The Federal Government: To Alter or To Abolish?
by KERRY L. MORGAN
Part 2: What Foundation Will Support Recovery of Our Freedom?
Before we can implement any change, we must first understand where we have come from. In “What Can We Do Now that Our Freedom is Taken?,” we introduced the idea that the federal government has taken our freedom and remains the greatest threat to its recovery. Also discussed was the need to rely on law rather than violence, in addressing this threat. A Congress of States was proposed as a means to reduce the federal government’s power so that it would be explicitly barred from crushing our unalienable rights. Also considered was the idea that it may be desirable or necessary to simply abolish the federal government in order to preserve the American People and the nation.
Attention is now turned to foundational matters. Who may be counted on to lead us toward recovery of freedom? What law justifies the alteration or abolition of the federal government? Is God for us or against us in this undertaking? Does He care? We will also discuss how far from freedom and how deep into federal servitude we already are as a People. A clearly identified foundation will be presented. It is the only one that will support the recovery of freedom. All others are shifting sand. The truth will be harsh. You may not believe it, at least not yet.
How can the People get started with a Congress of States? Like most things in life, we have to first figure out if God is relevant to this undertaking, or can we alter or abolish the federal government without Him? It is best to get this question settled up front. Some people think they have God and government pretty much figured out. He is either everything or He is nothing. Or perhaps it is a little of both. For the believer we need to clarify how God is actually not involved. The believer needs to understand what God is not doing. For those who do not believe, we need to clarify how God is actually involved. We need to see what He expects in connection with the establishment and abolition of civil governments. This may appear counter intuitive, but think about it. The believer may seek a role for God that is greater than God has set for Himself in matters of civil government. The non-believer may seek a role for God than is less than God has set for Himself. Perhaps we can bring all of us together on this subject somewhere in the middle? We are not here to discuss if reliance upon Him is inspirational or personally edifying. We are not here to vindicate God or set up His Kingdom. We are not here because of eschatology. We are not here to convert the unbeliever or prove God exists. We are rather set upon discussing what God says about civil government and in particular, its purpose, creation and abolition.
Some will say that God is not needed for such a purpose that freedom does not need God to exist or be recovered. This is nonsense. Others say that His involvement can only be divisive or even dangerous. Some will babble about the separation of Church and State because they have nothing else to offer. Some will say “God bless America” and think that merely chanting this, begins and ends the discussion. Some will say since government is from God, we are opposing God if we try to alter or abolish the federal government. More nonsense. Others will say God is not responsible for either bad government or evil leaders. In point of fact, some will even take exception with Thomas Jefferson when he asked in his 1782 Notes on Virginia, “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?”
If we are to be open to real freedom, could we start with first being open to the real God? Indeed, why not? The Declaration of Independence started there. That was a good start. It was not a myth. Do you think we could lay a better foundation without Him? The Declaration grounded the nature of civil power itself on the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.” That is what it says. It further says this law affirms that every person is legally entitled to enjoy those rights which God has given to each of us. We must apply that truth to all of us this time around. Here is what it says the laws of nature and its God guarantees to each person:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Here is what a Congress of States is all about how to secure our unalienable rights. What are those unalienable rights? How have our state governments performed in securing those rights? Not well. How about our federal government? Worse. So right away, we are at a fork in the road. We can continue to recognize this law and its command that civil government only exists to secure, not subvert, those God-given rights. Or we can reject God’s relevance and that law as a source of both our rights and limitations on civil government’s authority and power. We can became a different nation one without the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The history of nations is littered with many examples.
A Congress of States, however, should not play any part in becoming a new nation with a different foundation. That would be a step backward into the abyss. No, we must maintain our identity as a People, as a Nation. It is not the American People or Nation that came into existence in 1774 with the first Continental Congress or as late as 1776 by the Declaration of Independence which is to altered or abolished. What is to be altered or abolished is the federal government that came into effect on March 4, 1789. The Declaration tells us that men can “institute” civil government. So too, men can just as well “un-institute” it by acting as a free people “with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”9
So do we need God? Yes, for without Him we have no real or sustained rights. Without Him, we have only what we have now the myth of freedom. The myth tells us we are free, but the freedom we actually enjoy is the skeletal remains of our federal constitutional rights after being cannibalized by the Supreme Court, ignored by Congress and suppressed by the President. Without Him our rights are merely dependent on the state or are a contrivance of our own will. Is dedication to the Declaration of Independence necessary for freedom? Dedication to its principles the principles we have already adopted as a people and as a nation are necessary. Nothing better exists to serve as a foundation upon which the hope of being and remaining a free people has the potential to be realized in this life.
