|Dumb Voter No More . com
|What Really Goes On In Washington
|Philosophy of Liberty
|Where We Went Wrong
|What We Need To Do
|Democracy vs Freedom
|The Moral Foundation of a Free Society
|FOUNDATION of a FREE SOCIETY
|Good Govt Protects Individual Rights
|Property and Government
|Freedom, Individual Rights, Capitalism
|Bankruptcy of a Mixed Economy
|FREEDOM and GOVERNMENT
|Land of Liberty - Society and Government
|Rewards of Economic Freedom
|Separation of Economics and State
|Flat Tax vs Sales Tax
|Library of Liberty
|Common Sense Laws
|What's Wrong With Conservatives
|FREE MARKETS and LIBERTY
|The Law and Plunder
|Politicians, Plunder, Wasteful Spending
|Constitution and Progressives
|Learning From Walter Williams
|POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY -ayn rand
|Principles of a Free Society vs The Road to Socialism
|Government, Capitalism, Welfare
|Income Inequality - World Poverty
|Free People Are Not Equal and Equal People Are Not Free
|Bloody Politics - Why Socialism Failed
|Vision of a Free Society
|Government Spending - Global Capitalism
|Collectivism vs Individualism
|Taxes Can Destroy
|Capitalism and Selfishness
|The Basic Issue--Mixed Economy--Seven Principles
|Life , Liberty , Property
|Politicians and the Economy
|Rights and Limited Government
|Good Sites to Visit
|Vices and Crimes - A Better Philosophy
|Constitutional Primer #7 - Property Rights
|Right to Own Guns
|Majority Limited and Pursuit of Happiness
|POLITICS and FREEDOM
|The American Revolution - Classical Liberalism
|Politics and Plunder - Welfare and Charity
|What Is Money - Seperating Money and State
|Separating School and State
|POLITICS - PART 2
|Taxes and Property
|The Anatomy of the State
|American Government Idea's
|ABORTION , Questions and Answers
|Learn Economics Here
|Three Youngsters Drown
|INCOME for LIFE
|OUR LORD'S PROPHECY PREDICTED AND FULFILLED
|JESUS CAME BACK
|FUTURISM, FIGURATIVE PRETERISM and LITERAL PRETERISM by W. Hibbard
|WERE THE APOSTLES FALSE PROPHETS? by M. Fenemore
|GUESTBOOK & LINKS
Property---that which an individual rightfully owns;
his mind, body, labor, and the fruits of his labor (property).
Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to
but himself. The labor of his body, and the works of his hands, we may say, are properly his.....John Locke ( 1689 )
The first and chief design of every system of government is to maintain
justice; to prevent the members of society from encroaching on one anothers property, or seizing what is not their own. The
design here is to give each one the secure and peaceable possession of his own property...Adam Smith ( 1776 )
Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist...John Adams
Understanding our true rights, helps us understand what we do not have
a right to - namely the life, liberty, or property of any other person.
No one has a ( right ) to someone else's - property, money, or labor.
As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligation on them except, to
abstain from vioalting his rights.
Mr. Smith has a right to build a fence in his yard; His right to build
his fence does not obligate Mr. Jones to help him, by furnishing materials, labor, etc.
False Rights - the right to a job, house, clothes, medicine, etc - imply
obligations on the part of others; to provide you with these things, namely, through taxes; politicians tax Mr. Jones to provide
Mr. Smith with food, clothes, etc.
The purpose of Law is to protect our life, liberty, and property from criminals.
The purpose of the Constitution is to protect our life, liberty, and property
from politicians ( govt ).
A right is something that you are born with, that you possess merely because
you exist; A privilege is something that is granted by another person, group, or a govt.
No right violates the rights of another. If it does, it is not a right.
Life, Liberty, Property do not exist because men have made laws; On the
contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.
Life, Liberty, Property precede all human legislation and are superior
Property is a great and indispensable thing. It allows people to own, develop, be creative, profit, and build a prosperous
society. Societies without private property stagnate and die.
