Yes America Did Build That April 10, 2014Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics, Politiocal Philosophy.
Tags: Adam Smith, Charter of Liberties, constitution limited government, Dr. Robert Owens, Habeas Corpus, Locke, Magna Carta, Montesquieu, Patrick Henry, Petition of Right, Rousseau, Sam Adams
I have often been tempted to believe that the greatest contribution of the British people to the world has been the concept of a private limited liability company. It was the development of this concept that created the environment for the invisible hand of capitalism to create the dynamic free economy. And it was that free economy not conquest or empire that lifted the masses of Western Civilization out of abject poverty.
Economically that concept maybe the greatest contribution of the British to the world however when viewed as a whole the greatest contribution of the British people is the reality of a limited government in the modern world. It is limited government which has allowed the freedom and independence necessary for humanity to do what humanity was created to do: exercise its individual free choice.
The people of Great Britain, the political forefathers of American liberty, fought for centuries to establish individual freedom. Beginning as abject servants of an absolute king they struggled to carve out a space for the recognition of personal independence. Through battles and death, fire and sword, through revolution and repression the people of Britain won inch by inch a space for humanity to breathe free.
Most of us have heard of the Charter of Liberties in 1100 which declared that the King was subject to the law. The Magna Carta of 1215 asserts the writ of habeas corpus, trial by one’s peers, representation of nobility for taxation, and a ban on retroactive punishment. The Petition of Right of 1628 asserts the specific rights and liberties of England that the King is prohibited from infringing. The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 is a procedural device to force the courts to examine the lawfulness of a prisoner’s detention. And finally, there was the Bill of Rights of 1689, the result of the Glorious Revolution, securing Parliamentary sovereignty over the King and courts.
Most of these were fought for and won for all British citizens back when the United States were 13 separate colonies proud to be part of the British Empire. Americans saw themselves as British. They believed that they had the same rights as any other British citizen and that they were not second-class citizens. It was their stand upon these rights which became the seedbed of the American Revolution.
When Americans claimed that they were British citizens with all the rights and privileges this entailed, they pointed to the charters given to the first settlers. The First Virginia Charter, signed by King James in 1606, stated clearly:
Wee doe, for us, our heires and successors, declare by theisepresentes that all and everie the parsons being our subjects which shall dwell and inhabit within everie or anie of the saideseverall Colonies and plantacions and everie of theire children which shall happen to be borne within the limitts and precincts of the said severall Colonies and plantacions shall have and enjoy all liberties, franchises and immunites within anie of our other dominions to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and borne within this our realme of Englande or anie other of our saide dominions.
And, the “Charter of Massachusetts Bay” which was issued in 1629 that proclaimed:
Wee doe hereby for Us, our Heires and Successors, ordeyne and declare, and graunte to the saide Governor and Company and their Successors, That all and every the Subjects of Us, our Heires or Successors, which shall goe to and inhabite within the saideLandes and Premisses hereby mentioned to be graunted, and every of their Children which shall happen to be borne there, or on the Seas in goeing thither, or retorning from thence,shall have and enjoy all liberties and Immunities of free and naturall Subjects within any of the Domynions of Us, our Heires or Successors, to all Intents, Constructions, and Purposes whatsoever, as if they and everie of them were borne within the Realme of England.
Then after popular uprisings and resistance compelled the British Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act they passed the Declaratory Act (1766), which said that the British Parliament’s taxing authority, was the same in America as in Great Britain. American’s believed that they could only be taxed with the approval of their local assemblies. In this law the Parliament also declared its complete authority to make binding laws on the American colonies “in all cases whatsoever.”
Patriots such as James Otis and Sam Adams in Massachusetts and Patrick Henry in Virginia called it treason. They insisted that this action destroyed all that their British ancestors had fought for. If you make a careful examination of the arguments of the Founders before the Declaration of Independence or if you look at the arguments set forth in that hallowed document you will see that all of the arguments were based upon the ancient rights which had been won by the British people. It was not until they realized that the solid foundation which they believed stood beneath their freedom was in reality a sand bar in the river of politics did they declare their independence and fight to win it.
Once they had won the long hard fight and proudly stood as 13 independent nations on the edge of what was becoming a trans-Atlantic civilization did they see that if they were to preserve the freedom they had won they needed something more than a tradition and stronger than a promise. This is when America made its first great contribution to the world: the concept of a written constitution. Yes America you did build that.
From their British roots and from the writings of the Enlightenment giants such as John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government (1689 and 1690), Baron de Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws (1748), Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract (1762), Immanuel Kant’s What is Enlightenment? and his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations the Framers wrote a constitution to limit government. For they realized without the binding chains of limitation any government will inevitably accumulate such power that it will eventually trample upon the rights of its citizens. Sadly we have learned that even with a written constitution the same thing will eventually occur.
Our forefathers understood that any document which establishes a government and delineates which powers belong to it, and which expressly states, “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” is purposefully limiting the power of the central government. In addition, this document is extremely clear in dividing the powers of government into separate parts as described by Montesquieu in The Spirit of the Laws. In this work Montesquieu proposed separating the power of government among a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary. This approach presented a government which did not centralize all its powers in an executive. There should be no imperial presidency.
It was the genius of the Framers to construct a constitution which they believed was strong enough to stand the test of time and the lust for power among those chosen to represent the people. They believed as Madison said, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” This is America’s great contribution to civilization: a government in chains so that the people could be free for when a government is free, the people are in chains.
Then along came the Progressive Movement, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, and now BHO. They have used the fiction of a Living Document to turn the Constitution into a dead letter. They have progressed past the limitations on the government not by following the amendment process but instead by ignoring and interpreting then calling precedent tradition. Inch by inch, step by step slowly they turned the greatest experiment in human freedom ever devised into another welfare state kleptocracy promising a worker’s paradise for those who don’t work by plundering those who do.
