Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Happy Constitution Day - The 232nd Birthday of considering the greatest of all reflections on the perils of human nature

[Combining two previous posts marking what today apparently doesn't warrant a 'Google Doodle', it is the 232nd birthday of the United States Constitution. Learn it or lose it... and the liberty it was written to preserve.]
Today marks the completion of what both Patriot and Protester, knowingly or not, are unified in referencing. What was signed as completed upon this day, two hundred and thirty-two years ago, September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the fifty-five Framers, was the Constitution of the United States of America, and whether you stand in respect for, or disrespectfully turn away from, the Flag, the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, you do so in reference to that document which is the oldest existing instrument of its kind, still in operation.

Why?

Is it simply a list of rules for governing by? Is it nothing more than a favorite fossil of 'white people'? A document of oppression? Frederick Douglass once thought so, but because he was a thinker in order to understand what was true, he didn't stop with answers that were given him by others, but continued on thinking upon the matter, and discovered the Truth which such vile falsehoods seek to smother and erase.

But today I'm really not much concerned with your answers to those 'points', but am only interested in whether or not you are familiar with the ideas, principles and purposes which animated the writing of it - are you? And if not... what worth can your opinion - pro or con - have for me, or for anyone else?

Whether you mouth its praises, or make showy protests against it, without understanding what it is you are referencing - your praises and protestations fail to even rise to the level of being wrong, they are but verbal dust to be brushed away, meaningless and of no consequence. But if you are one of that thoughtless many, you may take comfort in the knowledge that you are in the happy company of millions of such Pavlovian 'Conservatives', Pro-Regressive Leftists and Libertarians, for whom the United States Constitution is little more than a paper bell which they bark at.

But for those of you who do see it, not as a mere object of ink upon paper, for those of you who don't insult the memory of they who strove to produce it as having been anything other than men of flesh and blood, for you who understand that it was written so as to give physical form to, and to best enable, the implementation of some of the greatest political ideas of Western Civilization -
  • that Individual Rights result from the nature of being human("...are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."),
  • that men who understand that are capable of self governance,
  • that well ordered argument can lead to a self-correcting means of governance,
  • that such a system, established by such a people, can enable lives lived in liberty while in society with others, so long as the beast of Power is bound down and limited by laws whose purpose is to uphold and defend the Individual Rights of every person
, and that for such a people, intellectually armed through a document such as this, Liberty is possible.

But it is only possible for those who understand that.

For those intemperate folk who simply wish to sing the praises of, or rain curses down upon, that which they know little or nothing of, so that they can 'do what they will', as they want, because they desire to... well for them, as Edmund Burke said in the face of the debut of Fascism:
“It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
Whether you are 'for or against it', especially on this day, in our day, you'd be wise to consider what would happen if we should lose the last vestiges of it, and those protections it uniquely extends to both sides.

For those of you who already do, or who are at least willing to make the effort to, understand those ideas which animated the framing of this document, those of you who understand that such principles and ideas as these cannot be owned by any race or culture, but can only be discovered by some for the benefit of all, then by virtue of that understanding, you and I are unified through these thoughts which were so well formed, written down, and 'completed' (and not to forget the first debate on amending its completion), on 'the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven'.

What is it that we celebrate today, Constitution Day, but the efforts of our Founding Fathers, 232 years ago, to harness the pursuit of power, and force it to serve the pursuit of happiness? It is simply the greatest achievement in history, to date, to enable men to live in liberty, with one another, while disagreeing with each other, under the protection of the Rule of Law.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
It's worth noting that our Founding Generation found the efforts of the Framers of the Constitution... wanting. They very nearly refused to ratify the document, not because it wasn't an elegant solution to harnessing power, but because they felt it didn't go far enough in securing our Individual Rights. But, in the end, they took a risk, that politicians could be trusted to provide the lacking Bill of Rights afterwards, and though they almost reneged, James Madison insisted that their word be kept, and though he disliked the idea of a Bill of Rights, he submitted a series of amendments which, after vigorous debate, became the original Ten Amendments to the Constitution that we know of as the Bill of Rights, amended to the Constitution for the purpose of restraining the power which the Constitution harnessed into the hands of men:
"Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789.
The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;--"
Madison didn't dislike the idea of a Bill of Rights because he didn't want to secure our Rights, but because he feared that any list of Rights, in the hands of politicians, would serve as snares and loopholes to all our Rights, limiting them to only those words written upon parchment. But in the process of writing his amendments, he hit upon the ideas that would become our 9th and 10th Amendments, reserving all those Rights and Powers not listed, to the people and those powers not listed, to the states.

And now we are engaged in an elections, an election, "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." If you have not considered what rests at the core of our Constitution, the balancing of powers against powers, forcing ambition to serve liberty... not an easy task. As Madison put it in Federalist #51:
"But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack..Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
Coming into another election year, forget about the personalities of the candidates, and look at what they propose. Consider whether or not a federal agency that can arbitrarily decree that Americans must purchase no less than four gallons of gasoline; consider whether or not that power is balanced against anything at all, so as to serve your liberty - or to extinguish it.

Our Constitution was devised so as to put Government at the service of your ability to live your own life. Is it still serving that function, or imperiling it? That's a question you'd better consider, because it will determine the direction of this government turns towards, or forever away from, enabling you, your children and your children's children, to live their own lives - or not.

