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To Impeach or Not To Impeach: A Constitutional Question.

It has been a long time since I’ve entered something on this blog, almost a year to be exact.  But the recent flap over the abortive impeachment efforts have been so ridden with pure partisan rhetoric and galactic class political spin, that, in my opinion, the major memes and posts on that bastion of political brilliance, FaceBook (FB), have only one thing in common from both sides… a nearly perfect ignorance of the very specific language of the relevant document: The U.S. Constitution.  As some of you know, I’ve not been shy about saying that in response to posts, so of course, several times I’ve been taken to task for being a Trump supporter (something several notches worse than being a serial killer in the views of the denizens of halls of academia), or accused of doing it simply to be a contrarian.  It seemed time to do something not reasonable in a FB post since it is necessarily long and detailed, and that is to go into detail to explain why I feel as I do.

I’m not a complete Pollyanna so I don’t actually expect the serious partisans to actually read this since they seem to be devoted to ignoring any opinions contrary to their own.  In doing so, they, of course, betray the reality that the truth does not matter to them since real seekers of some philosophical truth know the only way it is ever found is if the seeker is willing to admit the possibility they might be wrong and therefore remain open to hearing and considering the opposing ideas objectively.  Sadly, I’ve not yet encountered that attitude on Facebook, instead, only a theological-level, divine certainty in the righteousness of their own viewpoint while seeing all others as stupid or perhaps evil.

But for the surprising individual, if there actually is one left out there, who is even remotely interested, here is my own thinking on the issues.  But to make any sense of it I need to give a little foundation since my conclusions are the result a several factors building to it.  There was serious thinking and debate involved in the writing of our Constitution and I think it deserves to be seen as forming the reasons for its very deliberate word usage.  So here is my line of reasoning to arrive at my own position.

First we have to understand that the Constitution was created by a collection of very knowledgeable individuals who had carefully looked over a lot of political history and been influenced by political philosophies from Plato down to Locke and Montesquieu.  They fully understood that they were creating something new and untried, indeed, were forming a government that was, in its approach and style, contrary to the foundational philosophies of any other country in the history of governments.  Knowing that, knowing full well that they would be stepping on a lot of geopolitical toes, they were concerned about being misunderstood both then and down the road in (their) future.  So they wrote prolifically to each other and friends and in publications that are still with us and easy to find for anyone interested in the truth,

When I was in Law School (1971,’72, ‘73) I grew to be totally fascinated by Constitutional Law and jumped wholeheartedly into it.  The more I studied it and its creators the more impressed I was with the wisdom and foresight exhibited in this seminal document.  And I became nearly obsessed with the idea that what set us apart from other nations was the iron clad obedience to the rule of law.  It was, paradoxically, the reliance on the LAW of the day and until it was officially changed, that set us free as a people and apart from citizens of other countries.  In the course of that study, it soon became inescapable that our founders actually ended up re-defining what a Republic was up to that point.

Previously Republics were largely democratic meaning they relied on pure majority rule (well to be fair, the majority of those who were allowed to vote on the matter).  But our founders were dedicated to assuring the Declaration’s famous “rights” for all.  One exchange with Madison illustrated the problem.  He posited a group of three individuals in which two wanted actions that the third opposed.  It was clear the third individual’s rights were not recognized in that scenario where the two could outvote the one.  According to Madison, it made no difference ethically or morally If the group was composed of 3,000; 1,000 of them would have their rights overridden and that was not acceptable to the goals of the founders.  THe numbers changhed but the ethics did not.  So they morphed the traditional republican concept into a representational democracy – something totally new on the world stage.  To avoid one demographic sitting in continual power over others, the electoral college was formulated so the little guys, the rural areas would be operating on a leveled playing field, sometimes to the chagrin and irritation of the self-anointed brilliant citizens from the urban areas.  Without it today, we would be governed by the appropriately titled “Coastal Elites” while those rubes in the fly-over states should just accept that the citified people were ever so much brighter, so much more “woke” to use the modern parlance, and ought to be able to make the decisions for all the rest on matters political as well as moral.  The founders rejected that and went to some convoluted lengths to try to forestall it.

Further, although in other systems, notably Great Britain, the three primary governmental functions of executive, legislative, and judicial all existed, they were not truly separated and independent.  Our creation of them as separate and coequal branches was like none other.  In our system, uniquely, the real “bosses” were seen by the founders as being the people, and the government existed only to assure and protect the rights recognized and described in the Declaration of Independence.  We voluntarily gave the government the power to govern us AS WE, THE PEOPLE, WISHED IT TO, and the Constitution was the embodiment of the law that governed those we allowed to govern us.  It was not created to govern us, the people.  Indeed it derived it power from us.  Rather, it was written to govern the government.   We the people could take back that power via the vote.

What was also unique was that this government of, by, and for the people, could not require anything of the governed (us) that was not approved by ALL THREE of the branches.  The legislature had to first create the laws and pass them, but the executor needed to then approve them, and then, if further challenged, the judicial branch had to approved them as being in concert with the constraints of the Constitution.  It was an amazing set of checks to assure the survival of the rights of the citizenry.  Nothing like it had ever existed in the history of human governments.

