Of Fairy Tales, Failed Visions, and Lost Liberty
What is a right? A right is a thing that the individual can do without restriction or restraint. Our rights do not come from government, therefore government cannot take them away from us, or limit our ability to exercise them. Our rights are inherent and unalienable; meaning that they are as much a part of our being as are our lungs, our heart, and our brain, and to deny or restrict them is to deny our humanity. Although he speaks in the general term of liberty, Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.”
You cannot claim to have liberty when there exists a group of men, or an entity, that denies the people their individual rights. If you equate liberty to freedom, then it becomes abundantly clear that society cannot be truly happy as long as a system of government exists that believes, or is told by the people it represents, that it needs to limit and restrict the liberty and individual rights of certain segments of society.
I know I harp on this endlessly, but one of the primary reasons this country is in such bad shape is because we cannot, collectively, come to any kind of agreement as to what function government is supposed to serve. The two political parties claim to be polar opposites; each believing that government should serve certain specific functions; yet both support measures that restrict the rights and liberty of the people. The voters fight amongst one another over what government should be doing on their behalf; yet nary a word is said about restoring the rights and liberty their government has deprived them of the ability to enjoy.
|John Adams, Patriot|
That is why it is so critical to understand what function people want government to serve; which is where the Declaration of Independence comes into the picture; it tells us what function it is supposed to serve. I hear all this talk of reforming, or altering our current system of government; yet it is all futile unless people can come to an agreement as to what function government should serve. As John Adams stated, “We ought to consider what is the end of government, before we determine which is the best form.”
As long as it is admitted that the property, rights and liberty of people can be taken if it serves the public good, then government will always be tyrannical, and it will NEVER serve the function outlined in the Declaration of Independence; which is why I refuse to engage in any discussions regarding how to fix our current situation until people accept that the ONLY function government should serve is the preservation of the right to life, property, and liberty of all the people…equally.
People generally accept that the power exercised by their government is derived from them; even though they may believe that their power is confined to specific partisan ideologies; the left/right paradigm. What people won’t accept is that we, either individually or collectively, cannot authorize government to do anything that we, as individuals, cannot do without committing a crime.
John Locke explains that principle in Section 135 of his Second Treatise, “Though the legislative, whether placed in one or more, whether it be always in being, or only by intervals, though it be the supreme power in every commonwealth; yet:
First, It is not, nor can possibly be absolutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of the people: for it being but the joint power of every member of the society given up to that person, or assembly, which is legislator; it can be no more than those persons had in a state of nature before they entered into society, and gave up to the community: for no body can transfer to another more power than he has in himself.”
Prior to that, in Section 124, Locke explains why men enter into civil and political societies; in other words, the function government is supposed to serve, “The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property. To which in the state of nature there are many things wanting.”
When Locke says that there are many things wanting in a state of nature, he means that in a state of nature the ability of the individual to defend that which is rightfully theirs is tenuous, at best. In a state of nature the strong may threaten the weak, the many may threaten the few; so people join together and form governments to better secure that which is rightfully theirs; that which they have the natural right to defend.
In 1772, Samuel Adams spoke of this natural right to defend what rightfully belongs to the individual when he wrote, “Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can–Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature.”
There we have one of the key figures from the Revolutionary War era telling us that it is man’s natural right to defend their life, liberty, and property. Therefore, as individuals, we cannot create a system of government that seeks to deprive the people of that which it is their individual right to protect; it makes no sense and to believe otherwise is a contradiction of beliefs.
A century and a half after Locke wrote his Second Treatise, a Frenchman by the name of Frederic Bastiat explained the same principles when he wrote, “What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”
He then goes on to explain that statement in more detail, “Each of us has a natural right—from God—to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?”
Finally, he explains the purpose for which governments are instituted, “If every person has the right to defend—even by force—his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right—its reason for existing, its lawfulness—is based on individual right.”
However, Bastiat does not stop there, he goes further by saying, “And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force—for the same reason—cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.”
This is why I do not vote, nor do I consent to this system of government. I may not gain my freedom by doing so, but I refuse to participate in selecting people who will then go on to pass laws that further restrict what little freedom I have left. It is also why I refuse to engage in any debate with anyone over how to fix things in this country until they publicly accept that the ONLY function government should serve is the securing of the rights and liberty of each, and every, individual in America.
The dream that was America died in 1789 when the Constitution was ratified and this system of government went into effect. It is a fairy tale, a myth, that this system exists to secure your rights and liberty. It is also a fairy tale that it can be fixed by voting. As Mark Twain so aptly said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”
As long as people continue to support this system; as long as people continue to think that either the Democrats or the Republicans stand for the same principles and beliefs enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, then the people will remain trapped in a prison of their own making. As Ramsey Clark said, rights are those things no one can take from you; but that does not mean they cannot try; and as long as people willingly submit to those who seek to take those rights away, people will never get them back; essentially losing them forever.
I do not know what else I can say, or how to say things differently so I can penetrate through the indoctrination that people have undergone. I feel like I am a broken record, repeating the same things over and over again…to a deaf audience. I am about ready to toss in the towel; to sit back and silently mourn while the country I love sinks deeper into the depths of despotism.
We are near the end folks; it is on the horizon creeping towards us, and most people cannot see it. As George Washington once told his troops, “The time is near at hand which must determine whether Americans are to be free men or slaves.”
The outcome rests in your hands; which will you choose is the million-dollar question…but to quote Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: [email protected].
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told) AND don’t forget to pick up your copy of ROSS: Unmasked – An Angry American Speaks Out – and stay tuned – Neal has a new, greatly expanded book coming soon dealing with the harsh truths about the so-called American Civil War of 1861-1865. Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.
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