But is the God we need, one who involves Himself beyond these principles? Is He the God of a State established church? Is He the God that gives to men, the authority to use force and violence to compel belief, to compel education, to compel obedience to Him? Indeed, must delegates to a Congress of Sates be believers in God? No, not even God commands that result. Thus, neither may men. But they must be believers in the law and the rule of law. One must accept as the Declaration accepts, that God is the source of our rights, even if by this acceptance one can only muster the faith to believe it as a convenient political rule of action, rather than what it really is a universal truth empowering every man and woman from the creation of the world to govern themselves, restrain their vices, and love their neighbor as themself. They must be believers in the principles previously and unanimously agreed to by the States in the Declaration States which they now represent as delegates. If a proposed delegate does not accept or believe in law, unalienable rights or government by consent, they should not be delegates. That is the belief required.
Who will lead the way? Any volunteers? The problem is that Americans do not think very much about God and civil government in such basic terms. The problem is that Republicans and Democrats do not think about God and government in such basic terms. The problem is that Libertarians do not think about God and government in such basic terms. The problems is that hardly anybody thinks about God and civil government in the way the Founders and Framers thought about Him and stated it.
Even American Jews and Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, who affirm a close relationship with God, do not think broadly about God and civil government. Apart from religious and ecclesiastical propositions, they tend to only think about God and a narrow political agenda which, not surprisingly, mirrors the platform of their favorite political party. They argue that when it comes to politics, the Creator of the Universe, Divine Providence, the Lawgiver and Supreme Judge of the world is actually only concerned about a narrow political agenda and not too much more. God’s purported usefulness here is to justify the exercise of national unlimited civil power as expressing His will. Many believe that since God holds the right political views, He can also be counted on to bless the unrestrained federal agenda, surveillance society and police state.
But will God magically free us from this idolatry? Not if these matters are never discussed in our religious assemblies. If you raised them, would you be regarded as speaking in a strange tongue and probably spouting arguments that are theologically wrong, divisive and even dangerous? Most Jews and Christian have never heard their rabbi, priest or pastor sermonize about such things. We conclude wrongly, therefore, that they must be relatively unimportant or unworthy of God’s real interest. Perhaps finances and tithing, or the color of the carpet in “God’s House” are more important matters to discuss and divide over.
If religious leaders are ill-suited to lead, how about political conservatives? How about the Republicans? Republicans see a use for God. He can be used to justify a lot of political shenanigans and make the people feel good about war. But that doesn’t mean the Republicans respect God as their Lord in all things political, legal or constitutional. God is simply useful. They think and talk about God mostly for His usefulness in turning out the vote at election time. He is also a handy way to end a speech. God, as in “God bless America,” can also be counted upon to justify America’s patriotic wars of aggression and our insane and belligerent nationalistic foreign policy. He can be called upon to persuade youth to enter the armed forces as an act of divine patriotism. Any talk about government by consent, unalienable rights or abolishing the government would be divisive, making it hard to win elections with appeals to the political center. The whole goal is to get into power at the next election and defeat the Democrats, not to get people thinking that the last time Republicans held power, the Attorney General undermined our freedoms or President George W. Bush made war upon the nations, after talking to God.
Well then, the Democrats will pave the way, right? Not exactly. Democrats follow the same spiel as Republicans about God, but substitute their own creeds of social justice and love your neighbor through forced redistribution of income. These are what God brings to their political table. Thus, when the political ends require it, God is a useful means to justify government use of the bayonet to “help” people financially love their neighbor. The Democrats have a use for God. They use God to joy ride over the top of our unalienable rights. To the hard core Democrat insider, the Declaration of Independence might even be an unconstitutional establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment with its talk of a Creator.
What about the Libertarians and God? Beltway libertarians don’t think much of the Declaration of Independence as a statement of universal truth so God does not come up even indirectly. Most libertarians don’t think too much about God. They rightly do not want God-based agendas employed against freedom. As a matter of fact, they do not want anybody’s agenda used against freedom. They do not see that God is of much use in defending personal liberty since those who claim to speak for God, with God, and about God (those we have just discussed from the political right and left) seem to favor a God who loves the State more than personal liberty. There are exceptions among libertarians, but enough to take the lead?
