by Timothy Baldwin
Our Constitution is dead. Rigor mortis set in a long time ago. Peculiar enough, many Americans who claim to love our constitution believe it is alive and well with hot red blood running through its vein. Plainly put: they are naïve, deceived or ignorant. Those who killed the constitution (and their posterity, with whom we are living today) pick up the dead corpse, move it around like a puppet on strings, put make up on it to make it look pretty, prop it up against a wall to stand on its own, and proclaim and swear an oath to us and God that they will preserve, defend and protect what they know to be dead. Ironically, they accomplish this, in part, through what they term a “living constitution”, which has bled the life’s blood from our constitution. Unfortunately, most Americans fail to see that our political circumstances are very similar and parallel to those which our founders considered to be a line in the sand.
Claude Halstead Van Tyne, in his book, The Causes of the War of Independence, describes the circumstances which caused America’s War for Independence. The cause was not “taxation without representation” per se. It was not “the government is too big” per se. It was not “taxes are too high” per se. It was the concept that government is limited by the principles of freedom found in the laws of Nature and Nature’s God and secured by their constitution; and government actions taken beyond those limitations are to be met with resistance. In Van Tyne’s description of this causation, what is strikingly similar to our current situation is that Great Britain considered their constitution to be “living” and to give Parliament and King George the power, authority and right to essentially act in whatever manner it deemed appropriate. Van Tyne observes,
“The contrast cannot be too strongly insisted upon. Samuel Adams and many of his fellow countrymen, on the one hand, believed that the British Constitution was fixed by ‘the law of God and nature,’ and founded in the principles of law and reason so that Parliament could not alter it, but Lord Mansfield and his followers, on the other hand, asserted rightly that ‘the constitution of this country has been always in a moving state, either gaining or losing something,’ and ‘there are things even in Magna Charta which are not constitutional now’ and others which an act of Parliament might change. Between two such conceptions of the powers of government compromise was difficult to attain… Such differences in ideals were as important causes of a breaking up of the empire [of Great Britain] as more concrete matters like oppressive taxation.” The Causes of the War of Independence, Volume 1, (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922), 235, 237.
Great Britain’s political ideology is the same ideology that 99% of our federal politicians demonstrate today! This is just what Congressman Henry Hyde (R) expressed in 2006, when he responded to Congressman Ron Paul’s claim that Congress must declare war before G.W. Bush can constitutionally launch (what is now) an eight year and growing war half way across the world, sending hundreds of thousands of American soldiers to risk their lives and die and spending hundreds of billions of tax payer monies to support the same. Hyde says, “There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one of them. There are things no longer relevant to a modern society.” James T. Bennett, Homeland Security Scams, (Piscataway, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2006), 133. Did the vast majority of Congressmen (Republican and Democrat, House and Senate) believe the same as Hyde? We know they did because they continued to shirk and even ignore their constitutional obligation to declare war, while funding the same with our money and with our lives–all contrary to the constitution, to the lessons of human history and to the principles of self-government and limited government.
Many thousands of persons all across America repeatedly and continually scream the voice of discontent of unconstitutional government. Thousands of books have been written on how the constitution has been ignored, trampled, despised, and even laughed at by those we elect to uphold that very document and the principles founding it. I do not need delineate the (not so “light and transient”) abuses, encroachments, and usurpations upon our constitution. It is a known fact. It is admitted. There is no hiding it. The long train of abuses is evident, established and provable. Our federal government has, through fraud, deceit, force and bribe, converted our once Constitutional Federal Republic into a Despotic National Oligarchy. We now have the same (if not worse) form and type of government that we seceded from in 1776. Yet, many people who claim to love the constitution will criticize those who recommend a different course of action other than voting for a President who will hopefully appoint a “conservative” judge to the supreme court; other than focusing our solutions on Washington D.C.; other than playing political games with those causing and controlling all that we claim to despise; or other than confining our redress to federal courts and two political parties.
Thomas Paine witnessed those during his living-constitution/government-despot days whose only method of redress was to send correspondence and complaint to King George and Parliament, hoping for reclamation of freedom through the very system that was enslaving them. To these plans of action, Thomas Paine says, “There was a time when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease.” Thomas Paine and Mark Philip, ed., Oxford World’s Classics: Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, Common Sense and other Political Writings, (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 27. To Thomas Paine, changing the plan of action to resist and arrest tyranny was simply Common Sense. Thankfully, our founders agreed. Thankfully, this change meant truly standing for freedom, natural rights, limited government, self-government, federalism and constitutional government. This change necessarily meant putting off the old man and putting on the new. It necessarily meant burying the dead and quickening the fetus of freedom.
