I’m not a legal expert, just an observer. The past six months have been nerve racking; not because of the health care law upheaval of this past week, but because of events of the past ten years and more recent events going back to the passage of the defense funding bill called NDAA. I wanted to take a very rudimentary look at where we stand with respect to the Bill of Rights, to convince myself that our land of the free has not slipped mightily away from the intent of the founders. Hopefully I’m not too far off the mark in this hastily written note.
The law of the land, following the SCOTUS ruling last week is that the federal government can compel you to buy a product and will employ the jackbooted IRS to compel you too even enabling the government access to your private and business bank accounts to force payment. I’d always considered it a natural right NOT to have to buy the product of a shady salesman. Let’s take a look of the Bill of Rights to see what’s been happening to the rights listed in that vaunted document.
We’ve had freedom of speech slowly eroded: hate speech laws, the latest law giving the secret service the ability to stop any protests in the vicinity of POTUS of vice-POTUS. (This law was used just last week in Washington D.C.). And, let’s not forget, your free speech, political speech, is now limited in the 30 days before an election!) This would be related to the 1st Amendment… Poof, gone.
Rumors exist that in the coming weeks, the president will sign the UN Small Arms Treaty. This will largely eradicate the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. The 2nd Amendment’s intent was to offer citizens protection from their own government.
As citizens, we now have government spying on us in many ways. With the health care law, the IRS will have access to all of our financial and health records, our transmittals on the internet are monitored, the administration, states, cities and even colleges employ recording technologies to monitor us without consideration to privacy. The newest twist is the use of armed drones flying in our skies, observing, waiting, watching. Folks, that’s related to the 4th Amendment. Say good bye.
In Kelo v New London, we saw the SCOTUS decide that the confiscation of New London, Ct. residents property for the benefit of a private corporation was valid and an broad expansion of the interpretation of “public use”. In Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff, the Court upheld a law permitting Hawaii to take and transfer leased land to its lessees. Folks… that last one is called redistribution of wealth, stealing from one to give to another. Kiss the 5th Amendment good-bye.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with provisions for indefinite detention based on the word of one man, the President of the United States. There goes the 6th Amendment.
Habeas corpus (one of those evil concepts of British Common Law meaning roughly “you must present the person in court”) has been removed with the defense budget (NDAA), the concept of indefinite detention without adjudication or even bail opportunity has been a tenet of American jurisprudence. Not anymore. It’s amazing that my non-conservative friends rallied behind a certain politician for railing against the Guantanamo incarceration of enemy combatants but don’t say a word about this removal of rights. This is related to the 4th Amendment too. Gone. So goes the 8th Amendment.
We’ve had implicit rights, like the “Right to Privacy” or the “Right to Presumption of Innocence”. That presumption of innocence, should that concern you and I? Let’s point back to the NDAA provision for indefinite detention again. Enough said. It goes without saying that the implicit right to privacy has been severely eroded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as government will “necessarily” have access to all of your family’s financial records, access to bank accounts, and your health records and support for regulating the what you drink, what you eat, and activities undertaken. We began waiving good-bye to this amendment with the advance of the information age and, now, the age of terrorism and what I would call the quintessential age of American self-subjugation.
The Constitution defined the limitations of the federal government and her branches. It explicitly defined the powers of the federal government. It was meant to protect the sovereignty of the state and the individual. It conflicts to some degree with the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper clause. The frightening part was foreshadowed in James Madison’s Federalist paper which stated “No axiom is more clearly established in law or in reason than wherever the end is required, the means are authorized; wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power for doing it is included.” It was controversial back then. It’s standard belief now even in the Republican party. That’s the 10th Amendment… Poof. It’s gone. Necessary and proper and self-serving ideologues beat her to the ground.
That’s eight of ten of the Bill of Rights basically crumpled away.
Isn’t it strange that we’ve stopped rejoicing in our freedom, our liberty? Isn’t it strange that those who most embrace subjugation by government for creature comforts are those who believe that they are strong individualists? Isn’t it strange that personal responsibility has been largely supplanted by the concept that government can acquire our rights and become our caretaker where everything provided is free under the guise of government theft in the enablement of government largesse?
On July 4th, the anniversary of the American Revolution, we commemorate a movement, towards freedom from government intrusion and government theft of our labor. Isn’t it about time for another movement to free America from her current enslavers to return our God given natural rights – a movement that uses our rights to vote, speak freely, and assemble still remain?
We should heed Sam Adams who said, “It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
November 6 is our last opportunity to take our country back.
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