AR-15s and the Second Amendment

There is a clamor among some today that the so-called “assault rifle” known as the AR-15 should be outlawed from private ownership as it is a “military-style” weapon and is not protected under the second amendment.  Is this argument constitutional?

To begin with, the AR-15 is a single-shot rifle and is not a “military-style” weapon simply because cosmetically it resembles our military’s M-16 or fully automatic AK-47.  But, that’s not the issue, constitutionally speaking.

To answer this question requires an understanding as to why the second amendment was added.  Today’s anti-AR-15 gun-grabbers have absolutely no knowledge of the history of the second amendment or of the reason for which it was added.

Although having the right to be armed for self-protection was a consideration by the founders, a greater reason was for the protection of liberty from the rise of tyranny within the central government.  Consider the words of two of our greatest founding fathers – James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, wrote that “[Tyranny cannot be safe] without a standing army,…and a disarmed populace.”   Jefferson concurred in a letter to Madison:  “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

 The reason then, for the second amendment, is primarily to serve as a deterrent against the rise of tyranny within the federal government.  Clearly, an AR-15 is not on the same level as an M-16 as a deterrent, but it is a sure better one than a bolt-action hunting rifle.  As for the retort that such a position as this would allow for citizens to own bazookas, 50 caliber machine guns, flame throwers, etc., it is simply a reductio ad absurdum  in an attempt to avoid giving a sound argument against the reason intended by our founders, namely, that we, as free citizens, have sufficient means to deter our government from usurping our liberties.

“Those that fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it” – so goes the old adage.  Read the history of just the past century – Nazi Germany, Communist Russia under Lenin and Stalin, China under Mao zedung, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia’s “killing fields”, and many other murderous tyrannies, and you will find they all had one thing in common:  they disarmed the populace as quickly and completely as possible.

After the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, leftist Governor Cuomo of New York proclaimed “No one hunts with an assault rifle; no one needs ten bullets to kill a deer.”  He’s right – no one does; but we do if we wish to deter anyone or group bent on using force to take away our unalienable rights and their attending liberties.

As Ayn Rand opined, “A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights:  it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.”  This is right on the mark as such was precisely the thinking of the founders behind the amendment.

-March 16, 2018

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DACA – “The fathers eat sour grapes…

And the children’s teeth are set on edge.”  So went a proverb among the ancient Israelites who had been deported from their homeland of Judah to Babylon.  Their lament was that God was punishing them for the sins of their fathers, but God replied “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel” (Ezekiel 18:2-3).  However, God did not specify when they would no longer have reason to quote that proverb.

Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, carried out three deportations of the Israelites in the kingdom of Judah, and at the time of Ezekiel the first two had taken place – the third and final one was yet to come when the Babylonians utterly destroyed the city of Jerusalem in 587 BC.  Obviously, the teeth of those in captivity were to continue to be set on edge for a while longer.  It was necessary for them to be deported because of their having broken God’s law, but in time, they would be restored to their home and this proverb would no longer be used.

So what has this to do with DACA?  We hear the same proverb used as justification for granting these individuals – also referred to as “Dreamers” – legal status and ultimately citizenship.  It wasn’t their fault; their parents brought them here, so why should they be punished with deportation?  It is very unfortunate, but sometimes in order to stress the value of something it must be taken away for a time just as God had to do with the Israelites.

We are a nation of laws.  The law – as Thomas Paine put it – is king in America.  Why should anyone here in our country illegally, regardless of how they got here, have any respect or adherence to any of our laws if they broke the very law governing entrance into our country?  The answer is there is no reason to and many times they do not.

If we want to stop people of other nations from coming into our country illegally, then one sure way is to deport those already here illegally regardless of the circumstances of their arrival.  This would send a clear message that others should not waste their time trying to cross our borders as they will not be given any opportunity to stay, but instead will be sent back to their country of origin immediately.

The United States is a sovereign country, founded on the principle of adherence to law and the expectation that those who are in the United States are here because they followed our law for admittance.  Does this mean I think our laws regarding immigration are perfect?  No, there are changes that need to be made, but without the enforcement of our existing laws we become a lawless society, for why should any of us obey any other law if those who have no stake in our society refuse to obey from their very first act of coming onto our soil?  If the “Dreamers” want someone to blame for their “teeth being set on edge”, they need look no farther than their parents, not the citizens nor government of the United States.

-February 26, 2018

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America – Your Republic Lies in Ruins!

In Federalist 51, James Madison stated “Justice is the end [i.e., goal or purpose] of government.  It is the end of civil society.  It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.”  As we see the abuse of power wielded by the FBI, the Department of Justice, and perhaps others in the Obama administration over the fourth amendment rights of those involved in the Trump presidential campaign, we must demand that justice against those who mishandled their public trust be brought to justice, else, as Madison warns, liberty for all of us will be lost.

However, in trying to bring justice back to being the foundation of our government and our society, we must look deeper into how it was that justice came to be lost.  Baron Charles de Montesquieu began the opening of Part I, Book 8 in his monumental work, The Spirit of the Laws (published 1748), with these words:  “The corruption of each government almost always begins with that of its principles.” 

This then leads us to ask what principles within our government have been corrupted that led to its current state of corruption?  To answer this question we must return to the principle that motivated our founders to take that step for freedom and independence, namely that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”  The import of this phrase is that all men are therefore to be treated equally, which is the essence of the concept of justice.

How then is justice for all to be achieved (as we say in the closing of our pledge of allegiance)?  This question was answered by Frederic Bastiat in his treatise The Law in 1850.  He posits the question repeatedly “What is the law?”, to which he consistently gave a one word answer:  “justice.”  Putting this all together we have the principle that justice can exist only when all men are treated as they were created, namely, equal under the law.  When those of a supposed “higher class” are given a pass for violations of law that others would suffer severe punishment, then the principle of justice has died and along with it the principle of a representative government.

Returning to Montesquieu, he went on to give this analysis of how to reverse this situation when it occurs within a republic:  “When a republic has been corrupted, none of the ills that arise can be remedied except by removing the corruption and recalling the principles; every other correction is either useless or a new ill” (Part I, Book 8, chapter 12).

How then are we to remove this corruption and return to our principle of justice?  To answer this question we must look at who has brought about this corruption.  In chapter 5 Montesquieu gave the answer:  “Aristocracy is corrupted when the power of the nobles becomes arbitrary; there can no longer be virtue either in those who govern or in those who are governed.”  Indeed, do not most of those in Congress, and especially in the higher levels of bureaucratic power, act aristocratically as though they are nobility?  This is what happens when those who are given the reins of power refuse to relent them to others and remain in office year after year.  Montesquieu continued, “Extreme corruption occurs when nobility becomes hereditary; the nobles can scarcely remain moderate.”  We claim that we do not have nobles and hereditary claims to the right of power and position, but when incumbency is the rule rather than the exception, and those serving in departments of the government make a career of it, then most certainly we do have a class of “nobility” that has become for all intents and purposes “hereditary”, and as a result, extreme corruption sets in.  Once this occurs Montesquieu states that “Corruption will increase among those who corrupt, and it will increase among those who are already corrupted.”

 If ever there was a time, then, to “drain the swamp” that has become our national government, it is now.  We as voters can do our part by voting our “nobles” and “aristocrats” out of their positions of power and encouraging their replacements to alter the laws so that those in these myriads of unconstitutional bureaucracies can be removed as well and their power over us be diminished.  The ruins of our republic can be rebuilt and rise like a phoenix out of the ashes, but the time is getting very, very short.

-February 9, 2018

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The Preamble VIII – “secure the blessings of liberty”

Of all the great quotes of our founding fathers, my favorite comes from Patrick Henry’s speech on June 5, 1788 during the debates in the Virginia Constitutional Ratification Convention.  In his speech he made the following comments:

“…for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government…Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else…Guard with jealous attention the public liberty.  Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.”

 Indeed liberty, the second of our unalienable rights immediately after that of life, is the greatest of all earthly blessings for without it individuals cannot have much of a life; they cannot pursue happiness or realize their dreams or potential.  So it is, then, that individuals form governments to achieve order and protection of their rights within their societies.  Liberty, then, ought to be the starting and ending point of government.

