Liberty was in the thoughts of many American colonials, probably often combined with an assumption that liberty was somehow compatible with the presence of a political government. But there were also many who wanted real liberty, with no national government to compromise it. Things did not turn out that way. Certainly by the standards of classical liberals, the actions that led to the formation of the American governments were done without the consent of the governed. Liberty was an ideal with many people, but with few among those who gained office. Liberty was not their objective. They were creating a government that would encompass the colonies as a national government. Their discussions typically revolved about the extent of that government's authority, not its existence. But they had in fact not been given a mandate by all of the colonials, not even by all of the land-owning white males of the colonies. The First Continental Congress convened in September 1774. Its members came from often informal appointments made without ratification or colony-wide voting. Some representatives were appointed by colonial state legislatures, while others were by informal groups that came together on their own cognizance without legal authority, selected representatives from their group, and sent them off to the congress. This amounts to usurpation of office and political power. This congress did little in the way of action, but just its existence set a precedent that was to have a major effect on the development of America . The shots heard around the world were fired in Lexington and Concord in April 1775 by British soldiers and American militia men, in a modest beginning to the war that followed. The Second Continental Congress first convened in May 1775 with deputies from 12 colonies, still a quite period in the nascent war with Britain . This congress was made up mostly of the same individuals who were in the First Continental Congress, so there was not a major change of philosophy between the two congresses. This congress assumed the functions of a national government without explicit legal authority to do so — and without the consent of the people who were subjected to it. If consent had been sought, we can be sure that only land-owning white males would have been consulted. But even that was not the case. The assembly began drafting the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence in June 1776. The Declaration of Independence was approved by this congress in July, and signed in August. It contains the phrase "deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed." This is a wonderful-sounding, highly principled but false phrase since neither the congress nor the declaration were consented to by the governed. Throughout the whole process of forming the federal government, nearly everything that happened was between state assemblymen and their representatives sent to the congress. Except for some of the land-owning, white male adults, the governed (males, females, children, whites, blacks, natives, land owners, non-land owners, etc.) were not allowed to select congressional representatives and were allowed no opportunity to consent to either the congress or the declaration. Since the governed did not consent, there were no just powers handed to the delegates. George Washington was appointed head of the army by this congress, which also took upon itself the right to issue currency and debt instruments, among other authorities. This congress continued meeting throughout the war and afterward. The Second Continental Congress, to strengthen itself, prepared the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union in 1777 and sent it to the state (colonial) governments for ratification, which was completed in 1781. The assembly was then renamed the Congress of the Confederation. This congress had no authority to impose taxes, a deliberate limitation from the colonial states. An influential faction called the Federalists, including Washington , pushed for a strong federal government able to impose taxes instead of a confederation. The war ended in 1783 and, with that, the British claims over the colonies. The interregnum: Five years of freedom? Or just time in which to get organized? For the five years of the interregnum, those Americans enjoyed more freedom than any other Americans have. Many, especially those on the western frontier, experienced no government involvement in their lives. But government officials were not sitting still. States' representatives met in Philadelphia in 1787 (the Philadelphia Convention) to discuss ways to improve the Articles of Confederation. They were only authorized to amend the Articles, but the representatives held secret, closed door sessions and wrote a new constitution that created a strong federal government essentially identical in form with the British State . Once again, they took actions for which they had no legal authority, nor consent from those to be governed. Washington presided over the drafting of the Constitution. The Constitution was sent to the state assemblies for their ratification. Adoption of the Constitution was not subject to approval by the governed, the people themselves. The Anti-Federalists, including Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and George Mason, opposed adoption of the Constitution because of its broad powers for the federal government, foreseeing an inevitable massive growth of the government and loss of individual liberty. In the end, the only real concession to the Anti-Federalists was the adoption of the Bill of Rights. The Constitution of the United States was placed in effect in June 1788 with the ninth ratification, ending the interregnum. Congress had made itself legal by its own actions with the approval of state assemblies, and now had authority to impose taxes. The usurpation was complete. The governed, of course, were never asked to consent to the Constitution. The first three presidents had been leaders in the movement for sovereignty, as were many of the people appointed to other federal offices. Washington became president in 1789. Alexander Hamilton, with Washington 's approval, induced Congress to enact the alcohol and carriages tax of 1791 to strengthen the federal government, which led to the Whisky Rebellion of 1794. Washington commanded the army assembled to end the rebellion, which was nearly the size of the army he led against the British, but now he led it against Americans. This was the first use of an American army against American citizens under the Constitution. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, signed into law by Washington , made assisting an escaped slave a federal crime, overruled all state and local laws giving escaped slaves sanctuary, and allowed slavecatchers into every US state and territory. The act denied constitutional rights to both slaves and freemen who were formerly slaves. Washington held over 300 slaves at Mount Vernon . John Adams enacted a set of sedition laws that were beyond his authority, outside the Constitution, and in blatant conflict with the First Amendment. Criticism arose on the grounds that he exceeded his authority and violated the Constitution. The laws expired upon his leaving office at the end of his term, but his actions might have encouraged some later presidents to enact their sedition laws, notably those of Woodrow Wilson. Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase , which others argued, and he himself acknowledged, was outside his Constitutional authority. Technically, the purchase was of sovereignty over the land and its peoples. An issue of the purchase that receives little attention is that of the forced citizenship. The French people in Louisiana were French in both culture and citizenship. Many of them did not want to be American citizens, but that was forced upon them. At the completion of the purchase, American warships were promptly sent to New Orleans , which left no doubt in the minds of the locals about their new citizenship. Those French people had been purchased along with the land as though they were serfs. A similar situation existed for Native Americans. Consent of the governed failed once again. Jefferson established a blockade in 1807 under which American vessels were prohibited from landing in any foreign port unless specifically authorized by the president. As a result, New England suffered an economic depression with high unemployment. Government agents acted against citizens in enforcing the embargo. Businesses were destroyed and many people suffered loss of income, and even outright poverty as a result. Those affected by the blockade, and the citizens in general, did not consent to this action. Consent of the governed failed yet again. At one time, Adams wanted the presidency to be hereditary. Hamilton wanted senators to be appointed for life. Under their preferences, even the few Americans allowed to vote would not be allowed to vote in these cases. Whatever grandiloquent words these three presidents issued on the subject of liberty, their actions show beyond doubt that their interests were with a strong, sovereign federal government, and that the lives of citizens should be compromised in support of the interests of that government. The State existed, and was furthered by all three of these men. Two of the three went outside of the Constitution in their zeal, and, in doing so, they set a precedent for subsequent ambitious presidents. Not only does the Constitution enable a strong national government, but right at the beginning ambitious presidents showed that they could override what limits there are in the Constitution. Thomas Paine held true to his principles. He wrote a series of eight letters, Letters to the Citizens of the United States and Particularly to the Leaders of the Federal Faction, in1802 and 1803. In the letters, he showed how people in the federal government were compromising the ideals held by Americans who supported the war thinking they were thereby supporting freedom. He wrote, “...the principles of the Revolution were expiring on the soil that produced them. ... The plan of the leaders of the [federal] faction was to overthrow the liberties of the New World , and place government on the corrupt system of the Old.” The assertion that Americans gained their freedom through the War for Independence (War for Sovereignty) is a myth, one that is highly useful to the federal State. The assertion that Americans have remained free is one of the bigger frauds in history. A pick-and-choose historical survey is not good history, but the intent here is to puncture some myths and to illuminate some inconvenient truths. The phrase consent of the governed exists only on paper, and has not been honored in practice. Usurpation of political power has been the guiding principle of the governing.Source: Strike at the Root
"In a Democracy there is no right not to be offended. Anyone ought to be free to say whatever they like. If someone says things that are offensive, gratuitous and stupid, one has to assume there will be others able to demonstrate that what someone said was offensive, gratuitous and stupid."
"The holocaust is an ideological club, used to hold Germany in a vice like grip. In the early nineties these organisations discovered an opportunity to shake down European Governments and now they have run amok. They are pursuing blackmail and therefore they should be indicted and tried as criminals before the courts."
"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all. "
Below are links to various petitions we support. If you see one that interests you then please take action.