No one has a right to; committ fraud, break their contracts/agreements,
encroach upon other people, encroach upon other peoples property; this is the purpose of law, to protect our life, liberty,
Those who do committ fraud, break their agreements, or encroach must be
punished; this is the purpose of govt.
Common Law protects and govt punishes.
Government can be organized to do one of two things; 1..to protect our
life, liberty, and property 2..to violate our life, liberty, and property.
If your understanding of liberty ends at - freedom of speech, freedom of
religion, freedom of association - then you are omitting the heart and soul of liberty - property rights.
When government moves beyond its role of protecting life, liberty, and
property; it must necessarily attack life, liberty, and property.
In all of human history, there has been one motivation for the tyrant (tyranny),
and that is plunder; to gather wealth that he did not earn.
The great producers create the goods and services upon which human
life depends; the parasites use the politicians to impose a welfare state on the producers; to loot and plunder.
Three ways to view plunder;
1..the few plunder the many ( republicans )
2..everybody plunders everybody ( democrats )
3..nobody plunders nobody ( freedom )
By choosing the last of these can a society remain free. A slave does not
own what he produces; what he produces belongs to someone else.
Law should protect property and punish plunder; instead Law has been perverted
to exploit the property of others; It has converted plunder into a right.
No one has the right to someone else's property; product or service.
Under Statism, government is no longer a policeman, but a gang of thugs.
The proper function of government in a free society;
1..protect you from foreign invaders - military
2..protect you from criminals - police
3..to settle disputes - courts
Those who claim they are for a mixture of liberty and socialism, will soon
realize, that socialism must destroy liberty, and so justice is trampled underfoot.
Fascism, an economic philosophy that leaves property in private hands but
subjects it to govt control and regulation.
Free Markets -- a system of natural liberty; where people exercise their
rights of voluntary exchange of private property; free from govt interference; where people deal with one another as traders,
by a peaceful, honest, voluntary exchange, to mutual benefit.
The free and voluntary transfer of services from one person to another
can be defined in these simple words; Give me this and i will give you that; Do this for me, and i will do that for you.
Poverty is the lack of wealth, which must be produced. The poorest countries
are those where Free Market Capitalism is lacking. Capitalism did not create poverty, but it inherited it, and is the only
solution to solving it.
Don't businesses need to be regulated? no, not regulations, but rather
laws, that protect individual rights; life, liberty, property.
If a business negligently, knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally acts
in a way that violates other's rights, it should be prosecuted and held accountable; it should not be regulated.
Example: If a CEO of a major corporation directs the accountants to "cook
the books" , the solution is to prosecute those people for fraud; not start specifying how all companies are to coduct their
Laws that restrict human action in the free market must be limited to;
do not commit fraud, force, broken agreements, or encroachment.
The heavier the hand of govt in people's pocketbooks and business activity,
the poorer the people will be.
Important Questions: What is it that causes wealth and prosperity to come
into existence? Why are some societies wealthier than others?
The moment the idea is admitted in society that property is not as sacred
as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If
, Thou shalt not covet , Thou shalt not steal , were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in
every society before it can be civilized or made free -- John Adams ( 1787 )
The great chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and
putting themselves under government, is the preservation of property--Locke
To secure individual property rights, this is the purpose of government.
For, although it was by Nature's guidance that men were drawn into communities, it was in the hope of safeguarding their possessions
that they sought the protection of cities--Cicero
We have become a society that is based upon competing groups seeking to
plunder each other via the force of government. Virtually every political movement in America is based upon a promise to provide
its followers with other people's property. We have become a nation of looters.
Thus when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make
the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter into the making of laws. Either they wish to stop the plunder, or
they wish to share in it--Bastiat
Government can be organized to fulfill one of two purposes; to protect
your property or to take it from you; there is no third choice.
The purpose of govt is to protect man from criminals; the purpose of the
Constitution is to protect man from govt.
