February 12, 2013
What part of "self-evident" don't Americans understand? Or more to the point, I suppose, what truths in the Declaration of Independence are left that Americans actually do understand?
Somehow, in 237 years, we have gone from declaring the necessity of dissolving political bands with England and explaining proudly why we must do so...to the current pusillanimous acquiescence to tyranny which we are assured by the villains in Washington, DC, is better than the alternative.
Don't you believe it. The alternative, ladies and gentleman, is freedom.
After describing the unalienable rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and how a just government works to secure these rights, Thomas Jefferson went on to state unequivocally:
"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Nothing in there about how a desire to preserve the Union trumped "Safety and Happiness." That's because free men don't put the government first, and their own "Safety and Happiness" second. "Just government" has only one purpose -- "to secure these rights" of life, liberty, etc., and failing to do so, it has given up its legitimate claim to power.
That was not only the case in the American Revolution either. The United States government has frequently championed the rights of self-determination for other people as well, whether the oppressed nations of Eastern Europe during the Cold War or the nations of North Africa during the so-called Arab Spring.
Yet the establishment politicians and mainstream media mock those who yearn for unfettered liberty in our own country. Take, as just one firm example among many, the Second Amendment. It's about as clear as the water in a Rocky Mountain stream:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The key words of that amendment are "shall not be infringed." There is no wiggle room there for people who want to restrict certain kinds of rifles or handguns, or determine how many rounds are permissible for each type of weapon. To be precise, "shall not be infringed" means shall not be limited, restricted, modified, undermined or encroached upon. Could that be any plainer?
Nor can anyone argue that because the authors of the Bill of Rights included a specific assumption in the amendment about the value of a well regulated militia, that the right to keep and bear arms can therefore be ignored or abridged if modern folks disagree with the Founders about what a "well regulated militia" is. No matter how you change the meaning of the stated assumption, it does not change the definitive conclusion: "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." That can only be changed by a further amendment to the Constitution.
Yet we see United States senators and the president and vice president, who have all taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, working overtime to infringe, restrict, limit, abridge and all but eliminate the right to keep and bear arms! They do so on behalf of a sincere belief that restricting firearms will increase the individual security of our citizens.
But the stated assumption or purpose of the Second Amendment, in its very own text, is that the people's access to firearms is intended not to protect individuals from harm, but to ensure "the security of a free state." And clearly, the Founders considered a free state to be vulnerable to some sort of threat.
What exactly could they have meant?
Well, if you thumb through the Constitution, you will find over 200 references to either "state" or "states." Other than references to "the United States" and two references to "foreign states," all of the other uses of the word state refer to the individual states in our diverse country. It is therefore safe to assume that the reference to the "security of a free state" also refers to the individual states in the United States. Moreover, the militia was understood at the time to be a military unit organized at the state level.
Therefore, when the Second Amendment was passed, its intention was obviously to provide for the security of the individual states, not for the security of the federal government known as the United States. That being so, we must ask who or what was considered a threat to the individual states. The answer surely was not England or Canada, but rather the federal government itself.
Remember, the entire purpose of the Constitution was to enshrine limited government, and the Founders tried to provide clear directions that the rights of the individuals and the individual states should always take precedence over the insistent bullying of the federal government except in cases where the Constitution plainly spelled out federal supremacy. If in doubt that this is true, citizens are advised to read the Ninth and 10th Amendments. YOU are supposed to have the power, not the federal government.
Which brings us back to Thomas Jefferson, independence and the "right of the people to alter or abolish" any form of government which is destructive to the ability of the people to secure their rights.
We as Americans have always understood that we have certain God-given rights, and we had better be willing to fight and die for those rights, or else we will surely lose them. Jefferson put it this way:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government..."
What I don't understand is just when we --- proud Americans, freedom fighters, defenders of liberty --- lost these supposedly unalienable rights for ourselves. We are told that because President Lincoln prevented the Southern states from seceding over slavery, the people of the United States of America no longer enjoy the right of self-determination that we still promote whole-heartedly for Egypt, Cuba and North Korea.
No matter how bad things get, we are stuck with it -- stuck with politicians and judges who abuse the Constitution, stuck with "repeated injuries and usurpations," stuck with a shriveled Second Amendment. No matter how the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are abridged or truncated, we should just smile and be grateful for a federal government that knows better than we do.
And considering the leviathan nature of the federal government, that just may be true. For all practical purposes, we the people now serve the government and not the other way around.
Of course, it is a matter of faith --- and history --- that no government instituted among man can stand for long without "the consent of the governed." What we now must determine is whether the governed --- We the People of the United States of America --- will consent to tyranny or not.
On that, the jury is still out.
This article was originally published at DailyInterlake.com. Refer to original article for related links and important documentation.
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