Thursday, May 7, 2009

The nature of freedom and liberty

We live in a great nation, conceived and created in the principles of liberty and freedom. I am not, however, convinced we know even what liberty, or freedom is. Absolute liberty, or absolute freedom is as destructive as absolute tyranny. Humanity, by its nature, has too many seeking power by any means, and the power of those people must be blunted.

This is the cause of liberty, blunting the power of those who would take our property, our lives, and our freedoms. Our government was created with the republican ideal of separation of powers, and a constitutional limitation on the powers of government. This preserves both liberty and freedom when followed, and establishes a duty upon the people themselves to follow it.Freedom itself is often misunderstood, as is liberty. They are not the freedoms to do whatever one wishes. We limit our freedoms in many things to retain freedoms in others. To preserve the right to life, we give up the right to kill others gratuitously, to preserve the right to property, we preserve the rights of others. The federalist papers spoke strongly of the republican principles, and the limitations, checks, and balances involved in the nature of government, and also between the factions of the people, the necessity of restraining one part from taking the liberties, and properties of the other.

Rights themselves are property. The term 'inalienable' refers to the legal property process of alienation, or transfer of property between one entity and another. If our rights cannot be transferred, cannot be owned by another, how does it follow that they can restrict those rights? Is not restriction of use a power of ownership? Is not determination of use also a power of ownership? Are we then so completely owned by our government that we must request permission in all we do?

We request permission to marry, to drive, to work in the nation and pay our taxes, to bear the arms that are ours by right, and to use the money and property we work for. We must request permission to build, permission to own the land, and pay for that permission as a form of rent with seizure of the property for failure to pay. Do we then have a right to our property? Do we have that property in rights that James Madison spoke so clearly upon?

Or are we fooling ourselves into hoping our slavery will grow better as we grow more powerless? We are humans, with all the limitations, and grandeur inherent to the species. We are also individuals, powerful both in our own right, and in our role in society. It is necessary for us to maintain our liberty, and freedom, to protect the liberty and freedom of others in our society, else... are we not saying for an arbitrary status that our ownership of those rights can be transferred to another outside of our legal system?

Are we really so wise to enforce the rule of law... to enforce the ownership of the government over our minds, our spirits, and our bodies, and to transfer to them the right to protection, and exercise of our own will?
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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Our Constitution speaks glowingly of the principles for which it was founded, the need for a more capable government, the establishment of a system of justice, and the provisions for domestic tranquility, and the common defense. Few would question the nature or meanings of these provisions within the establishment of the constitution, but is there more or less to them? Long and arduous research into the nature of these things has left the waters as muddied as any other, for without limitations, any of these things can be taken to ridiculous, and tyrannical extremes. The limiting clause is the 'blessings of liberty for ourselves and our prosperity.' Liberty is not government action, it is the lack of government action.

I look at the system of laws like a building. There is a fundamental need for a foundation to keep any and all buildings stable. The larger the building could be, the more stout and strong the foundation must be. These rights, the rights to life, liberty, and property, are and must be the foundation of any representative government, or democratic republic. The rights of the people to own land by necessity must be protected, else the people have little impetus to maintain the land in their fiefdom. The rights of life must as well be protected, as that right is fundamental to any society. The right to liberty maintains the smooth flow of society, preventing unrest by not restricting the evolution of that society, and leaving its guidance in the hands of the people.

Societies, governments, and peoples need defense, so we set up walls. Internal walls to keep us from attacking each other are laws and regulations, designed to preserve that fundamental right to society. We choose to communicate, and to travel. These are doors in the grand establishment of society. Our external walls protect us from other societies. As the building is modified for new needs, often more walls and doors are put into place. These laws and regulations, while seemingly good, sometimes have unintended effects. Any building or corridor can be turned into a prison with enough bars and locks.

The commerce clause in the constitution is one of these walls. It was written as a means to prevent any state from creating a tariff or tax on goods from outside another state, and to prevent any state from denying any other state's citizen from traveling into or through the state. It was further designed to promote the flow of goods and services without interruption or restriction, and to allow the free travel of citizens to wherever they chose.
Originally, the corridors of commerce and travel in the building were wide and free. Occasional bumps in the road occurred, but it was the job of the citizen to make sure those bumps were as small as possible. It was also their duty to insist that the government stay out of the way.

Over time, government learned to make new restrictions that would maintain their money flow. As the government expanded they also increased their power to regulate. Eventually they started building doorways in these corridors. These doorways came in, slowly, one board at a time from the outer wall. Nobody really noticed them at first, thinking that each board was necessary and proper, and for a common good. Eventually some corridors were nearly closed, and only those who had government passes could pass through. (Peanut farms for instance). Some corridors were regulated, little by little, making sure that the people had to stay on one side, (a necessary precaution for safety) then making sure that they had insurance, then due to the insurance that they had to have seat belts, specialized braking systems, speed limits, tire standards...

Each and every limitation slowly closed down the corridors of society. Now and again government would allow weak challenges to a wooden board, so they could replace the board with an iron bar. This is the doctrine of "stare decisis". But was that the intent? Was it the purpose to lay down iron bars in the concrete of the walls (jurisprudence) that could never be removed? How long does it take before the corridors become controlled like those of a prison?

The government may propose that we place iron bars upon the windows to prevent entry. They can also propose iron doors to make it more difficult to break in. This does, however, prevent you from getting out in the case of emergency. It also does not prevent them from chaining the door shut or changing the locks. What good is it to have a door if you do not maintain control over the key?

