Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law

Many know how much I dislike Donald Trump. It predates the 2016 campaign. He strikes me as an opportunist who plays the system, without ethics, or morals, and as a blowhard, with very few redeeming social qualities. I wouldn’t care to even have a beer with him, let alone any closer association.

Nevertheless, I may find myself voting for him. Why? Because Hillary is far worse. Let John O McGinnis explain.

Many people are concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the rule of law, a concern I share. But the other choice in this election is a Progressive one, and Progressivism by its nature lacks that commitment. Moreover, its history shows that it permanently damages the constitutional foundations of the United States. And the United States suffers from the fevers of progressivism more than any time since the 1960s.  Thus, this election pits a candidate lawless by virtue of temperament against one lawless by virtue of ideology and emboldened by the spirit of the times.  The rule of law is under threat, whoever wins.

Progressivism has proved a greater long-term danger than any single individual, because it is born in part out of systematic rather than personal hostility to the Constitution. Federalism and separation of powers are obstacles to the social engineering at the heart of progressivism, and thus progressivism has tried to eviscerate these restraints. Packed with FDR appointees in the 1930s, the Supreme Court gutted the enumerated powers. The administrative state has eroded the separation of powers, making the executive ever more powerful in domestic affairs. The theory used to justify these departures from the original constitution, living constitutionalism, is itself a threat to the rule of law, because it devalues the formal rules laid down by the Constitution.

via Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law – Online Library of Law & Liberty

I’m not a fan by any means of voting for the least evil, over the years, I’ve often abstained, and in fact, may do so this year. But what I claim as an act of conscience, is, at least in part, “Screw you, a plague on all your houses.” Childish and petty it may well be, but it is my right to withhold my approval for any candidate. Whether I do so depends on the situation.

One reason that I can do that is simply that I live in the 3d Nebraska Congressional district, Trump will win whether I vote, don’t vote, or set fire to my polling place. I’ll likely vote because there are down ticket races I care about, and I have the illusion that my wishes might matter there.

This is not ideal, except for Republicans seeking office, just as for Democrats in the big cities, it often leads to temptation, and to corruption. As we keep saying, a loyal opposition is necessary to the proper operation of the government. It doesn’t matter what party or group is alone in charge, it tends to forget its mission and start granting favors. I think it’s simply human nature.

This is why, I think that the Founders, especially Washington, were so opposed to faction, what they really desired was each man striving openly for his own ideals. Frankly, Washington was much too good a man to be a political theorist or a politician; most men lust after power and money and always remember that one can be exchanged for the other. Trump and Clinton definitely included.

So something to think about as we watch the politicians make fools of themselves in Cleveland this week, how do we fix, really fix our broken system?

The State: and Terrorism

marcus-cicero-freedomSo, on Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day, which far more than ours represents a revolt against the authorities, a guy named Mohamed, decided that a crowd of people in Nice, France  were having too much fun so he drove his truck over them, and then committed suicide by cop. It was pretty obviously an Islamic terrorist attack. You haven’t read much about it here, simply because I see little point, in rehashing things we all know. I’m as appalled and angry as any, I just wait until I know enough to write about things, and there’s little point to being the 684th to say something.

What matters to us, as a society, is what we do about these things. Horrific things haves always been done, often in the name of Islam. They’ve been done in the name of Christianity too, in the past, but several centuries ago, Christianity seemed to grow up, and no longer feels the need to torture and kill people. Any that can’t see that distinction are either delusional, or that have other motives.

Who gains from terrorism? ISIS at least thinks they do, and right now, it appears to be working as a recruitment tool. Someday, that will likely change, if their subjects ever figure out that the leaders don’t do suicide attacks, they live much too well, but send the sons and daughters of the poor and oppressed to do them. Or if western society ever gets their earplugs out and blindfolds off, and takes care of business. As westerners, that should be our concern, there’s no fixing ISIS, any more than there is stupid; evil is as evil does.

But who else benefits from Islamic terrorism? Western governments do. No, not as representatives of the people, but as the rulers of the people. You’re going to have to think through this with me. We like to think our governments represent us. I submit they don’t, they rule in our name, but for their own benefit, whether elected or civil service, their good is not our good. Our good would be best served if they stayed out of our business, and left us alone, to succeed or fail, and get back up and try again.

