Constitutional Govt

Basics of US Government?

Think NOTthat you must have a law degree to understand the Constitutionof the United States; or that the lawyers, law professors and blackrobed judges are the ones who understand it best. They are the ones whoperverted it. To restore constitutional government, We the People must learnthe basic concepts of “government”; and we must learn the Constitution, electrepresentatives who will honor their oaths to support it (Art VI, clause 3),and remove from office those who don’t.

 

TheConstitution is a short document which anyone – who makes a reasonable effort –can understand quite well. You need only (1) The Declaration of Independence,(2) The Constitution, and (3) TheFederalist Papers. The latter is a collection of 85 essays written for the publicby Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, and published during 1787and 1788, in order to explain the proposed Constitution to the People and toinduce them to ratify it. [1] Also,since word meanings can change drastically throughout time [2], if we are to understand the objective meaning of the Constitution – the originalintent – we must understand the words the same way the founders understoodthem. An American Dictionary of The English Language, Noah Webster (1828),published in facsimile edition, is readily available.

 

1. The function of aConstitution is to restrict the power of civil government:

…In freestates, the constitutionis paramount to the statutes or laws enacted by the legislature, limiting andcontrolling its power; and in the United States, the legislature is created, and itspowers designated, by the constitution. (Webster’s 1828)

2. “Federal” refersto theform of ourgovernment: An alliance of States with close cultural and economic tiesassociated together in a “federation” with a national government to which isdelegated supremacy over the States in specifically defined areas. [3]

3. A “republic” is “a state in which theexercise of the sovereign power is lodged in representatives elected by thepeople…” (Webster’s 1828). A “constitutional republic” is a state in which the representatives (andother officials) are limited and restricted by a constitution. This country was established as a constitutional republic.

4. A “democracy” is twowolves and one sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

5. Decentralization: In afree country, government isdecentralized: there exist various kinds of government, each with their ownsphere of operation. Webster’s (1828) lists three: “self-government” – man’s control andrestraint over his own temper, passions, and social actions; “family government” – parents’ authority overtheir children and other family matters; and civil government – the form of, and therules and principles by which a nation or state is governed.

There isalso government in religious associations (e.g.,Mat 18:15-17); charities; professional, trade, and sports associations (in earliertimes, these set the standards and handled the discipline for their members);and other voluntary organizations with their own rules and requirements.

But in atotalitarian country, the civil governmenteliminates the other forms of governmentso that its power is unchallenged in all spheres of life:

a) Ournational government is eliminating self-government by takingaway the responsibility of individuals to act morally and responsibly in theconduct of their own affairs. Not only does it force individualsto participate in government retirement and medical programs – matters which inthe past were considered to be individual and family responsibilities; it now,with respect to daily expenses, “bails out” the least responsible at theexpense of the more responsible! We are no longer required to govern ourselves:We may sit around, indulging in blame shifting, excuse-making and nursinggrievances, and the government pays our living expenses! As individuals, wehave abandoned self-discipline altogether – we abuse our own health with ourexcesses and bad habits!

b) It is eliminating family government bydictating as to the discipline and education of children, and insisting thatminor children may obtain abortions withouttheir parents’ knowledge or consent! Matters that were, in the past, treated as family responsibilities (financialand other assistance to family members; education of children, care of agingparents, etc.) have been taken over by civil government. We no longer look toour families for assistance – we look to the civil government! Is it any wonderwe now consider the president as “the one” to “save” us?

c)Previously, churches were themoral authorities in our country. But the national government has eliminated that moral authority! Eventhough the modern “welfare” state is based on Coercion & Looting &Distribution of Plunder to favored groups – the legalization of Envy &Theft [4] – thePastors dare not speak out against it – they have been silenced by the 501 c(3) tax exemption. So we have been deprived of the benefit of their moralguidance on issues affecting our country – that’swhat the national government demands! So the churches arerestricted to speaking on saving souls, “escape” or “rescue” from this Earth, what happens when we’re dead, and othersuch matters that don’t challenge Caesar’s sovereignty on Earth. For Caesar claims that the Earth and everythingon it belongs to him!