Yet how was government to achieve this goal of securing the blessings of liberty for Americans in 1787 and for us today, their posterity?  The answer is in the clause that follows – “do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”  Our Constitution was designed to achieve precisely what Patrick Henry stated was the purpose of government.  Interestingly, though, when he gave that speech, he was speaking against the ratification of the Constitution as he feared it gave too much power to the central government and thus posed a direct threat to that precious jewel of liberty.

Yet how, exactly, is the Constitution to accomplish this goal?  The answer lies in the clauses that precede this one – by establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense and promoting the general welfare.  When our national government limits itself to the specifics of these broad goals as developed in the articles and sections of the Constitution that follow the Preamble, it realizes this lofty goal envisioned by Patrick Henry; when it exceeds its limited, enumerated powers as delineated in the body of the Constitution, it not only threatens our liberty, it chips away at it.

I can think of no better way to wrap up this series on the Preamble than to reiterate those eloquent words above:

“…for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government…Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings – give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else…Guard with jealous attention the public liberty.  Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.”

 As the election season approaches, may we all go into the voting booth with an eye of jealous attention and suspicion towards those in whom we are trusting to guard our liberties.

-January 26, 2018

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The Preamble VII – “provide for the general welfare” (Part II)

As I commented last week (The Preamble VII – “provice for the general welfare” (Part I)), the phrase “provide for the general welfare” has wrecked more havoc upon our country and put more of our liberties and freedom in jeopardy than perhaps any other clause in the Constitution (other than perhaps the “necessary and proper” clause).  As I shared then, those who opposed the ratification of the Constitution back in 1787-1788 argued that this clause would be ripe for abuse by future politicians to put in place anything and everything they deemed to be good for “the general welfare,” and that is exactly what has happened.

So how do we convince members of Congress today that they are way out of their constitutional bounds with much, if not indeed most, of what they have done in inserting the government into our lives?  The answer does not come from some lowly constitutional blogger such as myself – us “mere citizens” have no standing in the eyes of these scoffers at constitutional restraints.  No, I have a better witness to rebut them – James Madison, commonly referred to as “the father of the Constitution.”

As one of the three authors of The Federalist Papers, he countered the arguments of the Anti-Federalists regarding their alarms over this phrase in essay number 41.  In addressing the use of this phrase in the opening of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which contains the “enumerated powers” of Congress, he clearly defined the role of the phrase:

“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

In other words, Madison is stating that the particular, itemized powers that follow in Section 8 of Article I are meant to define, clarify and limit the extent of the general phrase “to provide for the general welfare.”  So when the question is posited as to what and how is the general welfare to be provided for via the general government, the answer is to read the list of limited powers that follow that were granted to the Congress.  Anything therefore outside of that list that Congress involves itself in is instead of providing for the general welfare is destroying the general welfare.  When excessive debt is accumulated to fund the myriad programs that are outside the purview of Congress’ authority, when programs rob individuals of their sense of personal responsibility and steal the personal property (of any kind) of citizens, that is not promoting the general welfare of the country but rather destroying that which made the early Americans unique, special and prosperous at its founding.

So then, just as we learned in our high school English classes in regards to writing a composition, you begin with a thematic statement that is broad and general that paints the full picture of what the paper is to be about, and then the rest of the following paragraphs develop, define and specify what is intended by that thematic statement.  Such then is the meaning, and proper use and application of the phrase “provide for the general welfare.” Or as James Madison might say – “General Welfare does not mean ‘Anything you want!’”

-January 19, 2018

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The Preamble VII – “provide for the general welfare” (Part I)

Perhaps no more abused clause in all of the Constitution is this one regarding the “general welfare.”  It has been the excuse for the national government to get involved in forcing citizens to save for retirement via the social security tax, to health care, to you name it.  The clause is repeated in the opening of Article I, Section 8, which is important as I shall point out in Part II on this topic.  Interestingly, when the southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America, their constitution mirrored the US Constitution in many ways, but glaringly omitted any reference to providing for the “general welfare.”

