For some time, I have wondered where to begin when it comes to understanding what is going on or at least what ought to be going on. Ultimately, it comes down to returning to the foundation of government-what the proper role of government is and what it is not. The foundation was laid over 200 years ago and straying from that foundation will cause the rest of the house to crumble. There is no way around that fact unless one is willing to build upon a foundation that is not a foundation that provides for liberty but instead provides for tyranny, oppression, death and destruction, as all autocratic forms of government provide. History proves it over and over.
The first Tom that I speak of is Thomas Paine. His book, American Crisis, particularly chapter 1, is quite applicable. I shall quote from it extensively with some changes.
“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: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. [Federal, State and local governments,] with [armies] to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but “to bind us in all cases whatsoever,” and if being bound in that manner, is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God.”
While the whole paragraph describes our present situation, the key point is that the only unlimited power that can and does exist belongs only to God. Only God has the power to “bind us in all cases whatsoever.” Thomas Jefferson, the second Tom of whom I speak, made similar points in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Unalienable rights are rights that cannot be taken, with the exception of the Creator withdrawing those rights that were endowed by Him who does have the right and “power to bind us in all cases whatsoever.” The only just powers government has are those powers that each individual inherently possesses. Government with the consent of the governed cannot possess greater authority nor violate the unalienable rights of the governed.
Paine continued “I have as little superstition in me as any man living, but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who have so earnestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of war, by every decent method which wisdom could invent. Neither have I so much of the infidel in me, as to suppose that He has relinquished the government of the world, and given us up to the care of devils; and as I do not, I cannot see on what grounds the [Federal, State and local governments] can look up to heaven for help against us: a common murderer, a highwayman, or a house-breaker, has as good a pretense as [they].
“‘Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will sometimes run through a country…Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses; they produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always short; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypocrisy, and bring things and men to light, which might otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they have the same effect on secret traitors, which an imaginary apparition would have upon a private murderer. They sift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in public to the world. Many a disguised [traitor] has lately shown his head.”
These two paragraphs certainly apply today. I believe that we are beginning to see the traitors that are in government, that it is for their own gain and power that they are there, whether they are the president, Congress, governors and legislatures, mayors or other tyrants and despotic people who are using this crisis to consolidate their despotic powers, to improve their own situation, to enslave is with more debt, increase so-called “temporary inconveniences” and so on, all the while violating the unalienable rights granted by our Creator.
Jefferson continued in the Declaration writing, “All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
We are in the midst of seeing a “long train of abuses and usurpations,” that is gradually and sometimes abruptly placing us “under absolute despotism.” Jefferson went on to list the “long train of abuses.” Governments today are doing the same thing. Let us discover these abuses through the listed Amendments in the Bill of Rights (not to mention the numerous unlisted ones the 9th Amendment proclaims), as well as the powers that the governed “We the People” can bestow upon government. These abuses not only apply to the current crisis but to the everyday crisis of government under normal conditions.
The 1st Amendment prohibits government, not just Congress (the Supreme Court has ruled that the listed rights are applicable to all levels of government, despite the fact that these are unalienable rights), from prohibiting “the right of the people to peaceably assemble.” Governments are prohibiting assembly of 10 or more people, previously 50 or more. This includes congregating in businesses, restaurants, and even going so far as to quarantining people to their houses. This is done without any probable cause or proof of infection (4th Amendment violation), conviction of crime or due process (5th Amendment violation).
They have also violated the right to property by shutting down businesses, thus violating the 5th amendment again as it says that no “private property be taken for public use.” While government has not actually taken property, in most cases, prohibiting the use of property for any reason has the same effect as taking it.
Moreover, government prohibit businesses from determining the price of their property they sell (price gouging prohibitions), all the while continuing to inflate prices of goods with sales tax, gas tax, social security taxes, taxes on phones, and a plethora of other taxes that increase the cost of goods, thus abdicating their own responsibility to keep what they deem important of keeping businesses from gouging prices when supplies are in short supply and demand high. Again, it has the same effect as taking property, violating the 5th Amendment. Furthermore, the taxes used by government to bailout companies, individuals and anyone else is the taking of “private property…for public use” a use usurped from the people, which power cannot be granted to government by the people.
In reality, many governments are violating 2nd Amendment rights as well, New Orleans and Champaign, IL being just two examples. How long till the 3rd Amendment is violated with the use of a declaration of martial law in those towns, or others, or states, or the federal government?
As Jefferson declared, He (governments) have “cut off trad with all parts of the world,” “deprived us…of the benefits of trial by jury” (no violation or proof of any crime, yet punishing us with the list above), through the plentiful taxes “have plundered…our towns and destroyed the lives of our people,” “erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” made all government actions “dependent on his [government] will alone.” The list can go on and on. While martial law or other governmental excesses have yet to happen, search the Declaration for other violations that government can and may do. We must be aware and understand the possible dangers beyond the current dangers of governmental excess.
I continue on with Paine. “Throw not the burden of the day upon Providence, but ‘show your faith by your works,’ that God may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike…I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death…If a thief breaks into my house, burns and destroys my property, and kills or threatens to kill me, or those that are in it, and to “bind me in all cases whatsoever” to his absolute will, am I to suffer it? What signifies it to me, whether he who does it is a king or a common man; my countryman or not my countryman; whether it be done by an individual villain, or an army of them? If we reason to the root of things, we shall find no difference; neither can any just cause be assigned why we should punish in the one case and pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel and welcome, I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of devils, were I to make a whore of my soul by swearing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man.
“A generous parent should have said, “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;” and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she has nothing to do but to trade with them. A man can distinguish himself between temper and principle, and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, that America will never be happy till she gets clear of [unrighteous and tyrannical] dominion.
“There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, and this is one. There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy [governments], if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both.”
Thomas Paine saw America in crisis in 1776. We the people must wake up and see that government from the smallest to the largest is causing a greater crisis than the pandemic itself. Violating the unalienable rights of individuals without cause or proof, which unalienable rights may only be rescinded by the hand of Providence, who rightly has the only authority to do so and to bind us in all cases whatsoever and not government, is a danger and threat to all humanity. If government is left to rectify itself, rather than the people forcing government to return to its proper role, we will see a further deterioration of our liberties. We must appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world once again, though likely be different means, for the rectitude of our intentions and once again declare that we “of Right ought to be free.” We must roll back the powers of government, not just in our present crisis but in the aftermath of the crisis. Usurped authority must be returned to the sole ownership of Him whose powers they are and of we whose powers granted by Him have been usurped.