14 yr Old Addresses NH State Assembly: Guns and Religion

This young lady should read her message to Congress…………….
Forwarded for publication: a copy of an email…

14 year old girl speaks on 2nd Amendment rights in NH Congress   CowboyByte

Here’s the story…

My 14 year old daughter, Daphne, and I went to a gun rally at the NH Capitol in  Concord on Saturday, Jan 19, 2013. I don’t even own a gun, but I’m a strong believer in the Constitution and the wisdom of our Founders especially when it comes to government taking away our freedoms, and I don’t like the direction Obama is taking the country on that issue. You know, America, land of the free, and all the core strengths that made America great.

I made up a bunch of signs and Daphne prepared a letter before the rally, thinking she  might hand it out to anyone who was interested. While attending the rally, Daphne noticed that the speaker had stopped talking and that he was handing the bullhorn to anyone who wanted to speak. She pointed that out to me, and soon she went over to the Capitol steps, got in line, and waited for her turn. After fighting her way to the front of  the line, she stood there, on the steps of the NH State Capitol, and read a shorter version of the letter below.

She brought the house down.

After the cheers had died down, dozens of people shook her hand and congratulated her. A couple of reporters interviewed her briefly and other photographers took her picture. Just before she left, a representative from the New Hampshire Assembly talked to her and asked  if she could come and speak at a hearing on gun control on Tuesday, Jan  22, 2013. Daphne said, Sure.

On Tuesday, we picked her up from school at 12:00 noon and drove to Concord. We found  our way to the Legislative Assembly Hall, Room 204. The room was packed and there was a line down the hall and around two corners. Soon, they moved the meeting to another room. The second room also proved too small. Finally, they sent us across the street, up to the large chamber in the Capitol Building.

The room was near capacity. About ninety-five percent of the people were pro 2nd  Amendment rights. The Representatives and PACs got to speak first, then the common folk. Daphne was in the first 10 folks to speak who were not representing a group. She was poised, though a little nervous, and spoke clearly to the crowd. When she was done, she brought a copy of her speech to the front of the chamber where the representatives were  sitting, and they fought over who would get to take it from her. The moderator had previously silenced the hall from cheering or clapping, but people told her they would have cheered if they could as they shook her hand on the way out. The whole proceeding took more than 3 hours.

TRANSCRIPT:

Delivered to the New Hampshire Legislative Assembly
January 22,  2013

Dear citizens of  New Hampshire,

Four days ago, I was across the street for a gun rally on the steps of the Capitol. I had  never been to a gun rally before. I expected it to be all about hunters and guns. I was surprised: People were not afraid of not being able to hunt. They were not afraid of criminals at all. Do you know who they were afraid of? The Federal Government. I was shocked. They were afraid of the government taking away their freedoms.

The reason I went to the rally in the first place was that I heard children, like me, talking with President Obama about guns on the radio. I think those kids were far too young to make policy, and got it all wrong.

Naturally, I don’t want my mom or dad to die either, nor my friends or family. But I learned in school that the First Amendment gives us our Basic Freedoms, like Freedom of Speech,  Freedom of Religion and Freedom to Assemble. To  protect our God-given rights, our Founders gave us the 2nd Amendment: The Right to Bear Arms.

My Civics teacher  taught us that the reason our Founding Fathers gave us the right to bear  arms is to protect ourselves from the government of man because when man is given absolute power, he becomes absolutely corrupt. In 1776, guns freed us from the abuses of King George.  Today, guns keep us free from tyranny by government.

If President Obama wants to take our guns, isn’t he taking away our means to protect our  right to freedom? Wasn’t the 2nd Amendment given to us to protect our 1st Amendment rights? It’s not by chance that those are the first two amendments. They were the two most important gifts our Founders gave the American people.

I don’t know. I’m just a 14 year old girl, and that’s what I thought I learned in school.  Did Mr. Obama learn something different in school than that?

I think it is terrible for someone to use a national tragedy for political gain, don’t you? So, when I heard Mr. Obama issued 23 gun control orders in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, I was upset. In school I was taught executive means to execute laws — not make them.  When did that change? Didn’t the president swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution? Doesn’t the 2nd Amendment state: “the  right for people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” ˇ Tell me  how 23 orders on gun control is not an infringement. Can someone please tell me that? Has King George returned?

I hope New Hampshire members of congress remember their pledge and do not use this  tragedy to create unjust laws.

So I ask myself,  what gun would our Founders want their citizen militia to have today to  protect us from a government greedy for power.  I think Thomas  Jefferson would recommend a semi-automatic rifle  with 50-round clips, and pistols that hold 20. But, I’m sure George  Washington would demand these  arms.

Just so you know, I don’t even own a gun, nor does my mom, or dad. But when I’m old enough, I want the right to buy a gun if I want to, so I can protect the America that I love. I hope I never need one, but I always say, “plan for the worst and hope for the best”.  Unfortunately, that’s sort of why the government is taking away our guns: they are planning for the worst Americans, and not thinking of the best. Maybe the question we should be asking is what caused the morality of the United States to decay? Are parents no longer  teaching their kids “thou shalt not kill?”

I want to live in an America with laws that protect the best people on Earth, not the worst, don’t you? Wouldn’t that be more free? Wouldn’t that be more  American? Isn’t freedom  what America is all about? The right to bear arms is our best guarantee to live free.

Finally, at my  track meet at UNH on Sunday, I read the banner on the wall. It said three words: Tradition. Pride. Excellence. I hope and pray that New Hampshire will continue its tradition of excellence and lead the way for the rest of the county, and never infringe on my rights. May the people  of the great state of New Hampshire carry on their long tradition of freedom, so we can proclaim with pride the  words our forefathers gave us: Live Free or  Die!

This is our United States. This is our New Hampshire. And that should never change.

Live Free or Die,  New Hampshire!

Thank you,
Daphne  Jordan
Nottingham

Property and Liberty | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Property is “the guardian of all other rights,” as Arthur Lee of Virginia wrote in 1775.[1] The Supreme Court declared in 1897: “In a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen.”[2] Unfortunately, legislators, judges, and political philosophers in the twentieth century have perennially disparaged property’s value to freedom.

Without private property, there is no escape from state power. Property rights are the border guards around an individual’s life that deter political invasions. Those who disparage property often oppose any meaningful limits on government power. John Dewey, for instance, derided “the sanctity of private property” for providing “freedom from social control.”[3] Socialist regimes despise property because it limits the power of the state to regiment the lives of the people. A 1975 study, The Soviet Image of Utopia, observed, “The closely knit communities of communism will be able to locate the anti-social individual without difficulty because he will not be able to ‘shut the door of his apartment’ and retreat to an area of his life that is ‘strictly private.’”[4] Hungarian economist Janos Kornai observed: “The further elimination of private ownership is taken, the more consistently can full subjection be imposed.”[5]

Yet Oxford professor John Gray asserted in 1990 that “very extensive State intervention in the economy has nowhere resulted in the extinction of basic personal and political liberties.”[6] One wonders which freedoms Bulgarian and Romanian citizens enjoyed under communism that Gray neglects to mention. Perpetual shortages of almost all goods characterized East Bloc economies; politicians and bureaucrats maximized their power and maximized people’s subjugation through discretionary doling out of goods. Shortages created new pretexts to demand further submission: the worse the economic system functioned, the more power government acquired—until the people rose up and destroyed the governments.[7]

The Economy Is Lives

Government cannot control the economy without controlling the lives of everyone who must rely on that economy to earn his sustenance. There is more to life than wealth. But the more wealth government seizes from people, the more likely that government will be able to control all the other good things in life. Once government domineers the economy, it becomes far more difficult to resist the extension of government power further and further into the recesses of each person’s life.

Property rights are not concerned merely with the sanctity of the estates of the rich. The property right that each citizen has in himself is the foundation of a free society. As James Madison observed, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.”[8] The property that each citizen has in his rights is the foundation of his ability to control his own life and strive to shape his own destiny.

Some contemporary liberals argue that government ownership is the ultimate safeguard of freedom. According to Alan Wolfe, “No one would be able to enjoy the negative liberty of walking alone in the wilderness if it were not for the regulatory capacity of government to protect the wilderness against development.”[9] Wolfe implies that if the government did not own much of the nation’s land, private citizens would ravage the landscape from coast to coast. However, private landowners have a better record of safeguarding the environmental quality of their land than does the federal government.[10] The Army Corps of Engineers has destroyed far more of the natural river beauty in this country than has any private malefactor, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s lavish subsidies for “flood insurance” have made possible vast numbers of buildings on ecologically fragile coastlines.[11] Wolfe also implies that no private forest owner would permit anyone else to walk on his land. However, the proliferation of contracts for hunting on private land show that, with a sound incentive system, access to private land can easily be negotiated. Citizens have different values, and many citizens prefer to keep their land in semi-pristine condition. Besides, even if all citizens wanted to sell their land to developers, only a small percentage of such land would be developed—simply because there is no economic rationale for developing much of rural America.

Bulwark of Privacy

The sanctity of private property is the most important bulwark of privacy. University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein wrote that “private property gives the right to exclude others without the need for any justification. Indeed, it is the ability to act at will and without need for justification within some domain which is the essence of freedom, be it of speech or of property.”[12] Unfortunately, federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors are making private property much less private. In 1984 the Supreme Court ruled in Oliver v. United States—a case involving Kentucky law-enforcement agents who ignored several “No Trespassing” signs, climbed over a fence, tramped a mile and a half onto a person’s land and found marijuana plants—that “open fields do not provide the setting for those intimate activities that the [Fourth] Amendment is intended to shelter from government interference or surveillance.”[13] (The Founding Fathers apparently forgot to include a parenthesis in the original Fourth Amendment specifying that it applied only to “intimate activities.”) And the Court made it clear that it was not referring only to open fields: “A thickly wooded area nonetheless may be an open field as that term is used in construing the Fourth Amendment.”[14] Justice Thurgood Marshall dissented: “Many landowners like to take solitary walks on their property, confident that they will not be confronted in their rambles by strangers or policemen.”[15] Even prior to this ruling, it was easy for law-enforcement agents to secure warrants to search private land merely by concocting an imaginary confidential informant who told police about some malfeasance.[16]

The core of the “open fields” decision is that the government cannot wrongfully invade a person’s land, because government agents have a right to go wherever they damn well please. After this decision, any “field” not surrounded by a 20-foot-high concrete fence is considered “open” for inspection by government agents. (And for those areas that are sufficiently fenced in, the Supreme Court has blessed low-level helicopter flights to search for any illicit plants on the ground.[17])

The Supreme Court decision, which has been cited in over 600 subsequent federal and state court decisions, nullified hundreds of years of common-law precedents limiting the power of government agents. The ruling was a green light for warrantless raids by federal immigration agents; in late 1997 the New York Times reported cases of upstate New York farmers’ complaining that “immigration agents plowed into fields and barged into packing sheds like gang busters, handcuffing all workers who might be Hispanic and asking questions later . . . . [D]oors were knocked down, and workers were wrestled to the ground.”[18] In a raid outside of Elba, New York, at least one INS agent opened fire on fleeing farm workers.[19] Many harvests subsequently rotted in the fields because of the shortage of farm workers.

Conflicting Views of Freedom

The “open fields” doctrine provides an acid test of conflicting views on freedom. Are people more or less free when government agents can roam their land? Are they more or less free when they can be accosted by government agents any time they step past the shadow of their front door? Is freedom the result of government intrusions—or of restrictions on intruders? The scant controversy the 1984 decision evoked is itself a sign of how statist contemporary American thinking has become.

Few government policies better symbolize the contempt for property rights than the rising number of no-knock raids. “A man’s home is his castle” has been an accepted rule of English common law since the early 1600s and required law-enforcement officials to knock on the door and announce themselves before entering a private home. But this standard has increasingly been rejected in favor of another ancient rule—“the king’s keys unlock all doors.”[20]

A New York Times piece observed in 1998 that “interviews with police officials, prosecutors, judges and lawyers paint a picture of a system in which police officers feel pressured to conduct more raids, tips from confidential informers are increasingly difficult to verify and judges spend less time examining the increasing number of applications for search warrants before signing them.”[21] The Times noted that “the word of a single criminal, who is often paid for his information, can be enough to send armed police officers to break down doors and invade the homes of innocent people.”[22]

No-knock raids have become so common that thieves in some places routinely kick down doors and claim to be policemen.[23] The Clinton administration, in a 1997 brief to the Supreme Court urging blind trust in the discretion of police, declared that “it is ordinarily reasonable for police officers to dispense with a pre-entry knock and announcement.”[24] Law-enforcement agencies’ fear of losing small amounts of drug evidence has fueled attacks on the sanctity of homes. The Clinton administration, for instance, appears far more concerned about the flushing of drugs than about the flushing of privacy. In a 1995 brief to the Supreme Court, the Clinton administration stressed that “various indoor plumbing facilities . . . did not exist” at the time the common law “knock-and-announce” rule was adopted.[25] Making a grand concession to civil liberties, the administration admitted that “if the officers knew that . . . the premises contain no plumbing facilities . . . then invocation of a destruction-of-evidence justification for an unannounced entry would be unreasonable.”[26] The Supreme Court has failed to impose effective restraints on police’s prerogative to carry out no-knock raids. Professor Craig Hemmens observed that the Court’s “recent decisions involving the knock and announce rule, essentially gutted the rule, reducing it to little more than a ‘form of words.’”[27]

