Presidential Legitimacy

I’ve had it with these Democrat leaders and their minions spouting off that Donald Trump is an illegitimate president.  In making such an inaccurate claim they expose their ignorance of the English language, our Constitution and the principles of federalism.  In short, they are behaving in a petulant and childish manner, hardly worthy of leadership in our great country.

First, the term “illegitimate” is defined to be “not authorized by the law; not in accordance with accepted standards or rules.”  By claiming that Donald Trump’s presidency is “illegitimate” they are stating that his ascension to that office was “not authorized by the law.”  Article VI of our Constitution states “This Constitution,…shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”  This being the case we must then ask “Was Donald Trump elected in accordance with the dictates of the Constitution, which is the Law when it comes to such a matter?”  Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution regarding the election of the President states he shall “be elected as follows:  Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,  a Number of Electors…”  The 12th Amendment then spells out how these Electors from the states are to select a new President:  “The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President…The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President.”  In the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump received 306 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton only 232.  Donald Trump received “the greatest number of votes”, and therefore, according to “the Law”, (i.e., the Constitution as quoted above), he is the legitimate President of these United States.

Having now educated the Democrats regarding their ignorance of the definition of English terms and the Constitution, there is their final area of ignorance, namely that of federalism.  Those protesting Donald Trump as a legitimate president repeatedly fall back on the fact that he failed to win the popular vote (a matter of suspect given the number of illegals voting in California for instance, and other voting issues).  They talk about being a democracy when we are a federal republic.  Simply put, this means that citizens within a state have democratically elected individuals to serve as “Electors”, who in turn, in accordance with the law of the Constitution, select the President.  The reason the founders set up this system was to ensure that smaller states would not be ignored in the selection of the individual who would hold power over them.  This electoral arrangement preserves the power of the states as a check against one another so that a few states do not dictate to the many.

As for correcting their petulant and childish behavior the only solution is the one recommended by James Madison in the Federalist Papers – replacing them in the next election cycle.  Our nation deserves and needs better than what we are witnessing from these individuals.

-February 3, 2017

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Trump Protesters, BLM and the First Amendment

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

 So reads the first amendment to our Constitution, guaranteeing us the right to speak without reprisal or restriction by the federal government.  It is this right to which appeal is made by those protesting across our land to the election of Donald Trump to be our next President and of those in the so-called “Black Lives Matter” movement against alleged police brutality against black Americans.

But, is their appropriation of this part of the amendment correct?  Yes, they have the guaranteed right to speak, but that right must be put into the context of the remainder of the amendment as well as the broader principle of “rights.”

All of our rights must be put into their proper perspective and hierarchy.  For example, in regards to speech, you have the right to speak freely about someone else, but you do not have the right to libel and/or slander them so as to cause them harm.  In the case of many of these protests, not only are they voicing their displeasure verbally, but they are also rioting and causing damage and destruction to the personal property of others.  This is where their freedom of speech comes to a screeching halt as it violates the broader picture of the freedom and rights of others.

Furthermore, when put in context with the remainder of the amendment, they are even further off-base.  In the exercising of their right to free speech, they are assembling into groups to voice their grievances.  Yet, the amendment states that we are guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble, which by exclusion would mean we do not have the right to assemble and commit acts of anarchy as many of these “Trump” and BLM protesters are doing.

Second, the amendment guarantees the right to a “redress of grievances” from the government.  Yet with the “Trump protesters” there is no grievance to be redressed.  The government has done nothing for which a redress is warranted.  The election was held per the guidelines contained within the Constitution, so there is no wrong, legally or constitutionally, to be absolved.  As for both groups I have mentioned, if redress is to be sought, I would point them to the example of the approach described within our Declaration of Independence. In it Jefferson point-by-point, in a respectful manner, set forth the grievances the colonies had with King George III and in the end declared their wish to be independent of his rule.  Such obviously resulted in the violence of war, but the intention behind the declaration was that a peaceful resolution to the separation of the colonies from England could be found.

With the right to the freedom of speech, as with all rights, comes responsibilities and limitations.  Determination should first be made as to whether or not what you are protesting is indeed a grievance.  Second, are the protests being made in a peaceable manner, and third, is the approach to resolving the grievance the legitimate way in which to express the it?  These are the sober and constitutionally-minded questions that those protesting today need to ask themselves.

