Some Thoughts on Human History, and Progressives

Share

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Many of you might have noticed that I often put quotations around the word, “progressive.”  Over the last couple of years, I’ve probably wasted a thousand keystrokes doing that, so I might as well explain why.

For the vast majority of human history, mankind has lived in a state of tyranny.  This probably started not long after cave man Ugh realized that his neighbor, Argh was weaker than him, and carried a smaller club.  After Argh’s untimely demise (with the exception of some tribal societies), the course of mankind was set.

As mankind developed from hunter gatherers to simple agrarian societies, to city states, and then empires, a variety of chieftains, kings, dictators, warlords, priests, priestesses, and self declared “gods,” have ruled mankind.  During those  countless ages, the average person lived, or died, at the whim of his or her self-appointed leader.  Economies were controlled, taxes were high, incomes were close to nil, and the average person often died as penniless as they were at birth.  Economies centered on the wealth of the leaders, not on the people, so  pestilence and starvation killed many when it did not need to happen.  There was little to no income distribution.  There was the top class; the leaders and their enforcers, and there were the peasants.  There was not even a hint of equality or justice, just oppressive rule.  (I know that Rome was, for a time, a republic, and some Greeks practiced democracy, but even then, they were a drop in the bucket when compared to the total history of man)

These tyrannical leaders did not tolerate dissent, or even the chance of dissent.  people were tortured, maimed, and executed to insure the power of the ruler(s).  People were killed for treason, heresy, or for simply knowing someone who might have done something.  There was no, “taking to the streets.”  Such events would have been met with lethal force.  Not only that, the entire town in which such a thing occurred might be razed in retaliation.

The leaders during those dark times were said to be wiser, stronger, more suited to rule, and it had been ordained by God that they should have power.  And all the while, excesses and corruption were the order of the day.

However, as the centuries passed, progress-REAL progress, was made.  The Magna Carta established that people have some rights, though it is not as codified as are the rights in our Constitution.   Also, John Locke, among others, formulated the ideas of natural rights and the social contract.

Our Founding Fathers were the next in line for real progress.  They created, in the Unites States Constitution, the greatest charter for human freedom ever devised. They embraced the idea of Natural Rights, in the human freedoms are from God, and that government exists to protect those rights-and cannot take them away.  Humans were protected in their right to free speech, their freedom of religion, their right to defend themselves, their right to property and all the others that we tend to take for granted today.  In our Republic, man rules himself, and government exists only to do those functions that man cannot do for himself, such as national defense, enforcing contracts, establishing courts, coining money, and so forth.  Or at least, that’s is how it’s supposed to be.

However, the forces of tyranny did not rest or concede when true human freedom started to emerge.  The next stages of tyranny were  Communism, followed by the original “progressive movement,” and then Fascism.  All of these are related in terms of the fact that they center power in an elite, that then control all aspects of human behavior.  Their only differences are in process and scope.

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

The results were horrific.  Over a hundred million people were killed in the name of Communism.  Fascism might have  equaled  that, had they not been stopped by WW II.  The “progressives,” operating in Western Democracies, had to move slowly.  Incrementalism has been their primary operating procedure.  However, they inspired the Nazi’s with their love for eugenics, and were “fellow travelers” with the other two movements.

Over the decades, “progressives,” operating under a variety of labels , have moved through our institutions.  They have used a variety of justifications to give the Federal government more power.  They have taken control of education.  They are in control of the MSM.  They have crafted  regulations  that destroy business and industry.  They created social programs that have encouraged dependency, and then have created economic crisis to fill those programs to unprecedented levels.  They have legalized sexual assault in the name of “security.”  They have also used the created and false crisis of global cooling, global warming, climate change in order to justify the reduction of our lifestyles.  All of this, of course, will be monitored and controlled by the authorities.

Their desire for control extends to all aspects of human life.  Government wants to tell us what kind of food can we eat- even if we can grow our own.  We are told how much water our toilets can use.  The kinds of car we can own-and eventually, even if we can own one is to be determined by unelected  bureaucrats.    What kind of house we can build, the healthcare we can recieve, and a host of others, are all in the crosshairs of the “progressives.”  They even seek to control mass media and the internet to control the free flow of information.  In the end, are we free if the government dictates so many of our basic human functions?

We also see how the “progressives” treat those that disagree with them. Conservative and Libertarian students are threatened and punished on   campuses, where free speech is curtailed, and labeled as “hate.”  Union members and other “progressives” engage in violence and intimidation to silence those that dissent.  The Constitution itself has been declared “outdated,” or “irrelevant.”  The Founders themselves are attacked and discounted.  After all, if we are to be controlled by an all powerful government, the very ideas of freedom have to be attacked, silenced and discredited.