To ascertain the meaning of this clause I will spend this and the next (or possibly two) essay(s) taking a look at how the founders viewed this clause and how they explained it’s meaning.   As I have pointed out in the beginning of this series on the Preamble, merely including this clause in it does not give any authority to Congress to do as they please in matters they determine to be for the “general welfare” as a preamble in not part of the Constitution as far as granting authority, but merely an introduction as to the purpose for those things enumerated within the Constitution.

This general welfare clause and the fear of its potential for abuse was one of the reasons those known as the “Anti-Federalists” opposed the ratification of the Constitution.  The first witness I set before you is the author known by the pseudonym “Centinel”, who wrote the following on October 5, 1787:

“The Congress may construe every purpose for which the state legislatures now lay taxes, to be for the general welfare, and thereby seize upon every object of revenue.”

Consider our situation today – how much of our income does Congress “seize upon” in taxes to provide for all of the programs it deems to be for the “general welfare” yet not authorized in the Constitution?  Does not Centinel’s warning ring true?

The next witness to warn about this phrase was the outstanding Anti-Federalist known by the pseudonym “Brutus.”  He had much to say about the potential for abuse of all three branches of government, and he has pretty much proved to be a prophet with unerring accuracy.  Herewith is some of what he had to say about this clause in his essay number VI, written on December 27, 1787:

“It will then be matter of opinion, what tends to the general welfare; and the Congress will be the only judges in the matter. To provide for the general welfare, is an abstract proposition, which mankind differ in the explanation of, as much as they do on any political or moral proposition that can be proposed; the most opposite measures may be pursued by different parties, and both may profess, that they have in view the general welfare; and both sides may be honest in their professions, or both may have sinister views…

It is as absurd to say, that the power of Congress is limited by these general expressions, “to provide for the common safety, and general welfare,” as it would be to say, that it would be limited, had the constitution said they should have power to lay taxes, etc. at will and pleasure. Were this authority given, it might be said, that under it the legislature could not do injustice, or pursue any measures, but such as were calculated to promote the public good, and happiness. For every man, rulers as well as others, are bound by the immutable laws of God and reason, always to will what is right. It is certainly right and fit, that the governors of every people should provide for the common defence and general welfare; every government, therefore, in the world, even the greatest despot, is limited in the exercise of his power. But however just this reasoning may be, it would be found, in practice, a most pitiful restriction. The government would always say, their measures were designed and calculated to promote the public good; and there being no judge between them and the people, the rulers themselves must, and would always, judge for themselves.”

 It is very apparent, is it not, that the fears of these two founders regarding the abuse of this clause by those who were to come after them to justify the expansion of the power of government and the diminishment of individual liberties has indeed come to fruition?  So, what was the response by those who argued in favor of the adoption of the Constitution?  We will examine James Madison’ response in the next essay.

-January 12, 2018

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The Preamble – Part II

As I pointed out in the past essay in this series (The Preamble – Part I), the Preamble is not an actual part of the Constitution, meaning it carries no weight as “law”, but rather serves as a broad, thematic statement as to the purpose for which the Constitution’s articles (and subsequent amendments) were written, and in turn, the purpose for which those citizens in 1787 were forming the new government which sprang from the Constitution.

This understanding of the function of a preamble to any document and how broad, general statements, cannot be applied to mean anything and everything is to be permitted, is critical to grasping how the intent of the Constitution was to limit the power of government and expand the freedom and liberties of the citizenry.

This is clear from two perspectives.  One is grammatical, the other is from the pen of James Madison.  Grammatically, the Preamble states that what is to follow in the Constitution has a distinct and limited purpose as indicated by the phrase “in Order to.”  This would indicate that anything outside the scope of the six actions that follow is not something within the purview of the national government.  The Constitution charges the government to perform six actions, indicated by the verbs “form”, “establish”, “ensure”, “provide”, “promote” and “secure.”  I will be examining each of these six functions in the weeks to come, but, as we go through a study of them, remember these words of Madison when he was expounding on the structure of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution in The Federarlist No. 41 regarding how to interpret general phrases:

“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.”