The blush is off the rose. The scam is plain to see. The emperor has no clothes, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too.” You can’t spend more than you make forever. Eventually the note comes due.
The political actions of our Framers followed the lead of philosophers so too the Progressives have followed their own philosophical leaders.
Marx taught them “From each according to his ability to each according to his need.” He also taught that capitalism will wither away and then a dictatorship of the proletariat will build a worker’s paradise. His disciples attempted to put this into practice in that great prison-house of nations: the USSR.
Lenin taught them, “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation” and “The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency” and of course “The goal of socialism is communism.”
Stalin elaborated on this further, “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed” and “Print is the sharpest and the strongest weapon of our party” and also “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.”
Following these precepts the enemies of freedom have captured the education system and systematically worked to dumb down our people. They have captured the major media and turned it from a watch dog to a lap dog swilling out propaganda to a populace entranced by bread and circuses.
It is our duty to keep the light of freedom alive, to teach our true History, and to instill in our children and in the minds of any who will listen, limited government is essential for freedom. Let us work to restore the limits so our children may be free.
Keep the faith. Keep the peace. We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens
Real Rebels and the Counter Revolution March 8, 2012Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Politics.
Tags: 2012 election, Bill of Rights, Constitution, Dr. Robert Owens, James Madison, Patrick Henry, Progressives, Sam Adams
1 comment so far
Think of America’s Founders. These were real rebels.
Sam Adams agitated against the imposition of taxes. He penned the petitions which brought forth the rallying cry “No taxation without representation!” While avoiding violence he led the effort to organize resistance to tyranny. He founded the Committee of Correspondence in Massachusetts and inspired its spread to the other colonies. He organized boycotts of British goods and the public trial of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre.
In a world of divine right kings where the common man was a pawn to be exploited and demeaned James Madison made these revolutionary statements, “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.” And, “An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.”
Patrick Henry did more than say, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Before the Revolution, as a member of the Assembly in Virginia he led in the formation of a resistance movement against the tyranny of the British crown. During the Revolution he served in the Continental Congress that passed the Deceleration of Independence. After the Revolution he was not afraid to stand up against the desire of many to impose a Constitution without a Bill of Rights leading in the fight to maintain the greatest amount of individual liberty and the strongest limits to the central authority possible under the new Federal Government. As if he could see the convolutions which currently threaten to swallow the Republic Mr. Henry reminded us at the beginning of our national experiment in limited government, “When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object.”
Today the world is turned upside down. The so called radical rebels of the sixties now own or control most things including the government. The anti-establishment has become the establishment and the silent majority is being told to remain silent while this progressive minority transforms our nation into what their collectivist programmers have taught them it should be. And yet they still see themselves as the rebels fighting a faceless bureaucracy for freedom never realizing they have met the enemy, and they are them.
All of this made me think about my old friend the professional revolutionary and something hit me. He has always considered himself a rebel. And considering he has made a living out of being a spokesman for the movements dedicated to destroying the America we have always known that kind of made sense at one time.
But in reality he is now and has consistently in the past loyally spouted the logical progression of the anti-American, anti-capitalist garbage that many of the teachers at our good old public High School tried to shove into our young skulls full of mush. He also sounds exactly like all of our contemporaries who have spent a lifetime drinking at the well of the Corporations Once Called the Mainstream Media. Though they see themselves as deep thinkers it has always been obvious they receive their programming, their news and views from the major networks, and the transcripts in the print media. They spout the same anti-traditional values pro-socialism talking points time after time.
Their representatives have spent decades chipping away at the America we love in the movies, on television, and in songs. They have gained control of one component of society at a time: education, the media, the board room, the Congress, and finally the White House. Through patience and planning they have gained control of the entire federal government and the elites of most areas of society. Therefore I cannot see why we should continue referring to them as rebels merely because they see themselves that way. When you listen to their current spokesmen such as the Daily Show, Bill Maher, or any of the MSNBC line up they come off as so hip and so cutting edge when in fact they agree 100% with the current administration and its collectivist anti-life New Age agenda. What’s rebellious about that? That’s like saying Pravda was a radical spokesman for change when they parroted whatever the leaders of the former USSR had to say.
Today my friend the professional rebel is actively helping recruit and train the brown shirt Occupy troops? They may rail against Wall Street but that same Wall Street promotes and funds the very people these protesters vote for. Someone is being used for something, but they never seem to wake up to ask, “Why should we pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?”
I can no longer consider myself a conservative. What is there left to conserve? I am a radical and a rebel, because I advocate for limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom. These 1960s retreads who continue to advocate for the progressive collectivists who have won their revolution and now occupy the seats of power are faux rebels: organizational apparatchiks spouting the party line.
Look at how revolutionary some of our real rebels still sound today:
Sam Adams said, “The Constitution shall never be construed… to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” And “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.” He also said, “Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.”
Patrick Henry said, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.” And, “We are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of Nature has placed in our power… the battle, sir, is not to the strong alone it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” When thinking of his most famous statement we should keep it in context and recall the whole quote, “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”
So the next time the nightly faux news shows are filled the antics of the faux rebels demonstrating for more government power, or the next time one of your relatives or old friends wants to fill your ear with their oft repeated mantras for the collectivist establishment tell yourself, “This is the time for real rebels and the counter revolution.”
And if pointing out the transparent hypocrisy of the faux rebels of today should ever be considered too rebellious for the faint of heart let me share one more quote from Patrick Henry, “If this be treason, make the most of it!”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens email@example.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens