Freedom Matters–The Declaration of Independence Part 2

Continuing the Freedom Matters series, we will look at the charges laid against England by the colonist, and find, in some instances, that these charges could be laid against our current federal government.  For part 1, click here

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.

The current debate over the southern US border seems to come to mind here.  While the Constitution charges the federal government with the protection of the US  border, the federal government has proven lax and ineffective in its charge.  The state of Arizona has taken responsibility the protection of its own southern border.  The current administration has taken the state to court, claiming that it is the role of the federal government not the state to handle the protection of international borders.  But what is the state to do when the federal government refuses to act on what the federal government is Constitutionally required to act on?

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.

The US House of Representatives has passed numerous laws, and several budget plans, that the Senate has refused to even look at.  While the US has gone 3 + years without a budget, the House has passed several, and the Senate refuses to even consider one of them.  The refusal to pass good and necessary laws, like federal budgets, has been a large contributing factor to our current debt crisis.

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.

In this case, it is the GOP leadership that refuses to cause the election of others by the will of the people.  The results of many of the GOP state primaries and caucuses have been arrived at illegally.  Missouri, Maine, Georgia, North Dakota are just 4 examples.  Virginia’s refusal to allow Santorum and Gingrich to be on the ballot for its primary completely delegitimizes Romney’s standing as the presumptive nominee.  If Romney is really the nominee, fine, let him win honestly.  The process should go on, unhindered by the petty whims of a few power brokers that are afraid of who the people may elect as a legitimate nominee.

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 harass our people and eat out their substance.

Can anyone say “czars and doubling the IRS staff”?

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:

Obamacare comes to mind as the biggest subjection to laws foreign to our Constitution.

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:

Again, Obamacare is relevant here. You can find a comprehensive list of new taxes imposed by the legislation here.  It is lengthy, but worth the read.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit 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.

Occupy Wall Street is easily classified as a “domestic insurrection”, and the current administration has clearly excited it. 

In the next post, we will look at the last 3 paragraphs.

Freedom Matters–The Declaration of Independence Part 2

Continuing the Freedom Matters series, we will look at the charges laid against England by the colonist, and find, in some instances, that these charges could be laid against our current federal government.  For part 1, click here

 

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.

The current debate over the southern US border seems to come to mind here.  While the Constitution charges the federal government with the protection of the US  border, the federal government has proven lax and ineffective in its charge.  The state of Arizona has taken responsibility the protection of its own southern border.  The current administration has taken the state to court, claiming that it is the role of the federal government not the state to handle the protection of international borders.  But what is the state to do when the federal government refuses to act on what the federal government is Constitutionally required to act on?

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.

The US House of Representatives has passed numerous laws, and several budget plans, that the Senate has refused to even look at.  While the US has gone 3 + years without a budget, the House has passed several, and the Senate refuses to even consider one of them.  The refusal to pass good and necessary laws, like federal budgets, has been a large contributing factor to our current debt crisis.

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.

In this case, it is the GOP leadership that refuses to cause the election of others by the will of the people.  The results of many of the GOP state primaries and caucuses have been arrived at illegally.  Missouri, Maine, Georgia, North Dakota are just 4 examples.  Virginia’s refusal to allow Santorum and Gingrich to be on the ballot for its primary completely delegitimizes Romney’s standing as the presumptive nominee.  If Romney is really the nominee, fine, let him win honestly.  The process should go on, unhindered by the petty whims of a few power brokers that are afraid of who the people may elect as a legitimate nominee.

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 harass our people and eat out their substance.

Can anyone say “czars and doubling the IRS staff”?

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:

Obamacare comes to mind as the biggest subjection to laws foreign to our Constitution.

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:

Again, Obamacare is relevant here. You can find a comprehensive list of new taxes imposed by the legislation here.  It is lengthy, but worth the read.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit 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.

Occupy Wall Street is easily classified as a “domestic insurrection”, and the current administration has clearly excited it. 

 

In the next post, we will look at the last 3 paragraphs.

 

 

 

Freedom Matters–The Declaration of Independence Part 1

2012 will go down in history as one of the most critical presidential election cycles of American history.  Much is at stake.  Will we allow an ever growing government to wipe away what freedoms we have left, or will we remember the freedoms that our founding documents detail and, in theory, protect.

Freedom Matters will be a series that looks at 3 key documents that shape the United States, the Declaration of Independence (1776), the first Constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation (1781) and our current Constitution (1789).

I will not take the time to make a full accounting of the historical context, nor the philosophical context of the writing of these documents.  Dr George Grant does an excellent job of that in his lecture “Dumb and Dumber” which can be downloaded or streamed here.  That information is readily available in libraries, online, etc.  Where you find my comments incomplete, and you will find them incomplete, go do your homework.  Fill in the gaps as you have time and resources.  The point is to re-familiarize ourselves with the documents themselves, so as to make better decisions when it comes to electing political officials.

Today, we begin with the Declaration of Independence.  Most of us have some idea of the historical context in which the Declaration was written.  I will post the text, and make comments as I see necessary.  This will probably take 2 or 3 posts.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

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.

Natural law simply states that there is a natural order to things.  In the context of the formation of the United States, it was a natural thing for the colonist to want to stay unified to British rule, as many at the time wanted, but the more Parliament became tyrannical, it was also natural for the colonist to want to break away from England.

The apostle Paul even seems to address natural law in Romans 2:14

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

Returning to the Declaration:

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.

The order of these three basic rights matters.  The right to pursuing happiness is worthless without the freedom to do it, and the freedom to pursue happiness is of no value if there is not live for the liberty to be bestowed on.  And what is the point of living if there is no freedom to pursue ones calling in live.  The whole of human history clearly demonstrates that man is meant to be free to fulfill his calling, and he must be given first life and then liberty to do it.

–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.

The right of a people to govern themselves.  The responsibility of a people to to maintain that government.  Both ideas are codified above.  The purpose is to prevent tyranny.  Absolute power does corrupt absolutely, and this was the preventative measure the framers had in mind.

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.

The Declaration of Independence is, essentially, a list of charges against the British crown, although Parliament also bore some responsibility.  In the next post, we will look at those charge.