It is the specifics delineated in the Constitution that explain in what manner the government is to carry out these six broad commissions given to it by “We the People” that we will be examining in the coming essays.

  • November 17, 2017

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“We the People…”

So begins the opening of the Preamble to our national Constitution.  If you research the preambles of other countries’ constitutions, you will find that ours is not unique as many of them also make reference to their constitutions being ordained and formed by “the people”.  However, all of these other constitutions came after ours – the ideals of our Constitution have served as the model for numerous others around the globe.

Is it not ironic that a constitution that has inspired so many others is disparaged by no less than a sitting associate justice on our nation’s Supreme Court?  In an interview in Egypt in 2012, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had this to say about our Constitution and Egypt’s plans to draft a new constitution for themselves:

“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.   I might look at the constitution of South Africa. That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, have an independent judiciary. It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done.”

I would expect such an observation to come from someone who was unfamiliar with our Constitution and who had never read the defense of its ratification made by its authors in The Federalist Papers, but not from someone who sits on the highest court in the land and is charged with applying the tenets of the Constitution to the cases that come before that court.  Yet, that is the perspective of the leftists in our country today.

Our preamble reflects a radical change in government – that power flows upwards from the people, not downward from those sitting in the seat(s) of power.  Critics today charge that the Constitution was not a product of the people, but by a bunch of rich, slave owning white men.  Unfortunately, too many of our fellow citizens, educated by the leftists who control our educational institutions, believe this to be true.  Yes, they were white men, some were wealthy, but not all of them were slave owners – in fact several argued and wanted to outlaw slavery in the Constitution.  That they did not do so is not because they owned slaves or supported slavery, but because they knew without some concessions on that issue, no Constitution would be forthcoming and America would disintegrate and be swallowed up by the European powers.

Those who gave us our Constitution were appointed by the legislatures of their respective states, who in turn were individuals elected by the citizens of the states.  It was either the legislatures or special conventions appointed by the people who debated and ratified the Constitution, and in the case of Rhode Island, it was ratified by the direct election process of the people (albeit not until May 1790 because the people initially rejected the Constitution).  Furthermore, if the people had no say in the ratification of the Constitution, then why did the Federalists in the Federalist Papers address their essays “To the people of New York”, and those of the Anti-Federalists style those to the people in the states wherein they lived?

Clearly, our Constitution is indeed sourced by “We the people”, and because it is, the government it framed and created is accountable and answerable to us.  Therefore, since the government came from us, those in power should be warned that we have the right, as Jefferson so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence, to abolish it and erect another one that will protect our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from the tyranny of government – even one that has lost its moorings from its charter document.

-October 29, 2017

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A Tale of Two Constitutions

(I realize I’ve missed a couple of weeks with these essays and I apologize; I’ve been distracted by pressing family matters.  For those who have had to deal with the transitioning of care for a loved one with dementia, you can understand how consuming that can be, and I appreciate the reception you continue to give to my writings.  Now for this week’s thoughts)

When I go into classrooms of junior high or elementary schools during “Constitution Week” and talk to the students about our Constitution, I explain to them that a constitution is simply the “rules of the game of government”, just like the rules of any board game they might play.  A constitution dictates to all those involved in the governing of their fellow citizens how they are to govern and the limits to their powers.

That having been said, as I pointed out in my last essay (“Constitutional Relevancy?”), a constitution is only as relevant and worthwhile as those in power follow and adhere to it.  It is safe to say that every government of man has “a constitution”, be it written or merely understood.  Every government is understood by the citizens as to how it will operate, be it an absolute monarchy, a repressive dictatorship (whether of one or several), or a republic.

In light of that, I will present for you the elements of another nation’s constitution to illustrate my point.

ARTICLE 10. “The right of citizens to personal ownership of their incomes from work and of their savings, of their dwelling houses and subsidiary household economy, their household furniture and utensils and articles of personal use and convenience, as well as the right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, is protected by law.”

 ARTICLE 118. “Citizens of { } have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance with its quantity and quality.”

ARTICLE 119. “Citizens of { } have the right to rest and leisure.”

ARTICLE 120. “Citizens of { } have the right to maintenance in old age and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work.”