Of course, there are many types of Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians. What we have stated here are generalizations. There are always individuals who swim against the current in their own parties. We are not discounting these. We are searching instead for an entity or organization or group that may take the lead in a Congress of States. If none exist we need individuals that will lead. It is folly to believe that the Republican Party or the Democratic Party will make a Congress of States their priority. It is they who will oppose it.
Yet, if we are to make the needed change, if we are to recover freedom, someone will have to lead the way. Libertarians are the only ones to have a present working sense that there is and ought to be real limits on the state’s power, or that there should be no state at all. By and large, neither Jews nor Christians have this sense though they should since they claim to be on intimate terms with the Almighty. True, they could let their God be the God, but this would require alteration of their voting patterns. It would require their political advocacy and fund-raising machines to stop serving as an electoral call-girl for their political party. It would also require their rabbis, priests and pastors to start preaching the whole of the Scriptures. This is sure to result in a loss of tithes and offerings, and precipitate a drop in Sabbath attendance. Rest assured that their personal ministry, emoluments and tax-exempt status will not be sacrificed for your freedom.
Republicans do not embody any sense of limited civil jurisdiction because it runs contrary to ruling the world through a nationalistic foreign policy and perpetual foreign wars. Democrats cannot easily conceive of the idea that civil power is limited because it would deny to them the power to take my neighbor’s property and give it to their constituents and a little back to me. They could no longer lie to me that I got more than was taken from me.
Scanning the cultural horizon, the revival of freedom is not going to come from any one sector. It will not come from academia. The modern American University administrator is neither trained nor devoted to the love of either truth or personal liberty. Seeking tenure runs against it. Having tenure eliminates the need for it. The university is essentially a socialist tenured system of employment coupled with a state monopoly on certified knowledge, not truth. The University is a creature of the state. Even most “private” universities are dependent for survival on government loans passing first through its students hands then into the University. Such loans are government subsidies. As with all government subsidies, the result is to drive up the price of a college education. The secondary effects are also well known students are condemned to a lifetime of debt owed to the government. The university’s declarations about freedom of inquiry and academic freedom are largely nonsense. The average American University is an enterprise herding students into a lifetime of crushing debt. There are exceptions, but they are anomalies.
How about American lawyers? Lets us be neither naive or blind. The state bar associations of American lawyers are themselves coercive membership societies. They cannot financially survive on the overrated value of their own ideas or lofty aims purportedly taken in the public’s interest absent coercion in assessing and collecting dues. Such organizations neither exist nor subsist based on volition. They acquire their bread by the sweat of another lawyer’s brow in the form of compulsory dues, not by voluntary appeals concerning the merits of their goals. We cannot expect the governing body of such organizations to recognize freedom or openly advocate for a limited civil government a government that might limit their own ability to freely shove their hand into the wallet of every lawyer practicing law in that state. State Supreme Courts could put an end to this sham, but they refuse to see it for what it is compelling a man to contribute sums of money for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves, or depriving a man of the comfortable liberty of freely contributing sums of money to those persons or bar organization he would make his own. “How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see?” State Supreme Courts may be meticulous devotees of the Court’s Rules of Procedure, but here they have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy and good faith. These they ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23.)
Nor does liberty currently appear as an interest of big business. It should be, but it is not. They prefer to use the civil government to punish or handicap their smaller or foreign competitors through lobbying for laws and regulations which they already meet or can easily meet, knowing that their competitors will have a more difficult time of it, rather than competing in the open market. Protectionism, subsidy, and regulation are a “god-send.” Economists with their training about markets and secondary effects can better illuminate the negative economic consequences to business and corporations who seek such market-distorting policies.