-November 25, 2016

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Term Limits Isn’t Enough

Thanks to their corruption and lack of identity with those they represent, a vast majority of Americans want to have term limits imposed upon members of Congress.  We have, as a people, reached the point described by the Baron Charles  de Montesquieu in his monumental work The Spirit of the Laws, written in 1748:

“…if the legislative body were continuously convened,…if the legislative body were once corrupted, the ill would be without remedy.  When various legislative bodies follow each other, the people, holding a poor opinion of the current legislative body, put their hopes, reasonably enough, in the one that will follow; but if the legislative were always the same, the people, seeing it corrupted, would expect nothing further from its laws; they would become furious or would sink into indolence” (Book 10, Part II, chapter 6).

The Anti-Federalists, during the debates over the ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788, had picked up on this warning and asserted that in time, without limitation on members of the House and Senate, America would evolve into the corrupt government we have today.  The Federalists, led by Madison’s defense of the Constitution’s structure of the House in The Federalist Papers, argued that those who sought the office of a Representative would do so out of the noble desire to serve, and then only briefly for the people would not tolerate those who would seek to make it a profession by which they could enrich themselves.  Obviously, on this matter, the Anti-Federalists “had it right.”

One of the issues that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made part of his campaign is to push for Congress to send to the states for ratification an amendment to the Constitution to limit the length of years individuals can serve in Congress.  However, unlike others who have pushed for term limits, he has added another ingredient that must be included else term limits, by themselves, will not end the corruption but instead, abet it.

The other side of the term limit coin that Trump has added is the limitation and/or prohibition of former members of Congress becoming lobbyists after they leave office.  During the time of our founders, they referred with disdain to those we call lobbyists as “stock jobbers”, and were against allowing these kind of individuals from influencing those in power.  Trump suggests that former members should be prohibited from becoming lobbyists for at least 5 years after leaving office, but I would suggest he should go further and make it a lifetime ban.

The reason this is necessary and why term limits alone will not end corruption is that in a representative’s or senator’s final term, he/she would be a “lame duck” and therefore more interested in “paving the way” for their future rather than serving the interests of the people.  Thus they would be more inclined than ever before to do favors for those they hoped would employ them when their term was up.

We’ve had enough of the “pay to play” not so “merry-go-round” with the Clintons to last us a lifetime – we don’t need to create an environment that would encourage it.  Term limits – yes, an unfortunate remedy which I have reluctantly come to embrace, but only if we have the other side of the coin put in place along with it.

-November 3, 2016

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The Press is Biased and Corrupt – So What?

That might well be our response to the revelations now being manifested in the publication of the emails of Hillary Clinton and her campaign.  Everyone knew in their hearts this to be the case so when it is now revealed to be fact, the feeling might well be “so what?”  Yet this is not a proper response for it implies an attitude of indifference, and what we have learned about our press should disturb us greatly.

The role of the press in a free society was of paramount importance to our founders, so much so that it was repeatedly stressed in their debates and insisted upon having it protected within a bill of rights.  So it was that the first amendment to our Constitution guarantees to us that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;”

What is the meaning, then, of maintaining freedom of the press?  When the Virginia convention ratified the Constitution, those in opposition insisted that their ratification report include recommended amendments to be considered as changes to the Constitution once it was put into effect.  The 16th proposal stated the importance they felt was the role of a free press:  “…that the freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and ought not to be violated.”  The Anti-Federalist “Centinel”, on October 5, 1787, described the freedom of the press as “that grand palladium of freedom, and scourge of tyrants.”  The aim was to ensure that the government would not interfere with the free discourse of ideas and information, even when it was critical of the policies of the government.  In short, the press was to be a watchdog against government abuses and threats to the liberties and freedom of the people.

Yet Madison wrote of an even greater threat to the destruction of this role of the press.  In the closing remarks of his “Observations on the ‘Draught of a Constitution for Virginia'”, published on October 11, 1788, he stated “the Exemption of the press from liability in every case for true facts, is also an innovation and as such ought to be well considered.  This essential branch of liberty is perhaps more in danger of being interrupted by local tumults, or the silent awe of a predominant party, than by any direct attacks of Power.”   So for the press to be totally free, the concept should incorporate not only the principle of freedom from outside censorship, but also freedom from bias and collusion.

Sadly, today, Madison’s fear has come to pass.  We have a press (encompassing all mediums) that could be said to be in “awe of a predominant party”, i.e. the Progressives in the Democrat party, insomuch as not only are they in “awe” but have thrown in with them.  No longer are they the “bulwark of liberty”, the “grand palladium of freedom”.  Our press today is well described in the words of Thomas Jefferson who, though an ardent defender of the principle of freedom of the press, had this to say about the press of his time in a letter to Walter Jones in 1814:

“I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.”

Yes, deplorable indeed is the term that more aptly applies to our modern-day media rather than to the citizens whose freedom is put in peril by the failure of the press to fulfill its duty as a censor to those in power.