A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man's self-defense.
Government is not the ruler, but the servant. This is the task of a proper government, its only moral justification. If a
society is to be free, its government has to be controlled--Ayn Rand
Under statism, the government is not a policeman, but a legalized criminal.
Man's life and work belong to the state, to society. Govenment controls the economy. Takes property from those who earned
it and gives it to those who have not earned it.
The right to life is the source of all rights. Since man has to sustain
his life by his own efforts, the man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave. All property and all forms
of wealth are produced by man's mind and labor. To think, to work, and to keep the results, which means the right to property--Ayn
1..Security - functions which defend citizens from encroachment against
their rights; military, police, courts.
2..Public Services - services provided to all members of society; roads,
bridges, library, fire dept, etc.
3..Wealth Redistribution - takes money from one group of people to provide
services to another group; welfare, bail outs, etc.
Which type of spending is a legitimate function of govt?
There is no govt planning that goes into what is stocked in grocery stores.
No rules and regulations dictating how much of each food item needs to appear on the shelves. Each day people have a wide
range of grocery stores to choose from all packed with different kinds of food.
And its all accomplished through the miracle of the market, with no govt
planning or direction.
Now suppose in 1900, it was decided that food was just too important an
item to be left to the free market. To ensure there would be enough food for people the govt took over the grocery store industry,
just as they took over the education industry. Their arguments for doing so would be - do you honestly believe that you could
leave something as important as grocery stores to the free market - where would the poor get their food - there would only
be grocery stores for the rich - how could we be sure that each store received the correct quantities of each item - - The
Miracle of the Market , by , Jacob Hornberger @ www.fff.org
Democracy - unlimited majority rule; a persons life, liberty, and property
are at the mercy of the majority; this being the only standard of right and wrong.
Limited Constitutional Republic - restricted to protecting a persons life,
liberty, and property.
Socialism and Communism - the difference between them are only a matter
of time and degree; communism enslaves men by force, socialism by vote; both produce equality, equal misery and poverty.
There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people
by ( gradual and silent ) encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations---James Madison
Fascism and Socialism are simply ( gradual and silent ) transitions between
Capitalism and Communism.
The individual has a right to his life, liberty, and property or the
individual's life, liberty, and property belongs not to him, but the government; this has been mankind's struggle through
What is a good? A good is something
we want or need. In a sense, it is the opposite of a right. We have our rights from birth, but we need our parents when we
are children and we need ourselves as adults to purchase the goods we require for existence. So, food is a good, shelter is
a good, clothing is a good, education is a good, a car is a good, legal representation is a good, working out at a gym is
a good, and access to health care is a good. Does the government give us goods? Well, sometimes it takes money from some of
us and gives that money to others. You can call that taxation or you can call it theft; but you cannot call it a right.
right stems from our humanity. A good is something you buy or someone else buys for you.
Now, when you look at health
care for what it is, when you look at the US Constitution, when you look at the history of human freedom, when you accept
the American value of the primacy of the individual over the fleeting wishes of the government, it becomes apparent that those
who claim that healthcare is a right simply want to extend a form of government welfare.
When I make this argument
to my Big Government friends, they come back at me with... well, if people don't have health insurance, they will just go
to hospitals and we will end up paying for them anyway. Why should that be? We don't let people steal food from a supermarket
or an apartment from a landlord or clothing from a local shop. Why do we let them take healthcare from a hospital without
paying for it? Well, my Big Government friends contend, that's charity.
They are wrong again. It is impossible to
be charitable with someone else's money. Charity comes from your own heart, not from the government spending your money. When
we pay our taxes to the government and it gives that money away, that's not charity, that's welfare. When the government takes
more from us than it needs to secure our freedoms, so it can have money to give away, that's not charity, that's theft. And
when the government forces hospitals to provide free health care to those who can't or won't care for themselves, that's not
charity, that's slavery. That's why we now have constitutional chaos, because the government steals and enslaves, and we outlawed
that a long time ago.
our value premises explicit and clear can help untangle contentious public policy issues, or at least let us know where people
stand. Let's state my personal value premise. I cherish private property rights. "Okay," you say, "but what are private property
rights?" Private property rights refer to an owner's right to acquire, keep, use and dispose of property in ways that do not
violate property rights of others. If that's a shared value, there's little debate on a whole class of public policy issues.