As you can see, “progressives” are not progressive. They are REgressive.  They seek to return us to a state in which we are controlled and dominated by a small elite.  And just as the monarchs of old, they seek the “divine right of kings,” in order to gain and maintain control over us.  Of course, they tell us that it’s for our own good, but they proceed from the faulty premise that they know better than us, and that we cannot self govern.

We were born into a state of freedom.  In terms of human history, this is a rare and precious gift.  Only the tiniest fraction of all humans that have ever lived have enjoyed these freedoms.  If we allow the Regressives to take them away, it might be centuries before they re-emerge, and hundreds of millions will die in the process.

Are we going those freedoms, and the future of mankind, over to a small elite that “knows what’s best?”

UPDATE:  American apparently took a sharp left turn towards regression last night.  Many may be deceived  but they will find out soon enough.

NOTE: This is yet another post that could be turned into a small book.  Obviously there are things I could not touch on without making it my first book. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comment section.

Share

Why We Fight: Unalienable Rights; Does Government Exist to Protect Rights, or to Grant Them?

Share

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Note from Matt:  Given the current political climate, I thought it might be a good idea to review some differences between the right and the left.  So, here is an article from November 2009.  Since we are about ideas, I think this is similar to the “Why we Fight” films from WW II.

“A free people claims their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as a gift from their chief magistrate.”

Thomas Jefferson

We are engaged in an ideological struggle.  The lines are drawn cleanly between the opponents.  One is the side of individual freedom and liberty, born of the American Revolution. The other is the soft (for now) totalitarianism of the nanny state, seeking to grow the government’s level of control over all aspects of human life.    While the words “freedom” and “liberty” tend to evoke reactions to some degree from all Americans, looking at the general ideas behind those words helps us to understand the true nature of the current struggle.  These ideas look to the very view of human nature between the sides, and are important.  The implications of these ideas will largely determine our fate as a people.

Perhaps the most important of these underlying ideas is the concept of unalienable rights, or rights that cannot be taken away or otherwise abridged.  Obviously, the idea rights that cannot be violated or reduced by government fiat is a significant factor in any debate about government intervention, or the very nature of man.  The nature of man, either as a free individual, or intelligent mammal to be managed, will have implications for any view of humanity and it’s relationship to government.  Without the underpinnings, the resulting arguments are loose and meaningless.

One cannot view the American idea of individual freedom without considering the works of John Locke, a 17th Century political figure who is considered by many to be the intellectual father of our nation.  Here are some quotes regarding Locke.

The political philosophy of Locke’s mature years stemmed from the commonly-accepted Natural Law, under which man had Natural Rights, not given to him by any ruler. Under Natural Rights the right of property is paramount. Men came together in an organized community under a Social Contract between every member in order to gain advantages they could not have individually in a state of nature.

This Contract of Society was the foundation of the Contract of Government, under which all political power is a trust for the benefit of the people, and the people themselves are at once the creators and beneficiaries of that trust. The State is based on a contract between ruler and subjects, who give him power only so that their own welfare is increased and their property protected in a way not possible in the State of Nature, where it may be taken away by unprincipled forces. They, if he keeps the contract, owe him their loyalty.

It was Thomas Jefferson’s passionate belief in these ideals that made him base the powers of government on “unalienable rights.” Most of his Declaration of Independence is a bill of particulars in an indictment of King George III for his failure to keep the contract with his American subjects. He had broken it, and it was therefore void. The signers agreed with him. Contract, therefore, is fundamental to our system of government.

The state, Locke maintained, was concerned only with public order. It extended solely to those aspects of behavior, which had to be regulated for the protection of the public.

I think that one of the most important aspect of Locke’s idea is his use of Natural Law; that individuals have rights that preexist government, and they are not granted or created by government.  The idea that rights are intrinsic, and cannot be discarded, disregarded, or superseded by the government have obvious and far-reaching repercussions on the relationship between the individual and the state, as the idea does intentionally limit the role of government.   For example, as we debate free speech, and Mark Lloyd’s thoughts on the press, we see that his philosophy is one of censorship and control, which would naturally be opposed by Locke’s ideas.  When we look at the health care debate, we see the government seeking to control the Doctor-patient relationship, to ration care, and to limit access.   Also, when we also look at the writings of Ezekiel Emanuel, White House Special Adviser on Health Care, we see the government seeking to control decisions of life and death itself.  When Cass Sunstein talks about animals being able to sue their owners in court, and advocates for gun control, other aspects of rights come into play.  When Universities limit the free speech of professors and students, and punishes those who dissent, they show a different view of rights than the rest of us.  When the President is caught on tape talking about income-redistribution, important issues are raised regarding our freedom. We can see more proposed government regulations that would control or otherwise limit what we can drive, where we can live, what we can eat, what we can say, and what our children can or cannot be taught.  But can government take rights from others that it never granted, and therefore over which has no claim?