Police also possess the right to destroy property they search. Santa Clara, California, police served search and arrest warrants by firing smoke grenades, tear-gas canisters, and flash grenades into a rental home; not surprisingly, the house caught fire and burned down. When the homeowner sued for damages, a federal court rejected his plea, declaring that the police “only . . . carelessly conducted its routine and regular duty of pursuing criminals and obtaining evidence of criminal activity. The damage resulted from a single, isolated incident of alleged negligence.”[28]

It is as much a violation of property rights and liberty when government agents storm into the shabbiest of rental apartments as when they invade the richest mansion. The sanctity acquired by renters to a private domain illustrates how the exchange of private property can give someone vested rights—rights within which they can build and live their own lives. Local and state governments routinely treat renters as second-class citizens; many localities have mandatory inspection policies for all rental units that permit government officials to search private dwellings without a warrant or any pretext. Park Forest, Illinois, in 1994 enacted an ordinance that authorizes warrantless searches of every single-family rental home by a city inspector and police officer, who are authorized to invade rental units “at all reasonable times.” No limit was placed on the power of the inspectors to search through people’s homes, and tenants were prohibited from denying entry to government agents. Federal Judge Joan Gottschall struck down the searches as unconstitutional in February 1998, but her decision will have little or no effect on the numerous other localities that authorize similar invasions of privacy.[29]

Bane of Freedom?

Some socialists have argued that private property is a bane of freedom because inequality of wealth is equivalent to political tyranny. According to historian R. H. Tawney, “Oppression . . . is not less oppressive when its strength is derived from superior wealth, than when it relies on a preponderance of physical force.”[30] But regardless of how much wealth a person owns, he has no legal right to coerce other citizens. Offering someone the best wage he can find is unlike holding a gun to his head; offering someone the best price for a product he is selling is not like expropriation. A legitimate government must restrict the coercion of all citizens, including those with the largest bank accounts. But the fact that politicians are sometimes corrupted by bribes and deny equal protection of the law to the poor is not a good reason to give more power to politicians.

To understand the difference between economic wealth and political power, consider the difference between the power of a boss and that of a government agent. Any power that a boss or company has over a person is based on a contract, express or implied; that power is limited to the work and time contracted for. (Contracts for lifetime labor are illegal in the United States.) A boss’s power is conditional, dependent on an employee’s choosing to continue to receive a paycheck.

In contrast, the government agent’s power is often close to absolute: for example, a citizen who refuses to pull over for a traffic cop flashing his lights can face jail time, regardless of whether the cop had a legitimate reason to stop him. Markets allow people a choice of whom to deal with, while government dictates that citizens must submit to its orders. As Nobel laureate James Buchanan observed, “As individuals become increasingly dependent on ‘the market,’ they become correspondingly less dependent on any identifiable person or group. In political action, by contrast, increasing dependence necessarily becomes increasing subjection to the authority of others.”[31] Markets limit the power of people to dictate to other people because the parties can seek other bidders or sellers. Markets provide venues for people to voluntarily agree with other people. Markets are symbolic of voluntary activities in the same way that jails are symbolic of coercion.

Some friends of government legitimize vesting sweeping power in politicians by defining practically any private business decision as coercive. Economist Robert Kuttner declared on a 1997 PBS program that “when a company relocates overseas . . . that is a form of violence.”[32] To define practically any economic change as “violence” is to authorize an unlimited number of political first strikes against property owners. If moving a factory overseas is a form of violence, then moving a factory across state lines is also a form of violence—since the “violence” is presumably done by a factory leaving one location, regardless of where it relocates. When a person is given a “right” to a job, all other people are prohibited from competing for that job.

A viable concept of freedom must consist of more than psychological wish fulfillment—more than a fantasy world in which every citizen can buy low and sell high, in which every citizen gets the wages he demands and pays the prices he pleases. It is crucial to distinguish between frustrated economic aspirations and government coercion. Feeling a compulsive need to impress neighbors by buying a swimming pool is not the same as facing arrest for planting grass seed in your yard and allegedly disturbing a federally designated wetland. The compulsion to buy a suit of the latest fashion is not the same compulsion as experienced during an IRS audit, especially if the agent decides to employ a notorious “lifestyle audit,” which forces citizens to detail and justify how much cash they had on hand at any one time a year or two before, whether they have a safe deposit box and what it contains, how much they spend on groceries, where they eat out, what toys they buy for their children, and what books or jewelry they purchase.[33] The compulsion to buy a new car differs from the compulsion you feel when police pull you over, announce that your appearance matches that of a “drug courier profile,” and proceed to rummage through your trunk, glove compartment, tire hubs, and pockets, and to ask a bevy of incriminating questions about your personal life.[34] The fact that a person spends himself deeply into debt and thus feels obliged to keep working at a job he despises is not coercive because no one compelled the person to become a mindless consumer.

An inability to find a satisfactory job or satisfactory career path is not a violation of liberty—unless government or private action forcibly blocks or restrains people. A person is not “oppressed” by his own lack of marketable job skills: every art history major who did not find a good job after college is not a victim of some sinister force.

One of the clearest violations of freedom of contract is government licensing laws, which prohibit millions of Americans from practicing the occupation of their choice. Over 800 professions, from barbers to masseuses to interior designers to phrenologists to tattooists to talent agents, now require a government license to practice. Licensing laws are usually engineered by professional associations that want to “protect” the public from competitors who might charge lower prices.[35] Licensing laws kept many blacks out of the skilled professions until the civil rights era. The Federal Trade Commission perennially reports on the anticompetitive aspects of state government licensing boards.[36] For many professions, private accreditation systems—many of which have already been developed—would provide a much more reliable consumer guide than politically controlled certification systems.

Liberty in Action

Property is the basis of freedom of contract, which is simply liberty in action. Without freedom to exchange, government places all exchanges at the discretion of the political-bureaucratic ruling class. As new forms of property and wealth have developed in the last 200 years, it is now much clearer how vital property is to all citizens’ freedom, not merely that of landowners. By holding title to certain resources (including themselves and their own labor), people can make exchanges with others that allow them to raise themselves, to better provide for their families, to pursue their own values. Freedom is more than the right to own property or the right to buy and sell. But once the citizen loses the right to own—even if he previously owned nothing—he loses the ability to control his own life. If the citizen is denied the right to own or control his own computer disks or the clothes on his back, he has little chance of being able to shape his own future.

Property rights and market economies are vital steppingstones to political freedom. Private property gives people a place to stand if they must resist the government. Market economies and private property allow citizens to build up sufficient wealth to resist government pressure.

It is important to have freedom to buy and sell, to invest, to innovate, to choose one’s risks and reap one’s profits—but it is not enough. It is also vital that police not be able to break people’s heads, or entrap them on bogus charges, or intercept their e-mail at a whim, or target them because of their race, ethnicity, or political ideas. Unfortunately, some advocates of economic freedom seem nonchalant about practically any use of government power that does not directly interfere with profit-making.