The founders believed in the basic goodness of human kind under divine guidance, i.e. that we strove for the good as a general rule.  But they were not blind to the reality that some people “went off the rails” and could seriously damage the institutions they were creating.  Included, therefore, among the Constitution’s provisions were the rules for removing an elected public servant on any level from representative all the way to the president: a process called “impeachment.”

It was thought of by the founders, according to their correspondences, as an incredibly serious step since in doing so it was clear that the government took upon itself the power to override the wishes of its own bosses, the people who had elected that individual in the first place.  Consequently, since those day in Law School, I’ve been “hooked” into carefully watching impeachment proceedings — first about Nixon (I think they had a strong case for removal due to criminal acts but he resigned before they could hold the trial), then Clinton (I think he was a sleaze but did not commit an impeachable offense) and now Trump.  This is potentially the most serious thing the legislative branch can do… undertake the overturning of an election and remove an elected official from office.  If anything tests the strength of the constitution this is it. So I want to present my own thinking on the issue of impeachments and what is required and then apply that to this case.

Hamilton and Madison wrote voluminously about it and among other things, made it clear that this was not to be a matter of common politics.  Malfeasance in office was specifically declared by Hamilton to not be an acceptable reason for removal since it was so subjective.  Additionally, they purposefully did not want to emulate the British Parliamentarian system of “votes of confidence” as they saw it as inherently unstable and far too subject to political and partisan whims.

Matters reduceable to basic, even if serious, policy differences were ruled out as well and for similar reasons; such procedures were seen to be in opposition to the will of the electors who had voted for the individual likely because of the policies promised and in practice.

It is important too, o note another by product of the system they created.  It is important when looking at charges of obstruction of one branch or another, to understand that as a co-equal branch, the presidency could not logically “obstruct” the other branches since it was equal to and therefore not subservient to them (or vice versa).  You and I can obstruct a branch of government, but the presidency cannot, by definition, do it.  But that does not mean it can do just anything it desires.  If it appears to be violating some legislative powers or ethical standards and mores of the contemporary culture, it is the province of the judiciary, in the form of the Supreme Court, to determine one or the other of the branches must give way in that specific incidence.  Without a judicial finding and direction, and a subsequent violation of that finding and directive, one “equal” branch cannot be seen as obstructing the other.  Disputes over authority, and there were plenty of cases of it in the early days, were to be settled via the Supreme Court who, in such circumstances, had “the last word.”  If the court’s directives were violated, then and then only could there be movement to compel a specific action of obstruction or even contempt of court.

They also clearly noted that in order to assure that the action of impeachment was not strictly political (and therefore not allowed) it must be bipartisan in nature.  That is why a supermajority (2/3) of senate votes that would be expected to cross party lines was required for removal.  Due to real numbers it was virtually impossible to achieve a super-majority from just one party.

So what COULD be seen as an impeachable offense?  They settled on very well defined language describing with great specificity what the infractions were that could form the basis for an impeachment.  The wording is now famous and after the last weeks most know them by heart where they may not be able to quote any other sentence in the entire document.  To be qualified for impeachment, according to Article 2, Section 4 which reads:

“The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

It is one of the clearest directives in the entire document consisting of terms with very specific and commonly understood meanings.  Or at least it was until political narratives sought to redefine them to suit specific agendas.  So lets examine them a little more closely.

First up was treason.  That is interesting because treason is the only crime specifically defined in the Constitution and the founders’ writings make it clear that was chosen to avoid the use of the charge as a political weapon to repress opposition to the government’s or President’s policies.  There have been only a handful of treason cases since our founding and in each one the court seemed to work to limit the definition even further.  Well, lest there be any confusion,  here is what Article 3, Section 3-1 says:

“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

What has become clear it that (a) levying war requires an actual capability of doing that (a standing army, for example) or providing aid and comfort to an enemy named in a declaration of war or hostilities, and, most importantly, (b) it requires an overt act, i.e. some conduct.  Mere intention or expression is not enough.  That was spelled out clearly in the decision of Cramer v. U.S., in 1945.

I could be wrong, but as far as I know we have not declared war on any of the parties involved directly or indirectly in all this.  So by definition, without a war, or at least some official declaration of a state of hostilities, treason cannot apply.

Moving on we have we have the next enumerated impeachable action…bribery.  Bribery, for a public official, meant the taking of something of value to influence their public service.  For example, taking money and in return, instituting policies favorable to the source of the money and usually (but not necessarily) to the detriment of other constituents.  Clear, huh?  Well, not so fast.  How about a bribe going the other way, i.e. offering some enticement to an individual or country based on the power of the Presidency to alter the behavior of that individual or foreign government?  That is closer to the action alleged in this impeachment process.