Nor are our public sector police, fire, clerical or educational unions friends of freedom. Their lifeblood is built on expanding the reach and power of civil government and governmental control of public services, education and schools at all levels. Expansion is the means by which the number of public sector jobs is increased. Increasing jobs in the public sector is not a means to primarily serve the public. It is a means to build the power of AFSCME, POAM, IAFF, the NEA and others. The public is reduced to the status of a “serf” living on their own rented land. As serfs we have but one purpose–promptly and obediently pay property taxes and fees to the local municipality, school district, County, and state who in turn pay it over to bargaining union members in the form of increased wages, benefits and obscene pensions. It is paid over as per a collective bargaining agreement without regard to any ability of the people to actually pay or demonstrate the quality, need or even the desire for the service provided. If the local property tax rate is insufficient, a court enforced judgment levy will make up the difference, though it further impoverishes the people in the community.
In this regard, your local police force, firefighters, clerical workers, and of course public school teachers, are not inclined to applaud freedom or support talk of limiting the civil government. See the new City Hall, new court house, schools and athletic facilities, and new police vehicles? These land “Barons” live well on our money forcible taken from us. They live better than we do. They are going to line up against freedom and lobby you for more government in the form of a modern militarized police force and surveillance society to “keep you safe.” If you increase the next millage you are a fool. It should be cut in half if you hope to recover just a little freedom. The wise better understand this early on.
So who is going to lead the call for a Congress of States? The future of freedom is not in the hands of any one organization, group or movement. It is in the hands of liberty minded persons of good will. This situation appears bleak because such persons probably hold no real political power. Not to worry. This just means that their opportunity to be tempted by power has not yet come. The involvement of such persons and their thinking about the Declaration of Independence and God will be critical. They have the edge. The idea that government is and ought to be limited or abolished is part of their thinking. It is not consistently part of any one sector. But liberty oriented persons must recapture and articulate the true meaning of God and civil government and then help the rest to see it.
They must articulate the meaning of the Declaration of Independence that God is the author of our rights; that we enjoy those rights in equal measure with our neighbor; that the only purpose of civil government–if we choose to institute it in the first place–is to secure, not balance or subvert those God given rights. In fact, the state’s only compelling interest is the security of our rights. Every other claim the state makes about its compelling interest is a sham. Those purported interest are the smooth words of a tyrant seeking to reduce or eliminate our rights in whole or part. Those who lead must also acknowledge that our rights are broad and include personal and economic liberties; and that everyone should have access to the security of those rights and redress against those who would interfere with their free exercise. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. H.L. Mencken encourages us along the way.
The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally, he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
A Congress of States, led by liberty-minded delegates, must show us how to rebuild our state governments on the foundation of the Declaration’s law and principles. It must also articulate how to restrain or abolish the federal government. It will need to articulate why we no longer even want or need a federal government, that in fact, the federal government has simply outlived its usefulness. But a Congress of States cannot do that if we cannot even recall the foundation of freedom, or the purpose and preexisting limits on civil jurisdiction.
The founders said there is no law of the land, no real rights of anyone, and no limits on a civil government, without a law which pre-exists that government. They said that pre-existing law comes from God. But rather than have everyone weigh in on just what God or that law said or requires, the founders collected and stated its key particulars for us. First, they said God by creation gives every person certain rights. These rights cannot be alienated by any other person or by any church or by any school, hospital, police, agency, regulator, court, legislature, President or civil government. Second, they said all are equally human beings and have the same unalienable rights owing to their humanity. Third, they said that the People have a right to found, form, alter and abolish any civil government they desire. It is the right of the people to alter or abolish their civil government anytime they please. But it is their duty to do so, every time their civil government takes away or renders insecure the freedom to exercise our unalienable rights. Fourth, they said we also have the right from God to life, liberty and to pursue and obtain happiness and safety. This means we have the right to enter into contracts, to freely associate only with those whom we desire, and to exercise the full bundle of our individual economic rights including dominion over our personal and real property (but not over other persons). Fifth, they said civil government’s only reason to exist was to secure these rights. If it failed to do so, get rid of it.
Are these five points bad things? Are they too hard to accept because the founders attributed these propositions to God or His law? Can we simply accept what they said and move forward? Can we avoid arguing about this or that religious doctrine which have no relevance to our rights or the duty and limit on civil authority? Can we avoid religious bigotry? A Congress of States ought not concern itself with which religion is the true one, or which church doctrines are true and which are false. It is enough to reaffirm the foundations of, and the sole reason for any civil government’s existence, if we so choose to bring it into existence. A Congress of States must affirm this foundation in the law of God. It must reject the myth that human freedom can be grounded on any other foundation.
9. Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774. See http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/jeffsumm.asp