The Case for Treason: Has our Government grown Despotic?
(originally posted in July)
We are living in dangerous, uncertain times. The economic collapse deepens each day, wars are raging all around us, terrorism is now a household word in America, flu pandemics are being declared, and under the influence of all of these concerns, government is tightening the bands around our civil liberties in a most permanent way. The question is, "how much is too much?"
This is somewhat of a complex problem. It is my greatest hopes that many of you will read this entire article, and take the time to digest what I put forth here. I believe that it was inevitable that our government become tyrannical. The permission we have given to our politicians has created a class of citizens above ourselves. This has happened quite contrary to the idea that these very citizens now placed above us, who run our country on their own whims and in secrecy from us, were intended to be our servants.
The one protection put into the Constitution to prevent this from fully happening was the Bill of Rights. It is IMPERITIVE that we understand that those first ten amendments were the result of the bickering and outright opposition raised by the anti-federalists during the Constitutional debates in 1788. The anti-federalists argued that there were no provisions that would effectively secure the individual rights of Americans in the original Constitution. The resultant ten amendments outline our precious individual rights, and only in conjunction with each other do those rights prevent government from growing fully despotic. That is why there is major cause for alarm today as we see these civil rights being legislated away in Congress and abused on the streets.
During those debates surrounding the ratification of the Constitution in 1788, many voices were heard in favor of, and opposing this radical new government that would govern the United States. One of the loudest voices of opposition was Patrick Henry. It is not that he was not loyal to America, no, not in the least. In fact, his opposition was based upon his very dedication to liberty and freedom. It was in the designs of our then forming government that Henry seen the makings of despotism. If we take a close look at a few points made by Henry, and compare them to our modern dilemma, we can see not only how correct his concerns were, but how factually prophetic they have become.
Most telling of these speeches was the one made by Patrick Henry on June 5, 1788. He objected to the overreaching authority of the proposed federal government specifically because he feared the abuse of power by our Representatives.
"But we are told that we need not fear, because those in power being our Representatives, will not abuse the powers we put in their hands: I am not well versed in history, but I will submit to your recollection, whether liberty has been destroyed most often by the licentiousness of the people, or by the tyranny of rulers? I imagine, Sir, you will find the balance on the side of tyranny."
Henry could envision the flaws in a Representative democracy based upon the inevitability of men to become corrupt. Do we not see this today? Yes, we certainly do. Our Representatives, many of whom have been in Washington for three or four decades, repeatedly deny our voices any merit. They pass massive bills without even reading them. They alter bills at the last minute before votes. They attach amendments to bills that are completely unrelated, (such as the current unConstitutional Hate Crimes bill being attached to the "must pass" Defense Fund bill for 2010.) They propose, and often pass, bills that fly in complete defiance to the Constitution and Bill of Rights (Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, John Werner Act, and proposed H.R. 45, H.R. 2159, H.R. 2647, Cap and Trade, etc.) The nation's people screamed in opposition to the "bail outs", yet they overwhelmingly passed it, only to benefit certain banks while leaving the rest of us to continue to suffer in worsening conditions.
How does this happen? How can the Bill of Rights guarantee a right to privacy, yet the Patriot Act says you don't have it? How can it guarantee a right to due process, yet the Patriot Act says you don't have that either? How are our rights to privacy, private property, due process, keep and bear arms, free speech, and other rights protected by the Constitution continually under assault by these Representatives?
Patrick Henry was keen to point this problem out over 200 years ago, "However uncharitable it may appear, yet I must tell my opinion, that the most unworthy characters may get into power and prevent the introduction of amendments: Let us suppose (for the case is supposeable, possible, and probable) that you happen to deal these powers to unworthy hands; will they relinquish powers already in their possession, or agree to amendments? Two-thirds of the Congress, or of the State Legislatures, are necessary even to propose amendments: If one-third of these be unworthy men, they may prevent the application for amendments; but what is destructive and mischievous is, that three-fourths of the State Legislature, or of State Conventions, must concur in the amendments when proposed: In such numerous bodies, the must necessarily be some designing bad men: To suppose that so large a number as three-fourths of the States will concur, is to suppose they will possess genius, intelligence, and integrity, approaching to miraculous...It is, Sir, a most fearful situation, when the most contemptible minority can prevent the alteration of the most oppressive Government."
Although today's situation involves the passing of bills, as our government simply does not see the need to amend the Constitution in order to change or override it, Henry's words still ring true. A small contemptible minority are in control, and they do not hear our voices. Even our president now tells us that he will not obey our laws. Obama's signing statement given while signing the recent war funding bill strictly pertained to his ignoring of restrictions put on the executive branch within the bill. He signed the law, as he was telling us he himself would not follow it. Amazing.