One final point, whether you are an old hand with, or relatively new to, this document and its ideas, I take it as an obvious point that your reading of it can be greatly improved and informed by those arguments for, and against it, that were in the minds of those who debated the writing and ratifying of it. One of the best tools I've ever found for considering and reflecting upon the whole or particular parts of the Constitution, is the University of Chicago's site "The Founders Constitution". Scroll down on the contents page and you'll find that it goes through the Constitution clause by clause, and that each is supplied with a list of links to those relevant portions of not only the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers, but to documents which the Founders had in mind when writing the Constitution, to what the Anti-Federalists objected to (this is particularly helpful in understanding the arguments for the Constitution which the Federalist Papers make), as well as early Supreme Court opinions and judgments that were relevant to that clause being acted upon, as well as the commentaries by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (which are fantastic).

Without further ado:

Constitution of the United States and the First Twelve Amendments 1787--1804

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.

Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Section 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Section 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

Section 4. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

Section 5. Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Section 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Section 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Section 9. The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Section 10. No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.

Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected as follows

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Section 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article. III.

Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3. Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.
Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

Section 2. The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Section 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

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

Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

Article. V.

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of it's equal Suffrage in the Senate.


Article. VI.

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, The Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page. Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Go: Washington--Presidt. and deputy from Virginia
New Hampshire { John Langdon
Nicholas Gilman
}
Massachusetts { Nathaniel Gorham
Rufus King
Connecticut { Wm. Saml. Johnson
Roger Sherman
New York Alexander Hamilton
New Jersey { Wil: Livingston
David Brearley.
Wm. Paterson.
Jona: Dayton
Pensylvania { B Franklin
Thomas Mifflin
Robt Morris
Geo. Clymer
Thos. FitzSimons
Jared Ingersoll
James Wilson
Gouv Morris
Delaware { Geo: Read
Gunning Bedford jun
John Dickinson
Richard Bassett
Jaco: Broom
Maryland { James McHenry
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
Danl Carroll
Virginia { John Blair--
James Madison Jr.
North Carolina { Wm. Blount
Richd. Dobbs Spaight.
Hu Williamson
South Carolina { J. Rutledge
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Charles Pinckney
Pierce Butler.
Georgia { William Few
Abr Baldwin
Amendments to the Constitution
Preamble to the first ten Amendments:

Congress of the United States; Begun and held at the City of New York, on Wednesday, the 4th of March, 1789. 
The conventions of a number of the states having, at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added; and as extending the ground of public confidence in the government will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution;--


Article I - 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.

Article II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article VII - In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article VIII - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

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

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


The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 1, Document 9

The University of Chicago Press
Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States. Edited by Charles C. Tansill. 69th Cong., 1st sess. House Doc. No. 398. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1927.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The 9/11 Copybook Heading - Doubling down (Once again)

Doubling down on their efforts to deny and rewrite reality, the New York Times today tweeted that "... airplanes took aim and brought down the World Trade Center...", which they've for some reason deleted. Why, I can't imagine, as they also ran a full story today "The Twin Towers After September 11: A Tribute or a Painful Reminder?" which mentions neither 'islamist' nor 'terrorist'.

As I've said many times before, in everything from this B.S., to the 57 genders, to ilhan omar talking about 'somone did something', what the Pro-Regressive opposes most, and is most terrified of, is identifying what is real and true. It burns. Well... burn 'em.

On September 11th, 2001, islamic terrorists attacked America by hijacking four passenger planes, and turned them into weapons that killed 3,000 Americans. And they were able to do that, because for decades we failed to identify their nature and the nature of the threat they posed to Western Civilization in general, and to America in particular.

Remember that... or be prepared for the Gods of the Copybook Heading's, return to remind us, once again. And now, I return you to September 11th:

[I first posted this back in 2012, and I haven't seen anything from then thru now, to alter my opinion. Worse, especially in light of the GOP not only ignoring warnings but permitting the Iran Deal to not only go forward, but to schedule the vote on it on Friday, Sept. 11th, 2015 - I can do no less than double down on it.[and of course the newest 'Iran Deal' in 2016, and with paying billions of dollars in ransom... nothing's changed]

There's no doubt that we will remember 9/11 for quite some time to come, but what we remember and why, is far less certain.

More than remembering where I was 11 years ago, I remember how we got there. By denying the reality of what we faced in the World Trade Center bombing, the hijacking of airliners and cruise ships, the bombing of our interests around the world and of the USS Cole, by refusing to deal with evil as is required, evil strolled up and gave us a hug on 9/11, 11 years ago.

Have we learned the lesson? I don't even need to turn on the News to know that the answer is: Not even close.

The cost has been, and no doubt will again be, the likes of 9/11, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limp up to explain it once more... reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, enables the evil to harm the good. Remember this 9/11, that 'measured responses' are why those who attacked us on 9/11, 11 years ago, were still alive and able to attack us - the fruition of a decade worth of 'measured responses'.

Leftists deny the existence of Evil, and 'Conservatives' deny the necessity of dealing with evil as the evil that they are. Fearing that Just retribution brings us 'down to their level', they insist on 'reasonable' and 'measured' responses, blind to the fact that such measures extend a hand up to evil, which it will use to reach up and hammer you in the face - the face they never could have reached without the aid of those 'measured responses'.

