“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” –Patrick Henry
Why has this principle become so twisted over the past hundred years? The government has come to the antithesis of what it was intended. Constitutional rights are less “rights” than they are “privileges” now. We have seen unprecedented infringement on the right to bear arms across the nation (2nd amendment need not apply). We have seen an erosion of the 4th amendment and freedom in the name of a “war on drugs.” We have seen an erosion of free markets, suffocating in red tape and taxes. The surveillance state we all feared from George Orwell’s 1984 has become reality. Where does it end? When comes the point when we are no better off than Europe? I beg to say that there are two options that the American people have. The first is to simply vote out those who have created the black hole that is the United States Government. The second is for the states, and their elected officials, to call for a Constitutional Convention to cut back on the murder of liberty. A third is the option no one wants to hear (I am sure you can infer what I mean).
“Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.” –Mao Zedong, The Little Red Book, 1964
The state never wants an armed populace. A populace that is armed and able to defend its liberties cannot be coerced into the will of the state. Have you ever noticed that the states with the strictest gun laws are the least free in the union? It was no accident that the right to bear arms was included in the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists realized that no matter how much control is put on a government, there will always be someone that will use whatever means necessary to control the populace. The states of New York and California have the strictest firearms laws in the union, and they are the least free and the most taxed states. The fact that it is nearly impossible to obtain a concealed carry permit in these states demonstrates that the right to bear arms does not exist in those places. That is, unless you are a part of the ruling class and have “a reason to carry;” hence, the aristocratic class that the Anti-Federalists feared. “Tyranny is defined as that which is legal for the government, but illegal for the citizenry” (Thomas Jefferson). When the right to bear arms has become reserved for the elite and ruling class, all other liberties are in danger. If one Constitutional right can be denied, all of them will be denied.
“If you want to fight a war on drugs, sit down at your own kitchen table and talk to your own children.” -Barry McCaffrey
How about the war on drugs? When growing a plant becomes a more criminal offense than manslaughter, the government is irreconcilably corrupt. SWAT raids have increased exponentially in the past decade, and with what gain? Why is the possession of a naturally growing plant like cannabis more worthy of 25 to life, while often rape is not? American citizens claim to be the freest people in the world, yet the U.S. has the highest rate of incarceration on the planet! According to the Huffington Post, 1 in every 106 white males over 18 is incarcerated, 1 in every 36 Hispanics over 18 is incarcerated, and 1 in every 15 black males over 18 is incarcerated. When something is made illegal, a black market forms; when a black market forms, crime soars; when crime soars, liberty will become no more. Two results have come from the war on drugs; over $1 trillion in debt, and the highest incarceration rate in the world. If one desires to grow a plant and use it within their home, not harming or threatening anyone else, why should that be changed?
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.” -James Madison
What about the undeclared war on the economy? Agencies like the EPA know no bounds in regulating businesses out of existence. The fact that a business cannot display a sign thanking the troops for their service is the epitome of rule by administrative despots. Yet somehow all this ridiculous regulation is not regulated by the Constitution. The right to own a business is not a specific right in the Constitution, so the government simply assumes it has the right to control that area (though it still tries to control all other delegated rights as well). States like New York and California are losing business faster than they can possibly recover from. What do they do? Raise taxes on remaining businesses to make up for lost revenue. And to ensure the “protection of the environment,” a code of regulations is implemented that no person could possibly comprehend.
“He who would trade liberty for some temporary security deserves neither liberty nor security.”-Benjamin Franklin
How has giving up our expectation of privacy and liberty helped America? Ever since 9/11, the 4th amendment has been torn to shreds by the Patriot Act, Authorization of Use of Military Force Act, and the National Defense Authorization Act etc. What recent months have revealed is that the National Security Agency has been data-mining of millions of Americans through their cell phones, emails, and social media accounts. There have even been reports of NSA agents on the popular game World of Warcraft spying on people! The measures taken by agencies like the NSA, FBI, TSA and others to find incriminating evidence is stunning. On a flight to Massachusetts, a friend of mine was pulled over by the TSA, had his bag torn apart looking for items that could be used for violent means. What was the cause? A power-lifting belt. Does that sound like probable cause to search one’s effects under our Constitution? The protections of the 4th amendment has been torn to shreds by the TSA in our travels, and torn to shreds in our digital property by the NSA. 1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a manual.
So, the question is what can Americans do to end this war on freedom? Voting out politicians who created these despotic regulations and strangulations does not work, as Congress has about a 90% incumbency. A rollback in regulations and limits on personal freedoms would be nice, but the odds of that happening with the current state of affairs are slim at best. Perhaps it will be a Constitutional Amendment, but not one passed by this Congress. The recent movement for a Convention of States is gaining momentum and support across the nation. Ideas like term limits and forcing the government to follow the laws it passes are some of the prominent ideas. Perhaps a strengthening of the 4th amendment could be in order; criminal procedure was of the utmost important to the Founders; or an abolition of the IRS to end theft of personal wealth for redistribution; or the reaffirmation of the right to bear arms for all citizens, in all states. Whatever may be done, it must limit the power of the federal government, not the people. Americans will only surrender to so much coercion before rising up, and the American people do not take no for an answer when demanding liberty.