government was created by an act of the people, and that it derives its authority from the consent of the people, how is it that you support measures that go against the very reason for which government was established; the preservation of your liberty?

How can you allow an entity created by the people; given its authority by the people, be the determining voice in deciding what powers it will exercise and the extent to which it will violate your rights? Is it so hard to see that when you allow that to happen, government ceases to be your servant and becomes your master?

When you allow government to define what is meant by words such as ‘arms’ then you are giving government the authority to decide the extent to which you can exercise the right to keep and bear them. Does it not strike you as odd that an entity created by the people can tell the people what kinds of guns they can own, but at the same time the people cannot tell the government what types of guns it may own?

If the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is so that the people might always be ready to raise a well equipped and trained militia to oppose tyranny in government, doesn’t it seem logical that you would want that militia to be as well equipped as any forces the government might bring to bear against it? Doesn’t it seem like any act to limit the guns the people can own is an act to shift any possible confrontation between the people and their government in favor of the government? Or is that too complex a thought for feeble minds?

But I don’t want to make this about the 2nd Amendment and our right to be armed; I want to talk a few moments about what happens when people chose to exercise their rights, or inform others about the abuses of power your government is guilty of.

If our right to keep and bear arms is absolute, then why is it that we require a permit to exercise it, and that this right is limited only to the guns our government so graciously allows us to own? What do you think would happen to you if you were to walk down the street with an AR-15 slung over your shoulder? First off, with the climate of fear towards guns exhibited by most Americans, people would turn around and run for their lives. Secondly, you would probably be accosted by some ‘law enforcer’ who would demand to see your permit; or more likely, force you to the ground and arrest you for violating the law.

Whose law; theirs or ours? If our right to keep and bear arms is absolute, then how can they enforce any law that restricts it without they themselves becoming criminal for violating the Supreme Law of the Land? I don’t care if the Supreme Court has ‘interpreted’ the 2nd Amendment to mean one thing or another, it does not specify what is meant by the word arms. Now it would be idiotic to walk down the street with an AR-15 slung over your shoulder, but it is STILL a right to do so. If idiocy were a crime then I know a lot of voters who would be in prison as well.

Just to prove that this rant is not all about guns, what about prayer? Is not prayer a form of speech? Is not our freedom of speech absolute? Then how can the Supreme Court uphold restrictions on that particular form of speech; simply because it might be offensive to others? I hear a lot of things coming from the mouths of people that I find offensive, but I have no right to demand that a law be passed forcing them to remain silent simply because I am offended by their speech.

If you are offended by something as simple as prayer, I suggest you grow a thicker skin and get on with your life. If you are frightened by the idea of someone carrying a gun on their person for their own personal protection, I suggest you do not call the police to come to your assistance…because they carry guns too!

We keep telling ourselves that this is the land of the free, or that we are the ‘Sweet Land of Liberty’; yeah right! What has happened when people in this country have sought to exercise that liberty to the fullest extent, or expose the instance where our government has violated our rights? The government has come down upon them like a ton of bricks; that’s what has happened.

Just look at Waco if you don’t believe me. The media would have you believe that the Branch Davidians were a cult and that the government was within its authority to go after them. But isn’t liberty the right to live your life according to your own dictates? Then if the Branch Davidians chose that lifestyle for themselves, by what authority did the government go after them; ultimately murdering them?

What about Ruby Ridge, where a government employee, Ron Horiuchi, shot and killed an unarmed woman while holding her infant child in her arms; where was the justification for that? Where was her liberty when that FBI sniper took her life from her?

What about LaVoy Finicum; who was shot down in cold blood by agents of the government and local Law Enforcement because he attempted to exert his liberty and oppose the government’s management of lands the Constitution does not authorize it to own or manage?

What about Edward Snowden, who is living in exile because he dared to expose the extent to which your government is violating the right to privacy which is protected by the 4th Amendment; where is HIS liberty? Instead of being heralded as a patriot who exposed corruption in your government he is living the life of a criminal in exile; all because he tried to tell you the truth regarding the extent to which YOUR GOVERNMENT is violating the law.

That is just one of the reasons I cannot, in good conscience, support Donald Trump as President; for he has called for, numerous times I might add, for Snowden to be executed as a traitor. If exposing government corruption or your government’s continued violation of the Supreme Law of the Land makes one a traitor, then I would hate to see what people use to define the word patriot.

Today the political discourse is limited to the left right paradigm, and any attempts to move the discussion beyond that to what is actually permissible under the Constitution is considered dangerous and subversive. What does that say about us as a people; that the discussion of what powers we have given our government is no longer permissible; that the only thing that matters is whether those powers be exercised by Republicans or Democrats?

As Judge Learned Hand said, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it.” Well liberty, at least from my perspective, has died in the hearts of the men and women who populate this country; all they care about is what government can do to make their lives safer and more comfortable.

And finally, if our Constitution truly was written to secure liberty for those who wrote it, and their posterity, (us), then it has failed to serve its intended purpose, and as Lysander Spooner so eloquently said, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

But according to the mindset of most these days, that kind of talk is treasonous. Well if that’s the case, let me repeat the words of Patrick Henry, “If that be treason…then make the most of it.”

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