Notes

  1. Quoted in James W. Ely, Jr., The Guardian of Every Other Right (New York: Oxford University, 1992), p. 26.
  2. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226 (1897).
  3. John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935), p. 34.
  4. Jerome Gilison, The Soviet Image of Utopia (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 149.
  5. Quoted in Robert Skidelsky, The Road from Serfdom (New York: Penguin, 1997), p. 99.
  6. Ibid., p. 119.
  7. James Bovard, “Eastern Europe, The New Third World,” New York Times, December 20, 1987, and James Bovard, “The Hungarian Miracle,” Journal of Economic Growth, January 1987.
  8. The Writings of James Madison, vol. 6, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), p. 103. The quote is from an article Madison wrote for the National Gazette, March 29, 1792.
  9. Alan Wolfe, review of Stephen Holmes’s Passions & Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy, New Republic, May 1, 1995.
  10. Tom Bethell, The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 272-89.
  11. James Bovard, “Assistance to Flood Victims Invites Further Disaster,” Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1997.
  12. Richard Epstein, Takings (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985), p. 66.
  13. Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 179 (1984).
  14. Ibid., p. 180, fn. 11.
  15. Ibid., p. 192.
  16. The National Law Journal reported in 1995 that between 1980 and 1993 the number of federal search warrants relying exclusively on confidential informants nearly tripled, from 24 percent to 71 percent, and that “from Atlanta to Boston, from Houston to Miami to Los Angeles, dozens of criminal cases have been dismissed after judges determined that the informants cited in affidavits were fictional.” Mark Curriden, “Secret Threat to Justice,” National Law Journal, February 20, 1995.
  17. Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445 (1989).
  18. Evelyn Nieves, “I.N.S. Raid Reaps Many, But Sows Pain,” New York Times, November 20, 1997.
  19. Associated Press, “Agent Fired During Raid on Migrants, Report Finds,” New York Times, December 12, 1997.
  20. Craig Hemmens, “I Hear You Knocking: The Supreme Court Revisits the Knock and Announce Rule,” University of Missouri at Kansas City Law Review, Spring 1998, p. 562.
  21. Michael Cooper, “As Number of Police Raids Increase, So Do Questions,” New York Times, May 26, 1998.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Barney Rock, “Kicking in Doors New Trend among Thieves,” Arkansas Democratic Gazette, January 21, 1995.
  24. Hemmens, p. 584.
  25. Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Respondent, Wilson v. Arkansas, no. 94-5707, February 23, 1995, p. 26.
  26. Ibid., p. 28.
  27. Hemmens, p. 601.
  28. Patel v. U.S., 823 F. Supp. 696, 698 (1993). For discussion of this case, see Gideon Kanner, “What Is a Taking of Property?” Just Compensation, December 1993.
  29. Kenneth Black et. al v. Village of Park Forest, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2427, February 23, 1998.
  30. Quoted in Robert E. Goodin, Reasons for Welfare (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 307.
  31. James Buchanan, “Divided We Stand,” review of Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy” by Michael J. Sandel, Reason, February 1997, p. 59.
  32. “Debate on Free Trade,” Public Broadcasting Service, August 15, 1997.
  33. Arthur Fredheim, “IRS Audits Digging Deeper Beneath the Surface,” Practical Accountant, March 1996, p. 20.
  34. See, for instance, Tracey Maclin, “The Decline of the Right of Locomotion: The Fourth Amendment on the Streets,” Cornell Law Review, September 1990, p. 1258, and Mark Kadish, “The Drug Courier Profile: In Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and Now in the Jury Box,” American University Law Review, February 1997, p. 747.
  35. See, for instance, Sue Blevins, “Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition?” USA Today (magazine), January 1998, p. 58.
  36. Interview with Federal Trade Commission spokesman Howard Shapiro, July 28, 1998.

While reading this article.. keep in mind the wide ranging efforts and policies that the Obama administration intend to impose on America. It should give all of us pause to reflect on the “transformation” that Obama and his cohorts hope to impose from above. Keep America FREE from this power grab.

The Proper Role of Government

Posted byJared Lawon September 18, 2009 at 2:25pm in Activism/EventsThe Utah Forum for the American Idea Presents An Address By The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, Former Secretary of Agriculture for the Eisenhower Administration (1953-1961):


THE PROPER ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
By Ezra Taft Benson

My Fellow Americans,

I stand before you tonight, humbly grateful to God, for the blessings we all enjoy as citizens of these Great Untied States of America.

I am grateful for our Founding Fathers, who were raised up with the courage to give their lives, but the unselfishness to give their fortunes, and the vision to pledge their sacred honor, in order to establish a new kind of government, of our own choosing, where we might be free.

I’m additionally grateful that these Founding Fathers had the Faith and Humility to accept the Divine Inspiration so necessary in setting forth the Constitution as the Foundation for their new Republic.

I am honored with the privilege to be addressing you tonight on the vital subject of “The Proper Role of Government.”

Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. “What do you think of TVA?” “What is your opinion of Medicare?” How do you feel about Urban Renewal?” The list is endless. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular – especially if they seek public office.

GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE BASED UPON SOUND PRINCIPLES

Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos. Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence.

“Are there not, in reality, underlying, universal principles with reference to which all issues must be resolved whether the society be simple or complex in its mechanical organization? It seems to me we could relieve ourselves of most of the bewilderment which so unsettles and distracts us by subjecting each situation to the simple test of right and wrong. Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated. There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution.” (Albert E. Bowen, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, P. 21-22)

Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.

THE CORRECT ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projects of government. These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.

“(I) believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.”

“(I) believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life…”

“(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, which protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.” (D&C 134: 1-2,5)

THE MOST IMPORTANT FUNCITION OF GOVERNMENT

It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those right? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them. Thomas Paine, back in the days of the American Revolution, explained that:

“Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible t discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” (P.P.N.S., p. 134)

The great Thomas Jefferson asked:

“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)

Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (The Law, p.6)

THE REAL MEANING OF THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God. The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations – a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:

“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.” (P.P.N. S., p.519)

Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.

THE SOURCE OF GOVERNMENTAL POWER

Leaving aside, for a moment, the question of the divine origin of rights, it is obvious that a government is nothing more or less than a relatively small group of citizens who have been hired, in a sense, by the rest of us to perform certain functions and discharge certain responsibilities which have been authorized. It stands to reason that the government itself has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it. This is made clear in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, which reads: “WE THE PEOPLE… do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? A hypothetical question? Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.

Of course, as James Madison, sometimes called the Father of the Constitution, said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” (The Federalist, No. 51)

NATURAL RIGHTS

In a primitive state, there is no doubt that each man would be justified in using force, if necessary, to defend himself against physical harm, against theft of the fruits of his labor, and against enslavement of another. This principle was clearly explained by Bastiat:

“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p.6)

Indeed, the early pioneers found that a great deal of their time and energy was being spent doing all three – defending themselves, their property and their liberty – in what properly was called the “Lawless West.” In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attach and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born. The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only what they had a right to do for themselves – nothing more. Quoting again from Bastiat:

“If every person has the right to defend – even by force – his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -–its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right.” (The Law, p. 6)

So far so good. But now we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer “A” wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn’t have the money to buy one, but since pioneer “B” has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune, Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer “B” wishes to keep his property, pioneer “A” has no just claim to it.