Both the left and the right invoke the concept of the social contract.  However, it seems that the left quotes the words, but not the substance.  As Locke states, the people are the creators and beneficiaries of the contract.  While the people created our government, they did not create the thousands of bureaucracies that dictate so many different aspects of public life, nor are the bureaucrats that staff these monstrosities answerable to the people.  Were Kevin Jennings, Mark Lloyd, or Van Jones even confirmed by the Senate, which does answer to the people?   Also, when these bureaucracies and regulators regularly usurp the rights of the people, has the government violated the contract?  The left would say no, but as we will discuss, the left views the contract as a license to steal, control, and dominate.  If unalienable rights cannot be transferred or abridged, can the people elect a government that will transfer or abridge them?

Also, it is vital to note that Locke stressed that the role of government was to protect the rights of the people, not to limit them, regulate them, or render them irrelevant.  Government is to be limited to protect the public in ways that they cannot protect themselves, i.e., defense, setting up courts, and so on.  Locke contends that, “The State is based on a contract between ruler and subjects, who give him power only so that their own welfare is increased and their property protected in a way not possible in the State of Nature, where it may be taken away by unprincipled forces.”  If government actions reduce the welfare and property rights of the people, as they admit that they will, are they betraying their obligations under the contract?  If government does not protect the welfare, and instead decreases it; and does not protect property, but instead takes it, has government then not become the “unprincipled force” of which we should be wary?

If we are “endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” what gives the government the right to reduce or otherwise take them?  Government does not grant rights, rights are built into humanity by its very nature.  Leftists and others would simply take this point and use it to attack Christianity.  However, I would submit that any view of a creator would suffice in this argument.    This idea even applies to an atheistic worldview.  For example, what if nature, via evolution, created a sentient race.   Is not a sentient being free by it’s very nature?  Are not  individuals possessing  free will, as humans demonstrably are, born in a state of freedom?  Even in that scenario, humans are free, and government serves to protect freedoms, not to take them.  After all, government cannot take away what is has not granted, can it?  To me, freedom is a concept that applies to every human, regardless of their belief in a particular creator, or even lack of one.

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

Alexander Hamilton

Another important aspect of Locke’s work seems to be his views on property.  However, property does not necessarily extend to simply a piece of land.

He was concerned with principles and rights, and property rights are uppermost. He wrote in “The Second Treatise of Government,” . . . every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his . . . ” He said that whatever is removed out of the state that nature provided and is mixed with someone’s labor, becomes that person’s property. James Madison later explained that “property” means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual . . . it embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.”

This is a view of property that is at once practical, expansive and libertarian. It is the essence of political freedom. Who can argue that a man does not have a property in his own person? No government could take the fruits of one’s labor and intellect without a compelling public need and without compensation, and then only through due process of law. A person was free to contract away his property, or any of his several rights in it, for gain. The contract with government was only to protect private contracts, and the government was not entitled to any of the gains therefrom.

The human right in property was meant by Locke and understood by the Framers of the Constitution to be the fundamental liberty. Obviously, it was not necessary to organize government to protect free speech from government or to protect freedom of assembly against government. It was only necessary to organize it to protect property and life (one’s life was his property), and once organized other freedoms had to be protected against government’s power. He wrote in the Second Treatise that men unite in a society “for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name ‘property’.” He said that the supreme power (the legislative) “cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent. For the preservation of property being the end of government and that for which men enter into society . . . ” He noted that for the protection of government everyone should pay his share (a small, flat tax), but only with the consent of the majority.

Do you own you own body?   Apparently not, according to the left, as they take the stance that people can be “nudged (Cass Sunstein)” into doing as the state wishes.  Also, is it not Mr. Sunstein that suggests that organs might be removed from living people?  Do you control your body when the government wishes to determine what you can or cannot eat, or otherwise consume, or what type, amount, or frequency of health care you can receive?  Again, the left seems to act as if  YOU belong to them, and that all that you do is subject to government intervention and supervision.  Hate crimes laws take into consideration what an individual may or may have been thinking when they committed a crime, are we then to assume that the government means to legislate our thought processes?