When government ceases to listen to us; ceases to give us redress to our grievances, what can we do? The federal government has grown beyond belief. We actually do not even know how big it is! So much of it is now kept secret from the American People, and new bureaucracies are created all the time, expanding the federal while indebting us in taxes to pay for it all.
As Henry put it, "My great objection to this Government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights; or, of waging war against tyrants: It is urged by some Gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength, an army, and the militia of the States: This is an idea extremely ridiculous: Gentlemen cannot be in earnest. This acquisition will trample on your fallen liberty: Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe: Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia is put into the hands of Congress?"
As Henry clearly points out, without a Second Amendment, there is no security for liberty.
Today, many Americans fear the government. They are continually trying to disarm us, and in many ways have succeeded incrementally. Now, especially under the Obama administration, they are criminalizing dissent. The MIAC report of Homeland Security, H.R. 2159, H.R. 2647, and on and on. Anyone who speaks out against government is basically considered a terrorist, including gun owners, tax protesters, Constitutionalists, etc. (I have posted the links to these government documents so many times, if you have any doubts as to the truth to what I am saying, read previous blogs and check the links for yourself.) These fears are well grounded, for many of us know that tyranny is upon us once again in this great nation.
The most chilling of Henry's statements concerning this matter was driven by his sharp understanding of the history of liberty and tyranny,
"The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and have no longer a aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in any nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all? You read of a riot act in a country which is called on of the freest in the world, where a few neighbours cannot assemble with the risk of being shot by a hired soldiery, the engines of despotism. We may see such an act in America. A standing army we shall have also, to execute the execrable commands of tyranny: And how are you to punish them? Will you order them to be punished? Who shall obey these orders? Will your Mace-bearer be a match for a disciplined regiment? In what situation are we to be?
The clause before you gives a power of direct taxation, unbounded and unlimited: Exclusive power of Legislation in all cases whatsoever, to ten miles square; and over all places purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, etc. What resistance could be made? The attempt would be madness. You will find all the strength of this country in the hands of your enemies: Those garrisons will naturally be the strongest places in the country. Your militia is given up to Congress also in another part of this plan: They will therefore act as they think proper: All power will be in their own possession: You cannot force them to receive their punishment: Of what service would militia be to you, when most probably you will not have a single musket in the State; for as arms are to be provided by Congress, they may or may not furnish them.
Let me here call your attention to that part which gives the Congress power, "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia, according to the discipline prescribed by Congress." By this, Sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence, is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless.[auth. note: today they have criminalized our militia]: The States can do neither, this power being exclusively given to Congress; The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed, is ridiculous; So that this pretended little remains of power left to the States, may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory.
Our situation will be deplorable indeed: Nor can we ever expect to get this government amended, since I have already shewn, that a very small minority may prevent it; and that small minority interested in the continuance of the oppression: Will the oppressor let go of the oppressed? Was there ever an instance? Can the annals of mankind exhibit one single example, where rulers overcharged with power, willingly let go the oppressed, though solicited and requested most earnestly?"
Now is the time for each one of us to sit down, and quietly ask ourselves, what is really happening here? With this new administration building upon the Patriot Act type of legislation set before it, we are in big trouble. We now have a "no-fly" list with over a million names on it of Americans who are not allowed to move about freely, though they have not been charged with a crime and given due process of law. We have a president talking about "preventative detention", which is indefinite imprisonment without any due process or representation. We have a chief of staff, Emanuel, talking about a mandatory, forced civilian service for all Americans beginning in middle school, and who is also pushing for those million plus Americans stripped of their mobility to be stripped of their Second Amendment rights without due process as well.
Right now, this month, we have foreign troops in the U.S. participating in FEMA's martial law exercise NLE 09 (don't believe it? google it: NLE 09). That means, under martial law, you could have foreign troops in your living room barking orders at your family in broken English.
It is actually dangerous to be outspoken about tyranny now. Dissent is criminalized. Militia activity is demonized and criminalized. Is Patrick Henry's vision of an America where neighbors could not assemble without risk of being shot by hired soldiery becoming a reality?
If we do not heed these warnings, the very arguments that gave birth to our Bill of Rights, we shall surely perish as subjects, not a free people. These rights have been infringed, and are under continuous assault RIGHT NOW!
STAND UP AND SHOUT "NO, WE WILL NOT ALLOW OUR CIVIL RIGHTS TO BE TAKEN AWAY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!"
Its time to Fire Washington, and put some people on that hill that know what being American is all about.
"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. "