d) Charity is properly the work ofindividuals, churches, and private associations. Some, such as The SalvationArmy, provide Christian instruction alongwith assistance. But a totalitarian government will not tolerate this challengeto its total power; so it now speaks of reducing the tax deduction forcharitable giving. As economic conditions worsen, charitable giving willdecline; private charities will diminish, but the national government seeksalways to expand.

e) Thestate governments have taken over the licensing and disciplining of the trades and professions; andCongress conducts hearings on whether sportsfigures take steroids!

6. Decentralization & LocalGovernments: In a free country, civilgovernment itself is decentralized – we have city governments, county governments,and state governments,as well as the federal government. Each local government has its ownconstitution that defines its powers & duties.

Whenspeaking of the national government, do not confuse its few powers – thoseenumerated in the U.S. Constitution – with the more extensive powers that maybe granted to State and localgovernments in their constitutions. JamesMadison wrote in TheFederalist Papers, No. 45 (9th paragraph):

Thepowers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are fewand defined. Those that are to remain in the State governments are numerous andindefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, aswar, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power oftaxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to theseveral States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course ofaffairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people….

So, doyou see? The federal government isn’t supposed to have anything to do with ourlives, liberties and properties except as follows: Other than those in militaryservice, it has no lawful criminal jurisdiction over us unless we arecounterfeiters, pirates or traitors; it has no civil jurisdiction over usunless we file for bankruptcy; if weare inventors or writers, it secures for us the rights to patents &copyrights; it makes rules for naturalizing new citizens, and it delivers ourmail! (Art I, Sec 8 & Art III, Sec 3, U.S. Constitution) That’s basicallyit, Folks!

So mortgage bailouts, medical care,pensions, familymatters, education, housing, food stamps, tattooremoval, Nancy Pelosi’s mice, “community redevelopment”, light bulbs, and thelike, are NONE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS! The local governments, if the People haveauthorized such in the local constitution, mayaddress such matters. But the only areas inwhich the federal government may lawfully actare those enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.

7. In a free country, civilgovernment is restrained – it is limited by the constitution in what it is allowed todo. But in a tyranny, those who hold power do whatever they want –they know no law but their own ideas, whims, self-interest, self-glorification,and lust for power. Webster (1828) defined “govern”:

To directand control…either by established laws or by arbitrary will…Thus in freestates, men are governed by theconstitution and laws; in despotic states, men are governed by the edicts or commandsof [a tyrant]…. [5]

WE thePeople created the national government when We, as States, ratified theConstitution. WE determined its powers and duties and enumerated those powersand duties in the written Constitution. None of the three branches of thenational government: neither the Legislative, nor the Executive, nor theJudiciary, may do ANYTHING unless WE first gave it permission in theConstitution. WE are the Creators; those in the national government, be theySenators, Representatives, federal judges, or the President, are merecreatures. Alexander Hamilton said in The Federalist Papers, No. 33, (6thparagraph):

If thefederal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make atyrannical use of its powers, the people, whosecreature it is, mustappeal to the standard they have formed [the Constitution], and take suchmeasures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency maysuggest and prudence justify. [emphasis added]

Our Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land (Art VI, cl.2); and anything contrary to our Constitution is lawlessness – no matter who in office or on the bench does it.

8. How should we understandthe Constitution? Should we understand it the same way our founders did (“originalintent”)? Or, does its meaning “evolve” throughout time, so that it “means”whatever the gang in power (at any point in time) says it means?

a) Oneside – the “strict constructionists” or “originalists” – say the Constitutionhas a fixed meaning, and we must look at the original intent of theConstitution. We easily learn this original intent by understanding the wordsthe same way our founders understood them [e.g., Webster’s 1828 Dictionary]& by referring to TheFederalist Papers. [6]

b) Theother side (composed primarily of activist judges, totalitarian leftists andpeople who don’t think) say the Constitution has no fixed meaning. They say itis an “evolving”, “living, breathing” thing that means whatever the judges, from time to time, sayit means [7] or, likeCongress and many of our presidents, ignore it altogether.