Eventually Stare Decisis as it is currently constituted creates a system no less rigid, no less binding, and no less imposing upon your liberties than a prison cell. It does not matter that the walls of the cell are invisible, nor that the keys to the locks are unseen. The barriers of law are no less restrictive than the iron bars and concrete walls of a prison. Their invisibility is just a more subtle set of bars. They have those real prisons as well to back up the writs, after all.


The principles of liberty were designed specifically to be able to redress those barriers when they were found.

This is why the juries were established. Their role was to maintain the role of the people in deciding the law of the case as well as the facts. John Jay (the first Supreme Court Justice) went so far as to declare:

“It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. … Both objects are lawfully within your power of decision.”

  • Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794
This is also why the writ of habeas corpus was enshrined in Article 1, Section 9. In spite of presidential writ, and in spite of the laws passed by the legislature, there is no power whatsoever to deny habeas corpus. To put this act in scope, the removal of habeas corpus was considered an absolute measure of tyranny.

This is also why bills of attainder were prohibited. The legislature could not declare someone guilty for an act, or lack of an act, status, or any other issue. They did not have that power and authority. They could not prepare punishments in the legislature for that assumed act,nor could they make an action unlawful after the fact, and charge a man with it. They could also not emplace further laws, codes, or 'regulations' upon any man after the jury had heard and decided the case. This was not within their power, nor should it ever be.

Stare decisis
has been changed substantially since the beginning. It was neither binding, nor a writ of law by itself, nor was it unchangeable. It was founded in fundamental principles of constitutional law. Anything outside of those principles could be revisited, including the doctrine of stare decisis itself.

As in Bouvier's Law Dictionary of 1866

Stare decisis. To abide or adhere to decided cases.
2. It is a general maxim that when a point has been settled by decision, it forms a precedent which is not afterwards to be departed from. The doctrine of stare decisis is not always to be relied upon, for the courts find it necessary to overrule cases which have been hastily decided, or contrary to principle. Many hundreds of such overruled cases may be found in the American and English books of reports. Mr. Greenleaf has made a collection of such cases, to which the reader is referred. Vide 1 Kent, Com. 477; Livingst. Syst. of Pen. Law, 104, 5.

For a very good illustration of this issue: http://www.constitution.org/col/0610staredrift.htm

How many bars has our government put in place over the past two centuries in the corridors of our society? How many precedents and laws limit our travels? How many limit our freedom? How can we reverse them? How can the citizens who established the government tear down those walls?

We could attempt civil actions, but the doctrine of stare decisis as it stands today blocks many attempts at reversal.

“Stare decisis is the policy of the court to stand by precedent; the term is but an abbreviation of stare decisis et quieta non movere — "to stand by and adhere to decisions and not disturb what is settled." Consider the word "decisis." The word means, literally and legally, the decision. Nor is the doctrine stare dictis; it is not "to stand by or keep to what was said." Nor is the doctrine stare rationibus decidendi — "to keep to the rationes decidendi of past cases." Rather, under the doctrine of stare decisis a case is important only for what it decides — for the "what," not for the "why," and not for the "how." Insofar as precedent is concerned, stare decisis is important only for the decision, for the detailed legal consequence following a detailed set of facts.”

-- Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court, 57 Cal. 2D 450 (1962).


The difference in the definition is striking. The question becomes what the underlying principles were that were not to be deviated from... and why the deviations have occurred. The latter is beyond the scope of this document. The former, however, is not. Those principles were constitutional law. Those principles were individual liberty, and the philosophies in the following two quotes from the time of the founding fathers.


Potestas stricte interpretatur. A power is strictly interpreted.
In dubiis, non praesumitur pro potentia. In cases of doubt, the presumption is not in favor of a power.



Perhaps the best definitions of this issue form from the following, the words of those very people who founded the government.

“On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. “

  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)

“If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
  • George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
  • James Madison
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."
  • Thomas Jefferson

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
  • Abraham Lincoln

The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it's enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it... No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.


16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256



The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.


— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Smith, Nov. 13, 1787

We are the brushfires in the minds of men. We sear their conscience, burn their souls with hot fire, trouble their minds with questions that they dare not answer, for in answering, they must breach the armour around their hearts and look upon them, judging themselves by their own measure.

We petition, we remonstrate, we ask for what is ours... and must forever guard jealously our rights, our immunities, and our freedoms. Our liberties depend upon it.

To those that say that certainly the past cannot bind the present, that the intent of the Constitution could never be to bind those today... that was its entire intention, to bind the government from action against the people forevermore. The doctrine of stare decisis has strayed from the purpose for which it is founded, and it too must be corrected. Our job, our purpose, is to tear down those bars which choke the society, destroy the flow of goods, of ideas, of life itself. Our purpose as citizens and as human beings in this great society is not to meekly accept the works and words of our government, but to challenge them, refine them, purify them, and to guard forever those rights which pre-existed the government.
After all.... our patriots were not those who meekly adhered to a government and defended it, but those who tore it down, rooted it out, and built a new government based on the lessons they had learned. They were traitors, in the truest sense of the word, and had they been caught, (and some were), they'd have been killed in gruesome fashion and their heads placed at the Traitor's gate in London.
How do we guard our liberties? How do we prevent this creeping, insidious destruction of our freedoms in the name of the public good?
They had answers for that as well.
"[I]f the king ceases to govern the kingdom, and begins to act as a tyrant, to destroy justice, to overthrow peace, and to break his faith, the man who has taken the oath is free from it, and the people are entitled to depose the king and to set up another, inasmuch as he has broken the principle upon which their mutual obligation depended."
-- Manegold