I am the property of Walter Williams. Among other things, that means I have the right to take chances with my own life
but not that of others. Mandating that I wear a seatbelt violates my rights whereas drunk driving laws and vehicle safety
inspection laws don't. Choosing not to wear a seatbelt raises my risk of death. That's my right. Driving drunk or driving
an unsafe car, raises the risk of harming others. That's not my right. "Williams," you say, "we gotcha this time. If you don't
wear a seatbelt and wind up a vegetable, you burden society who has to take care of you." That's not a problem of private
property rights; it's a problem of socialism (weakened private property rights). People's money belongs to them. They shouldn't
be forced to take care of me.
This term the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the "right to die" issue. Private property rights can illuminate. Pretend
it's United States v. Williams. First, the Court should determine just who owns Williams. The evidence will
show that while some of my ancestors were owned, my mother and father were not. Having attained 21 years of age, it would
seem that Williams owns himself. That finding of self ownership would make the Court's task easy. Their 9-0 decision would
read: Though the thought of Williams ending his precious life is distasteful, while the loss of his insightful weekly columns
will be a great loss to society, nonetheless, we find he owns himself and has the right to dispose of his life in any manner
consistent with the safety of others.
There'd be a different decision if I didn't own myself. The first complexity would be to find out just who owns Williams.
But let's fudge that complexity by saying Congress owns him. That being the case, I wouldn't have the right to take chances
with my life. Congress would have every right to force me to use a seatbelt. Moreover, they'd have the right to force me to
stop smoking, exercise, get a plenty of rest and restrict my dietary intake of salt, cholesterol and alcohol. In United
States v. Williams, the court would rightfully decree that I had no right to dispose of Williams. After all, that
would be destroying government property.
I disagree with the ways some people "unwisely" use their property. Many drink and smoke too much, wear gaudy attire, become
couch potatoes, and don't buckle up when they drive. But the true test of one's commitment to liberty and private property
rights doesn't come when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we agree. The true test comes
when we permit people to be free to do those voluntary things with which we disagree.
Undoubtedly, my position is offensive to many, and mankind's history is on their side. Private property rights and self-determination
has always received a hostile reception. People have always had what they consider to be good reasons for restricting the
liberties of others.
walter williams www.capitalismmagazine.com
Property Rights Solves Problems
(1) If each parent were given an education voucher to pay for education [or, even better--a tax credit], those
parents wishing prayers, or those against prayers in school, could enroll their children in the school that meets their preference.
Thus, conflict would be eliminated. Of course, a superior solution would be getting government entirely out of education.
(2) Private property would solve the smoking issue. Suppose you owned a restaurant, and you didn't wish to permit smoking.
How would you like it if people used the political system to enact laws that forced you to permit smoking? I'm sure you'd
consider it tyranny, and I'd agree. But there's symmetry. It's just as much tyranny to use the political system to enact laws
to force a restaurant owner who wished to permit smoking to ban smoking. The liberty-oriented solution might be to post a
sign saying you don't permit smoking, and customers wishing otherwise wouldn't enter. The same principle would apply to restaurant
owners who wished to permit smoking.
I fear that too many Americans have contempt for the principles of liberty and opt for solutions that employ the political
arena to forcibly impose their wills on others. If that's the preferred game, then those Americans shouldn't whine when others
employ the same tactic to impose their wills.
See Articles below ...
The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property
rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the
product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.