-October 28, 2016

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Loss of Property Rights…

Equivocates into the beginning of the loss of all rights and liberties.  The right to property (be it money, land, intellectual property, etc) is the foundation of individual liberty.  I have made this point in times past by quoting the 17th century political philosopher, John Locke, who wrote:

“…every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has any right to but himself.  The labour of his body and the work of his hands we may say are properly his.  Whatsoever, then, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property…For this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to…”

 This fact was not a new concept to Locke; it is a concept as old as mankind’s earliest civilizations.  Every civilization from that of the ancient Sumerians to our time have held individual property to be sacrosanct.   That this is an inalienable right, i.e., one granted by our Creator and not bestowed upon us by man, is upheld by the fact that God included it in one of the ten commandments – “Thou shalt not steal.”  It is so important that this principle was incorporated in not just one amendment to our Constitution, but in four – the third, fourth, fifth and fourteenth!

When there is a loss of private property, depending upon the cause and scope, a number of situations may unfold, none of which are good.  A thief who attempts to steal someone’s property may be shot in the attempt, or if successful, cause the victims to feel violated.  When a group of individuals destroy the property of their fellow citizens, it creates a maelstrom exhibited in anarchy, such as we’ve recently witnessed in several of our cities this year.  Or it may be in the form of tyranny and oppression when government confiscates the property of its citizens through taxation, be it income or forfeiture due to the failure to pay property taxes.

Unfortunately, such is not new to America, or to mankind.  For example, we celebrate the “Boston Tea Party”, yet it was not any different than the looting we witnessed in Ferguson, Baltimore and Charlotte.  It was the willful, wanton and unlawful destruction of another’s property over the frustration of what was felt to be an injustice.

Our war for independence was begun over the attempt of the government to seize private property.  On April 19, 1775 British soldiers set out from Boston en route to Concord to seize a cache of munitions that were stored there.  The American militiamen, upon hearing of their approach, assembled in Lexington Commons to oppose them.  It was there that the “shot heard ’round the world” was fired and our fight for independence and freedom was launched.

So what’s the point of all this?  If we are to remain a civil society, then it must begin with a firmness to instill respect in the heart of every citizen this respect for each other and one another’s property.  We must demand that the government respect our property rights as well.  Without it, we will continue to slowly disintegrate as a society and a country.  The key to achieving this can be found in another of the ten commandments:  “Thou shalt not covet…”  We shun the wisdom and commands of God to our peril; but, it’s not too late to turn back to this foundation of life and liberty.

-September 30, 2016

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Who has Constitutional “Rights”?

In the debate over immigration, those advocating for open borders and legalization of those who enter our country illegally are often heard to assert that these individuals have “constitutional rights”, but do they?  To answer this question we must return to the understanding of exactly what a constitution is and why they are created.

A constitution is a compact – a contract if you will – between members of a society in which they agree with one another as to what authority they will cede to a government that will rule over them in order that society might be orderly, and the rights and property of the citizens be protected.

However, not all constitutions are of this exact nature; it all depends upon who drafts the constitution for the society.  For example, the old Soviet Union had a constitution, but it was created by those in power to secure their power over their citizens, not for the benefit of the people.

Our constitution is different.  All you need do is read the opening words of the Preamble – “We the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  In our constitution we see the definition of a constitution that I stated above.  We – the citizens of the United States – agreed (and each generation continues to agree amongst ourselves) that the powers contained within the Constitution are those, and only those, which the government may exercise over us, and all those not granted to it reserved, ultimately, to us, the people (Amendments IX and X).  Within the first eight amendments certain of our rights are enumerated and guaranteed to be protected from government encroachment.

However, again, to whom are these guarantees given?  Remember, these are part of a contract that “We the People” made and continue to agree to as belonging to us, American citizens.  Those who come to our country illegally have never entered into this agreement; they are not part of our society, though they live among our society.  They have no allegiance to our principles of government and society, and have not assimilated into our culture, learned our language (English), nor come to an understanding and appreciation for our history and the sacrifices of those before who made our country the greatest on earth.

This being the case, therefore, they do not have “constitutional rights” or guarantees as they have not become a part of “us” who agreed to continue that contract established over 200 years ago.  They have inalienable rights granted to them by our Creator, but constitutional rights, no.  You see, rights are those things that no one has the authority to give or take; they come from our Creator.  A constitution cannot grant rights, only protect or restrict them as agreed to by those who created and perpetuate it, and illegal aliens living among us are not of us nor parties to our contract known as our Constitution.