If “A” has no proper power to take “B’s” property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that “B” give his extra horse to “A”, they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. This important principle was clearly understood and explained by John Locke nearly 300 years ago:

“For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135; P.P.N.S. p. 93)

THE PROPER FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT

This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals.

THE POWERS OF A PROPER GOVERNMENT

It also includes those powers necessarily incidental to the protective functions such as:

(1) The maintenance of courts where those charged with crimes may be tried and where disputes between citizens may be impartially settled.

(2) The establishment of a monetary system and a standard of weights and measures so that courts may render money judgments, taxing authorities may levy taxes, and citizens may have a uniform standard to use in their business dealings.

My attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution:

“That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” (Art. 1, Sec. 35)

An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf.

I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police – the government – to take either the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary – yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail – to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results.

As John Locke explained many years ago:

“The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, ‘a liberty for every man to do what he lists.’ For who could be free, when every other man’s humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P>P>N>S., p.101)

I believe we Americans should use extreme care before lending our support to any proposed government program. We should fully recognize that government is no plaything. As George Washington warned, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!” (The Red Carpet, p.142) It is an instrument of force and unless our conscience is clear that we would not hesitate to put a man to death, put him in jail or forcibly deprive him of his property for failing to obey a given law, we should oppose it.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

Another standard I use in deterring what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey. As Washington stated so clearly in his immortal Farewell Address:

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. – But the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government.” (P.P.N.S., p. 542)

I am especially mindful that the Constitution provides that the great bulk of the legitimate activities of government are to be carried out at the state or local level. This is the only way in which the principle of “self-government” can be made effective. As James Madison said before the adoption of the Constitution, “ (We) rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government.” (Federalist, No.39; P.P.N.S., p. 128) Thomas Jefferson made this interesting observation: “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.” (Works 8:3; P.P.N.S., p. 128)

THE VALUE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT

It is a firm principle that the smallest or lowest level that can possibly undertake the task is the one that should do so. First, the community or city. If the city cannot handle it, then the county. Next, the state; and only if no smaller unit can possible do the job should the federal government be considered. This is merely the application to the field of politics of that wise and time-tested principle of never asking a larger group to do that which can be done by a smaller group. And so far as government is concerned the smaller the unit and the closer it is to the people, the easier it is to guide it, to keep it solvent and to keep our freedom. Thomas Jefferson understood this principle very well and explained it this way:

“The way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, law, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? The generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body.” (Works 6:543; P.P.N.S., p. 125)

It is well to remember that the states of this republic created the Federal Government. The Federal Government did not create the states.

THINGS THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT DO

A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government. No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me.

To be sure, there are times when this principle of the proper role of government is most annoying and inconvenient. If I could only FORCE the ignorant to provided for themselves, or the selfish to be generous with their wealth! But if we permit government to manufacture its own authority out of thin air, and to create self-proclaimed powers not delegated to it by the people, then the creature exceeds the creator and becomes master. Beyond that point, where shall the line be drawn? Who is to say “this far, but no farther?” What clear PRINCIPLE will stay the hand of government from reaching farther and yet farther into our daily lives? We shouldn’t forget the wise words of President Grover Cleveland that “… though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.” (P.P.N.S., p.345) We should also remember, as Frederic Bastiat reminded us, that “Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.” (THE LAW, p. 30; P.P.N.S., p. 350)

THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN PROPER AND IMPROPER GOVERNMENT

As Bastiat pointed out over a hundred years ago, once government steps over this clear line between the protective or negative role into the aggressive role of redistributing the wealth and providing so-called “benefits” for some of its citizens, it then becomes a means for what he accurately described as legalized plunder. It becomes a lever of unlimited power which is the sought-after prize of unscrupulous individuals and pressure groups, each seeking to control the machine to fatten his own pockets or to benefit its favorite charities – all with the other fellow’s money, of course. (THE LAW, 1850, reprinted by the Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-On-Hudson, N.Y.)

THE NATURE OF LEGAL PLUNDER

Listen to Bastiat’s explanation of this “legal plunder.”

“When a portion of wealth is tranferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed!

“How is the legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…” (THE LAW, p. 21, 26; P.P.N.S., p. 377)

As Bastiat observed, and as history has proven, each class or special interest group competes with the others to throw the lever of governmental power in their favor, or at least to immunize itself against the effects of a previous thrust. Labor gets a minimum wage, so agriculture seeks a price support. Consumers demand price controls, and industry gets protective tariffs. In the end, no one is much further ahead, and everyone sufffers the burdens of a gigantic bureaucracy and a loss of personal freedom. With each group out to get its share of the spoils, such governments historically have mushroomed into total welfare states. Once the process begins, once the principle of the protective function of government gives way to the aggressive or redistribute function, then forces are set in motion that drive the nation toward totalitarianism. “It is impossible,” Bastiat correctly observed, “to introduce into society… a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.” (THE LAW, p. 12)

GOVERNEMENT CANNOT CREATE WEALTH

Students of history know that no governement in the history of mankind has ever created any wealth. People who work create wealth. James R. Evans, in his inspiring book, “The Glorious Quest” gives this simple illustration of legalized plunder:

“Assume, for example, that we were farmers, and that we received a letter from the government telling us that we were going to get a thousand dollars this year for plowed up acreage. But rather than the normal method of collection, we were to take this letter and collect $69.71 from Bill Brown, at such and such an address, and $82.47 from Henry Jones, $59.80 from a Bill Smith, and so on down the line; that these men would make up our farm subsidy.

“Neither you nor I, nor would 99 percent of the farmers, walk up and ring a man’s doorbell, hold out a hand and say, ‘Give me what you’ve earned even though I have not.’ We simply wouldn’t do it because we would be facing directly the violation of a moral law, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ In short, we would be held accountable for our actions.”

The free creative energy of this choice nation “created more than 50% of all the world’s products and possessions in the short span of 160 years. The only imperfection in the system is the imperfection in man himself.”