Make Congress Read Their Bills Before Voting
Make Congress read every word of every bill they create before they vote on it. Urge your Representative and your Senators to sponsor DownsizeDC.org's “Read the Bills Act” (RTBA).
TWIC - A Backdoor Real ID Card
Real ID is dying. But the Department of Homeland Security has a new plan to subject every American to a national ID card anyway. They plan to pick off one occupational field at a time, starting with the maritime industry. One man is fighting back. Meet him, and help stop this backdoor Real ID plan.
Make Congress pass DownsizeDC.org's “One Subject at a Time Act”
Most Americans probably believe a bill has to have majority support in Congress before it can become the law of the land. Sadly, this common sense expectation is totally wrong. Congressional leaders routinely pass laws that a majority opposes. DownsizeDC.org believes every bill should have to stand or fall on its own merits. Toward this end we have crafted the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA).
End Bureaucratic "Legislation without Representation" with the "Write the Laws Act"
Unelected bureaucrats create tens-of-thousands of new dictates each year. Making rules is the job of Congress, not bureaucrats. DownsizeDC.org has drafted the “Write the Laws Act” to end bureaucratic “legislation without representation."
Bring John Shadegg's 'Enumerated Powers Act' to a Vote
t's time for Congress to, "Cite it, chapter and verse." Where do they derive their authority? When they pass new laws or spend taxpayer money, they should be required to point to specific language in the Constitution. The Enumerated Powers Act would require them to do precisely that. Help us bring this bill to a vote.
Top 11 Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws
Unless we resist now, a thought crimes bureaucracy like those regulating Australia, Canada and Europe will soon rule America. In these nations, federal hate laws have destroyed citizens' rights to free speech. Punishment of politically incorrect bias is the ultimate goal of this legislation.
A national hate law would shatter Americans' First Amendment rights, which are now sadly unique among Western democracies. We would lose our precious freedom to express politically incorrect ideas, moral judgments, or whatever personal convictions the reigning thought police deem "hateful."
Think this can't happen in America? Think again.
Hostile work environment law and campus speech bans already severely curtail free expression in American workplaces and universities. A US federal hate law would follow the examples of Europe, Canada, and Australia where Christian pastors have been indicted simply for quoting politically incorrect Scripture in their sermons. Iceland's Orwellian hate law, for example, promises two years' jail if you verbally "insult" a person on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
If a federal hate law were passed, free expression across the political spectrum would be threatened. What would happen to blasphemous art like Piss Christ or South Park, to Ann Coulter or Al Franken, to Christians protesting sodomy or homosexuals attacking the Bible? Every American, from left-leaning feminists to red state Republicans, should protest "anti-hate" legislation. If Rosie O'Donnell were an Icelander, she could have been prosecuted for verbal "assault" for her recent statement that radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. Political activists in nations with hate laws have already been indicted for criticizing Islam, Zionism, and homosexuality. Hate laws threaten your freedom to speak your mind, no matter what's on it.
Here are some of the most powerful, bipartisan reasons to fight this legislation.
1. Speech bans are a political weapon used by those in power to silence their opponents and politically unpopular minorities.
Hate laws empower the government to enforce the orthodoxy of whoever happens to be in charge. The government can define which biases or "hatreds" are unacceptable and which are okay. For instance, hate laws in our PC age allow women to derogate men but would silence men from legitimate (though possibly hurtful) speech like a discussion of biological gender differences.
In 2004 Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel wrote a hate-filled screed published in a major daily. Her article describes white men as arrogant, sex-obsessed and exploitative, explaining that Rytel just wants to "puke" on them. Stockholm authorities refused to indict Rytel under their hate law, saying it was passed to protect ethnic minorities, not white Swedes. This is one example of speech bans' uneven enforcement; they are used to punish certain kinds of hate and allow others.
Because almost every exercise of free speech offends someone, government officials would end up enforcing speech bans on the basis of their own bias. Speech bans simply can't be evenhanded unless everyone is shut up altogether.