But the government’s interest is best served by regulating any and all aspects of our life that they can get away with. What you do for a living, for recreation, marriage, sports, everything. Not to metion how you do literally everything. In addition, their meddling has made our formerly productive enterprises, whether steel, automotive, clothing, what you eat and drink, whether your doctor can help you, or almost anything else you can think of uncompetitive, mostly because of government’s interference in the free market. Many want to claim that they’ve made life better or safer, or some such claptrap. That may be true, for those unwilling to work to eat, for the competent, the willing, and the productive they have made it nearly impossible.The old saying is: if it moves regulate it; if it doesn’t paint it. With an overpaid (and underskilled) painter, of course.

And so over the years, terrorism has multiplied the benefits of government over the people they used to serve, from the execrable TSA, to the NSA, to the militarized police, both local and federal, terrorism has allowed the government to grow, and to intrude into our lives.

Many have come to the conclusion that a breakdown in morals is responsible for where we are. Well, they’re right, sort of. The breakdown of morality is a symptom, not a cause. It is in the direct interest of the state to destroy the family, it leads to the populace being dependent on the government, not the family (or the individual) finding its own way through life. In exactly the same way, Christianity, which forms the basis of our morals, and ethics, has come to be seen by the government as an enemy of the state.

We’ve said it before, If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. And that is where we are, the safety net is so expensive and close beneath our feet, that we can no longer fail, instead we fail at leading a life which we can be proud of, not necessarily getting rich, but having a fulfilled life, that is what our governments have stolen from us, using our money to do so.

Falkland once wrote, “What should not be changed, must not be.” Very true, and like all deep truths, so is its opposite, “What cannot be changed, must be”.

And soon, if free societies are to survive. That will be difficult, I say it is our right, nay it is more, it is our duty to do so.

Five Years and Counting

patriotism_-_rooseveltFirst, thanks, Jess. Always seems like much too little, to do or say, when your best friend does something like her post yesterday, but really what else can one do?

She touches on something, though. Back in 2011, when I started this, we had problems, and we were fairly fed up with the administration, but we had faith in Congress, once we flipped it, to fix it. Well, how’d that work out? And that is part of the problem, we all feel pretty much cheated out of our voice by Washington. Thus both Trump, and Sanders. We’re not alone, either. As Jess alluded to, Brexit turned on the hinge of the people controlling the government.

Most young people have never known any thing else, and I suspect that’s why they either voted remain or simply didn’t vote. But their parents remembered, like we do, something different, when government was at least kind of, sort of, responsive to the voters, not to mention that the obvious contempt, for those of the shire, rankled. I sort of predicted that leave would win, and that was why: I could feel the resentment. Yes, part of it was a repudiation of experts. There like here, they’ve been almost wholly wrong, so why would anyone, who doesn’t make money from them, continue that path?

I note that Mrs. May so far appears very surefooted, her cabinet choices appear to have satisfied almost everyone but the left, who were never going to be satisfied, by anyone, who made it on her own, and a Vicar’s daughter, forsooth. But I must say, the more I see of her, the more impressed I become. Her record says she’s at best a statist, but then again, Churchill was a liberal.

I think the British may have started something that we’ll have something to say about. If you’ve been here more than about two minutes, you know I’m not a Trump supporter. But I do understand why so many are, and unless something very strange happens, I’ll likely end up voting for him. Why? Because he might be held to account by the press, which will never pay any attention to anything Hillary does wrong, which is most things. And who knows, he might be a decent president, I’d be surprised, but at least it would be a pleasant surprise. With Hillary, we know all about it, and it’s all bad.

And so the story continues, many of them, including the ones we’ve talked about here, where Mitt dropped the ball in 2012, we had recovered the House by then, and the Senate in 2014, but found that the Republican we thought were on our side, well they weren’t, were they? The Brits found the same thing outside London, they call it the bubble, and it seems as if the ‘posh tory boys’ ruled in their own interest, not the people’s. But they screwed up, and gave the people a vote, and the people spoke, rather decisively. I think our people are tired of lecturing as well, and so I think the Donald will win, maybe, perhaps, but he will surely lose if he suddenly turns into an establishment republican.

