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The Founding Fathers had a very clear vision of the country they founded. This country was founded on the concept that the Citizen is Sovereign (not those nonsensical "sovereign citizens") and the government serves the people, not the people serve the government. The concept that the citizen receives their Rights and authority from God (or the Universe) and delegates some of their authority to the government to handle issues that are larger than themselves. Those Founding Fathers also had the mindset of "the laws should be as few as possible and able to be understood while running."

The United States Constitution (and the state Constitutions) were written in such a way as to clearly declare what the Citizens allow the government to do, and no more. The Bill of Rights were additional constraints upon the government. There are twenty-five clear and separate points in those ten Amendments. They don't grant these Rights to the Citizens, they recognize that the Citizens have them already and the government is not to constrain them. "Congress shall make no law...", "The Right of the People... shall not be infringed." "...[B]ut in a manner to be prescribed by law." The phrase "The Right of the People" appear in the First, Second and Fourth, while the mention of "The People" are in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.

Here are the direct and attributable quotes from our Founding Fathers:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” – James Madison, Federalist 45, 1788

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that ‘all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.’ To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, not longer susceptible of any definition.” – Thomas Jefferson, Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791
Limited Government

“[T]he general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” – James Madison, Federalist 14, 1787

“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” – James Madison, Federalist 48, 1788

“I own I am not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to James Madison, 1787

“The propriety of a law, in a constitutional light, must always be determined by the nature of the powers upon which it is founded.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 33, 1788

I brought all of this up because every law, every regulation, every statute, rule and ordinance that affects the Citizen and has a penalty attached for non-compliance, is ultimately enforced at the point of a gun. It doesn't matter if the crime is first-degree murder or failure to stop during a right-hand turn. A refusal to accept or perform restitution ultimately leads to a law enforcement officer pointing a weapon at you.

I need to explain this, because you probably don't understand this. LEO's do not carry weapons to enforce the law. Their badge and authority do that. The weapons are to protect themselves and others. An LEO must not lose an altercation with a citizen. To do so would damage or destroy any respect for their authority. Let's take that traffic stop. Normally, you're pulled over, you're issued a citation and you're released to go on about your day. For just a minor traffic violation, the LEO can only detain you until you have received and accept the citation. If I refuse to sign and accept the citation, the officer now has the authority to arrest me. If I refuse to comply with his demands to submit to arrest, he has a "Scale of Force" that dictates the level of force they are allowed to use. When an LEO has decided by your refusal of his commands that you need to be arrested because you have disobeyed his lawful orders, you're going to the local lockup. Once this starts, the officer cannot back down and "forget the whole thing" without direct orders from their superiors. At this point the officer will start up that "scale of force" to obtain your compliance. If you resist hard and violently enough that he believes his life or the lives of others are in grave danger, at that point he is justified in pulling his weapon and shooting you until you die or are rendered unable to resist his actions to arrest you.

That's a power you should be scared of, and why the laws should be as few as possible. George Washington is incorrectly attributed to saying this, but the words ring true no matter who said them:

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence,—it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.

And in the midst of this COVID Crisis, we see exactly this. James Madison said this:

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

To paraphrase Madison, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which grants the ability to the federal or various state governments  the power to close businesses nor confine the people to their homes without just and specific cause." There is no "in case of [whatever] clause" that I can find. There is a very good reason for that, as

Show me where the federal, state or local governments can force a business to suspend operations because that business is "non-essential." Non-essential to WHOM? That business is certainly essential to putting food on the table for the families of the business owner and employees. I understand and accept closures of a specific business based on "nuisance" or "health and safety" violations, but not whole industries because a bureaucrat thinks it's not critical for the economy.

Maybe I should put it this way because when I get into discussions about this, the "other side" misses this very important point: I have zero problem with government informing the public of the hazards of this disease and asking citizens to socially distance, restricting the number of people that can be in a building at any given time, wear masks, wash their hands, glove up and all of those things. We cross into "Police State" territory when the government authorizes the police to arrest and punish people for leaving their homes or operating their businesses.

When dealing with artwork, there is a concept known as "Provenance," which is a documented trail of ownership of the art in question. This "chain of custody"  proves that this work of art is the real artwork. Think of a  "Certificate of Authenticity." What I am meaning is when a mayor, governor or president issues the Executive Order, proclamation, memo, whatever, it (should) quote the applicable law that is being invoked. The provenance of that law (and thus the EO) needs to be derived, ultimately, from the Constitution, either the state or federal. If it can't be, then it's not a proper law.

In the end, if the government has the power to do things like this (and we let them get away with it), like "declare an emergency" to deny us our liberties, with the definition and declaration of "emergency" left up to the bureaucrats, then anything and everything can be an emergency.

That should scare the crap out of you.

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