The United States is not a democracy, and has never been one. Hopefully, the United States will never become a democracy. Democracies are like what France had, between the French Revolution, and Napoleon – rule by the mob, enforced by the guillotine. The French hated their democracy so much that they embraced Napoleon with open arms.
Democracies are not enviable. Democracies are not good. Democracies are evil.
The United States is a Constitutional Republic, which is to say that we use democratic means to elect our governing officials, and that the powers of our government – the only powers those governing officials have authority to use – are listed in the Constitution.
Our government is supposed to be small, limited to just a handful of powers, described here. Our government has, over the years, usurped far more power than it have the lawful authority to use, and while the governments of the individual states are not constrained by the Constitution (though they are constrained by the Bill of Rights), the Federal Government is.
Make no mistake – California can be as socialist as it wants to be, but California must learn to leave Michigan alone. California can go to hell as long as they do so by themselves (though I am sure New York will be happy to tag along). THAT is what the Constitution says…
The Declaration of Independence goes even further in describing the need to limit government. The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
There is an important, and often ignored, part of the Declaration of Independence. This phrase, in particular, needs to be discussed: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed“. Note that in this phrase, government does not institute people, but rather people institute government. Note too that government does not define what its just powers are, but rather the people do that. In our case, the people did that by ratifying the United States Constitution, and as such any power the government assumes that is not clearly specified in the United States Constitution is not just, and not valid, whether the majority of the people want it or not. The majority can have its way within the confines of the Constitution (and within the confines of each state constitution), but beyond the specific powers specified in the Constitution for government to employ, the majority has no say. I live my life however I see fit, as long as I do not interfere with the rights of others to do the same, and they can live their lives as they see fit, as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to do the same. Nobody has the power to tell anyone else what to do, outside the bounds of the Constitution (and the relevant state Constitution), no matter what the majority may or may not want.
The Constitution also specified specific things, in the Bill of Rights, that governments can never do, even in pursuit of just powers. There was a question when the nation was founded on whether or not the Bill of Rights applied to the states, which was finally clarified in the 14th Amendment, but whatever the case, the Bill of Rights specifies those things that no government can ever do, even in pursuit of legitimate powers.
The Bill of Rights is under assault on all sides. Let’s look at each Amendment in turn.
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.
ANTIFA claims that we do not have the freedom to say anything they consider ‘hate speech,’ which they and they alone get to define. Europe and Canada are currently falling all over themselves trying to find new kinds of speech to either ban, or compel. Many in America wish to do the same. ‘Free Speech’ is dead on college campuses, and even off campuses, we have setup ‘free speech zones,’ outside of which, there is no guarantee of free speech. It is illegal in Quebec, and in parts of Europe, to disparage Islam, and there are those who want it to be illegal in the United States too. Whether by hook or by crook, investigative journalism is dead (other than WikiLeaks). The people’s right to peacefully assemble has been severely curtailed (not to mention that when people assemble peacefully, there is a growing chance that other groups will assemble non-peacefully to shut them down), and though we can petition government, government rarely if ever listens.
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.
Interestingly, since Heller vs. The District of Columbia ten years ago, the Second Amendment has been preserved intact. There is, however, no right in the Bill of Rights more in danger of being voided by democratic means, in spite of the fact that it would take a Constitutional Amendment to legally take away the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Hold on to your hats with the Second Amendment. It is fully intact today, but in grave danger.
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.
We don’t quarter soldiers in houses, so I skipped Amendment III. I question, however, whether or not FISA courts, which meet in secret, behind closed doors, constitute probable cause. It certainly did not constitute probable cause when the FBI used the Steele Dossier to spy on the Trump campaign, and on the Trump transition team. The abuses of power by the Clinton Campaign, the Democrat National Committee, the FBI, our intelligence agencies, the Department of Justice, and potentially higher-ups in the Obama Administration, were all in direct violation of the Forth Amendment, and constitute the largest political scandal in American history. You’ll notice there is nary a peep in the press. What would the press have said had G. W. Bush done the same thing to Obama?
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 offense 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.
It has become routine to charge people in Federal Court for violating people’s civil rights when they are found not guilty of crimes (usually murder) in state courts. This is a particularly effective way to attack police officers who are forced to act with lethal force, and if this is not a violation of double-jeopardy, I don’t know what is. There are increasing calls to dump due process altogether with regard to sexual assault and harassment allegations, which runs the risk of turning a legitimate problem into a witch hunt. The government takes private property now for private use, and often plays games to ensure that it does not need to give just compensation. How much money has Donald Trump (and others with similar businesses) made by taking private land, though government, and then buying that land from government for less than it is really worth? I’m not blaming Trump for that, by the way – I blame government for making such things possible.
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 defense.
I get holding enemy combatants indefinitely, without trial. In war, you hold the enemy until the war is over, and Jihad is war, whether we recognize it or not. Regardless, it is a direct violation of the sixth amendment to hold American Citizens indefinitely, on suspicion alone, without trial, and yet that is something our government can now do. People can also be tried in secret courts, with secret evidence, without the right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, without the right to confront witnesses against them, without any process for obtaining witnesses in their favor, and without legal council. We also treat young men on college campuses as criminals, as soon as they are accused of a sexual crime; unless they are a sports star, they lose the right to confront the witnesses against them, or to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, lest this information make the victim feel uncomfortable. Since when does the comfort of the victim outweigh the Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the United States Constitution?
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
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.
Amendments Seven and Eight are still pretty well intact, but Nine and Ten are ignored completely. Our state governments have become so redundant that many people wonder why we even bother having them anymore… The truth is that the state governments have far more power, still, over the individual, than does the federal government, but every year, federal power grows, and state power diminishes.
In total, seven of our Bills of Rights have been completely shredded, one is obsolete (unless government thinks it has cause to quarter soldiers in people’s homes, against their wishes, for some reason), and two have been left alone. We have a pretty bad track record, as of late, when it comes to ‘unalienable rights’.
We are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic, but we are increasingly a nation that ignores its Constitution (many openly denigrate it), and we are increasingly a nation that openly calls for totalitarianism. The American form of totalitarianism may in some ways resemble ‘three thousand tyrants one mile away‘ rather than ‘one tyrant three thousand miles away,’ but it is tyranny nonetheless, based on a government using authorities majorities cannot infer upon it, to do things that are in direct conflict with the letter of the law. The Second Amendment is more important than ever before today, as our government is less legitimate today than ever before. There are those who hope Trump will turn the tide on this slow creep toward absolutism, but I fear that the powers of totalitarianism, disguised as ‘democracy,’ may be too entrenched for the President to overcome. Rand Paul would have had a better chance.
‘We the people’ must remain vigilant. ‘We the people’ must remain armed. ‘We the people’ must remain ready “to alter or to abolish <government>, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
‘We the People’ must preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States, along with the non-Democratic country it envisions.
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