No Truce With Kings

6 07 2008

Since my country has just celebrated the 232nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, I believe it would be good to review that document. I will add my comments (in italics) along the way.

*****

Source: http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/index.htm

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands 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.

(This is one Hell of a long run-on sentence, but basically sets forth the purpose for the rest of the document)

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.

(At the time , “men” referred to white male land-owners. Today, thankfully, this applies to all of humanity)

— 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.

(This is the core of the American experiment. The government is constituted by the people and rules by the consent of the people and should be cast aside by the people when that government fails to secure those inalienable human rights listed above)

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.

(Whenever the government stops being responsive to the will of the people, the people can and must get rid of the government. Think of the Four Boxes)

— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

(Please read the following grievances against King George III of England and compare them to the current state of the United States today)

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

(This one in particular rings true today. There are herds of regulatory agencies with enormous control over the lives of the people, but whose decision are not subject to public review or appeal)

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

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

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. 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.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

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 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.

*****

Their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. The men who signed the Declaration were all wealthy and respected men in their Colonies. They all had a great deal to lose by tweaking the nose of the most powerful ruler in the world. But they put all of that at risk to be free of what they saw as despotic and tyrannical usurpation of the natural liberties which are the birthright of all humans.

The important bit is that they saw the rights the King was abrogating as natural rights. These rights were not granted by the Crown or Parliament- they were inherent in every human, whether King of England or the poorest farmer in the wilderness.

Please understand this if you learn nothing else from the history of our country- the Government cannot grant rights to the People. The Constitution was written to limit the powers of the Government over the People. It is we, the People, who are sovereign in this country. The Government is charged with the tasks found in the Preamble to the Constitution:

“We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and preserve the blessings of Liberty for ourselves and our posterity; do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Anything beyond these duties should be beyond the power of the Government. Anything which permits the Government to obstruct, limit, or remove the rights of the People should be opposed at all costs.

Written into the Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments) is the fact that all powers not expressly granted to the Government by the Constitution belong to the People (see the Tenth Amendment). The Bill of Rights also expressly states that the natural rights of the People belong to the People exclusively- whether or not that right was enumerated in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights (see the Ninth Amendment).

Not only are our rights not granted by the Government, those rights are not granted by the Constitution, either.

Four Boxes. Remember the Four Boxes to be used in defense of Liberty. Those boxes are to be used in the following order: Soap, Ballot, Jury, and Ammo. The Founders of this country ended up having to use all four, because the King of England would not listen to the complaints of the founders or his own Parliament. Consider this an open letter to those in our Government who see themselves as above the Laws. We, the People, are willing to be patient with your manifold stupidities so long as we have adequate redress through the use of those first three boxes. For your sakes, for all our sakes, for the sake of our Republic, do not make us resort to that fourth box.

Current status: Disgruntled

Current music: What Do You Want From Life? by the Tubes

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8 responses

7 07 2008
Patrick

Damn. Good. Post.

BUT, you’d better be careful. A whole lot of those ideas might seem dangerous to the gov’t. Geez, man, don’t you know we’re at war? Or something?

Seriously, though – damn fine.

7 07 2008
Layman Pong

At first I thought, “Now what the hell did I say?”…

8 07 2008
archvillain

Layman Pong- Maybe it’s what you didn’t say …

BTW, I find it hilarious that only a small handful of people will understand what we’re talking about.

8 07 2008
Layman Pong

Context is king(s)

8 07 2008
prairieflounder

“(Whenever the government stops being responsive to the will of the people, the people can and must get rid of the government. Think of the Four Boxes)”

The current problem isn’t being responsive to the will of the people, its how to make the government stop being responsive to every whim. The people are working on destroying America; the government is simply funding the process with our money.

Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us.
P. J. O’Rourke

-pf

10 07 2008
Turkish Prawn

Ok… Now I’m all fired up for the day. Thanks a bundle! What are you, the alarm clock to my social conscience?

I really liked the “multitude of offices” part. I hadn’t really help that bit up next to today’s model. You are dead right.

To build on PF’s post. I think that what’s happened now is very fiendish. Even if not planned out, what seems to have happened is that “the People” have been put into a “We’ll make it all better for you. Just keep shopping.” coma. The answer to the now often asked question, “Where’s the outrage?” is that it’s in the 10 items or fewer line at Mall-Wart.