Beyond the basic control over one’s body, the basic property that all of us have is our labor.  We contract with an employer, or a customer, in order to exchange currency, goods , and services.  We own our labor, and Locke and the founders suggest that this too, is an unalienable right.  However, do we own our own labor when the government takes ever increasing amounts  of it?  Do we own our own labor when, depending on where one works, a labor union can take from you and use it against your own best interests?  For that matter, can one be forced to join a union against their will?  Also, why does government turn a blind eye to the violence committed by labor unions?  Do we own our own labor when the government advocates forcing you to “volunteer” that labor (The GIVE act)?  For that matter, do we own our own labor when, this year, the average American worked into August to pay off their tax bills?

A common deception of the left is to not ban something that they want to “go away.”  Rather, they use increasing levels of taxation or regulation to make it either impossible to exercise a right, or create so many administrative hoops that one can only exercise a right within a narrow window of government regulation.   Can we use our property as we see fit, or do we have to leap through many hoops to do what we want?  Can we control the heat and power consumption of our home, or will the “smart grid” do that for us?  Can government take our property and hand it over to private developers?  It’s happening all over.  Are sustainable development regulations being translated into zoning and building codes all over the US?  Yes, they determine where you can build, what you can build, and how big it can be, and a myriad of other requirements that have to be met.  Is the government “nudging” us into living in certain areas, all in the name of eliminating “suburban sprawl?”   In the end, are we really free to own and use property, or does the government create an environment in which we can (at least for now) own property, but can only do with it as they allow?

“This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power is so necessary to, and closely joined with, a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it but by what forfeits his preservation and life altogether. For a man not having the power of his own life cannot by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute arbitrary power of another to take away his life when he pleases. Nobody can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.” (Locke, op. cit.)

As usual, this is a topic that can be expanded into a book.  There are a myriad of directions, examples, and solutions that this post could take.  For the sake of brevity, I will sum it up this way:

Either we are free, and government must guard those freedoms, or we are not.  In which case, government is free to do to us what it wills.  The answer to that question will determine our future.  We must therefore must choose our leaders wisely, or our political differences will pale in comparison to what is to come.

Source: http://www.alainsnewsletter.com/read/464/free-speach/unalienable-rights/

Share

America Divided – Pro Constitutional Republic v. Pro Democratic Socialism

Share

America today is polarized into two major camps. The polarization I am talking about has nothing to due with President Obama’s desire to divide our people on issues of wealth disparity or racial discord. Instead, we are divided on the issue of whether the form of our  federal government should be one of small size and limited powers over the people or whether it should be very powerful with near absolute control over the people.

Those in the first camp wish to live free with minimum interference from government. They believe in the vision of our Founders; that we have certain inalienable rights and the Federal government’s primary reason for being is to protect our inalienable rights. They believe in the letter of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as the guides as to how our Federal government is to operate.

The second camp is  made up of statist who believe in a strong central government that will solve all of societies woes. They believe, for example, that the commence clause and the general welfare clause of the constitution give the central government this power. How they rationalize this position with the enumerated powers clause, I do not know. They believe it is perfectly okay, in the name of social justice, for the courts to write law. In short, they believe that the constitution has out lived its usefulness. What worries me most about
this group is that the vast majority seem to be unaware (or maybe they don’t care) that here is a small group within their midst I and others refer to as The Powers That Be (TPTB). TPTB are made up of powerful elitist bankers, politicians and corporatist. The TPTB would like to lead the United States into a new One World Order (OWO) with one central world bank, with one world currency and one central world governing body and an oligarchy of corporatist, in other words, a one world fascist government.

Our government today is very skewed in favor of those in the second camp. This has happened even though for much of our history the statist were a small percentage of our population and of the electorate. We could talk about how socialist elements infiltrated our institutions and were able to gradually change our form of government without most of us recognizing what had happened until recently but that has been discussed here and thousands of other conservative opinion sites before. What I want to touch on is the role played by human nature.

Thanks to the Classic Liberal blog, I happened to read an article by Brandon Smith at Alt-Market.com. Although Brandon’s article has to do with how to defeat the bankers rather than what we are talking about today, the first part of his article is quite relevant.

In Franz Kafka’s most popular work “The Trial”, his characters relate a short parable which has fascinated and confused curious readers for generations. That parable is entitled “Before The Law”, and its message has been interpreted, reinterpreted, and agonized over by the labyrinthine contrariness of academia, producing numerous conflicting views:

To understand the dilemma portrayed in Kafka’s “Before The Law”, we are presented with this video:

Here is Brandon’s take on the controversy:

I see “The Trial” and “Before The Law” not as treatise on the futility of man’s search for justice, but as a warning on the foolishness of man’s dependency on systems not rooted in conscience. That is to say, we have a tendency to linger about idly while others make our decisions for us. We expect the system we live in to provide answers, to provide nurturance, to provide fairness, and to provide change where necessary. This expectation is a dangerous one.