The United States Constitution was formed and framed on certain immutable principles: principles which acknowledge that God is the Source of all rights; the Definer of all authority; the Judge of all actions and laws; the Giver of life, property and pursuit of happiness. Those principles never die. They live forever. However, as our founders expressed in the Declaration of Independence, governments can become destructive to these ends. Indeed, they can. Understand: Great Britain’s history was similar to America’s. It contained men and women of principle and courage who were catalysts to providing freedom throughout Europe. Europe indeed is the home of the forefathers which our founders studied and adored. Great Britain’s constitution was formed and framed upon the principles expounded upon by Enlightenment philosophers, jurists, lawyers, judges, and theologians. Yet, their constitution died–not because of natural causes, but because those who were constrained by it killed it.
History proves this: not even a (free) constitution can secure freedom where the principles of it are abandoned and the applications of it are ignored. French philosopher Charles Montesquieu (whom our founders relied upon heavily in political thought) confirms this in his book, Spirit of Laws, when he says, “The constitution may happen to be free, and the subject not…It is the disposition only of the laws, and even of the fundamental laws, that constitutes liberty in relation to the constitution.” Charles de Baron Montesquieu and Julian Hawthorne, ed., The Spirit of Laws: The World’s Great Classics, vol. 1 (London: The London Press), 183. How observant he was.
Why is America not free? Is it because we do not have a free constitution? No. Is it because the principles that formed our constitution do not create freedom? No. Is it because Obama is in the White House? No. Is it because Democrats are evil? No. Is it because God was “kicked out” of our public schools? No. Is it because abortion was made “legal”? No. Is it because America engages in unjust wars? No. Is it because America’s presidents have entangled in foreign affairs? No. Those are simply fruits of the root of our dead constitution. Our constitution is dead because our agents, the government, have created a matrix, a system whereby our original constitution and its principles have no application to their power. They are merely bound by their arbitrary discretion–the very definition of tyranny. Even worse, our constitution is dead because the people and the states have consented to its murder.
Like a loved-one who has passed on, I love and miss our constitution (not that it has been alive since I was born in 1979). Yet, while I love the constitution, I love the freedom it was designed to protect much more, and I put freedom and its principles above and beyond the document and words of our constitution. Indeed, the words of the constitution do not create freedom. History and common sense teach us this (which is why America cannot “spread democracy” to the world). Thus, I do not love the words contained in the constitution. Rather, I love the principles of the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God which formed the words. I do not love the three separate branches of the federal government: I love the limits of power and authority they were instituted to secure. I do not love federalism: rather, I love the security it brings to ensure that my children live in freedom.
Thankfully, since principles derived from the laws of God never die, we the people of the states continue to have the power of truth to reestablish and reinstitute forms of government to secure our freedom. Thankfully, we have fifty sovereign and independent states to activate the principles of free government within those political borders, resisting and arresting any attempts from outsiders who would attempt to enslave their citizens. Thankfully, our forefathers bequeathed to us a framework, legacy, heritage, and foundation of hope and freedom. They bequeathed to us truths we hold to be self-evident.
We all have fond memories of our constitution when it was alive and well, but the time has come when we who love the freedom it protected must admit that those who are supposed to be bound by its mandates, principles and limitations have killed it, and they need to be treated like the murderers they are, just as Thomas Paine said about his government: “A common murderer, a highwayman, or a housebreaker, has as good a pretence as he.” Paine and Philip, ed., American Crisis I, 64. These murderers have put us into a place in nature before the constitution was quickened and made alive by the people of the sovereign states of America. See, Locke and Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, 14–15. We are literally better off not having made alive this document that is literally being used against us, our posterity and our freedom. They are forcing us to consider recalling and retaking all the powers we gave them (as our agents) for the protection of our and our posterity’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness–our natural rights from God. In fact, this is what John Locke confirms about our natural right:
“Absolute arbitrary power, or governing without settled standing laws, can neither of them consist with the ends of society and government, which men would not quit the freedom of the state of nature for, and tie themselves up under, were it not to preserve their lives, liberties and fortunes, and by stated rules of right and property to secure their peace and quiet. It cannot be supposed that they should intend, had they a power so to do, to give to any one, or more, an absolute arbitrary power over their persons and estates, and put a force into the magistrate’s hand to execute his unlimited will arbitrarily upon them. This were to put themselves into a worse condition than the state of nature, wherein they had a liberty to defend their right against the injuries of others, and were upon equal terms of force to maintain it, whether invaded by a single man, or many in combination.” Locke and Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, 72.
The people of the states must get serious about this matter. We must put the fear of God and the fear of the people before the eyes of tyrants. Otherwise, they will be like those described in Romans 3:16-18 (KJV) and we will continue to suffer for it: “Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” When the people of the states of America recognize our natural power to abolish, alter and institute new forms of government to secure the ends of freedom, we will have a free constitution alive and well and a free people benefiting from its life. We will once again have government (of, by and for the people) that has the fear of God and the people before their eyes and that will act accordingly.
Tim Baldwin is an attorney who received his Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. He is a former felony prosecutor for the Florida State Attorney’s Office and now owns his own private law practice. He is author of a soon-to-be-published new book, entitled FREEDOM FOR A CHANGE. Tim is also one of America’s foremost defenders of State sovereignty. See his website.