Conservatives like O'Reilly are the reason why I'm uncomfortable calling myself a Conservative. For conversations sake, I use the term as a shorthand, half-step towards the more accurate term, Classical Liberal. And I have a holy hell full of spite for the ProRegressive Leftists who have made it necessary to tack 'Classical' onto that.

If the policy of the interviewee in this video, Leonard Peikoff, had been followed back in 2001, I believe we'd have been done worrying about Iran & the Middle East a decade ago. Instead, we followed the lead of dunderheads like O'Reilly, whose 'measured responses' have drawn the conflict out, strengthened Iran and put us in the position we are in today.

A proper foreign policy is "Mind your own business & we'll mind ours. Mess with us or ours, and we'll destroy you. Period."

Anything less, reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, etc., are concessions and only serve to enable those who wish us harm. The history of the last couple decades is that of those who wish us harm, understanding this truth, and understanding that we don't understand it, and using it to play us to their benefit.

And the cost has been, and will be, the likes of 9/11, as once again, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more:

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Please, try to remember 9/11 as the lesson we won't have to learn once more.

Reality will not be denied, and Evil will not be turned aside because you choose to turn away from it. Deny that, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return. Please. Just face the facts and learn the lesson so we don't have to learn it once more.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Our Lack of Causes for Mass Shootings - The deadly effects of treating effects as causes pt.2 of 2

There are more causes than we can count for why so many people today have so little interest in living lives worth living or showing respect for human life - theirs or others. While we can't say what causes any one person to choose to murder as many of their fellows as they can manage, we can identify some causes for why living respectful and worthwhile lives was not central to the lives they chose to live out in our midst, and IMHO identifying why so many lack that is more meaningful to know than the endless and meaningless details of these shooters lives that are obsessed over in our tragically repeating news cycle.

I pointed out in the previous post that causation in human affairs was once understood to have a deeper more pyramidal structure than the cartoonishly flattened out 'cause & effect' (see gun->shoot people, hate brown skin-> shoot all skins, be bullied by someone-> shoot everyone, etc.,) accepted today, and pointed out how at least one central issue that is lacking in each of these shooters, is also lacking in those who shriek the loudest afterwards about disarming their fellows ability to defend themselves against such attacks - shooters and shriekers alike lack a regard for that fundamental ideal that America was formed from and upon: a respect for individual rights. This absence is 'present' in all levels of our society today, and should be even more disturbing to us than these mass shootings which are its most extreme effects, and the fact that most who lack that ideal have not yet chosen violence (though a great many do enjoy talking about it), should be cold comfort indeed - we as a society are imperiled not by the things surrounding our lives, but by what is lacking within our lives.

This lack of regard for an ideal that is so fundamental to America is not only concerning, but puzzling, as all societies have a means for understanding, elevating, spreading, and acting on their highest ideals in daily life - why does ours now (for clearly we once had it) lack that? Previously we looked at the effects which the lack of that ideal can have on a individual thoughts and actions, this post will look at what is lacking in our means of transmitting that ideal into the American people. Again, by not getting distracted by the many meaningless effects, and concentrating instead upon what is meaningfully lacking, we can better see the layers of the pyramid of causes from top to bottom - material, formal, efficient and final - in our means of conveying our most fundamental ideals.

A Material Cause
The ideal of individual rights is vital to the mind of any who is deliberately an American, but despite their good intentions it is unlikely to be sustained alone in a person for long, without the support of that person's habits, actions and aspirations, which is what makes a person's character the Material Cause (“that out of which” something is done) of their behavior.

Of course one essential character trait that's present in those who are not inclined to slaughter their fellows, is that they value and admire living a good life, and doing so requires them to have developed a habit of making choices that are respectful of what is real and true and good, which in turn requires a person to have developed a habit and method of thinking - IOW a reasonable method of asking questions that lead to a deeper understanding of what is true, while identifying and rejecting what is false - and a sufficient wealth of supporting knowledge, understanding and inspiration to draw upon, for successfully carrying their choices towards, safely through, and past, the turbulent passions of the moment.

Having and sustaining a good character is not such an easy thing to do, and an important point to acknowledge about virtuous habits, is that they're an extremely unnatural thing for a human being to seek, develop, and sustain. Even with the benefit of a good character, it is not easy to choose to do what is best and right, over what is easy and tempting, but it's damn near impossible to do so when caught up in the midst of your passions, with no habits or anchoring truths whatsoever, to help you

Monday, August 26, 2019

A culture of shrieking about mass shootings - The deadly effects of treating effects as causes pt1

I held off on responding to the news of the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Like me, you've heard what happened, you too know the awful arithmetic of the casualty statistics... and the endlessly contentious talking points surrounding them. More than likely you, like me, don't want to hear yet another rehashing of the details of these events, partly because such details of the moment don't change in any meaningful way from one slaughter to the next, and mostly because the ideological agendas they are often shamelessly made to serve on both edges of the aisle, are treated as being more important than the only news that's actually new and important in these events: the particular lives and relationships that've been brutally ended, destroyed and otherwise mangled.