In short, the governmental vampires who run the show have discovered that so long as you keep The People on opiates (i.e. govt. handouts, cable tv, cheap consumer goods, incomprehensible healthcare system, etc) then they won’t dare rock the boat and will let just about anything slide with the added comment that “yah, but this is different. We’re at war, in a recession, need drugs, aren’t 100% happy… whatever.

The Document said that we could peruse happiness, people. Not that we were guaranteed it by the Fed.

Damn… Looks like I’m listening to “Common Sense” again today. You can get it off iTunes, if you’re interested.

-Turkish Prawn

18 07 2008
Adam Pieniazek

“The answer to the now often asked question, “Where’s the outrage?” is that it’s in the 10 items or fewer line at Mall-Wart.”

Perhaps activists and protesters should start patrolling the aisles of Mall-Wart for recruits…I got a mental image reading that line of riots breaking out all over suburban America:

“$5 for a tube of toothpaste, outrageous! We shall not go quietly out of this store!”

BTW, you might be interested in this post I wrote about updating the Declaration of Independence to 2.0 status by inserting King George Bush of the USA for King George of Britain. Turns out almost all the complaints match up between the two Georges.

Now, my real concern is that if we go by the four boxes, then the soap box has failed long ago, the ballot box disintegrated onto itself (I have zero faith in the integrity of our elections, zero), and Kucinich is standing on that jury box telling everyone we must impeach but if that fails, are we really that close to a necessary revolution? Our government just plain does not listen to the people anymore and I feel we need a change but personally I’m a huge pacifist and would like to see a peaceful revolution. Any advice for non-bloody ammo?

18 07 2008
archvillain

Adam- I’m not as cynical as you seem to be. I think that the soapbox still has a lot of life left in it, it just ins’t getting used by the right people or in the right way.

The perpetually indignant have very little chance of swaying the opinions of the majority of Americans. Groups like Code Pink have ZERO chance of swaying the masses because they have nothing in common with the very people who need to be on-board any such activity.

You want political change? Get a few hundred 30-somethings in business-casual attire to suddenly gather on the steps of the US Capitol building and just stand there for ten minutes, glaring at the building. No signs. No chanting. After ten minutes, they all line up and spit on the sidewalk, then leave. Repeat every week- same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. It would help if all those involved had real jobs.

This completely non-violent exercise of public grievance would absolutely get tons of media attention. Have a designated spokesman for each group that shows up with a brief list of issues with which we (the People) are not happy. This person should not be particularly photogenic but must be comfortable with public speaking and capable of expressing outrage without being outrageous. No hyperbole. Just the facts, ma’am.

The Powers That Be do not care what whackjobs like Code Pink have to say- regardless of what the message is. By contrast, a bunch of middle-class blue and white collar workers showing up once a week to petition for redress of grievances ought to get scads of attention from the general public and the parasites who prey upon the public (media drones and politicians).

Until so-called “solid citizens” get upset enough to publicly express their displeasure in an organized manner, the politicians will continue to treat the country as their private feeding trough.

Check out this article by Deus Ex Malcontent on the subject. There is also a very good book by P.J. O’Rourke called Parliament of Whores which is interesting reading.

By the same token, a grass-roots organization of “solid citizens” whose sole purpose is to organize voters against politicians and legislation contrary to the commonweal would have a greater impact on the general public using similar tactics than any of the usual suspects. Instead of trying to force people to jump on your bandwagon, find a middle-of-the-road topic that practically everyone agrees with and start with that. Once the organization is in place, it will become easier to get results on whatever issues the group can agree to. The ballot box is not dead- it just needs to get a little refurbishing and maybe a new coat of paint.

The jury box is still alive and kicking- just ask Dick Heller. Granted that it takes a long time to get results, but it’s still one of the most powerful tools at our disposal. As with all the other methods, presentation is the key. If you try to sue the Gummint in order to force the CIA to stop beaming Q-rays into your skull, you had better have a lot of evidence in the existence of both Q-rays and a CIA plot against you involving same. Otherwise, you’re just another PETA/Code Pink/nameyourfringegroupofchoice whackjob that no one will take seriously.

I think the strongest tool in the People’s arsenal is the Bill of Rights- especially the 1st Amendment. We have a right to peaceful assembly and to petition for redress of grievances. If we use those- early and often- we won’t have to resort to using the 2nd Amendment.

By the way- thanks for reading and commenting.

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