We shall surely see, and keep this in mind: Things are rarely as dire as we think, nor are they ever as good as we hope. Life is sort of a middle-of-the-road experience, so keep your chin up and as always, keep up the skeer.

And remember, as Bruce Anderson reminded us in the Spectator this week, “Why it takes more thinking to be a Tory than a socialist.

John Stuart Mill did not describe the Conservatives as the stupid party. He merely said that although not all Tories were stupid, most stupid people voted for them (cf. Brexit). But at any level above automatic loyalty at the polling box — not to be deprecated — Conservatism is no creed for the intellectually limited. It requires hard thinking. The socialists have an easier life. First, they have a secular teleology: socialism. Second, assuming that history is on their side, many lefties feel entitled to lapse into a complacent assumption of moral superiority. That helps to explain why there has been no serious left-wing thinking in the UK since Tony Crosland in the 1950s.

Though Tories may envy the complacency, they are condemned to stress. Without a political teleology, they have no way to simplify history. Their challenge is as complex as the human condition. There are a few useful maxims. Falkland: ‘When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ Berlin: ‘The great goods cannot always live together.’ Oakeshott: ‘Civilisation is only a collective dream.’ Wisdom, certainly, but what should Tories actually do? How should they decide when it is necessary to change, or which great good should take priority? As for civilisation, dreams and nightmares, the task of preventing our era from turning into the Dark Ages plus weapons of mass destruction is best entrusted to Tory tough-mindedness, and there is no guarantee of success.

True then, now, and always. True in the UK, and true here in the US. It takes far more effort to keep the fire going than to roast wienies on your neighbors’.

So, thanks again, Jess, my dearest friend, and my partner here, I’ll never be able to tell anyone, how important it is to me that you share this place with me, and now, after we have published 3005 articles of one kind or another, we still go on. I had to mention that, because even with a year’s head start, Jess’ own blog has almost caught up, and yes, it passed us in readership years ago, as it deserved to.

And so, as we’ve been saying here for five years, good luck, and keep the faith, we’re going to need it. Chesterton reminds us that

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

But Mother Julian answers for us:

If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

And in God’s good time:

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

 

The reasons why the globalists are destined to lose

quiblepenglobalismThis is quite interesting. I’m not sure if I completely follow his reasoning (I think I do in the main). His supposition comes down to the old one that there is something innate in human beings to seek after liberty, which is I think, beyond rational debate. So, read carefully, it is a bit dense at places; and enjoy. I surely did.

Under the surface of almost every sociopolitical and economic event in the world there burns an ever-raging, but often unseen, war. This war, for now, is fought with fiction and with truth, with journalistic combat and with quiet individual deeds. It is defined by two sides which could not be more philosophically or spiritually separate.

On one side is a pervasive network of corporate moguls and elites, banking entities, international financial consortiums, think tanks and political puppets. They work tirelessly to reshape public psychology and society as a whole into something they sometimes call the “New World Order;” a completely and scientifically centralized planet in which they control every aspect of government, trade, life and even moral compass. I often refer to them simply as the “Globalists,” which is how they at times refer to themselves.

On the other side is a movement that has developed organically and instinctively, growing without direct top-down “leadership,” but still guided through example by various teachers and activists, driven by a concrete set of principles based in natural law. It is composed of the religious, the agnostic and even some atheists.  It is soldiered by people of all ethnic and financial backgrounds. These groups are tied together by a singular and resounding belief in the one vital thing they can all agree upon — the inherent and inborn rights of freedom. I call them the “Liberty Movement.”

There are those who think they do not have a dog in this fight, those who ignore it and those who are completely oblivious to it. However,everyone can and will be affected by it, no exceptions. This war is for the future of the human race. Its consequences will determine if the next generation will choose the conditions of their environment and maintain the ability to reach their true potential as individuals or if every aspect of their lives will be micromanaged for them by a faceless, soulless bureaucracy that probably does not have their best interests at heart.

As you can probably tell, I am not unbiased in my examination of these two sides. While some of the more “academically minded” cynics out there do attempt to marginalize the entire conflict by accusing both sides of simply trying to impose “their ideology” on the rest of humanity, I would say that such people are generally ignorant of what is at stake.