"[I]t is not only permitted, but it is also equitable and just to slay tyrants. For he who receives the sword deserves to perish by the sword.
"But 'receives' is to be understood to pertain to he who has rashly usurped that which is not his, now he who receives what he uses from the power of God. He who receives power from God serves the laws and is the slave of justice and right. He who usurps power suppresses justice and places the laws beneath his will. Therefore, justice is deservedly armed against those who disarm the law, and the public power treats harshly those who endeavour to put aside the public hand. And, although there are many forms of high treason, none is of them is so serious as that which is executed against the body of justice itself. Tyranny is, therefore, not only a public crime, but if this can happen, it is more than public. For if all prosecutors may be allowed in the case of high treason, how much more are they allowed when there is oppression of laws which should themselves command emperors? Surely no one will avenge a public enemy, and whoever does not prosecute him transgresses against himself and against the whole body of the earthly republic."


  • John of Salsisbury, Policratus
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."

  • Thomas Jefferson
[E]very act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.


And when the government's legal protection force has no legal requirement to protect (see other posts on this very blog) there is no protection or security offered, or granted by government (state or federal).

http://triedbyconscience.blogspot.com/2008/08/protection-and-federal-government.html




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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A treasury of Liberty

The past reflects the future, as from the past we have seen day turn into day, logic illuminate illogic, truth illuminate lies. If we mean to be free of oppression, we must stand free of ignorance, we must illuminate the truth, no matter the cost. If a thing is true, it can stand of its own nature, if it be true, no lie can forever hide it. The past is key to the future, for in its truths lies the course set by nations. – Tried By Conscience

Today, when a concerted effort is made to obliterate this point, it cannot be repeated too often that the
Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals, that it does not prescribe the conduct of private individuals, only the conduct of the government, that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizen's protection against the government.
—Ayn Rand

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted
the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
— James Madison

On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to
the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the
probable one in which it was passed. — Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let
there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.
— George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
— Frederick Douglass, civil rights activist, Aug. 4, 1857

Any power that can be abused will be abused. — Tyranny Law #1
Abuse always expands to fill the limits of resistance to it. — Tyranny Law #2
If people don't resist the abuses of others, they will have no one to resist the abuses of themselves, and tyranny will prevail. — Tyranny Law #3
John Roland of the Constitution Society.

Political corruption begins with every voter who votes his pocketbook instead of for what's good for the country. There is little difference between the selling of his vote by an elected official and the selling of his vote by a voter, to whatever candidate promises him some benefit.
— Jon Roland, speech during his campaign for Congress, 1974
In politics nothing gets done until you first create a channel of corruption.
— Jesse Cuellar, cynical observer of the political scene, San Antonio, Texas, 1982

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters. — Daniel Webster

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Smith, Nov. 13, 1787

We must realize that today's Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.
— Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion, New York: Random House, 1970

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts,
not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. — Abraham Lincoln

I was born an American. I live as an American; I shall die an American; and I intend to perform
the duties incumbent upon me in that character to the end of my career. I mean to do this with absolute disregard to personal consequences.
What are the personal consequences? What is the individual man with all the good or evil that may betide him, in comparison with the good and evil which may befall a great country, and in the midst of great
transactions which concern that country's fate? Let the consequences be what they will, I am careless, No man can suffer too much, and no man can fall too soon, if he suffer or if he fall, in the defense of the
liberties and Constitution of his country. — Daniel Webster

Let us remember, that 'if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.' It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that
millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event. — Samuel Adams

Liberty is defended in three stages: The ballot box, the jury box, and the cartridge box. — Ambrose Bierce

"... freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society, and made by the legislative power erected in it. A liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not, not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man, ..."
— John Locke, Second Treatise, Ch. 4 § 21.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.
— H. L. Mencken
For every problem there is a solution which is simple, obvious, and wrong."
— Albert Einstein

"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed
and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."
— Thomas Jefferson

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
— Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776.

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
— Benjamin Franklin

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins; all of them imaginary.
— H.L. Mencken

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime, and the punishment of his guilt. — John Curran, July 10, 1790, in a speech about electing the mayor of Dublin

You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. — Attributed
to Lyndon B. Johnson or Hubert Humphrey, but unconfirmed.

"Government is like a hammer, good for pounding nails but not for surgery." — Jon Roland, June, 1995.

The price good people pay for their indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. — Plato (427-347 BC)

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always
votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, and is always followed by a dictatorship. The average of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependency; from dependency back again to bondage.

— Sir Alex Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), Scottish jurist and historian. Professor of Universal History at Edinburgh University in the late 18th Century. From the 1801 Collection of his lectures.

Whenever a man has cast a longing eye on them (public offices), a rottenness begins in his conduct.
— Thomas Jefferson

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
— Abba Eban

No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. — 1 Tucker (N.Y. Surr.) 249 (1866)

When Hitler came for the Jews... I was not a Jew, therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned. And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned. Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church — and there was nobody left to be concerned.
— Pastor Martin Niemoller, Congressional Record, October 14, 1968, vol. 114, p. 31636.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I
should do, by the grace of God, I will do. — Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909)

A ripple here, a ripple there.
Now there's something in the air.
A wave is building in the sea
As we play the game of history.
— Jon Roland, Feb. 1998

We have the greatest opportunity the world has ever seen, as long as we remain honest — which will be as long as we can keep the attention of our people alive. If they once become inattentive to public affairs,
you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, judges and governors would all become wolves. — Thomas Jefferson

Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of "emergency". It was the tactic of Lenin,
Hitler, and Mussolini. In the collectivist sweep over a dozen minor countries of Europe, it was the cry of men striving to get on horseback. And "emergency" became the justification of the subsequent steps. This technique of creating emergency is the greatest achievement that demagoguery attains. — Herbert Hoover.