-September 9, 2016

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Federal Overreach into State Territory

On August 26, 2016, President Obama created the largest ocean reserve in the world off the Hawaiian Islands.  He did this without the consent of Congress, but simply with the flourish of his signature on a presidential proclamation.  His proclamation expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument by over 400,000 square miles (that’s right, miles), increasing the total size of the preserve to 582,578 square miles!  This means that this region is now off-limits to commercial fishermen and mineral exploration, which will, in a statement released by the White House, “allow scientists to monitor and explore the impacts of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.”

This action will adversely affect those whose livelihood depends upon fishing or exploring that part of the ocean as well as prices for their products, all in the name of the bogus concept of “climate change”.  Furthermore, American citizens who violate this “protection” will be subject to prosecution; but how will this be enforced against foreign fishermen and companies?  582,578 square miles of ocean is a lot of ocean to “rope off!”

The bigger question, though, is does the general government have the constitutional power to make such a land grab (or in this case, ocean grab)?  The answer would be a definite ‘NO’!  I realize the argument is made utilizing the “Property Clause” in Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution that Congress has the authority to do as it wishes with federal territory:

“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

 However, this does not address the issue as to whether or not the federal government has the right to this property in the first place.  Turning to our Constitution and reading what properties it authorizes the general government to “own” we see that it strictly limits the kinds of property it may constitutionally acquire.  Article I Section 8 lists the “enumerated powers” of the general government, and within those powers are given the kinds of properties it may possess:  (1) Post offices and post roads, (2) the District of the seat of the government, (3) Forts, (4) Magazines,  (5) Arsenals, (6) Dockyards, and (7) other “needful” buildings.  All of these properties were to be purchased by the general government upon the consent of legislature of the state from which the property was to be acquired.  The Union of the States did acquire property by other means, namely purchasing land from foreign countries (e.g., the “Louisiana Purchase”, Alaska) or as a result of war (Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc).  However, once these territories were divided into states, those states became as much a sovereign entity as the original thirteen.

Nowhere in those enumerated properties will you find national parks, preserves, etc authorized.  So for President Obama to annex such a huge swath of ocean to the control of the general government is an act outside the bounds of his constitutional authority.  As former Hawaiian governor George Ariyoshi (a Democrat by the way) stated in July at a rally regarding ownership of the ocean, “The ocean belongs to us.  We ought to be the ones who decide what kind of use to make of the ocean” –  a statement echoing the words of the ninth and tenth amendments:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

  The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

 So remember – if a president or group of legislators can with the stroke of a pen or passage of a piece of legislation seize control of 400,000 square miles of ocean that it has no constitutional right to, what can they do regarding your and my property?  This is precisely why we have a constitution to limit the power of government; it’s time we returned to it.

-September 2, 2016

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The Flip Side to Church/State

Today, at every turn we hear the wail that any expression of Christian/Jewish religious belief in connection with any public event or on public property is a violation of the constitutional principle of “the separation of church and state.”  However, this is not a constitutional principle; it is based upon a misapplication of the phrase lifted from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists who had written him of their concerns about the state establishing one particular Christian denomination over all others.

Second, the first amendment is applicable only to the federal government, not to the state governments, and it states that “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”  For over 150 years, every time a challenge was made on any religious issue based upon Jefferson’s phrase, the courts struck it down as not being what the founders intended.  As far back as 1853, a group petitioned Congress to forbid the presence of chaplains in the military and elsewhere, using this argument.  After a year of deliberation by both the House and Senate judiciary committees, the House issued the following statement:

“Had the people [the Founding Fathers], during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution and the amendments, the universal sentiment was that Christianity should be encouraged, but not any one sect [denomination]…. 

It wasn’t until the case of Everson v. Board of Education in 1947 that Justice Hugo Black, writing for the majority on the Supreme Court applied this phrase as it is currently misused.

There is a lawsuit being brought in Iowa by a church against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission which, in a brochure it published, states that any church which opens its doors to the public for any reason – worship or otherwise – must comply with sexual orientation and gender laws.  This includes the recent issue regarding transgenders and restrooms.  Hiram Sasser, the director of litigation of the firm representing the church in this suit stated  “It [the commission’s regulations] further compels our client to use specific pronouns when referring to certain ‘gender identities’ and prohibits our client from even teaching its religious beliefs.”

So here’s the flip side of the “separation of church and state” coin for you liberals.  If the church cannot inject itself into the public arena because there is a so-called “wall” between them, then that wall works both ways – the government has no right to inject itself into the beliefs of the church.  Liberals are quick to seize on idea of an establishment of religion (erroneously, I might add), but they are blind to the second part of the phrase, namely that “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  If the government regulates matters relating to the practicing of the beliefs of a church or of individuals, then it is “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”  and is in violation of this principle.  Of course, this is applicable only at the federal level, not the state, but what is happening in Iowa will most likely soon become the rule at the federal level as well, and then we will have a constitutional issue at stake.