In the real world, speech can and does wound. That's a cost of life. We naturally resent painful realities like economic competition, unfair comments, and hard work. But in each case, the cures we've tried were far worse than the sickness. Speech bans might censor some hurtful speech but would empower government to silence minorities and strip the intellectual marketplace of legitimate and needed expression-the kind that creates positive, social change precisely because it is minority and challenges the sins of the group.
2. Hate speech bans don't work.
Genuine racism and false hatreds exist in this world. Bans on hate speech, however, won't solve the problem. If you only break off a tick's body, its head will burrow deep beneath the skin. The only effective response to bad ideas is the truth. We should combat falsehoods with more and freer discussion, not less.
3. Hate laws aren't necessary.
ADL claims an epidemic of hate sweeps America that can only be fought with stiffened penalties for bias-driven crimes. Yet the FBI's 2005 Uniform Crime Report shows alleged hate crimes form a tiny 1/15 of 1 percent of all crime in America. Law enforcers' time would be far better spent fighting the 99.85 percent of crime that's happening every minute across our nation rather than getting entangled in discerning and testifying against the perceived motivations of a tiny minority of criminals.
Hate laws would require vast government bureaucracies, complicate law enforcement, and distract police and prosecutors from dealing with actual physical crimes. Government and law enforcement should focus on criminal acts, not words or motivations, in a nation where someone is murdered every 22 minutes, raped every 5, robbed every 49 seconds and burgled every 10 seconds. Discerning and prosecuting criminal motivations would only be a good plan if law enforcers had God's omniscience and time to waste. Ours have neither.
4. Hate speech bans are unconstitutional.
Because the First Amendment underwrites our most precious civil liberty, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against speech bans. In 1972 the Court declared, "[A]bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its contents." (Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92)
Some forms of speech are restricted; these include threats and "fighting words" that incite "an immediate breach of peace." But these restrictions are (and must remain) extremely narrow and content-neutral-the government is not allowed to censor speech based on the viewpoint it expresses but only on whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Hate laws, however, would punish the viewpoints expressed in speech, in violation of the Constitution.
International use of ADL-designed hate laws shows that the first kinds of speech to be sanctioned are extreme right, white nationalist speech and Holocaust reductionism. The average person is slow to defend such speech. But hate laws quickly broaden to punish forms of expression the average citizen would never dream of stifling. Sweden's 2002 modified hate law, for example, explicitly exposes Christian sermons to prosecution!
All forms of controversial political and religious speech are potentially vulnerable to prosecution under hate laws. This contradicts Supreme Court Justice Holmes Jr. who said in 1929, "[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment [loyal defense] than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate."
5. Speech bans will be used against the very minorities they were meant to protect.
Speech bans silence some to protect the feelings of others. But when the government has power to silence expression that power can be wielded against the very people who once enjoyed its protection. Liberals, the champions of unrestrained speech in the 1960s, now vote as a bloc in Congress to support speech restrictions. Yet already in countries such as Canada, England and Australia, leftist critics of Islam have become the victims of hate laws, indicted for religious "hate speech."
Leftist artists Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie realize hate laws don't just threaten white nationalists like David Duke but liberals as well- they recently fought for revision of Britain's hate law because it could be used to outlaw art that blasphemes or criticizes religion. Atkinson and Rushdie are just a few of hate laws' leftist critics who know that persons of all political persuasions have a stake in defeating this legislation.
6. Speech bans chill legitimate and valuable speech.
Under the threat of possible indictment, many people will refrain from discussing controversial but important ideas. Speech bans are often broad and vague, leaving citizens unsure what might get them hauled into court.
This is what has happened in American workplaces, where hostile work environment law has left many employees unsure what they can say. Many Americans avoid all controversial speech and voluntarily refrain from exercising First Amendment rights at work. Hate laws would extend this dangerous minefield to the national political scene.
Legal philosopher Edmond Cahn points out that speech bans would leave our bookshelves empty. "[T]he officials could begin by prosecuting anyone who distributes the Christian gospels, because they contain many defamatory statements not only about Jews but also about ChristiansThen the officials could ban Greek literature for calling the rest of the world "barbarians." Roman authors could be suppressed because when they were not defaming the Gallic and Teutonic tribes, they were disparaging the ItaliansThen there is Shakespeare, who openly affronts the French, the Welsh, the Danes" (Beyond the Burning Cross, E. Cleary, Random House, 1994)
7. Speech bans greatly reduce the possibility of healthy, democratic change.
Criminalizing speech that expresses "hate" or "bias" would require us to outlaw history's most valuable speech, especially the political and religious speech that threatens social stasis and ignites progress.
