Freedom is never free.....

"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds."-Samuel Adams

Political Frivolity (maybe)


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The New (Old) Declaration of Independence

"But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution."

--John Adams, letter to H. Niles, 13 February 1818

The American Revolution was as much a state of mind as it was a military conflict. This revolutionary attitude was conveyed quite succinctly in The Declaration of Independence as grievances against the Crown were addressed. The authors were quite clear and left nothing to chance as this historic document was written. With a few subtle edits, this document could be sent to Washington today, and be as relevant as it was 233 years ago. What if......?

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

“Political bonds” should read “political bondage”. As our Federal system decides, by executive authority to seize private entities on the basis of “Recovery”, we climb higher and higher on the slippery slope.

“....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 to 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.”

I’ll keep this portion verbatim. The right of each sovereign state to determine its own destiny is all but gone.

“He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.”

The Supreme Court has morphed into the last word as an extension of the Oval Office. The Court is nothing more than an expediter of political agendas as opposed to an unbiased interpreter of the U.S. Constitution. This body will continue to siphon away the rights and guarantees as succinctly outlined in the aforementioned document.

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...”

Just look at your phone bill, or cable bill, or liquor, cigarettes, gasoline, electricity, pay stub, etc. “Our consent” falls into the hands of our elected officials, which, in theory, are the basis of a “Republic”. The Founders didn’t count on lobbyists to line the pockets of our congressional representatives.

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments...”

This is a big one. The very basis and foundation of our form of government has been usurped by power and greed, with very little emphasis on what is best for the masses. While on the surface, our system functions in its original form, but we must only have to scratch the surface to reveal the cancerous underbelly of the system which doesn’t reflect the original intentions of the Founders.

“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

Substitute “Indian savages” with “ACORN”.

“A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Our current resident of the White House, who has been referred to as “The Messiah”, has no business sitting in the chair that oversees the free world, because tyrants and egomaniacs care nothing about freedom, and free people get in the way of personal agendas (see Supreme Court).

“We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

I’ll keep the “United States of America”. This great moniker has been replaced by the “United Socialist States of America” (see the Late, Great U.S.S.A. posted below). We’ll replace “British Crown” and “Great Britain” with “U.S.S.A.” I’ll keep the balance of the above summary as is.

Article I, Section 10 would consider this an act of treason, unless each state acted independently, for Section 10 forbids any alliance or confederation between states. We’ll take our chances. The system is broken, and one little act of perceived treason shouldn’t keep us awake at night. After all, Jefferson Davis and his associates got a pass after the War Between the States.

Not to digress, but the fact that is has been done before, and despite the 700,000 or so deaths recorded during this conflict does little to assure me that it couldn’t happen again. This would be the worst of all scenarios, because war as a tool for conflict resolution really has not worked since WWII.

There are those who believe the issue of states rights became a dead issue after of the U.S. Civil War. While the abolition of slavery was absolutely the right and moral thing to do, the whole concept of state sovereignty was only hidden from public view.

As the libertarian philosophy experiences increased exposure, the ranks of the Democratic Party and the GOP have dropped. “Independents” comprise a larger portion of the voting populace than either of the two main parties. Let’s take that enormous body of “undecideds”, give them a bonafide and qualified reason to support a new/old political philosophy which is all about personal freedom through personal responsibility so I don’t have to send the edited version of the Declaration. We, as a body, can declare our Independence through the ballot box. Last time, we got what we asked for. There is still time to take it back.

‘What if politicians were all good guys
Oh Lord don’t we wish they were
We would not be so dependent
On courts of laws that make us all feel like defendants sometimes
If we want freedom we’ve got to amend it
On our way down
There’s nobody left to crown”.

-Richie Havens from Nobody Left to Crown

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Christian Nation? Uh, No.

"In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution." --Alexander Hamilton
"If you cannot control the heart, you cannot control behavior...Religion deals with the heart."-Thomas Jefferson

To put in proper context, Messrs. Hamilton and Jefferson were referring to what may be described as dangerous “ideologies”, generated by emotion and passion that would be detrimental to the formation, evolution, and preservation of a republic. The Church of England was formed for the sole purpose of allowing divorce, as opposed to Catholicism, which forbade it. Martin Luther, through the Edict of Worms, suggested that there was a better way to practice faith than what the Pope had to offer. What followed became known as the “dark ages”, and for good reason.