And justhow do we learn what the judges say theConstitution means? Well, you really have to go to law school and learn how todo legal research; how to read judicial writing (which is often intended toconceal the judges’ complete lack of intellectual honesty); and how to construeconflicting court decisions. Then, you usually end up going with the court’slatest pronouncement (once you have located it) – knowing full well that it maychange when a new gang gets on the bench. [8]

Obviously,under the second view – we don’t have constitutional government. Instead, thejudiciary, the Congress, and the Executive Branch imposetheir unfettered wills on us; and THIS is how we havebeen transformed from a “free state” where we were governed by the constitution andlaws; into a despotic state, where we are governed by theedicts or commands of judges, congressmen & senators, presidents, andmeddlesome federal agencies.

9. What are “Rights” andwhere do they come from? Are rights unalienable gifts from God? Arerights inherent to our nature as humans? Is the Bill of Rights (the first 10Amendments to the U.S. Constitution) the source of our rights? Are “rights”entitlements to stuff paid for by other people?

a) OurDeclaration of Independence says our Rights are unalienable and comefrom God:

We holdthese truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they areendowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these areLife, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… [9]

b) ThePhilosopher Ayn Rand correctly saw rights as inherent to the nature of man;although she thought God had nothing to with it. In John Galt’s speech (Atlas Shrugged), he said:

Thesource of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law ofidentity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required byman’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is rightfor him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it isright to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life onearth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: natureforbids him the irrational. Any group, any gang, any nation that attempts tonegate man’s rights, is wrong, which means: is evil, which means: is anti-life.

c) Otherssay that our rights come from the Bill of Rights. Butthis is a pernicious error. To say that the Bill of Rights “confers” ourrights; or to discuss “the full scope” of any of the First Ten Amendments,constitutes a restriction on, and reduction of, the rights given by God. To say that the Bill of Rights is the source of ourrights, diminishes them from their proper status as unalienable gifts from Godandtransforms them into privileges which we hold, or not, according to whetherthey are recognized in a document written by men; and according to theinterpretations of judges!

d) Thestatist view is that rights come from “the government”. The statists are notconcerned with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness! [10] To them,a “right” is a claim for stuff paid for by somebody else: The “right” to apublic school education; the “right” to medical care; the “right” to housing;etc. But it is a contradiction in terms – itis a perversion – to speak of “rights” to stuff that is produced by, or paid for,by others! To hold that people who produce exist to be plundered by civilgovernment for the ostensible benefit of others is nothing less than slavery.Just as no one has the right to own another human being; so no one has theright to own the fruits of another man’s labors.

10. The U.S. Constitutionis the document that created thenational government. [11] When thePeople through their States ratified the Constitution, the People and theStates did not lose their status as independent sovereigns who would be capableof corrective action if the national government were to exceed the powersgranted to it.

Exceptfor those few powers (primarily relating to national defense & otherexternal objects) that the People and the States specifically delegated to thenational government, the People and the States remain independent andsovereign.

Furthermore,the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution states:

Thepowers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor Prohibitedby it to the States, [12] arereserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So whenthe “creature” usurps powers not granted in the Constitution, the “Creators”are not bound by the usurpations. Those usurpations are, by definition,lawless. When this happens, the States have the Right and the Duty to rein intheir creation – for the creature has become Frankenstein.

TenthAmendment Resolutions, nullification by States, Jury nullification, etc. arelawful, consistent with our Constitution, and if properly implemented, canrestore our Constitutional Republic with its federal form of government! That, instead of a totalitariandictatorship with a populace forever crushed with debt, is the Blessing we wantto leave our Posterity.

