The Federal Government: To Alter or To Abolish?
by KERRY L. MORGAN
Part 6: What Unalienable Rights Did God Give to Every Human Being?
For the sixth Essay in this series of Essays on a Congress of States we finally get to an analysis of unalienable rights themselves. Recall that in the first Essay “What Can We Do Now that Our Freedom is Taken?” we introduced the idea that the federal government has taken our freedom and has become 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 was then turned to the foundations of recovery in “What Foundation will Support Recovery of our Freedom?” We considered that there are very few who can be counted on to lead the recovery of freedom who are concentrated in any one party, place or institution, and that there are many who will oppose a Congress of States. We saw that the principles of Declaration of Independence and its reliance on the laws of nature and of nature’s God are the best foundation to support the recovery of our freedoms and God-given unalienable rights. We noted that the right to alter or abolish any civil government was a critical unalienable right.
In the third Essay “God is no Caesar, Caesar is no God,” we discussed God and civil government more abstractly. It was concluded that God empowers a People to establish their own form of civil government by their free consent. We uncovered false assumptions about God and civil government. We discussed the federal government’s current lawlessness in broad strokes and concluded by alluding to the insanity and irrationality of our present federal regime. Indeed, God is much more reasonable than our government when it comes to the exercise of power and the security of rights. God believes that each person is capable of self government, volition, and even love of one’s neighbor. In this respect God is no Caesar. The untethered state believes in control, force and violence. In this respect Caesar is no god.
Following up with “Every Evil Under the Sun,” we undertook a deeper examination of Congress and its failure to resist theft of our wealth. We discussed how office seekers manipulate us to get our vote by appealing to our own human vices. Chief among these vices are coveting, theft and the idol of political party. Each election calls upon us to present our offerings to our party. We offer our vote. Our elected officials offer us our neighbor’s money. Elections tempt us to covet our neighbor’s property through governmental programs and elections. We saw how political parties have become idols which we choose based on their promises to steal from our neighbors and make war upon our foreign neighbors. We were challenged to set these common evils aside and voluntarily choose freedom, yet recognize that fighting the evil within each of us is harder than resisting the federal government itself. The real battle to recover freedoms must start within ourselves. A Congress of States cannot solve the problem of human vice, but it must be aware that appeals to our weakness keep us from moving toward freedom.
The fifth Essay was titled “Incomplete Remedies: Voting, Secession, Nullification and Armed Revolution.” We examined alternatives to abolition of the federal government which a Congress of States may consider. We examined the absurd claim that more political party participation will elect better persons that will solve the problem. We also examined secession and Nullification and considered some of the problems in their implementation and effect, even if successful. These may be good short terms remedies but they are not good long terms solutions. We also noted that the correct and primary emphasis must be on the unalienable rights of the people and not on the reserved powers of the States. Finally, we noted that armed revolution against the United States was undesirable as the abolition of the federal government can be better accomplished by law.
We have discussed the idea that a Congress of States is needed to reacquire our freedoms and our unalienable rights. We now turn to a discussion of just what are these rights which are so important? What unalienable rights are we talking about? We have been brainwashed about rights. There are civil rights. There are Constitutional rights. There are fundamental rights. There are human rights. There are natural rights. There are statutory rights. There are States Rights. But a discussion of the core and central purpose of any civil government we choose to establish is a waste of time and effort and can only bring us to servitude, if we do not first articulate and define those rights which are by their nature unalienable, to be equally enjoyed and freely exercised by no one’s permission or leave.
We have noted that all persons are equally human beings and have the same unalienable rights owing to their humanity. These rights include the right from God to found, form, alter and abolish any civil government. They include the rights to life, liberty and to pursue and obtain happiness and safety, 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 other persons. Basically certain rights are unalienable because they are directly given by God. Every human being may exercise any unalienable right on an equal and absolute basis, free from the prohibition, interference or regulation of others, especially and including civil government.
The framers understood that the principles of the Declaration not only empowered them to define the narrow purpose of civil government, but also to recognize that the People may create or establish one or more civil governments by their own consent. They understood that the civil governments they would establish had a definite purpose – the equal security of God-given rights. It seems fairly clear, therefore, that they accepted the idea that God gave rights to people and that people could know these rights with some degree of sophistication. The framers would not have gone to the trouble of creating a new government dedicated to securing the unalienable rights of the people, if they really believed that it was impossible for the people to know what those rights were or if the people could not understand where those rights came from.
In determining the extent the framers’ mirrored the laws of Creation in both the Declaration and then subsequently in the Constitution, we may expectantly look to the actual text of those documents. An examination of the Declaration and federal Constitution’s text reveals that in its most basic sense the Constitution was designed to carry into effect the principles of the Declaration.