Sed quis custodiet ipsos Custodes? (Who is to guard the guardians themselves?) — Juvenal, Satires, ~120 CE.

Give me six lines written by the most honourable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him. — Cardinal Richelieu (1585-1642)

In the twentieth century being "well-spoken" came to mean speaking in such as way that you can't easily be discredited by being quoted out of context. — Jon Roland, 1995

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. — Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

One of the first rules of effective communication is to so compose the message as to anticipate all the ways it could be misinterpreted, and minimize such misinterpretation. This is especially important with laws, which are messages from the past to the future. It is well to keep in mind Murphy's Law of Lawmaking: "If it can be misinterpreted it will be, and it will be misinterpreted in the worst way possible." — Jon Roland, 1997

I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes, believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it. While it lies there, it needs no constitution, no law, no court to save
it. — Judge Learned Hand

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I will do. —
D. L. Moody (1837-99), paraphrased. Similar to saying of Edward Everett
Hale (1822-1909).

It is not the job of the candidate to win. His job is to BE the best candidate. Electing the best candidate is the job of the people. We have to let the people do their job, and if they fail to do it well, we will all pay the price together.
— Jon Roland, to a discouraged campaign worker, after losing his campaign for Congress, 1974

During the late 20th century the word "liberal" came to mean someone whose copy of the Bill of Rights was missing the Second and Tenth Amendments, and the word "conservative" someone whose copy was missing the First and the Ninth.
— Jon Roland, May, 1994

Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.
— Attributed to Josef Stalin

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evilminded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." — Justice Louis D. Brandeis dissenting,Olmstead v. United States

"Fiat iustitia ruat c┼ôlum". Let justice be done though the heavens fall! — Ancient Roman maxim.

"Tyranny and injustice thrive when people make economic decisions rather than stand on principle." — Jon Roland, 1983

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
— Ayn Rand

Bills of attainder are: "legislative acts, no matter what their form, that apply either to named individuals or to easily ascertainable members of a group in such a way as to inflict punishment on them without a
judicial trial. ... An act is a 'bill of attainder' [under common law, see Blackstone's Commentaries] when the punishment is death and a 'bill of pains and penalties' when the punishment is less severe; both kinds
of punishment fall within the scope of the constitutional prohibition.
U.S. Constitution Art. I, Sec. 9, Cl. 3 (as to Congress); Art. I, Sec. 10 (as to state legislatures)." Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition.

And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions. – Samuel Adams

Were the talents and virtues which heaven has bestowed on men given merely to make them more obedient drudges, to be sacrificed to the follies and ambition of a few? Or, were not the noble gifts so equally dispensed with a divine purpose and law, that they should as nearly as possible be equally exerted, and the blessings of Providence be equally enjoyed by all? –
Samuel Adams

A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy.... While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security. – Samel Adams

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words! – Samuel Adams

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. – Samuel Adams

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; secondly, to liberty; thirdly to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. – Samuel Adams.

If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin. – Samuel Adams

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. --Samuel Adams

All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they should. – Samuel Adams

If men, through fear, fraud, or mistake, should in terms renounce or give up any natural right, the eternal law of reason and the grand end of society would absolutely vacate such renunciation. The right to freedom being the gift of Almighty God, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave. – Samuel Adams

It is a very great mistake to imagine that the object of loyalty is the authority and interest of one individual man, however dignified by the applause or enriched by the success of popular actions --Samuel Adams

Driven from every other corner of the earth, freedom of thought and the right of private judgment in matters of conscience, direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum. – Samuel Adams

...Virtue, morality, and religion. This is the armor, my friend, and this alone that renders us invincible. These are the tactics we should study. If we lose these, we are conquered, fallen indeed...so long as our manners and principles remain sound, there is no danger. – Patrick Henry

Bad men cannot make good citizens. It is when a people forget God that tyrants forge their chains. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom. No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue; and by a frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. – Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined. – Patrick Henry

Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense? Where is the difference between having our arms under our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? – Patrick Henry

I have the highest veneration of those Gentleman, -- but, Sir, give me leave to demand, what right had they to say, We, the People? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the People, instead of We, the States? States are the characteristics, and the soul of the confederation. If the States be not the agents of this compact, it must be one of great consolidated National Government of the people of all the States. – Patrick Henry

Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers (adminstrators) too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery. – Thomas Jefferson

An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on
true free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among general bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. – Thomas Jefferson

We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression. – Thomas Jefferson

The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction... I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity... is but swindling futurity on a large scale. – Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement – Thomas Jefferson

We are not to expect to be translated from despotism to liberty in a feather bed. – Thomas Jefferson

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. – Thomas Jefferson

In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. – Thomas Jefferson

A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. – Thomas Jefferson

Let us, then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled, we have yet gained little if we counternance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of a bitter and bloody persecutions. – Thomas Jefferson

Yes, we did produce a near-perfect republic. But will they keep it? Or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the path of destruction – Thomas Jefferson

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear... Do not be frightened from this inquiry from any fear of its consequences. If it ends in the belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise... – Thomas Jefferson

Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. – Thomas Jefferson

It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. – Thomas Jefferson

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. --Thomas Jefferson

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. – John Quincy Adams

Law logic -- an artificial system of reasoning, exclusively used in courts of justice, but good for nothing anywhere else. – John Quincy Adams

Civil liberty can be established on no foundation of human reason which will not at the same time demonstrate the right of religious freedom. – John Quincy Adams

[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. – John Quincy Adams

Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation. – John Quincy Adams

All the public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and there is great danger that the whole government will degenerate into a struggle of cabals. – John Quincy Adams

But the indissoluble link of union between the people of the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the RIGHT, but in the HEART. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it !) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other, when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interests shall fester into hatred, the bonds of political association - will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies ; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship with each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect Union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.
– John Quincy Adams

The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy. – John Quincy Adams

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected, in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity. – John Quincy Adams

The public good is in nothing more essentially interested, than in the protection of every individual's private rights . – Sir William Blackstone

It is better ten guilty persons escape than one innocent suffer. – Sir William Blackstone

And, lastly, to vindicate these rights, when actually violated and attacked, the subjects of England are entitled, in the first place, to the regular administration and free course of justice in the courts of law; next to the right of petitioning the king and parliament for redress of grievances; and, lastly, to the right of having and using arms for self preservation and defense. – Sir William Blackstone

The power of the legislative being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands. – John Locke

... whenever the Legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience ... [Power then] devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty, and, by the Establishment of a new Legislative (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own Safety and Security, which is the end for which they are in Society. – John Locke

[F]or nothing is to be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves not the remedy of such an appeal; and it is such force alone, that puts him that uses it into a state of war, and makes it lawful to resist him. A man with a sword in his hand demands my purse in the high-way, when perhaps I have not twelve pence in my pocket: this man I may lawfully kill. To another I deliver 100 pounds to hold only whilst I alight, which he refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, but draws his sword to defend the possession of it by force, if I endeavour to retake it. The mischief this man does me is a hundred, or possibly a thousand times more than the other perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he really did me any); and yet I might lawfully kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain; because the one using force, which threatened my life, I could not have time to appeal to the law to secure it: and when it was gone, it was too late to appeal. The law could not restore life to my dead carcass: the loss was irreparable; which to prevent, the law of nature gave me a right to destroy him, who had put himself into a state of war with me, and threatened my destruction. But in the other case, my life not being in danger, I may have the benefit of appealing to the law, and have reparation for my 100 pounds that way. – John Locke

The Care therefore of every man's Soul belongs unto himself, and is to be left unto himself. But what if he neglect the Care of his Soul? I answer, What if he neglects the Care of his Health, or of his Estate, which things are nearlier related to the Government of the Magistrate than the other? Will the magistrate provide by an express Law, That such an one shall not become poor or sick? Laws provide, as much as is possible, that the Goods and Health of Subjects be not injured by the Fraud and Violence of others; they do not guard them from the Negligence or Ill-husbandry of the Possessors themselves.
– John Locke
If the innocent honest Man must quietly quit all he has for Peace sake, to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of Peace there will be in the World, which consists only in Violence and Rapine; and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of Robbers and Oppressors.
– John Locke
Where there is no law there is no freedom.
– John Locke
Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other.
– John Locke

Freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society and made by the legislative power vested in it and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, arbitrary will of another man.
– John Locke
To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.
– John Locke

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 their 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. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial an article as Freedom should not be highly rated. – Thomas Paine

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. – Thomas Paine

Of more worth is one honest man to society and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived. – Thomas Paine

A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either. – Thomas Paine

It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom, to say, that government is a compact between those who govern and those that are governed: but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be, that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist. – Thomas Paine

I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies another this right makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it. – Thomas Paine

But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then you are not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then you are unworthy of the name of husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward and the spirit of a sycophant. – Thomas Paine

The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside... Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them... – Thomas Paine

Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing. – Thomas Paine

When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon. – Thomas Paine

The most formidable weapons against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. – Thomas Paine

He who dares not offend cannot be honest. – Thomas Paine

From the east to the west blow the trumpet to arms! Through the land let the sound of it flee; Let the far and the near all unite, with a cheer, In defense of our Liberty Tree. – Thomas Paine

When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion - when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed. – Ayn Rand

Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgement and nothing can help you escape it -- that no substitute can do your thinking, as no pinch-hitter can live your life. – Ayn Rand

Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others. – Ayn Rand

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers– Ayn Rand.

The difference between a welfare state and a totalitarian state is a matter of time. – Ayn Rand

The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights... – Ayn Rand

Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel. – Ayn Rand

This Act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth. When the Presidentsigns this bill, the invisible government by the Monetary Power will be legalized. The people may not know it immediately, but the day of reckoning is only a few years removed. The trusts will soon realize that they have gone too far even for their own good. The people must make a declaration of independence to relieve themselves from the Monetary Power. This they will be able to do by taking control of Congress. Wall Streeters could not cheat us if you Senators and Representatives did not make a humbug of Congress... The greatest crime
of Congress is its currency system. The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetrated by this banking bill. The caucus and the party bosses have again operated and prevented the people from getting the benefit of their own government. When the President signs this act [Federal Reserve Act of 1913], the invisible government by the money power -- proven to exist by the Monetary Trust Investigation -- will be legalized. The new law will create inflation whenever the trusts want inflation. From now on, depressions will be scientifically created. – Senator Charles Lindberg Sr.