Most social and political systems today are designed around collectivist methodologies. Their primary tool is centralization of power, and the removal of choice from the public consciousness. We are made to believe that the establishment is necessary for our survival, and that to abandon it would mean certain destruction. We are taught that the individual is subservient and inconsequential in the face of the state. This is simply not so. Like the traveler in “Before The Law”, we have been defeated by our own expectations of how the law (or justice) works. We sit and wait for permission, when we should be charging through the gates and taking what is rightfully ours.

The author’s last two sentences in the above quote has to do with his theme of how to defeat the banks. For our purposes, those last two sentences might have read _ “Like the traveler in Before The Law, we have been defeated by our  own expectations ongovernment works. We sit and wait for government to do something  we should be telling the government to stop what they have been doing.” At any rate, I think that Brandon’s analysis of the dilemma presented by Kafka is true.

So, yes we can point our fingers at the sneaky socialist who infiltrated our institutions and slowly but surely changed our constitutional republic in to something very close to the democratic socialist states that we see in Europe.But we must also point the finger at ourselves as a people who, in the majority for the last many decades, have looked to government to solve our social issues rather than hold to the concepts put forth by our Founders when they wrote our constitution and gave us a republic.

America today is indeed a divided people. We are very much at war over what form of government our nation will take into the future. A war that will not be won with guns but with ideas and ideals. Do not be confused by the polls, my friends. That 70% believe the country is on the wrong track does not tell the whole story. The presidents relative popularity over that of Congress tells me that many people are still looking for government solutions to our problems. If I had to guess what the split is in America today, I would say that our side, the side that believes in the vision of our Founders is 40 to 45% of the electorate and that those aligned with statism are an equal number.  The battle is for those in the middle who, for whatever reason do not  see themselves in either camp.

Our side believes the Constitution says what it means and means what is says. The statist side believes that the commerce clause and the general welfare cause give them the constitutional authority to do what they want. Please watch this Bill Whittle video that I borrowed (stole) from Adrienne at Adrienne’s Corner for some solid arguments against the position of the statist.

The battle then is over the hearts and minds and ultimately the votes of this unaligned middle group of the electorate. We must seek out those in this middle group and make our pitch with passion. We have history on our side; statism has always failed wherever it has been tried. We offer freedom and a chance to build a better future. The statist can only offer indentured servitude and, if the TPTB have their way, we will even lose our sovereignty. The last thought I want to leave you with today is that this battle must fought on every level of government; from the local school board elections to the presidential elections.

Well,that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

Original Post:  Conservative on Fire

Share

Some Thoughts on Human History, and Progressives

Share

Many of you might have noticed that I often put quotations around the word, “progressive.”  Over the last couple of years, I’ve probably wasted a thousand keystrokes doing that, so I might as well explain why.

For the vast majority of human history, mankind has lived in a state of tyranny.  This probably started not long after cave man Ugh realized that his neighbor, Argh was weaker than him, and carried a smaller club.  After Argh’s untimely demise (with the exception of some tribal societies), the course of mankind was set.

As mankind developed from hunter gatherers to simple agrarian societies, to city states, and then empires, a variety of chieftains, kings, dictators, warlords, priests, priestesses, and self declared “gods,” have ruled mankind.  During those  countless ages, the average person lived, or died, at the whim of his or her self-appointed leader.  Economies were controlled, taxes were high, incomes were close to nil, and the average person often died as penniless as they were at birth.  Economies centered on the wealth of the leaders, not on the people, so  pestilence and starvation killed many when it did not need to happen.  There was little to no income distribution.  There was the top class; the leaders and their enforcers, and there were the peasants.  There was not even a hint of equality or justice, just oppressive rule.  (I know that Rome was, for a time, a republic, and some Greeks practiced democracy, but even then, they were a drop in the bucket when compared to the total history of man)

These tyrannical leaders did not tolerate dissent, or even the chance of dissent.  people were tortured, maimed, and executed to insure the power of the ruler(s).  People were killed for treason, heresy, or for simply knowing someone who might have done something.  There was no, “taking to the streets.”  Such events would have been met with lethal force.  Not only that, the entire town in which such a thing occurred might be razed in retaliation.

The leaders during those dark times were said to be wiser, stronger, more suited to rule, and it had been ordained by God that they should have power.  And all the while, excesses and corruption were the order of the day.

However, as the centuries passed, progress-REAL progress, was made.  The Magna Carta established that people have some rights, though it is not as codified as are the rights in our Constitution.   Also, John Locke, among others, formulated the ideas of natural rights and the social contract.