Aggressive speech is often the only tool available to political, social, or religious minorities whose access to government lobbying and mass media is limited. Those agitating for social change often need to use inflammatory and even "hateful" language to startle the public into hearing their message. Socrates compared himself to a horsefly biting the lazy flanks of his republic. We should certainly know enough by now to prefer the annoyance of stinging speech (even when we don't see its value) to a tyrannical majority that plods, unchallenged, toward slavery.
Americans are so used to our mudslinging, no-holds-barred political discourse that we find it hard to envision the way freedom of speech could disappear. But the freedom we enjoy is extremely rare in history, and quickly lost. Free expression for intellectuals is the first thing to go when tyrants rise to power; the history of oppressive regimes makes it clear that freedom of political speech is a delicate exception and the overarching tendency is for majorities or elites to get power and silence all opposition.
8. The government's interest in reducing violent crime does not outweigh our interest in preserving civil liberty.
Hate law advocates including the ADL argue that hateful speech incites violence, and appeal to the government's interest in reducing violent crime. But it would be unfair to ban, for instance, white racist speech or Christian sermons against homosexuality without also banning the plethora of other speech that might incite crime. Gangsta rap and videogames would be open to censure; we would also have to ban pornography, especially sadomasochistic porn, which certainly inspires violence against women.
Yet bans against these kinds of speech have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional. The government has an interest in lowering violent crime of all stripes but has always found the value of the First Amendment to be greater. It's unjust to argue that a few kinds of speech must be banned because they possibly incite violence (e.g., criticism of Jewish actions or homosexuality) yet permit huge categories of speech (violent sexual entertainment) that do the same. This would happen, however, under hate laws' unequal and partial enforcement. The ADL is not truly driven by the desire to reduce violent crime but rather to enforce a social and political orthodoxy.
Instead of passing a hate law that would shatter the First Amendment and impossibly complicate law enforcement, people concerned with hate-driven crimes should focus on improving our existing justice system and making sure hard crimes don't go unpunished.
9. Speech bans are offensively paternalistic.
They presume we can't think for ourselves, reject racist or hateful ideas for ourselves, or deal with the hurt caused by others' free expression. Are we such children that we need the government to cover our ears? Speech bans especially condescend toward the minorities they portray as helpless victims whose feelings must be sheltered from ideas they can't combat in a free intellectual market.
10. Speech bans permit government to do something an individual could not morally do.
Frederic Bastiat's classic treatise on The Law says government exists only to prevent injustice by defending our basic rights to person, liberty, and property. Government does not exist to guarantee our economic outcomes, redistribute our wealth, or protect our psyches. Speech bans would empower government to silence individuals by force. This is immoral whether it's one person silencing another person or the government silencing a fringe group of dissenters. Human fallibility requires at least enough humility to allow others to question, challenge, and dissent from our ideas. John Stuart Mill explains, "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
11. Speech bans deny self-determination and individual freedom by criminalizing self-expression.
By censoring speech, hate laws censor thought and restrict our access to ideas. This is the essence of mind control. They deny the personal growth that comes from sharing ideas-including hateful, prejudiced, or false ideas-and having them challenged in a free intellectual marketplace.
Hate law speech bans have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional and would rend the very foundation of our freedom and democracy. Far from combating hate, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is actually the most hateful and enslaving legislation to ever reach Congress; it would invade states' rights in law enforcement, enabling a hate crimes bureaucracy to police our thoughts and expression. Government could censor by force all speech that dissents from the reigning orthodoxy. Every American must speak up now in defense of the freedom for which our forefathers gave their very lives.
Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one's discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments - and even human rights groups - all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.
Make your voice heard today or it will be silenced tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government. . . lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Edward R. Murrow
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
"“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
"You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. "