But as horrific and tragic as those effects are, they are but the effects of causes, not the causes themselves, and endlessly dwelling on such effects as the shooters name, ethnicity, religion, angry words, weapon used, favorite politicians, selfies, tweets, apparel...etc., helps no one to better understand the very real causes that lead human beings to deliberately choose to slaughter their fellows. If you want to have a meaningful discussion of those causes which can be identified, then actual causes are what you've got to consider, and sorry, but with apologies to all, bundling a slew of effects together under the labels of 'mental health', 'hatred' & 'racism', won't lead to more meaningful discussions or results, but will only serve as yet another opportunity to trumpet a grisly scorecard in driving an agenda forward.

An Uncomfortable Truth: Those who choose to slaughter their fellows don't do so just because they're 'really angry!' - that may be the excuse given, but more fundamental causes were there well before anger surged them into murderous effects - they do so because they, like the gun-grabbers who shriek about confiscating their fellows means of defending their lives, share a belief in using power to force their will upon the lives of their fellows. Both shooter and shrieker alike have an entrenched disregard for the need of each person to be able to use their best judgment in order to live a life worth living, and both share an ignorance, if not an outright contempt for, the role that plays in being able to be respectful of both their own, and other people's lives.

Is that putting it a bit too uncomfortably? I'll grant you that it's more comfortable chattering on about meaningless effects than it is to consider meaningful causes, but as it's true, I humbly suggest that there's more to be gained by taking a deeper look into those uncomfortable causes, than we'll ever get by chattering on about the same old meaningless effects as if they were meaningful causes. There's a pyramid of deeper causes & ideas (or lack of them) leading up to both the Shooters' & Shreikers' actions, and that entire structure is shared by a great many people throughout our society today, and that should be far more alarming to us than even these horrific slaughters, as they are isolated incidents inflicted upon us by a handful who's character flaws have taken such causes to their most extreme consequences. Imagine what potential horrors might be unleashed as more of their character traits are no longer seen as being flawed... but easily become praised as '“beautiful, painful, and devastating” martyrs for 'the cause'. See the early 20th Century for further reference.

Do you want to tell me that I should be criticizing racism and 'white supremacy' instead? Oh please do, and while you're at it, I'll direct your attention to what it is that racism is itself ultimately a result of: an explicit denial of full humanity 'to some', in exchange for the power to grant unequal powers to a favored few - in ignorance of the fact that to deny our inalienable rights to some, is to deny them to all (themselves included). First and foremost the racist shares in the underlying causal ideas which transform humanity into something less than fully human within their own minds, and the fact that

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trump's Tweets - De-ranting Washington's Rules of Civili-Tweeting.

Ok, so... as my Monday rant on the furor over Trump's Tweets has faded from my blood pressure, some questions have surfaced about it - sorry, but rants being what they are, it may not have been too clear on who or what my rant was directed at in the wake of Trump's tweets.

No, I was not ranting against Trump... directly. I was more ranting over how the ludicrous offendocrats (Left, Right & Center), have dutifully ignored ALL of the instances of truly anti-American, racist, mendacious, tyrannical and ideological norms that've run amuck in our Politically Correct world today (I'd hoped that the many links in the rant would point ya'll's attention that-a-way). Outrages which they've  so easily and entirely ignored for decades, and yet these same flustered pearl-clutchers come wide awake and fully aroused, when Trump tactlessly points out some harsh opinions, flawed facts and obvious truths, causing themselves, the media, and the various 'spheres (Twitter, Blogger, etc) to spaz out with an:
"Egads! The Orange Man has failed to be a shining example of George Washington's Rules of Civility! Burn him! And everyone who agrees with him!"
They vent their outrage over Trump's Tweets, while ignoring the fact that they themselves not only utterly fail to live up to that ideal (in everything from Pink Pussy Hats & Slut Walks, to violently silencing Free Speech & fascist antifa terrorism and thuggery, etc), but it's a standard that they've been actively ridiculing for decades (again, see my rant's links).

To give the short answer first, before getting into the details of why, no, Trump's Tweets were not racist, and what is most upsetting about the the outrage over Trump's Tweets, is that there's nothing, nothing, to be upset about in them - the outrage you find there, is your own. And by focusing on these four, the outrages of thousands of others, are ignored. But if racist is what you're looking for, I'll be happy to direct you to a select few of the many comments of Omar, Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley, and more, that are racist, and biggoted, and anti-Semitic and anti-American. That being said though, Trump's Tweets were worded in such a way as to guarantee an uproar, and as bad as that is, what's worse is that it's very likely the only way that We The People of today would take notice of what desperately needs being taken notice of, and now. Sad.

To be clear about what direction I'm coming at this from, as I've said too many times before, I'm not a Trump Supporter (though I most definitely used Trump's name on my ballot to counter the greater threat to the nation in the Pro-Regressive Hillary presidency posed), but I'm also not a Trump Hater, I'm simply not a fan, and haven't been since the 1980's (even in his "Art of the Deal", he showed a willingness to use govt to aid his own ends, which I'm opposed to, and his personal style in doing so, doesn't appeal to me), but I've never had reason to think him to be a fool, or a racist, or a fascist, or a [insert idiotic blank here], and while I've been unsurprised at the number of his missteps, loose comments, self-inflicted tweets, etc., that's he's made, I've also been pleasantly surprised, and pleased by the majority of his actual actions in office, especially those which involve reducing regulations, making generally good use of the military, and the judiciary - mostly in the lower courts, as Kavanaugh is about what I expected of him, yet Gorsuch was a very pleasant surprise.