Our Founding Fathers were the next in line for real progress.  They created, in the Unites States Constitution, the greatest charter for human freedom ever devised. They embraced the idea of Natural Rights, in the human freedoms are from God, and that government exists to protect those rights-and cannot take them away.  Humans were protected in their right to free speech, their freedom of religion, their right to defend themselves, their right to property and all the others that we tend to take for granted today.  In our Republic, man rules himself, and government exists only to do those functions that man cannot do for himself, such as national defense, enforcing contracts, establishing courts, coining money, and so forth.  Or at least, that’s is how it’s supposed to be.

However, the forces of tyranny did not rest or concede when true human freedom started to emerge.  The next stages of tyranny were  Communism, followed by the original “progressive movement,” and then Fascism.  All of these are related in terms of the fact that they center power in an elite, that then control all aspects of human behavior.  Their only differences are in process and scope.

The results were horrific.  Over a hundred million people were killed in the name of Communism.  Fascism might have  equaled  that, had they not been stopped by WW II.  The “progressives,” operating in Western Democracies, had to move slowly.  Incrementalism has been their primary operating procedure.  However, they inspired the Nazi’s with their love for eugenics, and were “fellow travelers” with the other two movements.

Over the decades, “progressives,” operating under a variety of labels , have moved through our institutions.  They have used a variety of justifications to give the Federal government more power.  They have taken control of education.  They are in control of the MSM.  They have crafted  regulations  that destroy business and industry.  They created social programs that have encouraged dependency, and then have created economic crisis to fill those programs to unprecedented levels.  They have legalized sexual assault in the name of “security.”  They have also used the created and false crisis of global cooling, global warming, climate change in order to justify the reduction of our lifestyles.  All of this, of course, will be monitored and controlled by the authorities.

Their desire for control extends to all aspects of human life.  Government wants to tell us what kind of food can we eat- even if we can grow our own.  We are told how much water our toilets can use.  The kinds of car we can own-and eventually, even if we can own one is to be determined by unelected  bureaucrats.    What kind of house we can build, the healthcare we can recieve, and a host of others, are all in the crosshairs of the “progressives.”  They even seek to control mass media and the internet to control the free flow of information.  In the end, are we free if the government dictates so many of our basic human functions?

We also see how the “progressives” treat those that disagree with them. Conservative and Libertarian students are threatened and punished on   campuses, where free speech is curtailed, and labeled as “hate.”  Union members and other “progressives” engage in violence and intimidation to silence those that dissent.  The Consitution itself has been declared “outdated,” or “irrelevant.”  The Founders themselves are attacked and discounted.  After all, if we are to be controlled by an all powerful government, the very ideas of freedom have to be attacked, silenced and discredited.

As you can see, “progressives” are not progressive. They are REgressive.  They seek to return us to a state in which we are controlled and dominated by a small elite.  And just as the monarchs of old, they seek the “divine right of kings,” in order to gain and maintain control over us.  Of course, they tell us that it’s for our own good, but they proceed from the faulty premise that they know better than us, and that we cannot self govern.

We were born into a state of freedom.  In terms of human history, this is a rare and precious gift.  Only the tiniest fraction of all humans that have ever lived have enjoyed these freedoms.  If we allow the Regressives to take them away, it might be centuries before they re-emerge, and hundreds of millions will die in the process.

Are we going those freedoms, and the future of mankind, over to a small elite that “knows what’s best?”

NOTE: This is yet another post that could be turned into a small book.  Obviously there are things I could not touch on without making it my first book. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comment section.

Share

Why We Fight: Unalienable Rights; Does Government Exist to Protect Rights, or to Grant Them?

Share

Note from Matt: Considering how close we are to the election, I thought it might be a good idea to review some differences between the right and the left.  So, here is an article from last November.  Since we are about ideas, I think this is similar to the “Why we Fight” films from WW II.

“A free people claims their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as a gift from their chief magistrate.”

Thomas Jefferson

We are engaged in an ideological struggle.  The lines are drawn cleanly between the opponents.  One is the side of individual freedom and liberty, born of the American Revolution. The other is the soft (for now) totalitarianism of the nanny state, seeking to grow the government’s level of control over all aspects of human life.    While the words “freedom” and “liberty” tend to evoke reactions to some degree from all Americans, looking at the general ideas behind those words helps us to understand the true nature of the current struggle.  These ideas look to the very view of human nature between the sides, and are important.  The implications of these ideas will largely determine our fate as a people.

Perhaps the most important of these underlying ideas is the concept of unalienable rights, or rights that cannot be taken away or otherwise abridged.  Obviously, the idea rights that cannot be violated or reduced by government fiat is a significant factor in any debate about government intervention, or the very nature of man.  The nature of man, either as a free individual, or intelligent mammal to be managed, will have implications for any view of humanity and it’s relationship to government.  Without the underpinnings, the resulting arguments are loose and meaningless.