The last paragraph in this remarkable Evans book – which I commend to all – reads:

“No historian of the future will ever be able to prove that the ideas of individual liberty practiced in the United States of America were a failure. He may be able to prove that we were not yet worthy of them. The choice is ours.” (Charles Hallberg and Co., 116 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60610)

THE BASIC ERROR OF MARXISM

According to Marxist doctrine, a human being is primarily an economic creature. In other words, his material well-being is all important; his privacy and his freedom are strictly secondary. The Soviet constitution reflects this philosophy in its emphasis on security: food, clothing, housing, medical care – the same things that might be considered in a jail. The basic concept is that the government has full responsibility for the welfare of the people and , in order to discharge that responsibility, must assume control of all their activities. It is significant that in actuality the Russian people have few of the rights supposedly “guaranteed” to them in their constitution, while the American people have them in abundance even though they are not guaranteed. The reason, of course, is that material gain and economic security simply cannot be guaranteed by any government. They are the result and reward of hard work and industrious production. Unless the people bake one loaf of bread for each citizen, the government cannot guarantee that each will have one loaf to eat. Constitutions can be written, laws can be passed and imperial decrees can be issued, but unless the bread is produced, it can never be distributed.

THE REAL CAUSE OF AMERICAN PROSPERITY

Why, then, do Americans bake more bread, manufacture more shoes and assemble more TV sets than Russians do? They do so precisely because our government does NOT guarantee these things. If it did, there would be so many accompanying taxes, controls, regulations and political manipulations that the productive genius that is America’s would soon be reduced to the floundering level of waste and inefficiency now found behind the Iron Curtain. As Henry David Thoreau explained:

“This government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. IT does not educate. THE CHARACTER INHERENT IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAS DONE ALL THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED; AND IT WOULD HAVE DONE SOMEWHAT MORE, IF THE GOVERNMMENT HAD NOT SOMETIMES GO IN ITS WAY. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it.” (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, THE AMERICAN TRADITION, p. 100; P.P.S.N., p.171)

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, said:

“With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned.” (Works 8:3)

A FORMULA FOR PROSPERITY

The principle behind this American philosophy can be reduced to a rather simple formula:

1. Economic security for all is impossible without widespread abundance.
2. Abundance is impossible without industrious and efficient production.
3. Such production is impossible without energetic, willing and eager labor.
4. This is not possible without incentive.
5. Of all forms of incentive – the freedom to attain a reward for one’s labors is the most sustaining for most people. Sometimes called THE PROFIT MOTIVE, it is simply the right to plan and to earn and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
6. This profit motive DIMINISHES as government controls, regulations and taxes INCREASE to deny the fruits of success to those who produce.
7. Therefore, any attempt THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTION to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISREGARDING THESE PRINCIPLES

We have before us currently a sad example of what happens to a nation which ignores these principles. Former FBI agent, Dan Smoot, succinctly pointed this out on his broadcast number 649, dated January 29, 1968, as follows:

“England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal – to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work.

The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle – ANY society.”

THE POWER OF TRUE LIBERTY FROM IMPROPER GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE

Nearly two hundred years ago, Adam Smith, the Englishman, who understood these principles very well, published his great book, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, which contains this statement:

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.” (Vol. 2, Book 4, Chapt. 5, p. 126)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEEDY?

On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. “What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? Is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. As Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, THE MAINSPRING OF HUMAN PROGRESS:

“Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BY ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERES, GANGSTERS, AND THIEVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.” (p. 40-1; P.P.N.S., p. 313)

THE BETTER WAY

By comparison, America traditionally has followed Jefferson’s advice of relying on individual action and charity. The result is that the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the entire world or throughout all history. Even during the depression of the 1930’s, Americans ate and lived better than most people in other countries do today.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH A “LITTLE” SOCIALISM?

In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn’t go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.

THREE REASONS AMERICAN NEED NOT FALL FOR SOCIALIST DECEPTIONS

Three factors may make a difference. First, there is sufficient historical knowledge of the failures of socialism and of the past mistakes of previous civilizations. Secondly, there are modern means of rapid communications to transmit these lessons of history to a large literate population. And thirdly, there is a growing number of dedicated men and women who, at great personal sacrifice, are actively working to promote a wider appreciation of these concepts. The timely joining together of these three factors may make it entirely possible for us to reverse the trend.

HOW CAN PRESENT SOCIALISTIC TRENDS BE REVERSED?

This brings up the next question: How is it possible to cut out the various welfare-state features of our government which have already fastened themselves like cancer cells onto the body politic? Isn’t drastic surgery already necessary, and can it be performed without endangering the patient? In answer, it is obvious that drastic measures ARE called for. No half-way or compromise actions will suffice. Like all surgery, it will not be without discomfort and perhaps even some scar tissue for a long time to come. But it must be done if the patient is to be saved, and it can be done without undue risk.

Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval. To try to do so would be like finding oneself at the controls of a hijacked airplane and attempting to return it by simply cutting off the engines in flight. It must be flown back, lowered in altitude, gradually reduced in speed and brought in for a smooth landing. Translated into practical terms, this means that the first step toward restoring the limited concept of government should be to freeze all welfare-state programs at their present level, making sure that no new ones are added. The next step would be to allow all present programs to run out their term with absolutely no renewal. The third step would involve the gradual phasing-out of those programs which are indefinite in their term. In my opinion, the bulk of the transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period and virtually completed within twenty years. Congress would serve as the initiator of this phase-out program, and the President would act as the executive in accordance with traditional constitutional procedures.

SUMMARY THUS FAR

As I summarize what I have attempted to cover, try to visualize the structural relationship between the six vital concepts that have made America the envy of the world. I have reference to the foundation of the Divine Origin of Rights; Limited Government; the pillars of economic Freedom and Personal Freedom, which result in Abundance; followed by Security and the Pursuit of Happiness.

America was built upon a firm foundation and created over many years from the bottom up. Other nations, impatient to acquire equal abundance, security and pursuit of happiness, rush headlong into that final phase of construction without building adequate foundations or supporting pillars. Their efforts are futile. And, even in our country, there are those who think that, because we now have the good things in life, we can afford to dispense with the foundations which have made them possible. They want to remove any recognition of God from governmental institutions, They want to expand the scope and reach of government which will undermine and erode our economic and personal freedoms. The abundance which is ours, the carefree existence which we have come to accept as a matter of course, CAN BE TOPPLED BY THESE FOOLISH EXPERIMENTERS AND POWER SEEKERS. By the grace of God, and with His help, we shall fence them off from the foundations of our liberty, and then begin our task of repair and construction.

As a conclusion to this discussion, I present a declaration of principles which have recently been prepared by a few American patriots, and to which I wholeheartedly subscribe.

FIFTEEN PRINCIPLES WHICH MAKE FOR GOOD AND PROPER GOVERNMENT

As an Independent American for constitutional government I declare that:

(1) I believe that no people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law.

(2) I believe that God has endowed men with certain unalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.

(3) I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the States of this nation which all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish.

(4) I believe it a violation of the Constitution for government to deprive the individual of either life, liberty, or property except for these purposes:

(a) Punish crime and provide for the administration of justice;
(b) Protect the right and control of private property;
(c) Wage defensive war and provide for the nation’s defense;
(d) Compel each one who enjoys the protection of government to bear his fair share of the burden of performing the above functions…

(5) I hold that the Constitution denies government the power to take from the individual either his life, liberty, or property except in accordance with moral law; that the same moral law which governs the actions of men when acting alone is also applicable when they act in concert with others; that no citizen or group of citizens has any right to direct their agent, the government to perform any act which would be evil or offensive to the conscience if that citizen were performing the act himself outside the framework of government.

