Of Men and Kings.

We are involved in what is probably going to be called the election cycle which either ended our republic or restored it.

Every day, nearly at every hour, we can find the so-called experts attempting to explain what is happening in this presidential election process and trying to predict the outcome.

One thing that most of the “experts” seemingly fail to acknowledge is that history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. Some do compare what is going on in the US today to history from the last century, and a few go back to the Roman Empire. I think that today we need to go back just a little further.

I will be quoting 1st Samuel Chapter 8 in my comparison to today, as the incident described therein is an apt analogy to what is taking place in our lives today.

To set the background, Chapter 8 takes place at the end of the period of Israeli history in which they had no formal government as we would understand it today, but instead had judges to settle their disputes and to supply leadership when necessary.

Unfortunately, during this period they were repeatedly oppressed and antagonized by other people, most notably the Midianites and the Philistines. In short, the Israelites weren’t great, and they seldom won at anything. They were losers.

They were losers because they chose to leave their principles behind and follow their desires. They were not losers because of bad leadership, they were losers by way their own personal choices.

Now begins our story from Chapter 8:

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they serve at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

How like today’s political world that sounds! Aren’t these some of our chief complaints about our current politicians? Perversion of justice rather than equal justice for all, and the enrichment of themselves at the expense of the people?

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

In today’s words, “We want to be great again, but it’s not our fault that we are losers, it’s the fault of our leaders. Give us a powerful leader, a king, and he will cause us to be great again. We want a country, and we want to win!”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected as their king, but me. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

From the very beginning of our republic, we were warned by wise men everywhere, not the least being the founders themselves, that we would have a republic as long as we could keep it. We, collectively, chose not to do that. We chose to go about our daily lives, chasing our desires rather than our principles, while trusting politicians to keep our republic for us. We couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to what they were really doing.

Now that we have seen the indications of the level of damage that has been done, seen the level of debt we are in, seen the loss of freedom which we mistakenly took for granted, and heard ourselves branded losers, we have entered into a state of denial and chosen our scapegoat. The establishment. The man. The status quo.

We want a king! A king who will give us a country. A king who will make us great. A king who will make everyone see that we are winners.

Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifty, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for your own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

“Did you say something, Samuel? We didn’t hear you. A king will make us great.”

The words of Samuel sum things up rather well. The king will have an army to keep his power. The king will decide which course our lives will follow, based upon his needs, not ours, and not our desires. Self determination will be a thing of the past, as will our ability to follow our own dreams. We will keep the amount of our wealth, or our possessions, which the king does not want for himself and his favorites, leaving us the least desirable portion.

Our freedom will be gone.

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

“We still don’t hear you, Samuel. Did you say something? Look at how green the grass is in Sweden. Look at how powerful Russia is. Did you see all of the money those Saudis are flashing around? We want a king to give us comfortable surroundings We want a king to fight our battles for us. We want a king to make us rich.

We want a king!

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”

Most of us know what happened after this. The Israelites got their king, and although they had some good times, for the most part their kings were detrimental to their wealth, their security, and their freedom, eventually leading to their downfall, their exile, and eventually the holocaust.

Up until this point I bet you thought that I was alluding to a particular candidate and what may lay in our future. Maybe just a little.

I am not referring to a possible future. This has already happened to us. We asked for a king, and we received what we wanted, except in the form of a myriad of little kings instead of one big one.

We used to have unlimited freedom of life, liberty, and property. Now, our little kings control our healthcare, our travel, much of our wealth. We own property only if we pay the kings their taxes. We think that this is the way it is supposed to be. We have forgotten what it was like prior to the arrival of the little kings.

What will we do next? Are we brave enough to expel the little kings and return government to its place as a servant, exerting the daily effort ourselves to ensure our freedom and our lost greatness by maintaining control of our own destinies as the founders hoped we would?

Or will we ask for yet more powerful kings, hoping they will do this for us, and go back to our blissfully ignorant life of chasing our momentary desires?

The little kings of socialism, the little kings of the status quo, the big king of fascism, none of these will look out for us, they will all look out for themselves.

If we are brave enough, and find the determination, ambition, and resolve, we can restore the Constitution and the rule of law, becoming free again in the process. If not, we will soon cease to be subjects of the government and become slaves to it.