Bear in mind that the right to property is a right to action, like all the others: it is not the right to an object,
but to the action and the consequences of producing or earning that object. It is not a guarantee that a man will
earn any property, but only a guarantee that he will own it if he earns it. It is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to
dispose of material values. www.aynrandlexicon.com
Private Property--Liberty's Support
[Americans] ". . . are entitled to life, liberty and property . . ." (Declaration of Rights by First Continental Congress, 1774)
1. The traditional American philosophy teaches that Man possesses the right to property as an indispensable support,
the principal material support, of his God-given, unalienable rights (notably the right to Liberty) specified in the Declaration of Independence.
Part of Economic Liberty
2. This right to property is a main part of economic liberty, which is the inseparable and indispensable aspect of
the indivisible whole of Individual Liberty, according to this philosophy. Without economic liberty, the other parts of Individual
Liberty are lacking in material support and therefore, for practicable purposes, cannot be defended adequately or securely
enjoyed enduringly. This right to property in any form--money or any other type--includes all aspects such as acquiring, using,
possessing, protecting and disposing of it. Man's unalienable right to Life necessarily involves his derivative right to property,
in support of his right to sustain his own life and the lives of his dependents; which requires, in part, acquiring and using
food and various other kinds of property necessary to existence or conducive to full enjoyment of God-given, unalienable rights
in varied and innumerable ways.
The Underlying Reason
3. The American philosophy teaches that the fact that Man is endowed by his Creator with the Right to be self-governing,
as the Declaration of Independence proclaims, means implicitly that Man is also endowed with the capacity to reason and, therefore,
with the capacity to be self-governing--under a system of Man-over-Government--for the better protection and enjoyment of
his unalienable rights. This, in turn, means necessarily that Man is endowed with the capacity of being economically self-reliant
and independent, without the need of being supported by his creature and tool: government. This is true because to be supported
by government would mean to be subject to its control under a system of Government-over-Man; control inevitably accompanies
subsidy. As part of his Divine endowment at birth, Man therefore possesses both the right and the capacity to manage his own
economic affairs, including his own capability to work in order to support life and his rights in general by acquiring property
(money or any other type), free from any degree of Government-over-Man control, directly or indirectly. Any contrary conclusion
would inescapably, condemn Man to a birthright of servitude to government, which philosophy rejects as being inconsistent
with Divine Creation. This philosophy also teaches that Man is entitled to enjoy this right and to exercise this capability
without any interference by others than government as well. The foregoing is subject, of course, to due respect for the equal
rights of others and for just laws expressive of "just powers" (to quote the term of the Declaration of Independence) designed
to safeguard the equal rights of all Individuals.
The View of The Framers, per "The Federalist"
4. The American philosophy is clear and emphatic on the point that the surest way for Man to become economically dependent
upon, and therefore subservient to, government is for it to control or possess his property, or to subsidize him. This is
because of the truth stated in The Federalist (number 79, by Alexander Hamilton) that: "In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power
over his will." (Emphasis Hamilton's) This truth is also commonly acknowledged in the maxim that "he who pays the piper
calls the tune" and it applies especially to a person's income.
The Means of Self-defense
5. This is all the more true to the extent that government controls, or takes from him, his property--not only his
current earnings, or income, but also his accumulated savings represented by his property in general. The more government
controls or takes from him, and the less Man possesses and controls, the worse his plight in the face of Government-over-Man
practices infringing his unalienable rights. This deprives him of the means of self-defense, of defense of his rights, against
violations by government and by others. Lacking such means, his rights are always in danger of being violated or undermined
with impunity by transgressors--either oppressive or usurping government officials, or covetously inclined persons who are
disregardful of the limits on their own equal rights and are heedless of the duty factor of Individual Liberty-Responsibility,
which requires them to respect the equal rights of others.