(6) I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship and pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.

(7) I consider ourselves at war with international Communism which is committed to the destruction of our government, our right of property, and our freedom; that it is treason as defined by the Constitution to give aid and comfort to this implacable enemy.

(8) I am unalterable opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.

(9) I maintain that every person who enjoys the protection of his life, liberty, and property should bear his fair share of the cost of government in providing that protection; that the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person’s property or income be taxed at the same rate.

(10) I believe in honest money, the gold and silver coinage of the Constitution, and a circulation medium convertible into such money without loss. I regard it as a flagrant violation of the explicit provisions of the Constitution for the Federal Government to make it a criminal offense to use gold or silver coin as legal tender or to use irredeemable paper money.

(11) I believe that each State is sovereign in performing those functions reserved to it by the Constitution and it is destructive of our federal system and the right of self-government guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to regulate or control the States in performing their functions or to engage in performing such functions itself.

(12) I consider it a violation of the Constitution for the Federal Government to levy taxes for the support of state or local government; that no State or local government can accept funds from the Federal and remain independent in performing its functions, nor can the citizens exercise their rights of self-government under such conditions.

(13) I deem it a violation of the right of private property guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to forcibly deprive the citizens of this nation of their property through taxation or otherwise, and make a gift thereof to foreign governments or their citizens.

(14) I believe that no treaty or agreement with other countries should deprive our citizens of rights guaranteed them by the Constitution.

(15) I consider it a direct violation of the obligation imposed upon it by the Constitution for the Federal Government to dismantle or weaken our military establishment below that point required for the protection of the States against invasion, or to surrender or commit our men, arms, or money to the control of foreign ore world organizations of governments.

These things I believe to be the proper role of government.

We have strayed far afield. We must return to basic concepts and principles – to eternal verities. There is no other way. The storm signals are up. They are clear and ominous.

As Americans – citizens of the greatest nation under Heaven – we face difficult days. Never since the days of the Civil War – 100 years ago – has this choice nation faced such a crisis.

In closing I wish to refer you to the words of the patriot Thomas Paine, whose writings helped so much to stir into a flaming spirit the smoldering embers of patriotism during the days of the American Revolution:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial and article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” (THE POLITICAL WORKS OF THOMAS PAINE, p.55.)

I intend to keep fighting. My personal attitude is one of resolution – not resignation.

I have faith in the American people. I pray that we will never do anything that will jeopardize in any manner our priceless heritage. If we live and work so as to enjoy the approbation of a Divine Providence, we cannot fail. Without that help we cannot long endure.

ALL RIGHT-THINKING AMERICANS SHOULD NOW TAKE THEIR STAND

So I urge all Americans to put their courage to the test. Be firm in our conviction that our cause is just. Reaffirm our faith in all things for which true Americans have always stood.

I urge all Americans to arouse themselves and stay aroused. We must not make any further concessions to communism at home or abroad. We do not need to. We should oppose communism from our position of strength for we are not weak.

There is much work to be done. The time is short. Let us begin – in earnest – now and may God bless our efforts, I humbly pray.(4) I believe it a violation of the Constitution for government to deprive the individual of either life, liberty, or property except for these purposes:

(a) Punish crime and provide for the administration of justice;
(b) Protect the right and control of private property;
(c) Wage defensive war and provide for the nation’s defense;
(d) Compel each one who enjoys the protection of government to bear his fair share of the burden of performing the above functions.

(5) I hold that the Constitution denies government the power to take from the individual either his life, liberty, or property except in accordance with moral law; that the same moral law which governs the actions of men when acting alone is also applicable when they act in concert with others; that no citizen or group of citizens has any right to direct their agent, the government to perform any act which would be evil or offensive to the conscience if that citizen were performing the act himself outside the framework of government.

(6) I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship and pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.

(7) I consider ourselves at war with international Communism which is committed to the destruction of our government, our right of property, and our freedom; that it is treason as defined by the Constitution to give aid and comfort to this implacable enemy.

(8) I am unalterable opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.

(9) I maintain that every person who enjoys the protection of his life, liberty, and property should bear his fair share of the cost of government in providing that protection; that the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person’s property or income be taxed at the same rate.

(10) I believe in honest money, the gold and silver coinage of the Constitution, and a circulation medium convertible into such money without loss. I regard it as a flagrant violation of the explicit provisions of the Constitution for the Federal Government to make it a criminal offense to use gold or silver coin as legal tender or to use irredeemable paper money.

(11) I believe that each State is sovereign in performing those functions reserved to it by the Constitution and it is destructive of our federal system and the right of self-government guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to regulate or control the States in performing their functions or to engage in performing such functions itself.

(12) I consider it a violation of the Constitution for the Federal Government to levy taxes for the support of state or local government; that no State or local government can accept funds from the Federal and remain independent in performing its functions, nor can the citizens exercise their rights of self-government under such conditions.

(13) I deem it a violation of the right of private property guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to forcibly deprive the citizens of this nation of their property through taxation or otherwise, and make a gift thereof to foreign governments or their citizens.

(14) I believe that no treaty or agreement with other countries should deprive our citizens of rights guaranteed them by the Constitution.

(15) I consider it a direct violation of the obligation imposed upon it by the Constitution for the Federal Government to dismantle or weaken our military establishment below that point required for the protection of the States against invasion, or to surrender or commit our men, arms, or money to the control of foreign ore world organizations of governments.

These things I believe to be the proper role of government.

We have strayed far afield. We must return to basic concepts and principles – to eternal verities. There is no other way. The storm signals are up. They are clear and ominous.

As Americans – citizens of the greatest nation under Heaven – we face difficult days. Never since the days of the Civil War – 100 years ago – has this choice nation faced such a crisis.

In closing I wish to refer you to the words of the patriot Thomas Paine, whose writings helped so much to stir into a flaming spirit the smoldering embers of patriotism during the days of the American Revolution:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; ‘tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial and article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.” (THE POLITICAL WORKS OF THOMAS PAINE, p.55.)

I intend to keep fighting. My personal attitude is one of resolution – not resignation.

I have faith in the American people. I pray that we will never do anything that will jeopardize in any manner our priceless heritage. If we live and work so as to enjoy the approbation of a Divine Providence, we cannot fail. Without that help we cannot long endure.

ALL RIGHT-THINKING AMERICANS SHOULD NOW TAKE THEIR STAND

So I urge all Americans to put their courage to the test. Be firm in our conviction that our cause is just. Reaffirm our faith in all things for which true Americans have always stood.

