Posts Tagged ‘Declaration of Independence’

Adam KokeshHere are some highlights from Joel Skousen’s May 10, 2013 World Affairs Brief on Adam Kokesh’s planned armed July 4th march on Washington, D.C. (emphasis mine):

There are smart ways to organize a demonstration at the nation’s capitol to gain public support against government tyranny and then there are moves that are really unwise. In my personal opinion, Adam Kokesh’s proposed armed march of several thousand volunteer protestors into Washington DC is not smart and potentially will get all future right wing demonstrations in favor of the Second Amendment banned as “prone to violence.”

I’ve never liked Adam Kokesh’s style—sitting before the mike in black tank top, shaved but bearded head, and always talking tough. It’s a militaristic style that attracts ex-military hot heads to the movement, and this latest gambit has that same uncareful style.

It’s not that simple. When you openly violate a law about weapons, the police have little choice but to intervene—and they will. To make it worse, in his interview with Alex Jones, Kokesh spoke dangerous language when he said, “This is an armed revolt against the American government.”

You just can’t go around saying things like that even if the right to revolution is guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence. It is a serious step not to be taken for “light or transient” reasons and must have wide public support backed by a long list of grievances. It’s easy enough for constitutional conservatives and libertarians to produce such a list of technical violations, but they are not easily visible or provable to the common person.

The government’s current and future plans for taking away liberty are carefully masked by a myriad of executive orders, and hidden memos—sealed under the cover of National Security—hardly the stuff needed to rally the world around us. Kokesh and his brash statements show he hasn’t thought this out very well and appears to be heading for trouble.

While I would agree that no jurisdiction should be able to ban open carry under the Second Amendment, hinting at an armed confrontation is not the way to go about getting those laws changed. My objection to this act of “civil disobedience” proposed by Kokesh is that it’s not going to help gain support for second amendment rights or motivate any official in DC to feel more comfortable about changing the law.

It may be empowering to the macho types who want to make a dramatic public statement, but most people will merely see it as a stupid violation of DC law and approve of police action to arrest them. Few will see this as standing up against something unjust, and it may assist government in further demonizing pro-gun people as extremists. It may even prompt more states to ban open carry.

For another prominent voice in the alternative media who has questioned Kokesh’s planned armed march, see my article, “He’s either on the other side or he’s not very bright:” Dr. Stan Monteith on Adam Kokesh and his planned armed July 4th March on Washington.

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Robert R. Livingston

To me, the American creed is best expressed in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed.

The past 10 years since the September 11, 2001 attacks have served as a great wake up call to me.

Growing up as a Canadian, I was told how Americans were fundamentally different from us Canadians. I was raised to believe that they don’t tolerate their government pushing them around like we Canadians do.

The events since September 11, 2001 have forever shattered that comfortable yet dangerous illusion I had grown up with.

July 4, 1776 was a momentous and unique day in human history. It was probably the closest that Americans came to realizing their true identity as sovereigns with natural rights, instead of citizens with privileges granted by government.

Historically, Canadians have had no problem sacrificing individual freedoms in the interest of protecting public safety, and the overreaching government actions that have taken place in the U.S. since 9/11 would not have been inconceivable had they taken place in a Canadian context.

But in a U.S. context? Such responses are completely alien to America’s founding creed.

The post 9/11 adoption of the so-called Patriot Act, which eviscerated several natural rights recognized by the Bill of Rights, and its repeated renewal under different Congresses and a different President who had promised “change,” showed me that the America of today is a very different one than the one I remember as a child.

The surprising results since 9/11 have been that the United States is now more socialistic than Canada, its federal government has higher taxes than Canada’s, only has a mostly free economy compared to Canada’s free economy, and its federal government is more centralized and expansive than Canada’s.

Since 2010, Canada has been pointing the way forward in forcing an overreaching government to retrench to some degree in the face of an otherwise general trend toward less individual liberty.

Even unintentionally, Canada has become more free in the past few years, with the Conservative minority Harper government pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan by 2011 as a consequence of fearing electoral losses for not pulling out.

They also scrapped the long-form census by 2011, even though it seems evident to me that it was purely for partisan reasons, and not out of a genuine commitment to personal privacy, to the point that it is less intrusive than the American census, despite the U.S. Constitution only calling for an enumeration of its residents for the purposes of determining representation in the House of Representatives.

Now, with the election of a Conservative majority government in May 2011, they are committed to ending the wheat and barley marketing monopoly, and scrapping the long-gun registry, and as a consequence, Canada will be more free.

Canadian Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier once said that the 19th century belonged to the United States, but the 20th century will belong to Canada. Well, he was clearly wrong, but perhaps only with regard to his timeline. If Canadians embrace their successes and move forward in achieving greater liberty, than Canada can stand out from other nations as a beacon as the United States once did.

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Unbalanced scales

Among the common misconceptions about the United States are that it’s a democracy (it’s a republic), that the U.S. Constitution mentions “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (it’s in the Declaration of Independence), that it has a government of, by, and for the people (mentioned by President Abraham Lincoln at his Gettysburg Address, 87 years after U.S. independence), and then there is the misconception that everyone is equal before and under the law.

The U.S. Constitution, the document that provides the framework for the U.S. government, says it is “the Supreme Law of the Land,” and it says of the members of Congress:

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

Not only isn’t everyone equal before the law in the U.S., but equality before the law is also unconstitutional, in that it is unconstitutional, and, therefore, unlawful, to arrest any member of Congress outside of the exceptions provided, and to arrest them for any statements made, even if they were intended to cause a riot.

So much, then, for members of Congress having special privileges being some new phenomenon.

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Previously, I wrote the article, “The first step in health care reform: recognizing that health care is not a right.”

Health care, at least, is related (though not equated) to the life of a person, one of the enumerated rights in the Declaration of Independence.

As an example of how radically the Western understanding of rights versus privileges has changed since 1776, Canada’s national broadcaster, CBC, featured an episode entitled “A/C as Human Right” on The Current on July 16, 2010.

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