Qui tam, abbreviation of "qui tam pro domino rege quam pro sic ipso in hoc parte sequitur", meaning "who sues for the king as for himself." Black's Law Dictionary defines a qui tam action as "an action brought ... under a statute which establishes a penalty for the commission or omission of a certain act, and provides that the same shall be recoverable in a civil
action, part of the penalty to go to any person who will bring such action and the remainder to the state or some other institution." --- John Roland

Ex Rel., abbreviation of "ex relatione", are actions brought in the name of the state but on the information and at the instigation of a private individual with a private interest in the outcome. The real party in interest is called the "relator." The action is captioned "State of X [or United States] ex rel. Y. v. Z."
Quo warranto, "what authority?", is an ancient legal doctrine by which persons may challenge actions of governmental or corporate officials or agents when they exceed their legally granted authority. It may be used to remove the offender from office.
Habeas corpus, "have the body", a kind of quo warranto action seeking to release someone from custody if the authority to hold him cannot be proven.

Bring of this what you will. Look into the past to see the future. Look into your own hearts to see who you are. Courage, patriotism, indeed, even justice is the greatest fear of tyrants. No man can be just that is not also bound by that same justice. No man can be free that does not strive for the freedom of others. No man may rule that is not in turn ruled by those he has power over. The greatest master of any president, any king, ought to be the duty to the people. He is bound in chains to their service, chains written of the very law he executes. Should he step outside those bounds, then he is a tyrant. Usurpation, placing the rule of law under the heel of its executor, or placing the executor or legislator of the law outside of its rule is as sure an indication of tyranny as any torture, any physical chains. It avails a man nothing if he has a right he is not free to use, nor does it avail him to have justice which is not applied to all. No man is above the law, nor beneath it, for the law applies, and forever should apply, to kings and emperors, to presidents and judges, from the least to the best loved. If justice does not apply to all, then there is no justice... only tyranny, and the truest measure of any society is how it treats those
least loved. -- Tried By Conscience

"It is not only permitted, but it is also equitable and just to slay tyrants. For he who receives the sword deserves to perish by the sword.But 'receives' is to be understood to pertain to he who has rashly usurped that which is not his, now he who receives what he uses from the power of God. He who receives power from God serves the laws and is the slave of justice and right. He who usurps power suppresses justice and places the laws beneath his will. Therefore, justice is deservedly armed against those who disarm the law, and the public power treats harshly those who endeavour to put aside the public hand. And, although there are many forms of high treason, none is of them is so serious as that which is executed against the body of justice itself. Tyranny is, therefore, not only a public crime, but if this can happen, it is more than public. For if all prosecutors may be allowed in the case of high treason, how much more are they allowed when there is oppression of laws which should themselves command emperors? Surely no one will avenge a public enemy, and whoever does not prosecute him transgresses against himself and against the whole body of the earthly republic." -- John of Salisbury: Policratus


"If the king ceases to govern the kingdom, and begins to act as a tyrant, to destroy justice, to overthrow peace, and to break his faith, the man who has taken the oath is free from it, and the people are entitled to depose the king and to set up another, inasmuch as he has broken the principle upon which their mutual obligation depended." -- Manegold
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Monday, January 26, 2009

The nature of liberty

  • We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.


Our Constitution speaks glowingly of the principles for which it was founded, the need for a more capable government, the establishment of a system of justice, and the provisions for domestic tranquility, and the common defense. Few would question the nature or meanings of these provisions within the establishment of the constitution, but is there more or less to them? Long and arduous research into the nature of these things has left the waters as muddied as any other, for without limitations, any of these things can be taken to ridiculous, and tyrannical extremes. The limiting clause is the 'blessings of liberty for ourselves and our prosperity.' Liberty is not government action, it is the lack of government action.

I look at the system of laws like a building. There is a fundamental need for a foundation to keep any and all buildings stable. The larger the building could be, the more stout and strong the foundation must be. These rights, the rights to life, liberty, and property, are and must be the foundation of any representative government, or democratic republic. The rights of the people to own land by necessity must be protected, else the people have little impetus to maintain the land in their fiefdom. The rights of life must as well be protected, as that right is fundamental to any society. The right to liberty maintains the smooth flow of society, preventing unrest by not restricting the evolution of that society, and leaving its guidance in the hands of the people.

Societies, governments, and peoples need defense, so we set up walls. Internal walls to keep us from attacking each other are laws and regulations, designed to preserve that fundamental right to society. We choose to communicate, and to travel. These are doors in the grand establishment of society. Our external walls protect us from other societies. As the building is modified for new needs, often more walls and doors are put into place. These laws and regulations, while seemingly good, sometimes have unintended effects. Any building or corridor can be turned into a prison with enough bars and locks.

The commerce clause in the constitution is one of these walls. It was written as a means to prevent any state from creating a tariff or tax on goods from outside another state, and to prevent any state from denying any other state's citizen from traveling into or through the state. It was further designed to promote the flow of goods and services without interruption or restriction, and to allow the free travel of citizens to wherever they chose.

Originally, the corridors of commerce and travel in the building were wide and free. Occasional bumps in the road occurred, but it was the job of the citizen to make sure those bumps were as small as possible. It was also their duty to insist that the government stay out of the way.