The Declaration articulated five derivative principles of the laws of nature and of nature’s God. They are, first, that people are all created by God, and that by virtue of this circumstance are therefore entitled to be treated equally before the law. Second, all people are endowed by God with certain unalienable rights. Third, the people are also endowed with the right to govern themselves according to their written consent. Fourth, the people retain the right to alter or abolish any form of government as an exercise of self-government. Fifth, the people are free to organize the civil government’s powers in such a way as to secure their happiness.
The Declaration of Independence therefore declares that all men24 are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness . . . .” Unalienable (or inalienable) means indefeasible, undeniable or inherent. Unalienable rights are incapable of being impaired, set aside, abolished, regulated, lost or sold. Unalienable rights are retained despite government decrees to the contrary because civil government does not grant them in the first case. Moreover, no future generation may be disenfranchised of any unalienable right by the present generation. The identification of unalienable rights is also common in many state constitutions.
The Declaration tells us why these permanent characteristics attach to unalienable rights. It recognizes that unalienable rights are defined by God, not by the civil government. Federal courts do not have any general jurisdiction to define or construe the “laws of nature” and thus the substance of un-enumerated unalienable rights. Federal courts only have jurisdiction to construe those rights which are constitutionally enumerated (including offenses against the law of nations) and are properly before the courts in an Article III case or controversy, or come within the court’s jurisdiction as a result of being enumerated in a treaty, or as otherwise defined in Article III. Federal courts, do not have jurisdiction to, sua sponte, discover and declare any other rights. That power is rather, reserved to the states or the people as recognized in the Tenth amendment. It is the legislature or the people qua people which are empowered to discover and secure by law the many rights that God has given. Jus dicere, et non jus dare.25
Civil recognition of the idea that unalienable rights come from God is a fundamental element of the laws of nature. Whether it is also is a tenet of religion is quite beside the framer’s legal concern. In the legal sense, therefore, the law of unalienable rights is not a religious establishment, but is rather a legal convention from eternity. Lex est ab æterno.26
The legal definition of “unalienable,” and “rights” are worth reviewing. By definition, unalienable means incapable of transfer. In other words an unalienable right cannot be given away. More importantly, however, that which is unalienable cannot be taken away, especially by a civil government.
The idea of rights as unalienable, indefeasible, indubitable or inherent was part and parcel of the framers’ worldview. Though these different words may not have precisely the same meaning, they carry the same essence – that people have certain rights from their Creator which civil government is not authorized to deny or disparage. The idea of unalienability is easier to grasp than the idea of rights. This condition is owing to the deterioration of the definition of rights. The definition of rights has been alloyed through impure construction. Unalienability on the other hand, has simply been ignored and thus has not suffered definitional corrosion of its meaning. To the modern jurist, a right is considered as such simply because it is asserted as a right. For instance, Black’s Law Dictionary declares that a right is “a power, privilege, faculty, or demand, inherent in one person and incident upon another.”
It is noted that “the primal rights pertaining to men are enjoyed by human beings purely as such, being grounded in personality, and existing antecedently to their recognition by positive law.” What nonsense. The source of rights identified here is the “primal” aspect of man qua man. This approach reflects a humanistic jurisprudence and is an absolute non sequitur from the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The humanistic approach is the antithesis of the Declaration’s observation that people are “endowed” with unalienable rights by their Creator.
Compare the humanist view with Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary definition. Webster did not declare that rights are primal or grounded in personality. He declared that a right is “conformity to the will of God, or to his law, the perfect standard of truth and justice. In the literal sense, right is a straight line of conduct, and wrong a crooked one. Right therefore is rectitude or straightness, and perfect rectitude is found only in an infinite being and his will.” Webster defines a right as conformity to the law of God to rectitude. Humanist jurisprudence founded upon evolution and mere positivism, however, discards the need for rectitude. It envision a system of justice animated by a jurisprudence in which rights may be wrongs.
The Declaration defines other unalienable rights besides life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.27 It discusses the right of the people to select the form of government that will serve them and protect their rights. It explains that “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” President George Washington declared that, “The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”28 Abraham Lincoln described the idea in nautical terms declaring government by consent “the leading principle–the sheet anchor of American republicanism.”29
Since the people have an unalienable right to institute or choose their own form of government and define its powers under law, the Declaration also recognized that the people have an unalienable right to alter or abolish that form of government under the law. The Declaration acknowledges the legal preconditions:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or 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.