I urge all Americans to arouse themselves and stay aroused. We must not make any further concessions to communism at home or abroad. We do not need to. We should oppose communism from our position of strength for we are not weak.

There is much work to be done. The time is short. Let us begin – in earnest – now and may God bless our efforts, I humbly pray.

Push Back Against FDA Growing – Tenth Amendment Center

Push Back Against FDA Growing

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by Bernie LaForest and Michael Boldin

A county assembly in Washington State has just passed a food freedom ordinance which would punish federal agents with up to ten years in prison and $20,000 fines.

On July 20th, the Stevens County Assembly finalized the ordinance. They are now in the process of collecting signatures from the residents of Stevens County – urging them to to claim his/her natural right to grow, produce, purchase, and consume the foods of their choice.

Beyond that, the passed ordinance would make it unlawful for agents of either the State or Federal government to execute laws that interfere with the ordinance.

Already four towns in Maine have passed similar measures, and others around the country have indicated they’re looking at the same.

REGULATIONS, REGULATIONS, AND MORE REGULATIONS

Last year, Congress introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) which opponents say will lead to crushing regulations on local food production – at the benefit of the big corporate farming interests that backed passage of the law. Local food ordinances appear to be a direct response to the new regulations. The Stevens County Ordinance states, in part, that:

WHEREAS, We find the history of government regulators, even with hundreds of food regulations on the books, shows they are incapable of protecting citizens from exposure to food poisoning events from foods produced by corporate farming

What exactly have all of these regulations given you? For example:

–The year-long raw milk sting operation that resulted in a raid consisting of two US Marshals, two State Troopers and two FDA officials on a SWAT like assault on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania at 5 a.m.

–In the first half of 2008, there was an epidemic of human salmonella poisoning that afflicted 1,294 people in 43 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The FDA immediately sprang into action and after a hasty investigation they proclaimed that tainted tomatoes may be the source of the epidemic. Several varieties of tomatoes were withdrawn from markets and restaurants across the country. Several weeks later, the FDA proclaimed that it may indeed be jalapeno peppers and cilantro that could be contributing to the outbreak. All of these ingredients are commonly used to make salsa which is a staple when eating Mexican food. Surprise! Finally the FDA pinpointed the peppers and cilantro that were imported from Mexico because it had traced contaminated irrigation water. The American tomato industry lost millions of dollars because of these errant recalls.

–Last year, FDA “Investigators” entered an organic grocery store in Venice, California – warrant and guns in hand. As reported by the LA Times, they “ordered the hemp-clad workers to put down their buckets of mashed coconut cream and to step away from the nuts. Then, guns drawn, four officers fanned out across Rawesome Foods in Venice. Skirting past the arugula and peering under crates of zucchini, they found the raid’s target inside a walk-in refrigerator: unmarked jugs of raw milk.

These are but a few of the seemingly endless examples of how the FDA and its increasing regulatory and police power have been keeping you “safe.” Some people, as shown by the five towns taking matters into their own hands, have decided that “enough is enough.”

LOCALS SPEAK OUT

Sedgwick, Maine resident Mia Strong told Natural News: “Tears of joy welled in my eyes as my town voted to adopt this ordinance. I am so proud of my community. They made a stand for local food and our fundamental rights as citizens to choose that food.”

“I still can’t believe they took our yogurt,” Rawesome volunteer Sea J. Jones told the LA Times a few days after the raid. “There’s a medical marijuana shop a couple miles away, and they’re raiding us because we’re selling raw dairy products?”

COMMUNITY FARMING, ORGANIC FOODS: TENTHER 101

While the media would like to portray any and all actions that assert the Tenth Amendment as a “tea party” or “right wing” movement, support for food sovereignty ordinances, along with fifteen states passing medical marijuana laws, certainly proves that stereotype to be little more than media hype.

The ordinance from Stevens County makes this clear:

WHEREAS, We, the people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare:
1. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States, states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”; and
2. That pursuant to Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution for the United States, there is no power granted to the federal government to regulate local foods on Stevens county; and
3. The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States, states, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”; and
4. That pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution for the United States, the power to regulate local foods on Stevens county is reserved to the State of Washington or the people of the State of Washington.

WARNING TO THE FEDS

Like the four towns in Maine that have passed similar ordinances, Stevens County means business. They’ve also included an enforcement clause – telling the feds, in essence, to butt out.

ENFORCEMENT CLAUSE;
(A)(1) The people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare that any law enacted by the congress of the United States; any federal regulation, rule, or policy promulgated; any executive order issued by the president of the United States; and any court decision; that seeks, purports, or is otherwise intended to regulate, in any way, the unalienable and fundamental rights of the people on Stevens county to choose the local foods they produce; process or prepare; sell, purchase, or distribute; preserve and store for extended periods of time; and consume, for food or drink, for people or other life forms, is not authorized by the Constitution for the United States of America; and
(2) The people of the State of Washington domiciled on Stevens county, declare the federal laws, etc., referred to in subsection (A)(1):
(a) Are invalid on Stevens county; and
(b) Will not be recognized by Stevens county; and
(c) Are specifically rejected by Stevens county; and
(d) Are null and void, having no effect on Stevens county.

The ordinance continues

(D)(1) Public employees employed at the federal, state, or local levels, including, but not limited to, agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Food and Drug Administration, Washington state Patrol, sheriff’s departments, and municipal and county police will not enforce or attempt to enforce the federal laws, etc., referred to in (A) subsections (1) and (2); or treaties referred in (B) subsections (1) and (2); or Washington state laws, etc., referred in (C) subsections (1) and (2);
and
(2) A violation of subsection (D)(1) is a class B felony (as defined at RCW 9A.20.021(1)(b)) and is punishable by confinement in a state correctional institution for a term fixed by the court not to exceed ten (10) years, or by a fine in an amount fixed by the court not to exceed twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both such confinement and fine; an

WHAT NEXT?

While the FDA has been getting increasingly aggressive – raiding raw milk activists, threatening walnut producers, and the like – these activists believe that they can push back and win by doing the same to DC. Will a local government ever attempt to arrest an FDA official? Only time will tell, and maybe they’ll never have to. With five local ordinances now passed, the “food sovereignty” movement is just in its infancy. But, if they learn from the efforts of those who defied DC on issued like medical marijuana and the real ID act, they’ll recognize that when enough people, towns, and even states – say NO to Washington DC, there’s not much the feds can do to stop them.

Bernie LaForest is the Outreach Director for the Wisconsin Tenth Amendment Center.

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin – and visit his personal blog – www.michaelboldin.com

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The FDA has been working hard to do it’s part to “fundamentally change” America.. into a Centrally Controlled Statist Regime.. where the Government is all knowing, all powerful, and quick to dominate the “little people”. Government tends to attract this kind of personality and they are encouraged to blossom into full fledged “little Hitler’s” under the Obama administration’s push to Massive Centralized planning and control.