What I do support politically, is our Constitutional form of representative, limited govt, where Govt's powers are limited to upholding and defending Individual Rights and (and that last 'and' is only

Monday, July 15, 2019

Trump's Tweets and the Serious Consequences of We The People (a rant)

rant: Look, you might as well go read the very sensible comments upon Trump's Tweets, which Charles C. W. Cooke had to say (H/T Dana), or go to Lindsay Graham to hear what will please the Right half of you, or go to CNN to hear what will please the Left half of you, because all I have to say is what none of you want to hear.

Don't believe me? Ok, here ya go: So... lemme guess... you're all stirred up because Trump tweeted, or by those he tweeted at. Again. Huh.

And you're shocked about that? Seriously? And you expect me to be shocked? Please. I really don't care whether you support Trump, tolerate or oppose him, or are a NeverTrump'r, I'm sorry/not-sorry, but your shock and outrage at him, or at his critics, or at those he was critical of, is disingenuous, pathetic, and deplorable.

What's that? There are anti-American representatives in Congress? Ya know what it means if there are anti-American representatives in Congress? It means that there are a hell of a lot of Anti-American Americans in America, that they represent!

CLUE!

Listen up buttercup: We The People (that's all o' y'all) have been making some consequential choices for a very long time - and with those choices, habits, and educational standards, in Art and entertainment preferences, et-friggin'-cettera, we've chosen to move on from:

  • Plato, Aristotle & Aquinas, to Descartes, Rousseau & Kant;
  • Homer, Shakespeare &The Federalist Papers, to textbooks, modernistic drivel, and the Green New Deal;
  • Adam Smith, Jean Baptiste Say & Frédéric Bastiat, to Marx, Keynes & Paul Krugman(!);
  • Civility, manners & polite regard, to hostility, sarcasm & rudeness;
  • Ward Cleaver to Al Bundy;
  • Wally Cleaver to Bart Simpson;
  • Annette Funicello to Miley Cyrus;
And no matter how fair it isn't, what all of those choices mean, is that we've mandated that presidents such as Silent Cal Coolidge, are no longer an option in America, they're now a thing of the past, because we've 'progressed' - and guess what: What that 'progress' looks like is Donald Trump Tweeting, and those he's tweeting at.

And you want me to get all upset over the pitiful handful of a few whoevers that you think are our 'real problems' today, while all o' y'all busily ignore the rest? Please. Maybe tomorrow. But for now, have a chair.

And don't give me no Left, Right, or Libertarian finger-pointing B.S. - We The People, and that's all o' y'all, have gotten into the habit of making the choices that we've been making, and the consequences of those choices (and the ideas that drive them - or fail to), are what have brought us to where we are today.

Choices have consequences. Don't tell me you haven't made those choices yourself, that's a lie, and whether you're lying to me or to yourself, lying by commission or omission, I really don't give a damn - you either knew that the choices you've made, or not objected to, were wrong, or you suspected they were and didn't bother to find out why, or if you understood why you didn't do all of what you needed to do about them. Same difference. And no, I don't excuse myself from that, although I've renounced (most) of them, and have done (some) of what I could about them, at one time I too explicitly made them, or enabled them by default. By choice.

Those choices have consequences. Those consequences are not optional. The world we find ourselves in today, is one that we've all chosen to bring about.

If you want to change the world, if you want to make the world great again, start with yourself, and change what you think and why, change how you treat others, and change what examples you teach others by.

In the meantime...as the consequences of what all o' y'all have chosen are continuing to come home to roost upon our faces, just shut-up about it already. Go do something to create better consequences, and get the hell off of my lawn.
/rant

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Calvin Coolidge, Thomas Jefferson, James Otis, and remembering how dependent our Constitution is, upon our understanding of our Declaration of Independence!

Once again, before getting to my annual reposting of Calvin Coolidge's speech on the Inspiration of our Declaration of Independence, I want to point out, first, that our independence wasn't begun on July 4th 1776, that was simply the end of the beginning. Where our independence began, according to a fellow that was in attendance at both events, John Adams, was when James Otis spoke against King George's 'Writs of Assistance' back in 1761, which as Adams recalled it,
",,,But Otis was a flame of fire! With a promptitude of Classical Allusions, a depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events & dates, a profusion of Legal Authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into futurity, and a rapid torrent of impetuous Eloquence he hurried away all before him. American Independence was then & there born. The seeds of Patriots & Heroes to defend the Non sine Diis Animosus Infans; to defend the Vigorous Youth were then & there sown. Every Man of an immense crouded Audience appeared to me to go away, as I did, ready to take Arms against Writs of Assistants. Then and there was the first scene of the first Act of opposition to the Arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the Child Independence was born. In fifteen years i.e. in 1776. he grew up to Manhood, & declared himself free.,,,"[emphasis mine]
I point that out, because it underlines the importance of what is perhaps most remarkable about what the Declaration of Independence's author, Thomas Jefferson, considered to be the least remarkable aspect of it - that he intended the Declaration as an expression of ideas that were familiar and commonly understood, by the majority of Americans, of that time, as Jefferson wrote to a friend in later years, about what it was meant to accomplish:
"Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
That is why we are unique in the annals of human history, as being a nation founded upon ideas (those twits mouthing on about 'inherent American anti-intellectualism' can kiss my patriotic ass). And those common ideas, and their influence, continued to serve as strong guides for the later creation of our Constitution, can be easily found in even a cursory reading, between the charges of the Declaration of Independence against King George, and their reflection in our Constitution and the amendments to it, and ...
"To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World."
"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."
"HE has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries."
  • The first three articles of our Constitution, divides Govt into three branches, which prevent any one person or wing from attaining a monopoly of power over the others.
"HE has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their Substance."
  • This is what our Constitution was expressly designed to forbid, which unfortunately is what the pro-regressive Administrative State, was erected upon it to encourage (as was our politically instituted educational system) - proof that Laws that do not live in the hearts and minds of the people, cannot protect them against themselves
"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."
  • Congress has control of organizing and funding the military budget, and while the Executive has command of the military, he can not do much, for long, without the further consent of the people's representatives, and in all ways, the military is under civil control.
"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"
, and if you take the time to read both, you will find many, many, more points of harmony between the two.