The phrase “destructive of these Ends” refers to destruction of the unalienable rights which civil government is originally instituted to preserve. It was the right to alter or abolish the form of government which the people exercised when independence was declared from Great Britain and the Revolutionary War was subsequently waged.30
Thus, the Declaration established a legal consensus on several principles derived from the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The Declaration translated the common principles of equality and unalienable rights into positive law. Civil government was and is obliged to observe the rule of legal equality. It must recognize that all human beings enjoy certain unalienable rights from God–rights that are not created by the civil government, but which that government is nevertheless obligated to protect to the extent that the people articulate such rights in their constitutions or statutes.
Turning from certain unalienable rights in the Declaration’s text we find more listed in the Constitution. Unalienable rights animate both the text and the amendments to the national Constitution. Examples of enumerated unalienable rights are found in the text of Article I, Sections 9 and 10 and include prohibitions against Bills of Attainder and ex post facto laws. Such prohibitions are designed to secure the right to due process and freedom from the legislature exercising non-legislative power. Likewise the prohibition of laws impairing contractual obligations secures the right to contract and to have our contracts enforced absent force or fraud. In order to ensure the unalienable right of government by the consent of the people, the United States is barred from granting titles of nobility in Clause 8. Certain officeholders are also strictly regulated in receiving such titles or their advantages from any foreign power by that same Clause. Treasury appropriation can only be made pursuant to the consent of the people’s representatives by laws according to Clause 7.
Congressional control of migration subsequent to 1808 found in Article I, Clause 1 was designed to eventually secure equality, the unalienable right of life, and due process against the countervailing interests of the slave trade. The habeas corpus provision of Clause 2 is also tied to these rights and due process requirements. And lastly, the rights incidental to equality are reflected in Clauses 4, 5 and 6 as they relate to proportionality of direct taxes, equal advantages of tax free exports, and the prohibition of preferences among ports from one state over those of another. Many of these rights and principles are also reflected in Article I, Section 10.
An example of an enumerated unalienable right found in the First Amendment prohibits Congress, inter alia, from making any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This provision has its roots in Thomas Jefferson’s “Virginia Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,”31 as well as the Declaration’s unalienable right of liberty. One of the controlling premises of this statute, like that of the First Amendment, is that “Almighty God hath created the mind free.” Jefferson asserted that freedom of the mind was “of the natural rights of mankind,” and therefore beyond the scope of civil jurisdiction. Other freedoms, such as speech, press, assembly and petition, are also found in the First Amendment. These freedoms are also based in part on the fact that “Almighty God created the mind free.”
In addition, the Second Amendment prohibits Congress from infringing upon the individual and collective right “to keep and bear arms” which is immediately derived from the unalienable right to life and that of self-government. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments assure that neither the Congress nor the States have power to deprive a person of “life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” Not all constitutional provisions, however, deal with unalienable rights, such as the twenty dollar prerequisite to jury trials in the Seventh Amendment.
Because a man and woman voluntarily come together to produce children and have done so since the beginning, they enjoy the unalienable right to direct their own child’s upbringing and education. Parents enjoy this right directly from God, not the civil government. The civil government must protect rather than usurp, the right of parents while they discharge their duty to direct the education and upbringing of their own children. It must protect parents from the interference, regulation and control of a busybody neighbor. It must protect parents from the interference, regulation and control from a local religious assembly or spiritual leader. It must protect parents from the interference, regulation and control of teacher unions and school boards. It must protect parents from the interference, regulation and control of State Boards and lawmakers who violate the right when they prescribe minimum curriculum, licensing of teachers, compulsory attendance and forced financial subsidies called taxes.
There is no place for governmental control of education where the unalienable right of a parent is secured. This means there is no place for public schools or governmental regulation of private or home schools. The government enjoys no such authority from God. It falls to parents to decide what their child is taught. Contrary to the State’s minimum curriculum statutes, the state has no say in what a child is taught. The state has no special power to recognize truth which it may then legislatively force upon the people’s children. The local school board has no such special power either. It does not take a village to raise a child. It takes parents who are free from Village regulation and control.