One cannot view the American idea of individual freedom without considering the works of John Locke, a 17th Century political figure who is considered by many to be the intellectual father of our nation.  Here are some quotes regarding Locke.

The political philosophy of Locke’s mature years stemmed from the commonly-accepted Natural Law, under which man had Natural Rights, not given to him by any ruler. Under Natural Rights the right of property is paramount. Men came together in an organized community under a Social Contract between every member in order to gain advantages they could not have individually in a state of nature.

This Contract of Society was the foundation of the Contract of Government, under which all political power is a trust for the benefit of the people, and the people themselves are at once the creators and beneficiaries of that trust. The State is based on a contract between ruler and subjects, who give him power only so that their own welfare is increased and their property protected in a way not possible in the State of Nature, where it may be taken away by unprincipled forces. They, if he keeps the contract, owe him their loyalty.

It was Thomas Jefferson’s passionate belief in these ideals that made him base the powers of government on “unalienable rights.” Most of his Declaration of Independence is a bill of particulars in an indictment of King George III for his failure to keep the contract with his American subjects. He had broken it, and it was therefore void. The signers agreed with him. Contract, therefore, is fundamental to our system of government.

The state, Locke maintained, was concerned only with public order. It extended solely to those aspects of behavior, which had to be regulated for the protection of the public.

I think that one of the most important aspect of Locke’s idea is his use of Natural Law; that individuals have rights that preexist government, and they are not granted or created by government.  The idea that rights are intrinsic, and cannot be discarded, disregarded, or superseded by the government have obvious and far-reaching repercussions on the relationship between the individual and the state, as the idea does intentionally limit the role of government.   For example, as we debate free speech, and Mark Lloyd’s thoughts on the press, we see that his philosophy is one of censorship and control, which would naturally be opposed by Locke’s ideas.  When we look at the health care debate, we see the government seeking to control the Doctor-patient relationship, to ration care, and to limit access.   Also, when we also look at the writings of Ezekiel Emanuel, White House Special Adviser on Health Care, we see the government seeking to control decisions of life and death itself.  When Cass Sunstein talks about animals being able to sue their owners in court, and advocates for gun control, other aspects of rights come into play.  When Universities limit the free speech of professors and students, and punishes those who dissent, they show a different view of rights than the rest of us.  When the President is caught on tape talking about income-redistribution, important issues are raised regarding our freedom. We can see more proposed government regulations that would control or otherwise limit what we can drive, where we can live, what we can eat, what we can say, and what our children can or cannot be taught.  But can government take rights from others that it never granted, and therefore over which has no claim?

Both the left and the right invoke the concept of the social contract.  However, it seems that the left quotes the words, but not the substance.  As Locke states, the people are the creators and beneficiaries of the contract.  While the people created our government, they did not create the thousands of bureaucracies that dictate so many different aspects of public life, nor are the bureaucrats that staff these monstrosities answerable to the people.  Were Kevin Jennings, Mark Lloyd, or Van Jones even confirmed by the Senate, which does answer to the people?   Also, when these bureaucracies and regulators regularly usurp the rights of the people, has the government violated the contract?  The left would say no, but as we will discuss, the left views the contract as a license to steal, control, and dominate.  If unalienable rights cannot be transferred or abridged, can the people elect a government that will transfer or abridge them?

Also, it is vital to note that Locke stressed that the role of government was to protect the rights of the people, not to limit them, regulate them, or render them irrelevant.  Government is to be limited to protect the public in ways that they cannot protect themselves, i.e., defense, setting up courts, and so on.  Locke contends that, “The State is based on a contract between ruler and subjects, who give him power only so that their own welfare is increased and their property protected in a way not possible in the State of Nature, where it may be taken away by unprincipled forces.”  If government actions reduce the welfare and property rights of the people, as they admit that they will, are they betraying their obligations under the contract?  If government does not protect the welfare, and instead decreases it; and does not protect property, but instead takes it, has government then not become the “unprincipled force” of which we should be wary?

If we are “endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights,” what gives the government the right to reduce or otherwise take them?  Government does not grant rights, rights are built into humanity by its very nature.  Leftists and others would simply take this point and use it to attack Christianity.  However, I would submit that any view of a creator would suffice in this argument.    This idea even applies to an atheistic worldview.  For example, what if nature, via evolution, created a sentient race.   Is not a sentient being free by it’s very nature?  Are not  individuals possessing  free will, as humans demonstrably are, born in a state of freedom?  Even in that scenario, humans are free, and government serves to protect freedoms, not to take them.  After all, government cannot take away what is has not granted, can it?  To me, freedom is a concept that applies to every human, regardless of their belief in a particular creator, or even lack of one.

