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I'll bet you didn't know we had two Bills of Rights, did you? Everyone (should) knows the Bill of Rights as declared in the first Ten Amendments in the Constitution. A group of Founding Fathers known as the "Anti-Federalists" were of the mind that these assumed and undeclared Rights would be trampled upon by the federal government unless formally declared.

A total of twelve Articles were approved by Congress and presented to the States in 1789. The ten we now call the Bill of Rights were approved by the States in 1791. Of the two not ratified, one eventually became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment, which says a Congressional pay raise approved today cannot take effect until the next Congress convenes (we have a new Congress every two years). The last one is a "housekeeping" Amendment that details the growth of the House by changing the proportion of citizens to Congressmen as the country grows. Considering the number of House members was permanently set by law at 435 in 1929 by the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929, I doubt this one will be ratified.

Just so you have an idea about the reasoning on the Bill of Rights, you can read the Preamble for it. You didn't know the Bill of Rights had a Preamble, did you?

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.

So, let's detail the entire list of Rights as given in the first Ten Amendments. These are paraphrased for brevity:

  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Freedom of the People to peacefully assemble
  • Freedom of the People to petition the government for a redress of grievances
  • Freedom to bear arms for defense of self and country
  • No soldier to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner
  • The Right of the People to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures
  • No warrant to be issued without probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation
  • All warrants to be specific in searches and seizures
  • Felony charges shall be issued by a Grand Jury
  • The Right to not be subject to double jeopardy (recharged with a crime after being found not guilty)
  • The Right to not be a witness against themselves
  • The Right to not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law
  • The Right for just compensation if private property be taken for public use (Eminent Domain)
  • The Right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury
  • The Right to be informed of the charges against you
  • The Right to face the witnesses testifying against you
  • The Right to compel witnesses for you
  • The Right to obtain a lawyer to aid in your defense
  • The Right to a trial by jury in civil lawsuits
  • The Right to not have excessive bail imposed
  • The Right to not have excessive fines imposed upon conviction
  • The Right to not have cruel or unusual punishments inflicted upon conviction

The Ninth Amendment means that any enumerated (declared) Rights in the Constitution shall not be used to deny or disparage (constrain) any undeclared Rights of the People.

The Tenth Amendment restrains the federal government to the powers delegated to it by the Constitution and what the States do not prohibit the federal government from. All other undeclared Rights are to be held by the States, or the People respectively.

Out of the twenty-four Rights bulleted above only #'s 19 and 20 (compel witnesses to testify for you and a lawyer) have the government force someone to help you. The other twenty-two restrain the government from taking away natural rights.

On January 11th, 1944, President Roosevelt gave a State of the Union address to Congress. In it was this part:

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

1. The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
2. The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
3. The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
4. The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
5. The right of every family to a decent home;
6. The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
7. The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
8. The right to a good education.

These were not numbered in the speech, I did so to refer to them below.

1 & 2. We have these rights today. I can truthfully say for the vast majority of people, the only limit to a person's income level is themselves and what they are willing to do. I say that because most of us are not willing to pay the dues for that big paycheck. It takes years of hard work and a fair chance of total failure to be an "overnight success."

3. I support this, but only so far. A farmer should be able to grow whatever crop or product they want to, without some crops and not others being subsidized by the government. Farmers should not make the decision to grow a particular crop because the government is subsidizing the farmer to grow (or not grow) it.

4. I fully support anti-monopoly laws. I also fully support a business to be as free as possible of government regulations in an attempt to regulate or control businesses and industries. See Operation Choke Point.

7. I support these because I have used them to support my family. I used them for only as long as I needed them, then got off of them when I could stand on my own. I believe that it is an obligation for society in general and government in particular to help those who truly cannot help or fend for themselves. I am against the perpetual help of those able to work.

5, 6 and 8. These are different aspects of the same issue and can be interpreted in two ways:

568a: Everyone has equal access right now to housing, healthcare and education. If you want that 5 bedroom/6 bath mansion, you need to perform the steps necessary to acquire the resources and income to purchase it at a fair price. Everyone has access to medical care right now, all that they can afford. As an aside, medicine and healthcare in general has saved zero lives. They have extended the lifespan of many people and preserved their quality of life, but medicine, doctors and healthcare can only at best temporarily defer Death. For education, don't spend $75,000 on a degree that the job it qualifies you for only pays $24,000 a year. Too many people are going that right now.

568b: Everyone should get these things no matter their economic situation. First of all, if you work a crappy job and live in a crappy house, don't demand that things be given to you. Use it as an incentive to improve your lot in life through your own efforts. What you need to go through will be difficult and probably unpleasant. The payoff makes it worth the effort.

I don't care how you slice it, when you mandate the services of one individual as the "right" of another, that is slavery. For housing, you obligate contractors, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and more to "give" you adequate housing because the government will never pay market value for their materials and services. The same goes for doctors, nurses and medical technicians "giving" you healthcare. Ditto for teachers.

Oh, you want affordable housing, healthcare and education! That's something totally different. I can solve that in 10 minutes and it will take about a year to sort itself out. Get the government and it's over-regulation and subsidizing programs that destroy the price:benefit ratio out the window out of those and other industries.

The first Bill of Rights in this Article recognizes that those rights come from each person's Higher Power and the law of the land (Constitution) restricts the power of the government to infringe upon them.

The second Bill of Rights comes from a usually benevolent government that has proven itself capricious in its delivery of those "rights" and at the heart of the matter "gives" these "rights" to you because it does not believe you are capable of doing it on your own. Think about that.