All things being equal, it falls to each parent to determine the truth to be taught to their own children, not to their neighbor’s children or the community at large. A parent, or his or her freely selected agent or tutors should be free to teach their own children. Security of a parent’s unalienable rights deprives the civil government of a say in the number of days or years a child is to be taught. It precludes the civil government from licensing parents to teach or interfering with the contractual retention of teachers who are retained by parent to teach on their behalf. It prevents the civil government from compelling my neighbor to pay a tax to subsidize the education of my children or from compelling me to subsidize the education of his children. The State governments are the chief abusers of this right. The federal government’s tentacles, however, grow stronger every year in influencing and controlling the education of our children including their mandatory drugging and use as informants about their parents and sibling’s views and actions.32
What other rights are unalienable that deserve civil protection, yet are unprotected or impaired by the federal or state government? We have referred to the unalienable right to life. Let us now focus on it in greater detail and the practice of abortion. We have all heard of Roe v. Wade and the right to an abortion. But Roe isn’t just about abortion only. Roe is also about the law of abortion and the power of the state government to protect unborn life from private destruction. The problem is that well-intentioned pro-life lawyers, legislators and laymen have principally thought about the substance of Roe as a medical challenge a challenge whereby they must establish in subsequent legislation and litigation, that human life be conceived of in medical terms in order to warrant legal protection. While this is one aspect of the case, it is by no means the central or controlling one. The destruction of unborn life must be seen in context, to wit, a victim in the Court’s war against the rule of law and Constitutionally limited government.
We must not fail to understand that the defense of law itself is a necessary predicate to the defense of life. In other words, we must reclaim the rule of law and defend it from lawless advocates and judges, before we can hope to defend human life. We have failed to understand that, fundamentally, Roe is more destructive to the rule of law itself, than even to the right to life. Unless and until the defense of law and the unalienable right to life arising therefrom are first made the centerpiece of the pro-life movement’s legislative and litigation strategy, it will never secure the unalienable right to human life under law. Thus, when we talk about the right to life we must keep in mind that the federal judiciary’s commitment to judicial supremacy at the expense of the rule of law is the core danger.33
In fact, the right to life is not the only unalienable right which you and I enjoy. The Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) has done much to help open our eyes to other unalienable rights which we ought to be protected from our gun toting federal agency overlords.34 To articulate each and every violation of our unalienable rights which the federal government has undertaken is beyond this Article. That is the task of a Congress of States. But FFF gives us a glimpse of just how bad things really are (FFF Daily, August and September 2009). Consider the following.
For instance, it should be obvious that governmental power to levy a tax on income is the chief means by which the state and federal Leviathan are fed. Unfortunately, the Constitution authorizes the federal government to impose a direct tax on incomes. Fortunately, the law of God does not authorize this theft. It is God who causes a man to acquire wealth and Caesar has no right to take part or all of it for itself in the form of an income tax. We are not going to argue about what is a good tax and what is a bad tax from God’s point of view. It is enough to say here that a tax on money you earn in exchange for your labor is nothing more than a tax on your labor itself. God commands human beings to labor for their existence. Genesis 2:15 & 3:23. The government has no authority to extract a tax on that labor or on income exchanged for that labor. Labor is a duty owed to God and not to Caesar. To the extent that Caesar demands or takes a percentage of a man’s labor (as labor itself or in the form of a tax), it imposes a tax or burden on a man’s obedience to God’s command. The income tax says “It’s OK to obey God, but you must pay Caesar first.” The income tax represents Caesar’s claim upon a person’s labor superior to God’s claim. When will pastors start to teach the full liberty of human beings?
The same holds true for taxes on capital gains and on a man’s estate. People have a right to keep everything they earn and do whatever they want with it. It is that simple. It is that obvious. Only our D.C. masters want to make it more complicated. The same also applies to our state taxing officials when they levy a tax on income. Our State governments are not entitled to one ounce of credibility with regard to secession unless and until they recognize our God-given right to keep our property from the hands of the income tax man.
Now I know what you may be thinking. You are wondering how much more talk of God and law and the Bible is going to be thrown in here and there. Ask the founders and framers that question. They referred to the laws of nature and of nature’s God. It was the foundation, not a reference here and there thrown in for good looks. You have to have a law above the state or the state is the law. Are you too open minded to understand this about human nature? Are you so educated that good evidence of God’s view on the subject should be ignored? Yes, the Bible is evidence. Ignore theology, doctrine and religious disputes if you must, but not the evidence we have. Avoid arguments over myths and endless genealogies, and what you may eat or drink, or how to observe a religious festival or a Sabbath day if you can, but don’t throw away the Bible as evidence. Colossians 2:16.
God has the guts to stand up to civil tyrants. He let Pharaoh of Egypt know the score and who served who, while His own People undermined Him saying Pharaoh’s slavery wasn’t such a bad life after all. Exodus 6: 1; Exodus 14:12. He let Pilate, Governor of Judea, know that he had no power except what God himself allowed, even while His own chief priests assured Pilate that “We have no King but Caesar.” John 19:11& 15. We probably cannot expect the People to do any better today, but we have to try. God will do His part and so must we.