But enough, onto Calvin Coolidge's speech, and a happy Independence Day to you all!

The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence
Given in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 5, 1926:

President Calvin Coolidge
We meet to celebrate the birthday of America. The coming of a new life always excites our interest. Although we know in the case of the individual that it has been an infinite repetition reaching back beyond our vision, that only makes it the more wonderful. But how our interest and wonder increase when we behold the miracle of the birth of a new nation. It is to pay our tribute of reverence and respect to those who participated in such a mighty event that we annually observe the fourth day of July. Whatever may have been the impression created by the news which went out from this city on that summer day in 1776, there can be no doubt as to the estimate which is now placed upon it. At the end of 150 years the four corners of the earth unite in coming to Philadelphia as to a holy shrine in grateful acknowledgment of a service so great, which a few inspired men here rendered to humanity, that it is still the preeminent support of free government throughout the world.

Although a century and a half measured in comparison with the length of human
experience is but a short time, yet measured in the life of governments and nations it ranks as a very respectable period. Certainly enough time has elapsed to demonstrate with a great deal of thoroughness the value of our institutions and their dependability as rules for the regulation of human conduct and the advancement of civilization. They have been in existence long enough to become very well seasoned. They have met, and met successfully, the test of experience.

It is not so much then for the purpose of undertaking to proclaim new theories and principles that this annual celebration is maintained, but rather to reaffirm and reestablish those old theories and principles which time and the unerring logic of events have demonstrated to be sound. Amid all the clash of conflicting interests, amid all the welter of partisan politics, every American can turn for solace and consolation to the Declaration of independence and the Constitution of the United States with the assurance and confidence that those two great charters of freedom and justice remain firm and unshaken. Whatever perils appear, whatever dangers threaten, the Nation remains secure in the knowledge that the ultimate application of the law of the land will provide an adequate defense and protection.

It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event. The world looks upon them, because of their associations of one hundred and fifty years ago, as it looks upon the Holy Land because of what took place there nineteen hundred years ago. Through use for a righteous purpose they have become sanctified.

It is not here necessary to examine in detail the causes which led to the American Revolution. In their immediate occasion they were largely economic. The colonists objected to the navigation laws which interfered with their trade, they denied the power of Parliament to impose taxes which they were obliged to pay, and they therefore resisted the royal governors and the royal forces which were sent to secure obedience to these laws. But the conviction is inescapable that a new civilization had come, a new spirit had arisen on this side of the Atlantic more advanced and more developed in its regard for the rights of the individual than that which characterized the Old World. Life in a new and open country had aspirations which could not be realized in any subordinate position. A separate establishment was ultimately inevitable. It had been decreed by the very laws of human nature. Man everywhere has an unconquerable desire to be the master of his own destiny.

We are obliged to conclude that the Declaration of Independence represented the movement of a people. It was not, of course, a movement from the top. Revolutions do not come from that direction. It was not without the support of many of the most respectable people in the Colonies, who were entitled to all the consideration that is given to breeding, education, and possessions. It had the support of another element of great significance and importance to which I shall later refer. But the preponderance of all those who occupied a position which took on the aspect of aristocracy did not approve of the Revolution and held toward it an attitude either of neutrality or open hostility. It was in no sense a rising of the oppressed and downtrodden. It brought no scum to the surface, for the reason that colonial society had developed no scum. The great body of the people were accustomed to privations, but they were free from depravity. If they had poverty, it was not of the hopeless kind that afflicts great cities, but the inspiring kind that marks the spirit of the pioneer. The American Revolution represented the informed and mature convictions of a great mass of independent, liberty-loving, God-fearing people who knew their rights, and possessed the courage to dare to maintain them. The Continental Congress was not only composed of great men, but it represented a great people. While its members did not fail to exercise a remarkable leadership, they were equally observant of their representative capacity. They were industrious in encouraging their constituents to instruct them to support independence. But until such instructions were given they were inclined to withhold action.

While North Carolina has the honor of first authorizing its delegates to concur with other Colonies in declaring independence, it was quickly followed by South Carolina and Georgia, which also gave general instructions broad enough to include such action. But the first instructions which unconditionally directed its delegates to declare for independence came from the great Commonwealth of Virginia. These were immediately followed by Rhode Island and Massachusetts, while the other Colonies, with the exception of New York, soon adopted a like course.