To put a number on deaths attributed to religious conflicts is difficult at best, but up to and including the end of the 18th century, it is estimated that nearly 24,000,000 deaths were a direct result from ideological differences with respect to faith. This includes the (10) Crusades, The Thirty Years War, the French Wars of Religion, etc. I use the European conflicts because I believe the founders used this history as a basis for the U.S. Constitution.

The common thread, whether it be “divine approval” to slaughter as many Muslims as possible during the Crusades, or making a date with 72 virgins through Islamic martyrdom, is religious fanaticism, or “my God is better than your God”. As Mr. Hamilton alluded to in his writings; this doesn’t work. Converts are not generally made “by fire and sword”. Religious doctrine tends to make widows and orphans, and at the end of the day, “my God is STILL better than your God”.
Genocide is certainly not limited to religion. World War II produced anywhere from 40-70 million deaths, mostly due to differences in geographical boundaries and ethnic hatred. Add Cambodia, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Amin’s Uganda, Rwanda, Vietnam, et al, and the number rise into the 100+ million range.

(More on that at another time.) The history of martyrdom reaches around the globe, but the focus will be on European history, because that is primarily the piece of history that the founders were interested in.

The Catholic Church, during the thousand years or so prior to the birth of our nation, controlled Europe with an iron fist. The church controlled the land, the money, dictated state policy, and provided the Crusaders with “divine protection” during the march to annihilate the Islamic warriors. This was the main goal, but as a sidebar, the crusaders did their best to persecute and slaughter pagan Slavs, Jews, Russian and Greek Orthodox Christians, Mongols, Cathars, Hussites, Waldensians, Old Prussians, and political enemies of the popes. Crusaders were granted “divine immunity” for “past discretion’s”. History remains divided on whether or not this was a “noble” cause, or simply one of aggression and barbarism. This author believes the latter.

The Thirty Years War was largely fought in the Germanic states, and was, for the most part, a battle between Catholics and Protestants. Nearly 30% of the Germanic population was lost, and 50% of the male population. The region was devastated, and, as a result the region was carved up into political and religious states.

The founders took note. The Church of England was oppressive and prejudicial, outlawing virtually any faith outside of the Church of England. The New World, long before the U.S. Constitution, became of refuge for Jews, Huguenots, and any other faith that was being persecuted in the Old Country.

As the First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Pretty clear, and for good reason. The founders envisioned a country free from the religious conflict that paralyzed Europe and others for the better part of a thousand years. While the founders were largely men of faith, (the debate continues whether or not they were Deists), and used the phrases “The Creator”, and “God Almighty”. Nowhere within the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, or the Federalist Papers is there a mention of Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, the Hindu Gods, Moses, Martin Luther, or Jim Jones. As painful as this may sound to Christians, The United States of America is NOT a Christian nation. That our country was founded on “Judeo-Christian” values will be debated forever. But what should not be controversial is the notion that the usage of “God” in founding documents, currency, government buildings, etc., is one based on cultural values taken from the Old Testament, and was not intended to be perceived as theological in nature. This, taken with hundreds of years of English Common Law, the historical nature of religious conflicts, and the concept of personal freedom and self-government was what inspired these great men to establish a secular government, leaving the masses to worship as they pleased. To refer to the USA as a “Christian nation” is at least revisionist, and at best a slap in the collective faces of Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and company.

I offer no apologies to the religious right, for they are the one group that would take the very basis of the U.S. Constitution, twist it and distort it for political influence and accentuate agenda items that have nothing to do with politics and the Federal government. Abortion and gay marriage come to mind when I think of the religious right. These are just two of many, many issues that should be, must be handled at the state level.

Faith and Religion are two, entirely different matters. Faith was a personal feeling the founders understood. Religion was a cancer that has caused the deaths of countless millions. The founders knew this to be true.

On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind." --- Thomas Jefferson 1816

A person’s faith is their own. A person’s lack of faith is also their own. There is not a place in public life for religion. There is room for faith, not religion. As long as we bang our drums and exploit religious issues in political arena, we will stagnate and quite possibly regress as a nation. I think we have begun that dark journey. The Libertarians understand that. Students of history that have their eyes open understand that. We, as a nation, have to understand that. Worship as you please, but allow others not to. The founders would be proud.