The same holds true for freedom to enter into mutually beneficial exchanges with anyone anywhere in the world. To the extent the government interferes with the ability to trade with others, it interferes with this freedom. People own their own property. It is their property. God has caused them to have it whether by labor, contract, inheritance or by gift. My property does not belong to you. My property does not belong to the United States. My property does not belong to the State in which I live. It belongs to me. I have a right to do what I want with it. I have a right to sell or trade it for other property with anyone in the world. No federal government, no state government, and no city government has any authority to say otherwise.
As FFF notes:
Americans have the God-given unalienable rights to sustain and improve one’s life through labor, the right to engage in economic enterprise free of government control or regulation, the right to enter into mutually beneficial exchanges with others, the right to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, and the right to do whatever one wants with his own money.
We must also consider programs for the redistribution of stolen property, i.e., our wealth, which governments have forced upon us under the term “welfare.” FFF points out that any time people receive largess from the government, they receive it because it has been forcibly taken from another person. If the government gives you money, it must have forcibly taken it from me first. In order for you to be “blessed” with an entitlement or welfare from the government, the government must first steal it from me. The fact that you receive it and believe you and everyone else has a right to do so, is only to admit that “from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness.” Jeremiah 6:13.
God prohibits both coveting and theft. Exodus 20:15 & 17. Yet, the federal government and state governments have established entire systems of taxation and redistribution to defeat this prohibition. The federal government enforces entitlement programs of redistribution called Social Security, Health Care, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, food stamps, small business loans, bailouts and stimulus plans for banks, businesses and bankrupt automobile companies. The federal government is well on the road to perfecting every form of theft known to man. Total regulation of food production and home gardening are next. Consider your own thoughts on this do you feel the lure of coveting your neighbor’s property through the entitlement programs in order to lighten your load?
The States are no better: public housing, food stamps and all kinds of state welfare programs such as unemployment compensation and workers compensation benefits. These are all built on the principle of theft, all justified on the theory of coveting, all implemented by force and coercion, and all the while parading as compassion. If you think secession and being ruled by your State is the answer, then you better look around and see how your beloved State is currently repressing your rights and stealing your property and justifying it all in the name of sovereignty. The federal government is giving even them a run for the money.
The federal government has promulgated economic regulations of every shape and size, all designed to do two things: raise revenue and impair our rights to associate with others. Regulations such as minimum wage, maximum hour laws, price controls, rent control, antitrust legislation, occupational licensing laws, non-discrimination law, product safety regulations and stock regulations, are all means to impair our ability and freedom to engage in economic relationships. We must know and understand how the federal government oppresses us through these legal mechanisms. The Code of Federal Regulation is its chief means to rule us all. It also distorts the free market. It cannot project all of the secondary consequence of these regulations even with the best Economists. Even if it could, the polices themselves are based on force and coercion in regulating private contractual relationships. This itself is wrong.
Once we understand this tyranny, we must then demand and warn the federal government to stop. But we must also go beyond that. We must also demand our State governments stop oppressing us in the same fashion, for all the States act as little mini-federal governments in the area of economic regulations. All the States boast of their great economic regulations and licensing of professions and occupations. The all boast they have created hundreds of meaningful jobs, when in reality they have precluded thousands of real jobs from being privately created. Plainly we are discussing something broader than just warning and possibly abolishing the federal government. We are discussing reacquiring our God-given rights and that is a greater adventure and purpose than mere secession or nullification will admit.
There are other areas where the federal government has oppressed us and destroyed our unalienable God-given rights. One cannot ignore the laws concerning immigration and emigration established by Congress and implemented by and through the State Department, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The freedom to travel is a God-given unalienable right and no government may legitimately interfere with that right. The United States ought never ever require or permit internal passports or mandatory identification controlling the flow of people between states. Nor should any State. Likewise the ability of anyone to come into this country after a cursory health inspection, or to leave this country without restriction must be recovered. If we don’t recover these rights, then the DHS will regulate, coordinate, and control all our travel. If Congress will not eliminate DHS and its functions, then the States in their own Congress of States should propose to eliminate Congress as an institution that has outlived its usefulness.
The unalienable right to defend one’s property, person and life by means suitable unto that end trumps federal and state gun control laws and regulations. Machine guns, assault rifles, shotguns and pistols are suitable means of defense. Belt fed, magazine fed and single shot weapons are a suitable means of defense. Weapons with long barrels or short barrels, noisy or suppressed, are likewise suitable. Edged weapons of all types, long and short, folding and fixed, switched or manual, these too are suitable means to achieve the security of a person’s unalienable right to defend his or her person, property, and family. Your local police department either owns or has access to all of these weapons for the purpose of protecting them from criminals. Why can’t you? The federal government has all these and more. Why can’t you? Is your life worth less than your public servant’s life? Is your property worth less than federal property? Who is more important to your family you or the local Mayor or Chief of Police? You are. Then why can’t you protect yourself with the tools they have available to them?