This obedience of the delegates to the wishes of their constituents, which in some cases caused them to modify their previous positions, is a matter of great significance. It reveals an orderly process of government in the first place; but more than that, it demonstrates that the Declaration of Independence was the result of the seasoned and deliberate thought of the dominant portion of the people of the Colonies. Adopted after long discussion and as the result of the duly authorized expression of the preponderance of public opinion, it did not partake of dark intrigue or hidden conspiracy. It was well advised. It had about it nothing of the lawless and disordered nature of a riotous insurrection. It was maintained on a plane which rises above the ordinary conception of rebellion. It was in no sense a radical movement but took on the dignity of a resistance to illegal usurpations. It was conservative and represented the action of the colonists to maintain their constitutional rights which from time immemorial had been guaranteed to them under the law of the land.

When we come to examine the action of the Continental Congress in adopting the Declaration of Independence in the light of what was set out in that great document and in the light of succeeding events, we can not escape the conclusion that it had a much broader and deeper significance than a mere secession of territory and the establishment of a new nation. Events of that nature have been taking place since the dawn of history. One empire after another has arisen, only to crumble away as its constituent parts separated from each other and set up independent governments of their own. Such actions long ago became commonplace. They have occurred too often to hold the attention of the world and command the admiration and reverence of humanity. There is something beyond the establishment of a new nation, great as that event would be, in the Declaration of Independence which has ever since caused it to be regarded as one of the great charters that not only was to liberate America but was everywhere to ennoble humanity.

It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.

If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. The importance of political speculation is not to be under-estimated, as I shall presently disclose. Until the idea is developed and the plan made there can be no action.

It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world. It was not only the principles declared, but the fact that therewith a new nation was born which was to be founded upon those principles and which from that time forth in its development has actually maintained those principles, that makes this pronouncement an incomparable event in the history of government. It was an assertion that a people had arisen determined to make every necessary sacrifice for the support of these truths and by their practical application bring the War of Independence to a successful conclusion and adopt the Constitution of the United States with all that it has meant to civilization.

The idea that the people have a right to choose their own rulers was not new in political history. It was the foundation of every popular attempt to depose an undesirable king. This right was set out with a good deal of detail by the Dutch when as early as July 26, 1581, they declared their independence of Philip of Spain. In their long struggle with the Stuarts the British people asserted the same principles, which finally culminated in the Bill of Rights deposing the last of that house and placing William and Mary on the throne. In each of these cases sovereignty through divine right was displaced by sovereignty through the consent of the people. Running through the same documents, though expressed in different terms, is the clear inference of inalienable rights. But we should search these charters in vain for an assertion of the doctrine of equality. This principle had not before appeared as an official political declaration of any nation. It was profoundly revolutionary. It is one of the corner stones of American institutions.

But if these truths to which the declaration refers have not before been adopted in their combined entirety by national authority, it is a fact that they had been long pondered and often expressed in political speculation. It is generally assumed that French thought had some effect upon our public mind during Revolutionary days. This may have been true. But the principles of our declaration had been under discussion in the Colonies for nearly two generations before the advent of the French political philosophy that characterized the middle of the eighteenth century. In fact, they come from an earlier date. A very positive echo of what the Dutch had done in 1581, and what the English were preparing to do, appears in the assertion of the Rev. Thomas Hooker of Connecticut as early as 1638, when he said in a sermon before the General Court that:
The foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people

The choice of public magistrates belongs unto the people by God's own allowance.

This doctrine found wide acceptance among the nonconformist clergy who later made up the Congregational Church. The great apostle of this movement was the Rev. John Wise, of Massachusetts. He was one of the leaders of the revolt against the royal governor Andros in 1687, for which he suffered imprisonment. He was a liberal in ecclesiastical controversies. He appears to have been familiar with the writings of the political scientist, Samuel Pufendorf, who was born in Saxony in 1632. Wise published a treatise, entitled "The Church's Quarrel Espoused," in 1710 which was amplified in another publication in 1717. In it he dealt with the principles of civil government. His works were reprinted in 1772 and have been declared to have been nothing less than a textbook of liberty for our Revolutionary fathers.

While the written word was the foundation, it is apparent that the spoken word was the vehicle for convincing the people. This came with great force and wide range from the successors of Hooker and Wise, It was carried on with a missionary spirit which did not fail to reach the Scotch Irish of North Carolina, showing its influence by significantly making that Colony the first to give instructions to its delegates looking to independence. This preaching reached the neighborhood of Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledged that his "best ideas of democracy" had been secured at church meetings.

That these ideas were prevalent in Virginia is further revealed by the Declaration of Rights, which was prepared by George Mason and presented to the general assembly on May 27, 1776. This document asserted popular sovereignty and inherent natural rights, but confined the doctrine of equality to the assertion that "All men are created equally free and independent". It can scarcely be imagined that Jefferson was unacquainted with what had been done in his own Commonwealth of Virginia when he took up the task of drafting the Declaration of Independence. But these thoughts can very largely be traced back to what John Wise was writing in 1710. He said, "Every man must be acknowledged equal to every man". Again, "The end of all good government is to cultivate humanity and promote the happiness of all and the good of every man in all his rights, his life, liberty, estate, honor, and so forth . . . ." And again, "For as they have a power every man in his natural state, so upon combination they can and do bequeath this power to others and settle it according as their united discretion shall determine". And still again, "Democracy is Christ's government in church and state". Here was the doctrine of equality, popular sovereignty, and the substance of the theory of inalienable rights clearly asserted by Wise at the opening of the eighteenth century, just as we have the principle of the consent of the governed stated by Hooker as early as 1638.