There is in fact an elemental force behind this war. I would even call it a conflagration between good and evil. For a more in-depth analysis on the evil behind globalism, read my article “Are Globalists Evil Or Just Misunderstood.”

Some people don’t adhere to such absolutes or they think good and evil are fantasies created by religion to keep society in check. I have no intention of trying to convince them otherwise. All I can say is, I have seen and experienced these absolutes first hand and, therefore, I have no choice but to remain a believer.

I would also point out that the general experience of most men and women is that the act of organized and legitimate oppression is inherently evil and such actions in the name of satisfying delusional elitist narcissism are even more evil. While these experiences are subjective, they are also universal, regardless of the culture, place or time in history. Most of us feel the same horror and the same defiance when facing rising tyranny. We can’t necessarily explain why, but we all know.

While I am firmly on the side of liberty and am willing to fight and trade my life to stop the “New World Order” the globalists are so obsessed with, I will not turn this examination of their tactics into a blind or one sided farce. I will point out where the elites are effective just as I will point out where they are ineffective. It would do more harm than good to portray the globalists as “stupid” or bumbling in their efforts. They are not stupid. They are actually astonishingly clever and should not be underestimated.

They are indeed conniving and industrious, but they are not wise. For if they were wise, they would be able to see the ultimate futility of their goal and the world would be saved decades of tragedy and loss. Their cultism has dulled their senses to reality and they have abandoned truth in the name of control. Here are some of the primary strategies that the globalists are using to gain power and work towards total centralization and why their own mindset has doomed them to failure.

Globalism vs. “populism”

via The reasons why the globalists are destined to lose – Personal Liberty®

One thing I would caution the globalists amongst us about is this. Almost everybody harboring these type of dreams, sees themselves as in control, they won’t be, in probably 99% of the cases, the will simply be given enough power to do what they are told to do, without any authority at all to think. Strikes me as a very sterile existence.

The US government was expressly designed to guard against this type of thing, and that is why ‘Job 1’ for these types is to subvert “Rule through and under the law”, always remember that, you don’t have to believe the conspiracy (I too think it is mostly ephemeral, not explicit) to see the dangerous results.

And a word of caution, not everyone who makes noises like they belong to what the author calls ‘the Liberty Movement’ does, many are simply mouthing the words for their own gain. You (and I) need to make our own choices about who really wants freedom. Many are simply contesting who is in charge. And be assured, the media is most assuredly not on the side of freedom.

A Most Conservative Revolution

pic_giant_070314_AToday we celebrate for the 240th time, something the Founders did not want. Independence. What they wanted was the restoration of their rights as freeborn Englishmen. Our revolution was in direct line of succession from Magna Charta, The English Civil War, and The Glorious Revolution (and its Bill of Rights upon which our own was mostly based).

Washington’s Army was very nearly the Roundhead army of Parliament reincarnate. And it was stood up for the very same reason. The “long train of abuses and usurpations” by the King which Jefferson documented, could have been written by the leaders of the Civil War. Let’s look at that document, shall we.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, 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.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Often we read Jefferson’s prose in the beginning and end of the Declaration and skip the “Bill of Particulars”. We shouldn’t. There written in plain English is the quest of the English Speaking people, for a stable, free and representative law. It is a quest that hearkens all the way back to Saxon times and continues today.

We must note that this view was one that was very current in the England of 1776 as well. Edmund Burke said this:

We also reason and feel as you do on the invasion of your charters. Because the charters comprehend the essential forms by which you enjoy your liberties, we regard them as most sacred, and by no means to be taken away or altered without process, without examination, and without hearing, as they have lately been.

Charles James Fox said, in a famous speech, “I say, that the people of England have a right to control the executive power, by the interference of their representatives in this House of parliament.” And he even took to wearing the Buff and Blue colors of Washington’s army on the floor of Parliament itself.

William Pitt the Elder unsuccessfully attempted to have Parliament offer the Colonies what would be later called Commonwealth status.

So we see that we today celebrate a reluctant Independence but one that the Founders found necessary to maintain their rights, and they have passed on to us the responsibility to maintain them. It is no small responsibility but it one we must take seriously to be able to hand our freedom down to our posterity.