God gave you and me life. He gives us our family and property. Do you need a Bible verse to figure that out? Or perhaps you are waiting for your party to tell you? Or possibly you are hoping that your religious leader will mention it one Sabbath? No government can lawfully say that we may not defend that which God has given. Yet, this is what many state governments have said. This is what the federal government has enacted. This is what politicians advocate. The federal government has gone crazy with gun control. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), the Gun Control Act of 1968, the ban on making machine guns after 1986, and the National Instant Criminal Background Check legislation are just a few lawless laws. Nothing in any Congressional commerce power justifies the impairment of your unalienable right to enjoy means suitable to the security of your person and property.
What is suitable is that which is a function of your will and wallet and not the agents of the BATFE. A Congress of States must get this unalienable right clear. It ought not accept any wiggle room for “reasonable regulations,” i.e., regulations that will eventually allow your right to defend your life or property to only be secured after you run away or by blowing a whistle or dialing 911. In the meantime we have to live under these lawless rules. So stock up on high capacity magazines and ammunition for your AR-15, or drums for your AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle. Buy yourself a federally registered and approved fully automatic machine gun or sub-gun from an authorized firearm’s dealer if you can afford it. You probably can’t. Learn the laws and consider purchasing a federally registered and tax-paid sound suppressor if your state allows it. The federal government “approval” or waiting period is only about seven to eight months after completion of federal forms.35 This is what the federal government thinks is reasonable. Do not make any of these NFA firearms without approval. Don’t be stupid. If you want to keep your freedom then you must start to act like you are free within the rules that exist. Guns are dangerous. Exactly. But the federal government is even more dangerous if you violate federal gun laws. How come your political party never told you about this unalienable right?
The Constitution’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eight Amendments are all intended to protect your person and property from being unlawfully searched, seized, indicted, charged, tried, imprisoned and destroyed by the federal government. FFF observes that our “American ancestors were certain that once they called the federal government into existence, federal officials would end up doing the same types of things that the Iranian government officials are doing to the Iranian people.”36
Oppressive tactics include seizing, incarcerating and executing people for opposing the government and for “crimes” against the government. A Congress of States must understand the unconstitutional breadth of federal criminal law and its rank usurpation of state criminal code jurisdiction. It must identify how the rights and liberties even in our Constitution are being trampled down especially in the name of the war on terrorism and the war on tobacco and drugs. These wars are the pretext for the present war against civil liberties.
Perhaps you think that tobacco and drug use are wrong. Ah, so you have a conscience. You have an understanding of what is morally right and morally wrong. Good. Is it morally right to exercise power not given? If not, why have you never opposed the federal war on drugs? Is it morally right to incarcerate a man in a federal prison for the mere possession of a substance grown from the earth? No, there is no moral justification for it whatsoever.
Think about this: is the mere possession or manufacture of alcohol wrong according to God? No. Genesis 14:18. Nor did Jesus seem to think so when he made about 180 gallons of exquisite wine without a government permit. John 2:9. Jesus made wine at a wedding. He did not, however, make the guests drunk even though he created the best wine of the evening. Despite this Biblical example, it was the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement that mounted a successful crusade in the United States to make the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes unconstitutional. Was God in favor of extending a power to the government to compel this result? No.
Also known as The Noble Experiment, the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for general consumption was banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (later repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment.) The WCTU was also in favor of banning tobacco. In 1919 the WCTU expressed to Congress their desire to see the total abolition of tobacco within five years. They were well ahead of Congress on this front. Of course, prohibition turned out to be a failure, just as the government’s war on tobacco and drugs has been, though the latter are not waged at a Constitutional level.
Lest history repeat itself, we must ask if the possession of any plant or seed which a man may in fact possess, is contrary to God’s law? Not really. As a matter of fact, God gave mankind every “seed-bearing plant on the face of the earth.” Genesis 1:29. That includes tobacco, poppy, opium, marijuana and cocaine among others. Yet, the federal government says this authorization of God is void in regard to specific drugs and substances. Your political party toots the same horn and then says “God bless America.” The law of nature, however, does not empower the civil government to set aside the authorization of God in connection with possession, growth or use of seeds.
