All this secession talk is making me giddy. I think it is mostly symbolic but does indicate the dissatisfaction that many Americans feel with the current state of governance and how similar that feeling is to the sentiments that led to the very founding of our country.
Time for some lazy re-posts because what we are going through today is really nothing new.
From February 13th of this year:
Note: Worry not, dear readers – this is not a Rule 5 post featuring fat, naked men. There is a point, I promise. Please stick with it all the way through.
As I have stated in prior posts, I have been re-reading with new eyes the writings of Locke, Montesquieu and de Tocqueville (in depth) as a companion to Mark Levin’s book, Ameritopia. It is taking a while to get through Levin’s book, not because it is hard to read, but because when Levin makes a point with the writings of one of these men, I stop and research those writings in greater depth to gain a better understanding. His book is a strong work of scholarship in its own right but it really is a Cliff Notes of liberty, bringing together ideas from these men to show how they were used to knit together the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and ultimately to form our country.
Some think Locke inaccessible due to the period language so before we get to him, let’s propose a hypothetical that has relevance to both Locke’s works and today’s challenges. We are going to attempt to bring old John forward a few hundred years or so.
Let’s say that you are a member of a charity or philanthropic organization, the purpose of which is to provide an environment where the members can pursue their artistic ambitions without restriction. In this organization:
- You fully support the mission of the organization as defined in the written charter that you helped draft.
- You contribute your time and money to work in the organization.
- Due to the time constraints on you and the other members, you vote for and appoint a committee and a leader to take the responsibility for running the day to day.
- The expressed goal of the leadership is to manage according to the charter.
What would you do if the following situations occurred?
- After taking office, the committee and leader decided that they wanted to support a nudist colony that has nothing to do with art and would be outside the activities allowed by the charter, yet the committee gave full membership to the Nudists and decreed that you must sit between two fat, naked men at all the meetings. When you say that you are uncomfortable with that, the committee asks you why you hate naked people, you bigot…
- The committee decides that since the Nudists aren’t artists, the artists either have to draw sketches for them or stop sketching altogether. We don’t want the Nudists to feel bad because they can’t draw, now do we? We want to be inclusive in our diversity, don’t we, you bigots?
- At the next meeting, the committee catered dinner without a vote, invited all the members – including the Nudists, and the leader handed you the bill after dinner. You object? Why do you hate the hungry people? Bigot.
- You stood in stunned silence as the Nudists filled up take-away boxes of food to take with them. Again – bigot.
- The committee demanded more in contributions from you and didn’t’ do that from the members who supported the Nudist colony. They threatened to sue you if you didn’t come across with more money. You are the 1%, you selfish bigot.
- The money collected from contributions wasn’t enough to support both artists and nudists, so the leader and committee ran down to the local bank and floated a loan based on nothing but the cash flow generated by your contributions. Pay your fair share and, oh, yeah – you are a bigot. Did I mention that?
- At the next meeting the leader announces that the organization just took a 40 year lease on an office building downtown because each committee member just hired a staff and the current free space at the community center wasn’t big enough anymore – and they signed the lease in your name. It is your fault for electing us, you bigot – besides, you have more money than you need anyway – you are the 1%, remember?
Since the committee is clearly operating outside what you and the other members authorized it to do in the charter, would you not try to get support to fire the leader and dissolve the committee?
Or would you just start a blog and support Mitt Romney?
Seriously, though – what would you do? Be honest. I may be talking out of school here but I think most people would resent that they were put on the hook for things that they don’t support, didn’t have a say in and never voted for…never mind having to sit next to fat, naked men at the meetings.
In previous posts, I have begun to build the case that we not only have the right as citizens to dissolve our government, it is our duty to do so when it becomes destructive to our natural rights. No, Secretary Napolitano, if you are monitoring this blog for anti-government sentiment, I am not proposing an armed insurrection – but I am advising our readers of their duty.
In yet another remarkable feature of the establishment of this country, the Founders anticipated this situation occurring, even in the constrained system that they envisioned – because they understood the words of John Locke and others about the behaviors of men and the nature of governments that they establish, and I quote:
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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
The Founders took the aforementioned segment of the Declaration of Independence from the ideals enumerated by Locke in Chapter 19, Section 222 of the Second Treatise:
222. The Reason why Men enter into Society, is the preservation of their Property; and the end why they chuse and authorize a Legislative, is, that there may be Laws made, and Rules set as Guards and Fences to the Properties of all the Members of the Society, to limit the Power, and moderate the Dominion of every Part and Member of the Society. For since it can never be supposed to be the Will of the Society, that the Legislative should have a Power to destroy that, which every one designs to secure, by entering into Society, and for which the People submitted themselves to the Legislators of their own making; whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge, which God hath provided for all Men, against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society. What I have said here, concerning the Legislative, in general, holds true also concerning the supreame Executor, who having a double trust put in him, both to have a part in the Legislative, and the supreme Execution of the Law, Acts against both, when he goes about to set up his own Arbitrary Will, as the Law of the Society. He acts also contrary to his Trust, when he either imploys the Force, Treasure, and Offices of the Society, to corrupt the Representatives, and gain them to his purposes: or openly preingages the Electors, and prescribes to their choice, such, whom he has by Sollicitations, Threats, Promises, or otherwise won to his designs; and imploys them to bring in such, who have promised before-hand, what to Vote, and what to Enact. Thus to regulate Candidates and Electors, and new model the ways of Election, what is it but to cut up the Government by the Roots, and poison the very Fountain of publick Security? For the People having reserved to themselves the Choice of their Representatives, as the Fence to their Properties, could do it for no other end, but that they might always be freely chosen, and so chosen, freely act and advise, as the necessity of the Commonwealth, and the publick Good should, upon examination, and mature debate, be judged to require. This, those who give their Votes before they hear the Debate, and have weighed the Reasons on all sides, are not capable of doing. To prepare such an Assembly as this, and endeavour to set up the declared Abettors of his own Will, for the true Representatives of the People, and the Law-makers of the Society, is certainly as great a breach of trust, and as perfect a Declaration of a design to subvert the Government, as is possible to be met with. To which, if one shall add Rewards and Punishments visibly imploy’d to the same end, and all the Arts of perverted Law made use of, to take off and destroy all that stand in the way of such a design, and will not comply and consent to betray the Liberties of their Country, ’twill be past doubt what is doing. What Power they ought to have in the Society, who thus imploy it contrary to the trust went along with it in its first Institution, is easie to determine; and one cannot but see, that he, who has once attempted any such thing as this, cannot any longer be trusted.
I am absolutely fascinated by the writings of John Locke. He wrote his Second Treatise of Civil Government in 1690, 86 years before the writing of the Declaration.
Read it. You owe it to yourself and your children to understand where our freedoms and liberty come from. Only then can you accept the duties demanded of free men (and women – I use “men” as a non-gender specific tag for all of us)…or you can do nothing and keep sitting next to fat, naked men.