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The Constitution, Article One, Section One.

Section. 1.

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

     This short paragraph should address, in part, the tendency toward a bloated government. The first five words are the key. “All legislative powers herein granted…”

     First, a definition of the word legislative most likely understood and intended by the authors: Having the power to make laws. Second, the Merriam Webster definition of law: “a binding custom or practice of a community :  a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority.”

     Using these two definitions, we can conclude that all laws, to include rules of conduct or action, “shall be vested in a Congress…..which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives.”

     No where in this Section is the authority given to the Congress to delegate the creation of laws to the other branches of government. With this in mind, the question arises, what of bureaucratic regulations and executive orders?

     Executive orders are understandable only in their capacity to manage the executive branch itself, and only if in compliance with the Constitution. Any executive order outside of these confines is an infringement on the stipulation that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.”

     Likewise, bureaucratic regulations are an infringement on this stipulation, even if Congress assigns this authority to the bureaucracy, since Congress has no authority to delegate the creation of laws (rules of action or conduct) to any other entity, and has therefore violated the Constitution by attempting to do so.

     It follows this brief analysis that most executive orders and all bureaucratic regulations are unconstitutional, and can not be legally enforced, even if they are enforced in practice.

The Constitution, The Preamble.

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This is the Preamble to the Constitution. Its intent is to describe the scope and purpose of the entire document. Therefore, the entire text of the Constitution must be evaluated with the meaning of this paragraph in mind.

The goals are clearly defined, and all subsequent sections can be seen as the means of attaining these goals. Here are the six goals:

  1. To form a more perfect union. As we have seen, the Articles of Confederation were less of a device to form a nation than a treaty to bind several separate nations together. As a result, there were severe problems in the relations between the erstwhile colonies, and this was seen as a prelude to the dissolution of the union.
  2. To establish justice. This was another drawback to the Articles, that justice was not uniform amongst the separate states. It was seen as necessary that a common system of justice be established.
  3. To ensure domestic tranquility. The states simply did not get along well at all times, especially in trade, and a device was sought to regulate their interactions.
  4. Provide for the common defense. Prior to this there was no mechanism to guarantee coordination in the effort of defense from foreign aggression. Each state would essentially field its own separate army, or none at all, at its own discretion and with little regard for strategic considerations pertaining to other states. There was simply no authority vested in the Congress strong enough to mandate this level of cooperation.
  5. Promote the general welfare. This may be the most commonly misinterpreted phrase in the entire document, so here we must go back for clarification to the Declaration of Independence, where the concept of general welfare is better explained. “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.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” The government is to promote the general welfare by ensuring that all are treated equally and that their rights are protected.
  6. To secure the blessings of liberty. The blessings of liberty can best be described as the benefits that free people can attain for themselves by being allowed to freely experience their rights. This requires the government to see to it that no one, including the government itself, violates or infringes upon the rights of each individual person.

Clearly, by listing these goals and their attendant requirements, I have described a government somewhat different than the one we know now in the 21st century, but nevertheless, this was the point at which it began.

The US Constitution, The Articles of Confederation.

 

An honest evaluation of the US Constitution would not be complete without a look at the document it replaced, The Articles of Confederation, and the deficiencies therein which led to its replacement.

The Articles of Confederation can best be described not as a document which founded a nation but as a treaty which loosely bound a set on independent nations together. It was governed by a council appointed by these states, and closely resembled what we now have in the United Nations.

Some of the weaknesses which led to its downfall were:

  • Lack of enforcement authority. The individual states could disregard much of what the council agreed to, leading to a lack of cohesion which was unacceptable in their current time and situation. It must be remembered that England still had a desire to regain control of these former colonies, and their wealth, and they were only strong enough to resist this together.
  • There was no consistent leadership. The complexion of the Congress changed as the states appointed different representatives, and the continuity of policy would necessarily suffer. Also, strong representatives from a particular state could sway the Congress in that state’s favor.
  • No provisions were made for a national army or navy. This was a major weakness in view of the possibility of invasion.
  • No national courts. At the very least, this would prove to be necessary to ensure that the Congress did not overstep its bounds.
  • The states could place tariffs on goods moving between states. This was detrimental to the free trade which was necessary for the economic survival of the various states as a whole.