I’m one of those curmudgeons who don’t think the National Anthem should be messed with but, I happily admit to loving this version. Consistency is overrated!

And finally, I would remind you that of all the anthems of all the nations in the world, only the Star Spangled Banner ends with a question.

Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

How that question is answered is up to us.

In a sort of very pertinent aside, the very fact of the conservativeness of our Revolution, is why, I think so many conservative Britons have, in the last week, given our founders a good share of the credit for Brexit. I agree with them, it is the American founders, and the traditions flowing from them, and their basis in British law and tradition, that made Brexit possible, along with the quiet stubbornness of the British where freedom is concerned.

And so,

The_Great_Rapprochement

I would remind our British friends though of that last sentence, which has been the reason it has worked, nothing less is demanded of us.

And for the support of this Declaration,

with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence,

we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Continue the mission

God Bless America, and God Save the Queen

Unalienable Rights

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesDanmillerinPanama wrote an excellent article yesterday called Freedom of Speech is not Free; it is Beyond Price. In it, he highlights the fact that

When Roberson’s unit commander discovered that Rodriguez would be delivering the flag-folding speech, which mentions “God,” during the ceremony, he attempted to prevent Rodriguez from attending. After learning that he lacked authority to prevent Rodriguez from attending, the commander then told Roberson that Rodriguez could not give the speech. Rodriguez asked Roberson what he should do, and Roberson responded that it was his personal desire that Rodriguez give the flag-folding speech as planned. . . .

My instant reaction to this sort of nonsense is to wonder what part of the Air Force mission it is to police speech, and if it might be better to use its time to defend America, rather than attack Air Force personnel.

But as Dan and I have both said many times, the founders had a few things to say on the subject, as well. Like this.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or 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.

Emphasis mine. That seems like pretty clear language, after all. Hard for even a lawyer to turn Congress shall make no law into the Air Force may suppress any mention of God. Not that they can’t manage it, they just can’t justify it to anybody who understands that 2+2=4.

But there is something else here as well. The construction of the amendments is also important. Congress shall make no law…tells us several things, protecting free speech was important enough to be mentioned in our foundational law, the Constitution is a good start, but it is only the beginning.

But the wording says Congress can’t infringe it, it does not say Congress shall grant all Americans the right of Free Speech. Madison wrote it that way for a reason, free speech is a right that inheres each and every person, from God most of us believe, or nature or whatever, but it is not the state’s to grant, nor is it the state’s to refuse. This goes back to Jefferson in American practice with this

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, …

Jefferson likely drew this formulation from John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government.

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions… (and) when his own preservation comes not in competition, ought he, as much as he can, to preserve the rest of mankind, and may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, take away, or impair the life, or what tends to the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another.

There’s considerably more of this, and better than my writing on it at Unalienable Rights, by Robert Curry at Claremont.

To get to the correct answer to this question, we need to remember what the Constitution does. It defines how the federal government is to function—and the very purpose of government, according to the Founders, is to secure our unalienable rights. Consequently, unalienable rights are senior to, on a higher level than, even the Constitution itself. The sequence in logic goes like this:

• Unalienable Rights first
• Then the Constitution: the Framers’ (brilliant) design for a government to fulfill the purpose of government by securing our unalienable rights.

The Constitution is all about defining and dispersing the powers of government. It is fundamentally a design for limiting the government, limiting it precisely in order to secure our unalienable rights from people in government who would try to violate our rights. As Jefferson said, “let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

And frankly in not understanding this very point is where all of Europe, increasingly including Great Britain, has gone wrong. Because it’s common sense that what the government gives, the government can take away, and in many cases, free speech is one of the things that government really likes to take away. It’s so important, that Madison put it right at the top of the list, because if we can’t speak of things, we can’t affect them either.

How important is the American example in helping freedom to flourish around the world?

Well, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley recently wrote this:

“Your Majesty, with my humble duty, I was born in a democracy; I do not live in one; but I am determined to die in one.”

And now I shall die in one. In the words of William Pitt the Younger after the defeat of Napoleon, “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”

 

Updated because I forgot to link Monckton speech. You’ll find it here.

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