This is not to suggest that the use, refinement, smoking, injection or ingesting of them or their derivatives is helpful, healthy, wise or prudent. It is not. Nor is it to suggest that God wants us to “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” It is rather to say that besides being a failure, the federal government’s war on the possession and distribution of drugs, and the taxation war and propaganda campaign against tobacco, is without any legal justification.
But this is elementary. The hard part to see is that in order for the government to wage its 50+ year wars against drugs and tobacco, it must also wage war against your unalienable right to be free from lawless searches of your person, property, car and house. It means that the government can seize your person, property, guns, car or truck, house, mobile home, bank account, and everything else you own in the war on drugs. It means realizing that the war against drugs and tobacco is actually a war against your private property and person. It’s a war that might just land your children in jail. Then you might have second thoughts when little Johnny is in jail with “real criminals”, who, as it turns out are there for drug possession too.
Oh, you know someone destroyed by drugs? You know someone killed by tobacco? Your friend is an alcoholic. Why let people have such substances when they end up destroying themselves and others? Possession leads to use, use to abuse, and for some abuse to addiction and addiction to death. One thing leads to another. Maybe God did not understand this when He gave man every seed and green plant? Maybe you can give Him a bit of guidance on human nature? I Kings 8:39. Congress does, why not you? Why not just take it up with God? That’s the way He set it up, both before and after the fall of man. Genesis 9:3. If you have a complaint about it, take it up with Him. Don’t make the rest of us slaves to your obsession with increasing the power of the government over something God said was none of its business. Maybe the addict, alcoholic or smoker actually needs your help, not the government’s sword. But don’t sacrifice our God-given and unalienable property rights for any more Noble Experiments. If the Congress of States neglects these wars, then it will have failed to halt one of the central means by which our unalienable rights are being destroyed.
We are listing some basic unalienable rights upon which no government, state or federal, may trample or impair. The federal government is guilty of many offenses regarding the impairment of property rights, but none of these offenses against property is as little understood as the federal government’s destruction of the dollar through the Federal Reserve and legal tender laws. The Constitution wisely required the federal government to only circulate gold or silver coin, and rejected paper money. But today the printing presses run day and night printing $100 dollar bills. The Federal Reserve also transfers electronic and digital money to its banks without the need to actually print it at all. The damaging effect of all this on the purchasing power of the cash in your wallet is not recognized until you visit the store and find that prices have risen. Congress then makes us accept the inflated dollars in payment of all debts. If this is all new to you, then God help us. Better start reading. Ever hear of Ludwig von Mises? Von Mises was the leader of the Austrian School of economic thought. His contributions to economic theory include clarifications on the quantity theory of money as well as the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general.
The Ludwig von Mises Institute is the undeniable leader in clear thinking about Federal Monetary System and federal economic policy.37 You have heard of separation of church and state? Well how about the separation of money from the state? What has the state to do with our money, our property, our chosen mediums of exchange? The framers gave the federal government some very limited power in this area. The federal government has abused that power and grabbed even more. A Congress of States must enumerate the abuses, but more than this, propose a better monetary arrangement than the Constitution advances. If we have bars on our door to keep out burglars, but the federal government destroys the value of the cash in my pocket and bank account by creating money from whole cloth, and by financing wars of international aggression by credit expansion and generic foreign aid, then I am the poorer none the less. The critical purpose of a civil government is the security of my property, not its dissipation on socialistic schemes, war and empire.
The Constitution does not provide for a standing military force. It does not permit conscription of our sons (or daughters). It permits treaties but the framers advised against entangling alliances, rather seeking to encourage commercial relations with other nations. Squaring these features with the federal government’s current steamroller approach to foreign policy is impossible. According to the Defense Department, the Pentagon currently owns or rents over 700 overseas bases in about 130 countries and has another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. In 2008, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2008, authorized $688.6 billion in funds related to national defense. As of February 28, 2009, 1,454,515 people were on active duty in the military with an additional 848,000 people in seven reserve components.38
In 1962 when the Soviet Union began to build missile bases in Cuba, America threatened to invade that country. America rightly considered this an act of aggression and feared a direct attack on our soil. Finally, a deal with the Soviets to dismantle the missiles in exchange for a no-invasion agreement was reached. One country and a few bases 70 miles offshore was considered a clear and present danger. What would you call one country and over 700 bases in foreign countries? Freedom? No, you would call it Militarism and Empire.