As a result of these weaknesses, it was determined that the document had to be replaced with one which corrected these, and other, perceived deficiencies. Next time we’ll start in on its replacement, the Constitution.

An Evaluation of the US Constitution, Prelude.

 

I have finally decided to begin a long overdue effort to evaluate the US Constitution, with a goal of demonstrating where it went right, where it was insufficient, and why.

There are people to be found in both extremes of opinion, some calling the document the best and most perfect instrument of freedom, others calling it a thinly veiled scam meant to usher in a powerful state. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between the two extremities of opinion.

Had the Constitution been as perfect as proclaimed, we would not be suffering the oppressive government of today. On the other hand, the allegation that it was a scam can be discounted by examining not only the people involved, but, more importantly, the people not involved.

Up until the time of the Revolution, most of the people in the Colonies still viewed themselves as English. This did not change until the approach of the Revolution, when the idea of independence entered the thinking of a large number of people. These new supporters of independence were generally not thinking on the scale of a large, united country, though, but of the future of their individual colonies. They were not thinking of a large central government, but of their own communities, and of the communities close enough for them to interact with. Those who supported a central government tended to support the existing central government, the Monarchy in England. Most of these supporters of the government in England were quickly labeled as Tories and ostracized, or worse.

Those who were left to form the new government were more inclined to place the bulk of their loyalty with their individual colonies, hence the large number of compromises to be found in the final version of the text.

These numerous compromises are  at the heart of most of the debate. I will attempt to show over time that these compromises were neither a perfect solution nor a covert plan to usher in a powerful state, but rather the only available solution to the problem then at hand of preserving the newly won independence.

This project will take some time, but if it interests you please follow along. Also, as always, your insights are helpful, so comment freely as we go along.

Are We All Really Created Equal?

English: Close-up of the line containing the p...
English: Close-up of the line containing the phrase “all men are created equal” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
John Locke, by Herman Verelst (died 1690). See...
John Locke, by Herman Verelst (died 1690). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“All men are created equal” is a phrase with which we are all familiar, but what does it really mean?

That question must be answered if we are to accept this statement as true and accurate.

Let’s first eliminate some of the areas in which we are not equal.

We are obviously not equal in status or position. If we were, there would be no need for this conversation.

We are also not equal in skills or abilities.

What of potential? Perhaps in one sense, but how do we compare two individuals’ potential when their skills or abilities are completely different?

Many think that people are equal in worth, but does that mean that a good person is worth no more than an evil one? Is not the person who seeks to help others while harming no one worth more than the evil one who intentionally harms others, yet helps few or none? Can not a person change their own worth based on the actions they choose to take?

So how are people really created equal? They are equal by virtue of the natural rights which they possess. This simple fact is one of the critical keys to understanding the founding documents which contain the premise that all are created equal. We all have a right to the following: Life, Property, Communicating our opinions, Self-defense, Self-determination, and a few others. We do not have the right to acquire these things from another, as to do so would be to violate their rights and, by so doing, treat them as if they were less than equal to us in terms of being able to enjoy their natural rights.

A good understanding in how we are equal in regard to the possession of natural rights, and nothing else, is crucial to our ability to understand not only what the founding documents mean, but why they were deemed necessary and the context within which they should be interpreted.

One of the biggest fears of the Founders was that one group of people would gain the means to abuse the rest of the population by disregarding their natural rights and taking from the population what was desired by the ruling group. This is the reason that Life, Liberty and Property were held in such a high regard. Consider, if no laws were written which transferred any amount of Life, Liberty or Property from one person to another, most of the laws on the books would not exist. For us all to be equal as stated, the only valid laws are those which reinforce our natural rights, as any law which does otherwise, and is allowed to stand, invalidates the most important premise upon which our very Liberty rests.

The Fourth Amendment That Was.

mikevroman

Right of search and seizure regulated. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

It seems some days as if there are as many interpretations of this one sentence as there are people to comment on it, but I believe that most are due to either problems in definition or a callous disregard for the basic premise presented in this Amendment. I will attempt here to address the definition problems.

The first word in question is the word secure. The modern definition most commonly accepted is likely to continue or to remain safe. A different definition, which could also apply…

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