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.”

Alexander Hamilton

Another important aspect of Locke’s work seems to be his views on property.  However, property does not necessarily extend to simply a piece of land.

He was concerned with principles and rights, and property rights are uppermost. He wrote in “The Second Treatise of Government,” . . . every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his . . . ” He said that whatever is removed out of the state that nature provided and is mixed with someone’s labor, becomes that person’s property. James Madison later explained that “property” means “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual . . . it embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else the like advantage.”

This is a view of property that is at once practical, expansive and libertarian. It is the essence of political freedom. Who can argue that a man does not have a property in his own person? No government could take the fruits of one’s labor and intellect without a compelling public need and without compensation, and then only through due process of law. A person was free to contract away his property, or any of his several rights in it, for gain. The contract with government was only to protect private contracts, and the government was not entitled to any of the gains therefrom.

The human right in property was meant by Locke and understood by the Framers of the Constitution to be the fundamental liberty. Obviously, it was not necessary to organize government to protect free speech from government or to protect freedom of assembly against government. It was only necessary to organize it to protect property and life (one’s life was his property), and once organized other freedoms had to be protected against government’s power. He wrote in the Second Treatise that men unite in a society “for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties, and estates, which I call by the general name ‘property’.” He said that the supreme power (the legislative) “cannot take from any man any part of his property without his own consent. For the preservation of property being the end of government and that for which men enter into society . . . ” He noted that for the protection of government everyone should pay his share (a small, flat tax), but only with the consent of the majority.

Do you own you own body?   Apparently not, according to the left, as they take the stance that people can be “nudged (Cass Sunstein)” into doing as the state wishes.  Also, is it not Mr. Sunstein that suggests that organs might be removed from living people?  Do you control your body when the government wishes to determine what you can or cannot eat, or otherwise consume, or what type, amount, or frequency of health care you can receive?  Again, the left seems to act as if  YOU belong to them, and that all that you do is subject to government intervention and supervision.  Hate crimes laws take into consideration what an individual may or may have been thinking when they committed a crime, are we then to assume that the government means to legislate our thought processes?

Beyond the basic control over one’s body, the basic property that all of us have is our labor.  We contract with an employer, or a customer, in order to exchange currency, goods , and services.  We own our labor, and Locke and the founders suggest that this too, is an unalienable right.  However, do we own our own labor when the government takes ever increasing amounts  of it?  Do we own our own labor when, depending on where one works, a labor union can take from you and use it against your own best interests?  For that matter, can one be forced to join a union against their will?  Also, why does government turn a blind eye to the violence committed by labor unions?  Do we own our own labor when the government advocates forcing you to “volunteer” that labor (The GIVE act)?  For that matter, do we own our own labor when, this year, the average American worked into August to pay off their tax bills?

A common deception of the left is to not ban something that they want to “go away.”  Rather, they use increasing levels of taxation or regulation to make it either impossible to exercise a right, or create so many administrative hoops that one can only exercise a right within a narrow window of government regulation.   Can we use our property as we see fit, or do we have to leap through many hoops to do what we want?  Can we control the heat and power consumption of our home, or will the “smart grid” do that for us?  Can government take our property and hand it over to private developers?  It’s happening all over.  Are sustainable development regulations being translated into zoning and building codes all over the US?  Yes, they determine where you can build, what you can build, and how big it can be, and a myriad of other requirements that have to be met.  Is the government “nudging” us into living in certain areas, all in the name of eliminating “suburban sprawl?”   In the end, are we really free to own and use property, or does the government create an environment in which we can (at least for now) own property, but can only do with it as they allow?

“This freedom from absolute, arbitrary power is so necessary to, and closely joined with, a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it but by what forfeits his preservation and life altogether. For a man not having the power of his own life cannot by compact, or his own consent, enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute arbitrary power of another to take away his life when he pleases. Nobody can give more power than he has himself; and he that cannot take away his own life, cannot give another power over it.” (Locke, op. cit.)

As usual, this is a topic that can be expanded into a book.  There are a myriad of directions, examples, and solutions that this post could take.  For the sake of brevity, I will sum it up this way:

Either we are free, and government must guard those freedoms, or we are not.  In which case, government is free to do to us what it wills.  The answer to that question will determine our future.  We must therefore must choose our leaders wisely, or our political differences will pale in comparison to what is to come.

Source: http://www.alainsnewsletter.com/read/464/free-speach/unalienable-rights/

Share