Yet, we still claim this worldwide military presence is really about freedom. But this presence is not the only tentacle to be altered or abolished. FFF writes that:
Through the CIA and the Pentagon, the U.S. empire engages in all the things that our American ancestors found abhorrent: foreign interventions, foreign wars, entangling alliances, foreign aid, foreign meddling, assassinations, coups, torture, invasion, wars of aggression and brutal occupations. It’s all done, of course, in the name of “freedom, ” the bogus buzzword that has guided empires throughout history.39
A Congress of States must chart a better path than this. It must tell the federal government that our worldwide network of bases must be closed. Our troops must be brought home. Let the world solve its own problems by the use of its own military if necessary. We aren’t solving their conflicts by being there. We are just delaying the inevitable internal conflicts that invariably arise when we leave. If we are invaded that is one thing, but 130 countries have not yet declared war on us to justify our military presence in those countries.
“The United States as the world knows will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war.” said President John F. Kennedy. “This generation of Americas has already had enough, more than enough of war, of hate and oppression.” Something must be done with the militarization of America as well. We do not need a standing army in the United States and we do not need the glorification of war. Lawrence W. Vance has warned us about this condition.40 So too, Ron Paul has shown us what a foreign policy grounded in freedom really looks like.41 Anyone involved with a Congress of States should be familiar with their works. If not, the unalienable rights of Americans to defend themselves will eventually be assaulted by foreign nations acting in retaliation against our interventionist and inter-meddling foreign policy.
A Congress of States must clearly articulate those rights which are unalienable. Many have been identified here. Other remain yet to be identified and discussed. It must identify the numerous ways in which those rights are impaired, regulated, encumbered or prohibited. It must identify the responsible federal agency or branch. It must decide if that agency or branch can be Constitutionally restrained in order to secure the right, of we would be better off if the States abolished the agency, branch or federal government itself in order that the right is truly secured. This is the challenge of a Congress of States.
24. The reference to “men” is a reference to human beings, not a designation or restriction of gender.
25. The province of a court or judge is to declare the law, not to make it.
26. Law is from everlasting.
27. Neither the Declaration or any constitution could enumerate all the unalienable rights which God has given to human beings. Nor necessarily must they. These instruments, however, point to the source of rights our Creator. Future generations can look to that source and adopt through constitutional or statutory mechanisms, the particular rights God has granted which that generation considers are most suitable for civil recognition and protection in assuring their own safety and happiness.
28. Farewell Address of George Washington, September 17, 1796 in 1 Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 217 (J. Richardson ed. 1896) (hereinafter Messages and Papers).
29. 2 The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln 266 (R. Basler ed. 1953). President James Monroe acknowledged that “it comports with the nature and origin of our institutions, and will contribute much to preserve them, to apply to our constituents for an explicit grant of power. We may confidently rely that if it appears to their satisfaction that the power is necessary, it will always be granted.” First Annual Message of James Monroe, December 7, 1817 in 2 Messages and Papers, at 181. To presume otherwise would allow the civil government to self-expand and define its own powers resulting in a practical attack on the people’s unalienable right of government by consent–a right the civil government was created to protect, not destroy.
30. President Lincoln recognized the right of revolution. He remarked that:
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it . . . Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?”
First Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861 in 6 Messages and Papers, at 10 (emphasis in original)
32. For a detailed discussion about this right, see Kerry L. Morgan, Real Choice, Real Freedom in American Education, University Press of America (1997). See also http://www.amazon.com/Real-Choice-Freedom-American-Education/dp/076180854X
33. For a further examination of this subject, see Kerry L. Morgan, First We Defend Law, Then We Defend Life: What the Pro-Life Movement Needs After Decades of Failure (2003) at http://lonang.com/commentaries/conlaw/due-process/first-defend-law-then-defend-life/
34. http://www.fff.org/aboutUs/index.asp. The Future of Freedom Foundation is dedicated to advance freedom by providing an uncompromising moral and economic case for individual liberty, free markets, private property, and limited government.
35. http://www.sturmgewehr.com. Sturmgewehr is an excellent site for persons interested in acquiring by lawful transfer, National Firearms Act regulated firearms. See also the work done by Gun Owners of America. GOA is a non-profit lobbying organization formed in 1975 to preserve and defend the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. GOA sees firearms ownership as a freedom issue. http://gunowners.org/.
36. http://www.fff.org/freedom/index.asp. Freedom Daily, p. 3, September 2009.
37. http://mises.org/. The Ludwig von Mises Institute was founded in 1982 as the research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics.
39. http://www.fff.org/freedom/index.asp. Freedom Daily, p. 9, September 2009.
40. See Lawrence M. Vance, War, Empire and the Military: Essays on the Follies or War and U.S. Foreign Policy (2014). See also The Christian’s Golden Calf, October 19, 2009. http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance185.html.
41. See Ron Paul, A Foreign Policy of Freedom: Peace, Commerce, and Honest Friendship (2007). http://lewrockwell.com/paul/#.