Over time, government learned to make new restrictions that would maintain their money flow. As the government expanded they also increased their power to regulate. Eventually they started building doorways in these corridors. These doorways came in, slowly, one board at a time from the outer wall. Nobody really noticed them at first, thinking that each board was necessary and proper, and for a common good. Eventually some corridors were nearly closed, and only those who had government passes could pass through. (Peanut farms for instance). Some corridors were regulated, little by little, making sure that the people had to stay on one side, (a necessary precaution for safety) then making sure that they had insurance, then due to the insurance that they had to have seat belts, specialized braking systems, speed limits, tire standards...

Each and every limitation slowly closed down the corridors of society. Now and again government would allow weak challenges to a wooden board, so they could replace the board with an iron bar. This is the doctrine of "stare decisis". But was that the intent? Was it the purpose to lay down iron bars in the concrete of the walls (jurisprudence) that could never be removed? How long does it take before the corridors become controlled like those of a prison?

The government may propose that we place iron bars upon the windows to prevent entry. They can also propose iron doors to make it more difficult to break in. This does, however, prevent you from getting out in the case of emergency. It also does not prevent them from chaining the door shut or changing the locks. What good is it to have a door if you do not maintain control over the key?

Eventually Stare Decisis as it is currently constituted creates a system no less rigid, no less binding, and no less imposing upon your liberties than a prison cell. It does not matter that the walls of the cell are invisible, nor that the keys to the locks are unseen. The barriers of law are no less restrictive than the iron bars and concrete walls of a prison. Their invisibility is just a more subtle set of bars. They have those real prisons as well to back up the writs, after all.


The principles of liberty were designed specifically to be able to redress those barriers when they were found.

This is why the juries were established. Their role was to maintain the role of the people in deciding the law of the case as well as the facts. John Jay (the first Supreme Court Justice) went so far as to declare:

“It may not be amiss, here, Gentlemen, to remind you of the good old rule, that on questions of fact, it is the province of the jury, on questions of law, it is the province of the court to decide. But it must be observed that by the same law, which recognizes this reasonable distribution of jurisdiction, you have nevertheless a right to take upon yourselves to judge of both, and to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy. … Both objects are lawfully within your power of decision.”
  • Georgia v. Brailsford, 1794
This is also why the writ of habeas corpus was enshrined in Article 1, Section 9. In spite of presidential writ, and in spite of the laws passed by the legislature, there is no power whatsoever to deny habeas corpus. To put this act in scope, the removal of habeas corpus was considered an absolute measure of tyranny.

This is also why bills of attainder were prohibited. The legislature could not declare someone guilty for an act, or lack of an act, status, or any other issue. They did not have that power and authority. They could not prepare punishments in the legislature for that assumed act,nor could they make an action unlawful after the fact, and charge a man with it. They could also not emplace further laws, codes, or 'regulations' upon any man after the jury had heard and decided the case. This was not within their power, nor should it ever be.

Stare decisis
has been changed substantially since the beginning. It was neither binding, nor a writ of law by itself, nor was it unchangeable. It was founded in fundamental principles of constitutional law. Anything outside of those principles could be revisited, including the doctrine of stare decisis itself.

As in Bouvier's Law Dictionary of 1866

Stare decisis. To abide or adhere to decided cases.
2. It is a general maxim that when a point has been settled by decision, it forms a precedent which is not afterwards to be departed from. The doctrine of stare decisis is not always to be relied upon, for the courts find it necessary to overrule cases which have been hastily decided, or contrary to principle. Many hundreds of such overruled cases may be found in the American and English books of reports. Mr. Greenleaf has made a collection of such cases, to which the reader is referred. Vide 1 Kent, Com. 477; Livingst. Syst. of Pen. Law, 104, 5.

For a very good illustration of this issue: http://www.constitution.org/col/0610staredrift.htm

How many bars has our government put in place over the past two centuries in the corridors of our society? How many precedents and laws limit our travels? How many limit our freedom? How can we reverse them? How can the citizens who established the government tear down those walls?

We could attempt civil actions, but the doctrine of stare decisis as it stands today blocks many attempts at reversal.

“Stare decisis is the policy of the court to stand by precedent; the term is but an abbreviation of stare decisis et quieta non movere — "to stand by and adhere to decisions and not disturb what is settled." Consider the word "decisis." The word means, literally and legally, the decision. Nor is the doctrine stare dictis; it is not "to stand by or keep to what was said." Nor is the doctrine stare rationibus decidendi — "to keep to the rationes decidendi of past cases." Rather, under the doctrine of stare decisis a case is important only for what it decides — for the "what," not for the "why," and not for the "how." Insofar as precedent is concerned, stare decisis is important only for the decision, for the detailed legal consequence following a detailed set of facts.”

-- Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court, 57 Cal. 2D 450 (1962).


The difference in the definition is striking. The question becomes what the underlying principles were that were not to be deviated from... and why the deviations have occurred. The latter is beyond the scope of this document. The former, however, is not. Those principles were constitutional law. Those principles were individual liberty, and the philosophies in the following two quotes from the time of the founding fathers.


Potestas stricte interpretatur. A power is strictly interpreted.
In dubiis, non praesumitur pro potentia. In cases of doubt, the presumption is not in favor of a power.



Perhaps the best definitions of this issue form from the following, the words of those very people who founded the government.

“On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed. “
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), letter to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)

“If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”
  • George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
  • James Madison
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."
  • Thomas Jefferson

Our safety, our liberty, depends upon preserving the Constitution of the United States as our fathers made it inviolate. The people of the United States are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
  • Abraham Lincoln

The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of it's enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it... No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.


16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d, Sec 256



The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.


— Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Smith, Nov. 13, 1787

We are the brushfires in the minds of men. We sear their conscience, burn their souls with hot fire, trouble their minds with questions that they dare not answer, for in answering, they must breach the armour around their hearts and look upon them, judging themselves by their own measure.

We petition, we remonstrate, we ask for what is ours... and must forever guard jealously our rights, our immunities, and our freedoms. Our liberties depend upon it.

To those that say that certainly the past cannot bind the present, that the intent of the Constitution could never be to bind those today... that was its entire intention, to bind the government from action against the people forevermore. The doctrine of stare decisis has strayed from the purpose for which it is founded, and it too must be corrected. Our job, our purpose, is to tear down those bars which choke the society, destroy the flow of goods, of ideas, of life itself. Our purpose as citizens and as human beings in this great society is not to meekly accept the works and words of our government, but to challenge them, refine them, purify them, and to guard forever those rights which pre-existed the government.
After all.... our patriots were not those who meekly adhered to a government and defended it, but those who tore it down, rooted it out, and built a new government based on the lessons they had learned. They were traitors, in the truest sense of the word, and had they been caught, (and some were), they'd have been killed in gruesome fashion and their heads placed at the Traitor's gate in London.
How do we guard our liberties? How do we prevent this creeping, insidious destruction of our freedoms in the name of the public good?
They had answers for that as well.
"[I]f the king ceases to govern the kingdom, and begins to act as a tyrant, to destroy justice, to overthrow peace, and to break his faith, the man who has taken the oath is free from it, and the people are entitled to depose the king and to set up another, inasmuch as he has broken the principle upon which their mutual obligation depended."
-- Manegold

"[I]t is not only permitted, but it is also equitable and just to slay tyrants. For he who receives the sword deserves to perish by the sword.
"But 'receives' is to be understood to pertain to he who has rashly usurped that which is not his, now he who receives what he uses from the power of God. He who receives power from God serves the laws and is the slave of justice and right. He who usurps power suppresses justice and places the laws beneath his will. Therefore, justice is deservedly armed against those who disarm the law, and the public power treats harshly those who endeavour to put aside the public hand. And, although there are many forms of high treason, none is of them is so serious as that which is executed against the body of justice itself. Tyranny is, therefore, not only a public crime, but if this can happen, it is more than public. For if all prosecutors may be allowed in the case of high treason, how much more are they allowed when there is oppression of laws which should themselves command emperors? Surely no one will avenge a public enemy, and whoever does not prosecute him transgresses against himself and against the whole body of the earthly republic."


  • John of Salsisbury, Policratus
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press."

  • Thomas Jefferson
[E]very act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.


And when the government's legal protection force has no legal requirement to protect (see other posts on this very blog) there is no protection or security offered, or granted by government (state or federal).

http://triedbyconscience.blogspot.com/2008/08/protection-and-federal-government.html


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Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it Constitutional?

Long ago, in a land not so far away, there once was a Supreme Court Judge named Marshall. Now Marshall was a crafty sort of fellow. He was also one of the most knowledgeable people when it came to the Constitution of the United States (keep in mind that this was a mere 25 years after the Constitution was created).

Judge Marshall was on the bench when the infamous case of Marbury v. Madison came to a head. Some history on the case:

Marbury was given a commission to become a Justice of the Peace in Washington D.C. by John Adams. In his haste to confirm about 50 or so such commissions, some were accidentally not stamped with the US Seal. Marbury went to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) to ask for a Writ of Mandamus against James Madison (Secretary of State)to produce the commission owed to him.

The Court, seeing a catch twenty-two, looked to the intent of the Constitution.

"Marshall found an escape from his dilemma. He announced the decision on February 24, and proclaimed the most distinctive power of the Supreme Court, the power to declare an Act of Congress unconstitutional. Point by point he analyzed the case. Did Marbury have a legal right to his commission? Yes. Would a writ of mandamus enforce his right? Yes. Could the Court issue the writ? No."

"Congress had said it could, in the Judiciary Act of 1789. It had given the Court an original jurisdiction in such cases - power to try them for the first time. But, said Marshall triumphantly, the Constitution defined the Court’s original jurisdiction and Congress could not change it by law. Therefore that section of the law was void. Marshall declared for all time the supremacy of the Constitution over any conflicting law. Other judges had said as much, but Marshall added: 'It is, emphatically, the province and duty of the judicial department, to say what the law is.'"

Marshall gave us an interesting point to remember. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land. And no Act of Congress shall change that.

So, that brings us to the current state of affairs in our beloved country. Is Congress trying to change the Constitution?

Think on it this way.

Congress creates more than 100 new laws per year (some reports say more than 1000). In doing so, they far surpass the number of court cases that SCOTUS can hear each year. So, many laws go unchallenged. Thus changing the face of our Constitution by the very nature that these laws are created under.

Liberty is what is lost by the American people who are affected by these laws. Liberty is a tricky word, but one that means more than life to any American who loses it.

Patrick Henry gave us a glimpse of it when he said:

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

And to what extent do most American's hold onto their Liberty? Patrick Henry again paints us a picture:

"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it."

Liberty is an essential and integral part of our daily lives. Without it, we cease to be the "..Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!"

I ask that you pay attention to the meaning behind the laws that are passed these days. Look to the ramifications that come from the passage of these laws. Look to the way they are passed. Evaluate for yourself.

Are these laws Constitutional? Is Congress acting in accordance with their charter as laid out by the very Constitution that they are sworn to protect? Do they pass laws in a fashion that can stand up to Constitutional muster?

Do they sacrifice our Liberties in doing so?

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