When we take all these circumstances into consideration, it is but natural that the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence should open with a reference to Nature's God and should close in the final paragraphs with an appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world and an assertion of a firm reliance on Divine Providence. Coming from these sources, having as it did this background, it is no wonder that Samuel Adams could say "The people seem to recognize this resolution as though it were a decree promulgated from heaven."

No one can examine this record and escape the conclusion that in the great outline of its principles the Declaration was the result of the religious teachings of the preceding period. The profound philosophy which Jonathan Edwards applied to theology, the popular preaching of George Whitefield, had aroused the thought and stirred the people of the Colonies in preparation for this great event. No doubt the speculations which had been going on in England, and especially on the Continent, lent their influence to the general sentiment of the times. Of course, the world is always influenced by all the experience and all the thought of the past. But when we come to a contemplation of the immediate conception of the principles of human relationship which went into the Declaration of Independence we are not required to extend our search beyond our own shores. They are found in the texts, the sermons, and the writings of the early colonial clergy who were earnestly undertaking to instruct their congregations in the great mystery of how to live. They preached equality because they believed in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They justified freedom by the text that we are all created in the divine image, all partakers of the divine spirit.

Placing every man on a plane where he acknowledged no superiors, where no one possessed any right to rule over him, he must inevitably choose his own rulers through a system of self-government. This was their theory of democracy. In those days such doctrines would scarcely have been permitted to flourish and spread in any other country. This was the purpose which the fathers cherished. In order that they might have freedom to express these thoughts and opportunity to put them into action, whole congregations with their pastors had migrated to the colonies. These great truths were in the air that our people breathed. Whatever else we may say of it, the Declaration of Independence was profoundly American.

If this apprehension of the facts be correct, and the documentary evidence would appear to verify it, then certain conclusions are bound to follow. A spring will cease to flow if its source be dried up; a tree will wither if its roots be destroyed. In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

We are too prone to overlook another conclusion. Governments do not make ideals, but ideals make governments. This is both historically and logically true. Of course the government can help to sustain ideals and can create institutions through which they can be the better observed, but their source by their very nature is in the people. The people have to bear their own responsibilities. There is no method by which that burden can be shifted to the government. It is not the enactment, but the observance of laws, that creates the character of a nation.

About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

In the development of its institutions America can fairly claim that it has remained true to the principles which were declared 150 years ago. In all the essentials we have achieved an equality which was never possessed by any other people. Even in the less important matter of material possessions we have secured a wider and wider distribution of wealth. The rights of the individual are held sacred and protected by constitutional guaranties, which even the Government itself is bound not to violate. If there is any one thing among us that is established beyond question, it is self government; the right of the people to rule. If there is any failure in respect to any of these principles, it is because there is a failure on the part of individuals to observe them. We hold that the duly authorized expression of the will of the people has a divine sanction. But even in that we come back to the theory of John Wise that "Democracy is Christ's government". The ultimate sanction of law rests on the righteous authority of the Almighty.

On an occasion like this a great temptation exists to present evidence of the practical success of our form of democratic republic at home and the ever broadening acceptance it is securing abroad. Although these things are well known, their frequent consideration is an encouragement and an inspiration. But it is not results and effects so much as sources and causes that I believe it is even more necessary constantly to contemplate. Ours is a government of the people. It represents their will. Its officers may sometimes go astray, but that is not a reason for criticizing the principles of our institutions. The real heart of the American Government depends upon the heart of the people. It is from that source that we must look for all genuine reform. It is to that cause that we must ascribe all our results.

It was in the contemplation of these truths that the fathers made their declaration and adopted their Constitution. It was to establish a free government, which must not be permitted to degenerate into the unrestrained authority of a mere majority or the unbridled weight of a mere influential few. They undertook the balance these interests against each other and provide the three separate independent branches, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial departments of the Government, with checks against each other in order that neither one might encroach upon the other. These are our guaranties of liberty. As a result of these methods enterprise has been duly protected from confiscation, the people have been free from oppression, and there has been an ever broadening and deepening of the humanities of life.

Under a system of popular government there will always be those who will seek for political preferment by clamoring for reform. While there is very little of this which is not sincere, there is a large portion that is not well informed. In my opinion very little of just criticism can attach to the theories and principles of our institutions. There is far more danger of harm than there is hope of good in any radical changes. We do need a better understanding and comprehension of them and a better knowledge of the foundations of government in general. Our forefathers came to certain conclusions and decided upon certain courses of action which have been a great blessing to the world. Before we can understand their conclusions we must go back and review the course which they followed. We must think the thoughts which they thought. Their intellectual life centered around the meeting-house. They were intent upon religious worship. While there were always among them men of deep learning, and later those who had comparatively large possessions, the mind of the people was not so much engrossed in how much they knew, or how much they had, as in how they were going to live. While scantily provided with other literature, there was a wide acquaintance with the Scriptures. Over a period as great as that which measures the existence of our independence they were subject to this discipline not only in their religious life and educational training, but also in their political thought. They were a people who came under the influence of a great spiritual development and acquired a great moral power.

No other theory is adequate to explain or comprehend the Declaration of Independence. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

***************
Happy Independence Day America!