PUBLIUS/HULDAH(revised June 20, 2009)

 


[1] The authors’ 18th century style of writing might seem difficult atfirst; but if you stick with it, you will get used to it, and may come to findit delightful.

[2] E.g.,“mean” used to mean “poor”; “nice” used to mean “precise, exact”; “gay” used tomean “jovial, merry”, etc.

“Welfare”as used in the Preamble & in Art I, Sec 8, cl 1, U.S. Constitution, meant“Exemption from any unusual evil or calamity; the enjoyment of peace andprosperity, or the ordinary blessings of society and civil government”(Webster’s 1828). But TheAmerican Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (1969), adds a new meaning: “Public relief” – on welfare.Dependent on public relief”. Do you see how our Constitution is perverted when20th century meanings are substituted for the original meanings?

[3] As thenational government usurps more & more of the powers retained by the Statesor the People, the form of ourgovernment becomes less & less “federal”, and more & more “national”.

[4] SeeFrederic Bastiat’s short & easily understood work, The Law (1848),which is without a doubt, the best thing to ever come out of France. A magnificent refutation of socialism.On-line English ed. at bastiat.org

[5] In theclassic work on political philosophy, Lex,Rex, or The Law And The Prince, Samuel Rutherford (1644),Rev. Rutherford sets forth the biblical model wherein the king is subject tothe Law to the same extent as thecitizens: e.g., Deut 17:18-20; 2 Kings 22:8-13; 23:1-3. THIS is what “The Rule of Law”means – when the “king” is under the Law. When the “king” claims that he isabove the law, then we have “the Rule of Men” – i.e., tyranny.

ContrastRutherford’s model, which the drafters of our Constitution followed, with thatof the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), whoglorified the state and saw it as superior to the people. THAT is the politicalphilosophy that gave rise to German statism, the Third Reich, and Hitlerworship.

[6] It’s fast& easy: With an annotated copy of the Constitution, you look up theFederalist Paper cited, skim through it until you get to the relevant passage,and in a few minutes, you usually can know the original intent. You then knowmore than our judges know! Congratulations! [But sometimes we also have torefer to other contemporaneous works.]

[7] Thus,instead of the judges being subject to the Constitution; the Constitution issubject to the will of the judges.

[8] FranzKafka’s novel, TheTrial (1937),describes an arbitrary and incomprehensible legal system where the peoples’access to The Law is cut off. “Before the Law, stands a door keeper… “. Thehero of Kafka’s novel couldn’t get past the doorkeeper and so was denied accessto The Law. Folks, that’s what our courts – the doorkeepers – are doing to us.The U.S. Constitution is the supreme Law of the Land (Art VI, cl. 2); but theCourts have taken it away from us and won’tgive it back! The Trial ison-line in English translations from the German.

[9] The Biblereveals additional rights bestowed on us by God, such as the right to inherit,earn, & keep property; the right of self-defense; the right & duty todemand that the “king” adhere to the Covenant of civil government; etc. Thedistinguishing characteristics of all these God-given rights are (1) they arenecessary for man to exist as man and (2) they may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any otherman. (Ayn Randwas 100% right on these points.)

[10] They love death: abortion, assistedsuicide, and euthanasia. They hate privateproperty. They hate Liberty.Productive men exist, not to pursue their own Happiness or to serve God; but tobe plundered by civil government. Folks, we need to face Reality andacknowledge that these are not peoplewhose “intentions” are “good”.

[11] It isimportant that you always keep at the front of your mind: The national government is a creation ofthe People & their States. The People & their States are the Creators –the national government is merely the creature.

[12] Art I,Sec 10 prohibits the States from exercising powers specifically delegated tothe national government, and from passing those obnoxious laws which areinimical to a free country such as Bills of Attainder, ex post facto Laws, lawsimpairing the Obligation of contracts, or granting Titles of Nobility.


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