 ARTICLE 121. “Citizens of { } have the right to education.”

ARTICLE 122. “Women in { }  are accorded equal rights with men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life.”

ARTICLE 123. “Equality of rights of citizens of { }, irrespective of their nationality or race, in all spheres of economic, state, cultural, social and political life, is an indefeasible law.”

ARTICLE 124. “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in { } is separated from the state, and the school from the church. Freedom of religious worship and freedom of anti-religious propaganda is recognized for all citizens.”

ARTICLE 125. “In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of { } are guaranteed by law: 

  • freedom of speech;
  • freedom of the press;
  • freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
  • freedom of street processions and demonstrations.”

Some of these “rights” listed sound very familiar to those of us to know and revere our Constitution, while some seem a little more like those espoused by the likes of the Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.  It should not be surprising that those that sound like Senator Sanders’ political platform are articles of the 1936 Constitution of the Soviet Union (I purposefully deleted “the USSR” in these quotes where you see the brackets) since Senator Sanders chose to honeymoon with his bride in the USSR back in 1988!

Based on history we can see just how well this constitution worked out.  Stalin’s constitution (as it was also known) is regarded by many as nothing but a propagation constitution, for most of its articles expound how power was to be concentrated solely in the hands of the communist party.  Despite the platitudes of guarantees to the basic freedoms we take for granted, they were never recognized by Stalin and his successors.

Those on the left today would very much like to rewrite our constitution to more closely follow those of the Stalinist Constitution rather than the tried and true guarantee of individual freedom in our 230-year-old US Constitution.  Clearly, as I’ve argued before, a constitution is nothing but a piece of paper inscribed with ink.  Unless a country has leaders of integrity who are faithful to their oath to uphold the tenets of their constitution in guaranteeing the freedom and liberties of the people, that constitution is just a piece of paper – nothing more, nothing less.

In subsequent essays I plan to take a look at what makes our Constitution so special and why it was written the way it was compared to other constitutions such as the one I’ve contrasted in this essay.

-October 14, 2017

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Constitutional Relevancy?

This past Sunday, September 17, was the 230th anniversary of the conclusion of the Philadelphia convention of 1787.  Upon the conclusion of the convention, as he was leaving “Independence Hall”, the aged Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well Doctor Franklin, what have you got for us?”, to which he replied, “A republic madam, if you can keep it.”  Actually, what he and the other delegates to the convention had given to their fellow Americans and us, their descendants, was a constitutional republic.

Yet, this week, we must ask, “After 230 years, are we still a constitutional republic?  Is the Constitution still relevant in our day and time?”  To these two questions I would answer with a resounding “No”!  Consider the following (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy):

If the party in power can use secret courts to get an order to wiretap and spy on their opponents with no repercussions, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If government agencies can plant applications on the computers of reporters who are reporting on governmental malfeasance and tap their phone conversations (e.g., James Rosen and Sharyl Attkinsson), thus violating both the first and fourth amendments, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If the government records the conversations and all electronic communications of every citizen in massive meta-data fusion centers, again violating the fourth amendment, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials constantly create unconstitutional agencies and empower them to act as legislator, executor and judge over your property, business and personal affairs, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials listen more to those who fill their campaign coffers instead of their constituents, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If certain officials in high positions of power use their position to influence policies and negotiations with foreign powers to grossly enhance their financial well-being at the expense of the liberties and security of the rest of the country (e.g., Hilary Clinton), with no fear of prosecution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

If elected officials and even members of the Supreme Court have no inkling as to the tenets of the Constitution, even mocking it (e.g., Nancy Pelosi’s response regarding the unconstitutionality of “Obamacare”), you might not live in a constitutional Republic.

If the government routinely eschews the limitations imposed upon its authority by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, you might not live in a constitutional republic.

I could go on and on with these, but I think it’s a sufficient number that you get the picture.  Our elected (and unelected) government officials pay lip service to the Constitution they take an oath to uphold and defend, but they seldom live up to that oath.  So, is our Constitution relevant today as to the operation of our national government?  I think, sadly, the answer is rather obvious.

-September 22, 2017


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