-July 8, 2016

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Study Guide/Handbook on the US Constitution

At the bottom of this newsletter you will see the cover to a new book, “The Handbook for We The People: A Primer on Strict Construction of the Constitution”.   Originally, the book was written with the intent to serve as a study guide to the fundamentals of our Constitution and the principles of the government it created for high school students, but it is an excellent tool for anyone who would like to have an understanding of the original intent of the authors of the Constitution.

The author, a good friend of mine, used several sources in putting this guide together.  The principles covered were based upon the writings of a retired attorney who is a devoted student and lecturer on the Constitution who writes under the pseudonym “Publius Huldah” (whom some of you may be acquainted with) along with writings of the founders including the Federalist Papers and Webster’s 1828 Dictionary which gives the meanings of the words as understood at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

The book is an easy read and contains seven chapters.  The first chapter covers the basics of the principles behind the Constitution such as a brief description of Federalism, republican government, etc.  The next three chapters cover in brief the enumerated powers of each of the three branches of government and touches on topics that are much in the news today such as  the major clauses of governmental power (Welfare, Commerce, Necessary and Proper) and how they were intended to be understood by the founders.

Chapter six builds upon the principle of federalism and republicanism and delves into the topic of nullification – a tool, as explained in the chapter, the founders put in place for the states to use in keeping  the federal government within its constitutional boundaries.  Chapter seven focuses on the issue hotly debated today in regards to the relationship between religion and the state.  The final chapter covers the concept of making amendments to the Constitution, including a brief look at the idea of what some are calling an “Article V Convention of the States”.

At the end of each chapter there is a list of questions and assignments to encourage the reader to delve deeper into the subject matter presented in the chapter.  In the appendix is a list of references such as the text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and a glossary of terms that are critical to understanding the original intent of our founders.

The prophet Hosea of ancient Israel, speaking for the Lord, declared “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”  It is the intent of this book to help our youth, citizens, and yes, even government officials at all levels, gain a basic knowledge so as to keep our republic from being destroyed.  I highly recommend the book and would encourage anyone interested to look into it and use it for your children, grandchildren as well as any teachers and government officials you can convince to read it.

As a disclaimer, I did help in the early proofing of the book and making suggestions regarding the chapter questions; yet I have no financial interest at stake in the proceeds of the sales.  My only concern is to get an excellent primer into the hands of those who wish to gain a firm grasp of the original intent of our Constitution.

Handbook for We the People

-June 17, 2016



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My Rights, Your Rights – Who’s Right?

There is much debate in our country today over this subject of “rights.”  Many of these claims are without basis, for they are not truly “rights.”  A “right” is something you are not given, but instead are born with – it is innate within you, and as such is something to which no one or group has a legitimate claim.

Such are the “inalienable rights” we are familiar with from our Declaration of Independence.   It should be noted that the four listed in that second paragraph, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and the removal of a tyrannical government, are only the beginning point of “rights;” others are enumerated within the so-called “Bill of Rights” in our Constitution.

One of these additional “rights” is brought front-and-center in the first amendment, namely the right to free speech.  The meaning of this short phrase is simple – I, you, and everyone else, have the inalienable right to speak our mind without the fear of repercussion.  Such a right goes hand-in-hand with those other rights named in that amendment.

However, even rights have their limitations.  My right to life, for example, ends when I willingly take away that right to life of another fellow human being.  My right to speak freely ends when my speech slanders another, causing them harm, or prohibits them from likewise exercising their right to free speech.  The motto of rights is simple – “do no harm,” for when you do, you forfeit your right of the same nature.

As we are in the throes of a tumultuous political season, I have witnessed countless examples of a violation of this principle of rights.  Many individuals have taken part in protests against those seeking public office.  Such protesting is a legitimate right; but when the actions of those protesters prohibit the rights of those candidates to speak or in prohibiting their fellow citizens from engaging in the political process in a peaceful manner, they have abdicated their claim to such a right.

There are so many other areas where we see this principle being violated.   The riots in Ferguson, Missouri or Baltimore, Maryland, where thugs and hooligans went on a rampage, destroying private property (ownership of which is another alienable right) because they felt an injustice was committed are two recent examples.

If we are to be a “civil” society, it is high time we begin to act “civilly.”  This is why we must ingrain the concept of “rights” and the motto of “do no harm” within our children by teaching and demonstrating this principle to them; for a society that is no longer “civil” is a society that will collapse inward upon itself and cease to exist.

– May 6, 2016

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