Property Needed for Defense of Man's Rights
6. According to the American philosophy, Man's purpose in creating governments is primarily "to secure"--to make and
keep secure--his unalienable rights, as the Declaration of Independence phrases it. A chief aim of man in this regard is to
provide governmental (legal) machinery which can be readily available to each Individual for establishing and maintaining
his legal right to his own property and for the equal protection of all Individuals' property under equal laws (basically
the people's fundamental laws--their Constitutions, Federal and State). To be able to make effective use of this legal machinery,
however, Man needs property (money) to pay the cost.
The 1776 Declaration and the Word "Property"
7. In the years leading up to the American Revolution of 1776, the slogan of the "Sons of Liberty"--most ardent of
patriots--was: "Liberty and property." Another popular phrase used throughout America in that period to describe Man's most
precious rights, used for example in the "Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress" in 1774, was: "life, liberty and property." This combination of ideas--expressed with
regard to protection of Man's " . . . life . . . person . . . goods or estate . . ."--appeared in America at least by 1641
in Massachusetts in: "The Body of Liberties." This was a law code compiled by Nathaniel Ward, in response to public protests
against the arbitrary decisions by judges, and adopted by the Massachusetts General Court, the legislative body of the colony.
In the phrase of the Declaration of Independence adopted in 1776--"Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" - the substitution
of the phrase "the pursuit of Happiness," in place of the word "property" customarily used theretofore, assuredly did not
mean that the signers of the Declaration disapproved of the idea of the right to property being considered a most important
right of Man. Quite the contrary is true, as all pertinent records amply prove. A number of these signers were owners of large
and valuable property holdings--for example, John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Robert Morris, Charles Carroll, Richard Henry
Lee and Arthur Middleton, to name only a few. They did, indeed, risk great fortunes, as well as their lives and honor, in
signing the 1776 Declaration--as its closing pledge made express, in words made immortal by the exemplary selflessness, the
noble self-sacrifice, of these true friends of Independence for America and of Man's Liberty against Government-over-Man.
The wealthy of that generation were fully matched by those of little or no means, such as Samuel Adams, in the fervor of belief
in, and support of, the right to property as a fundamental part of the Individual's rights. It is noteworthy that among the
signers of the Declaration were some who had been members of the above-mentioned First Continental Congress in 1774; and all
the signers undoubtedly shared the then popular support of the slogan: "Life, Liberty and Property" as being expressive of
the gist of Man's fundamental rights. The emphasis in their thinking regarding the right to property was later reflected in
the safeguarding provision included in the "Bill of Rights" amendments to the United States Constitution--in the Fifth Amendment, stating: ". . . nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." This is expressive of the
The omission of the word "property" from the 1776 Declaration was, presumably, because the right to property was considered
by America's leaders in general to be not a primary, God-given, unalienable right--not on a par spiritually with the right
to "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"--but an essential legal right, a most important supporting right as the material
mainstay of Man's unalienable rights including Liberty against Government-over-Man.
An Essential Means, Not an End in and of Itself
8. The right to property is accordingly considered not an end, in and of itself, but an indispensable means needed
to sustain Life itself and for the protection and fuller enjoyment of the rights to Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The right to property is, therefore, of critical importance to Free Man, whether considered as a supporting right or--as some
in 1776 occasionally referred to it--as an unalienable right, a Natural Right.
The concept of the property right being derived from every Individual's natural right to Liberty--of its thus being
a derivative right rather than a primary, God-given, unalienable right--was expressed for example in an oration in Boston
on March 5, 1775 by Dr. Joseph Warren, a leader among the more prominent workers and fighters for Liberty and Independence,
"That personal freedom is the natural right of every man, and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose
of what he has honestly acquired by his own labor, necessarily arises therefrom, are truths which common sense has
placed beyond the reach of contradiction." (Emphasis added.)
Warren and his fellow leaders in favor of "Liberty and Independence," in Boston especially in that pre-1776 period,
were undoubtedly in agreement on this point of derivativeness: "necessarily arises therefrom"--notably Samuel Adams who was
very closely associated with Warren in supporting this cause. Adams presumably meant nothing different when he sometimes referred
to the right to property as being of the nature of a "Natural Right."
Property Supports Ideals
9. Man's right to property is the principal material support of the idealism of the traditional American philosophy--the
idealism of Free Man in America. This idealism would be empty of substance in the absence of the protection provided by such
support; it could not be translated into reality and sustained enduringly.
10. The American philosophy asserts that Man's right to property is a main, indispensable and inseparable part of
the indivisible whole of Individual Liberty-Responsibility and the material mainstay of his unalienable right to "Life, Liberty
and the pursuit of Happiness."
Quotes from The American Ideal of 1776 supporting this Principle.
See Article below ...
Fear of Government-over-Man
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief
by the chains of the Constitution" - Thomas Jefferson (Kentucky Resolutions)
1. A main principle of the traditional American philosophy is expressed in the phrase: fear of Government-over-Man.
Cause of Fear
2. This fear is due to the ever-present, never-changing weaknesses of human nature in government which are conducive
to "love of power and proneness to abuse it," as Washington's Farewell Address warned. This means public officials' human weaknesses, especially as aggravated by the corresponding weaknesses among the
self-governing people themselves. It is a truism that government's power needs only to exist to be feared--to be dominant,
over the fear-ridden, without ever needing to be exercised aggressively.
Man--Good and Evil, Mixed
3. This philosophy asserts that human nature is a mixture of good and evil, of strength and weakness, and is not perfectible
during life on earth. There is "a portion of virtue and honor among Mankind" and the better side of Man, the Individual, can
be strengthened and made more dependable through spiritual growth. The resulting moral development is conducive to sound conduct,
in keeping with conscience in the light of a personal moral code based upon religious-moral considerations. Yet history teaches
that the previously mentioned weaknesses of human nature provide just cause for never-ceasing fear of Government-over-Man.
Government Like a Fire
4. Americans of the period 1776-1787 firmly believed in the soundness of the accepted maxim that "government is like
a fire: a dangerous servant and a fearful master;" that, to be useful, it must be strictly controlled for safety against its
getting out of hand and doing great harm. Through the generations, the people have considered that this maxim expresses one
of history's most profoundly important lessons for Free Man. This maxim is based upon the knowledge that, in last analysis,
government is force and must be feared and controlled accordingly. The great fear in 1787-1788 of the new, central government
under the proposed Constitution was evidenced by the fact that the State Ratifying Conventions proposed scores of amendments, designed chiefly to keep under
more rigid control what they considered to be this potential monster of power so dangerous to their liberties: the central,
or Federal, government.
The Views of Jefferson and Madison and the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
5. This fear was of abuse by government of power granted to it by the people, as well as of usurpation by it of power
denied or prohibited to it by them, through the Constitution, to the injury if not doom of their liberties--of the God-given,
unalienable rights of The Individual. Jefferson merely voiced the lesson of history--well known to, and accepted by, his fellow
Americans--when he stated, in the "Diffusion of Knowledge" Bill in 1779, in the Virginia legislature:
". . . experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms [of government], those entrusted with power have, in
time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny . . ."
Jefferson also expressed this traditional, American viewpoint in his famous writing known as the Kentucky Resolutions, as adopted in 1798 by the Kentucky legislature, in these words in part:
". . . it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety
of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism: free government is founded in jealousy and not in confidence;
it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited Constitutions to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with
power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which and no further our confidence may go; . . . In questions
of power then let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
These Kentucky Resolutions are closely akin to the contemporaneous Virginia Resolutions of 1798 adopted soon afterward by the Virginia legislature--written mainly by Madison who was, as usual, in close touch with Jefferson
in this period. Both sets of resolutions were protests against what were considered and denounced as abuses and usurpations
of power by the Federal government--chiefly through the Alien and Sedition Laws adopted by Congress in 1798. Such protests by a State legislature were in keeping with the remedies available to the States
in such a situation - remedies contemplated by The Framers as being within the constitutional system--as discussed, for example,
by Madison in 1788 in The Federalist number 46. The Sedition Act was designed to restrict freedom of speech and of the Press so as to stifle criticism of Federal officials and therefore
grossly violated the Constitution; and it was opposed, for example, by John Marshall, as a member of Congress, and by Alexander
Hamilton--the latter stating: "Let us not establish a tyranny." (These laws soon disappeared from the statute books, due to
their widespread unpopularity which the above-mentioned 1798 resolutions had helped initially to foster.)
Precedents for Other States' Protests Such As The Hartford Convention Resolutions
6. These 1798 protests by the Kentucky and Virginia legislatures were not the first such development in the life of
the Republic. A predecessor resolution of protest, for example, had been adopted by the Virginia legislature in 1790: the
"Protest and Remonstrance" against the assumption by the Federal government of the war-incurred debts of the States, as being
unconstitutional. This protest set a precedent for the above-mentioned 1798 resolutions. They, in turn, set precedents for
similar resolutions of protest adopted by various States--in New England, the North, the Mid-west as well as in the South--during
the following decades when they considered themselves to be victimized, potentially or actually, by either abuses or usurpations
of power by the Federal government; such developments being the subject of comment, for example, by former President John
Quincy Adams in his celebrated "Jubilee" address of April 30, 1839. (Some of these later resolutions even relied on the Virginia
Resolutions of 1798 as a precedent.) An example is the set of resolutions adopted in 1815, during the war with England, by
the Hartford Convention--representing Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire--protesting against
what were considered to be Federal usurpations, potential or actual, regarding use of the States' Militia in war operations
and other national defense matters.
The View of Patrick Henry
7. In the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788, Patrick Henry protested with vehemence against the proposed new Constitution's
lack of adequate limits on the central government's power, lack of sufficient safeguards against governmental abuses due to
human weaknesses among its officials, saying:
"Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their
rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed,
with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt." [Click here to read entire speech - LEXREX]
The American People's View Also Expressed in the Pittsfield Petition of 1776
8. These quoted sentiments were accepted as maxims by American leaders in general and by the American people as a
whole in that generation of Free Men--free in spirit and willing to fight and die for their Freedom from Government-over-Man.
This acceptance is illustrated by the below-quoted words of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts, town-meeting petition of a decade
earlier, in May, 1776. It was penned by the Reverend Thomas Allen, ardent friend of American Independence and of Man's Liberty
against Government-over-Man. It stated why Massachusetts needed a new, basic law of the people, a Constitution to be adopted
by the people only, in part as follows:
"That knowing the strong bias of human nature to tyranny and despotism, we have nothing else in view but to provide
for posterity against the wanton exercise of power, which cannot otherwise be done than by the formation of a fundamental
This petition reflected the sentiments of the frontier, "backwoods" people of Berkshire County, led by this patriot
as head of "The Berkshire Constitutionalists," over a decade before the 1787 Federal Convention framed the United States Constitution.
These were truly the sentiments of the American people at large. They are in harmony with the later phrasing of this idea
as follows in The Federalist (number 55, by Madison):
"As there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust: So there
are other qualities in human nature, which justify a certain portion of esteem and confidence."
Never-changing Weaknesses of Human Nature Create Never-changing Need for Safeguards
9. The never-changing need for, and value of, constitutional safeguards against abuse, or usurpation, of power by
public servants--as contemplated, and as provided for, by The Framers and Adopters of the Constitution in 1787-1788 and by
those who proposed, framed and adopted the first ten Amendments (including the Bill of Rights made applicable against the Federal, or central, government only)--are due to the never-changing weaknesses of human nature
in government and among the self-governing people. These weaknesses never change; therefore the need for these safeguards
can never change.
10. Fear of Government-over-Man was the dominant fear in that day of uncompromisingly individualistic Americans--Free
Men, ever jealous of the safety of Individual Liberty, of the security of their God-given, unalienable rights against violation
Quotes from The American Ideal of 1776 supporting this Principle.