The problem with claiming that as an impeachable offense, is that it is, in fact, the very core tactic of nearly all geopolitical diplomacy.  Virtually every diplomatic “deal” is achieved by a series of “quid pro quo” agreements where, in order to get the foreign government or individual to do something we want, we offer inducements or, if appropriate, some negative potential “threat.”   For example, we threatened then applied sanctions on Iran and North Korea to influence their obsessions and work toward achieving nuclear capabilities.  An action hardly could be more of a direct interference in another country’s behaviors, aspirations, or plans than an onerous sanction that creates great economic distress.  We have brought countries into our “club” by offering them something they need such as money or defense.   The historical truth us that every diplomatic deal in history was achieved because the parties “gave something to get something” which is the very essence of a “Quid Pro Quo” agreement.  Does that mean that every President who strong arms another country is impeachable?  Be very careful with that one…  Answering “yes” means there is probably not a president in our history or in our future that would not be impeachable.

In this case, however, it was shown that the government in question, Ukraine, did not see the requests for a favor as pressure of any kind (according to interviews with both its President and Defense Minister).  Additionally, they did not do or act as requested, did not do any investigation or make any announcement of planning to do so, and yet, the funds allocated by Congress, though delayed, were nevertheless delivered within the timelines of the original grant and, on top of that monetary aid, war materials were delivered in the same time frame that the previous administration had refused to give at all.  There was no showing of fact indicating the delay brought any harm to Ukraine especially since they were not even aware of the delay.

One can spin that six ways from Sunday but since Ukraine suffered no detriment and we got nothing either, it is hard to see that exchange as a viable intended, much less consummated bribe since, when the smoke cleared, there was not any quid nor was there any quo.

The request may well have been stupid, even sleazy.  Moreover, because of its appearance as something personally beneficial to the President and not the country, it may well be an appropriate target for some form of approbation or public censure.  But it does not appear to have been a successful bribe and if it was an attempted bribe it didn’t get very far since even the intended victim did not see it as such.

So, moving on, what else ya got?

There was the argument proposed by the accusers, that no actual crime needed to be committed in order to have an impeachable offense, so lets look again at what, other than Bribery or Treason, is enumerated as impeachable offenses.  The words are pretty clear on their face.  “… or other high crimes or misdemeanors.”  Pay careful attention to the use of the adjective, “OTHER,” it’s a critical word in this sentence.  Remember the founders had long debates and sometimes literally fought over virtually every word in the constitution to make sure it expressed exactly what they wanted.

When the Constitution was written, “High Crimes” meant what today we call “Felonies” and misdemeanors meant what today we call, uh, “misdemeanors.”  (Ref. Black’s Law Dictionary of the time).  Both are types of crimes defined under both statutory and common law.  Some legal authors have seen the dichotomy as representing actions that are “Malum In Se” (actions criminal or abhorrent in and of themselves without the need for legal definitions such a murder or rape, etc.) compared to actions that are “Malum Prohibitum” (actions made illegal by statute such as speeding or jaywalking).  But even so, actions following those definitions were still understandable as crimes.  If they were not, then the phrase “OTHER high crimes and misdemeanors” makes absolutely no sense.  In a section as serious as this one, writing a nebulous set of definitions for conduct allowing for removal of office for the country’s executive branch seems so far beyond unlikely as to be unthinkable.

An interesting, if desperate, argument was made during the impeachment process that since we did not have a country yet we had no laws and no crimes to define.  Therefore the founders did not need a crime to be committed in order for action to be impeachable.   Really?  Ignoring for a moment their use of the legal term defining types of crimes, do you think if you committed a robbery in ANY jurisdiction of the time you could get away with it on the claim that there was no country and therefore no laws to break?  We had no end of local laws and statutes, and jurisdictions were still aware of and following British common law under which those terms were readily understood.  There was no country when Benedict Arnold was accused of treason so does that mean if captured he could not have been tried and punished?  That conclusion is utter nonsense and a desperate grasping at straws.

Read the definition of impeachable offenses again… slowly if necessary.  The wording of the Constitution does NOT say, “… or other things we don’t like.”  Nor does it say, “…or other actions congress decides are impeachable.”  It specifically lists two types of crimes with commonly accepted meanings.  I do not understand why that is so hard to comprehend other than a blatant partisan refusal to give up on the idea that there is, of course, an impeachable offense in here to let us hang the S.O.B even if we have to redefine words otherwise clear on their face.

Since the trial of impeachment deals with the existence of crimes by its own definition, then it is de facto a criminal trial where the standard of proof is, as it is in all criminal cases, and was under common law, guilt beyond all reasonable doubt.  One reason for trying to make the case that some criminality is not necessary, was to make the trial into more of a civil action where the standard of proof is “preponderance of the evidence.”  But I believe the precise wording in the Constitution defining the cause of action makes in inescapably a criminal trial.

That all leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that politically stupid as the President’s actions were, as inappropriate as they certainly were, under the very clear meaning and words in the Constitution, they did not rise to the level of an impeachable act.  And that failure would lead naturally to a filing for a directed verdict as soon as the prosecution’s case was made since no real case had been laid out.  Much was made over the issue of witnesses but I see that as simply a red herring and diversion from the failure of the primary action.

First of all, there were already de facto  prosecution witnesses inserted into the presentation via unchallenged cleverly edited video excerpts with no option to cross examine the witnesses by the defense team.  But setting that aside, in a trial, witnesses are called for one reason, to establish the facts of the case, especially when they are challenged or disputed.  The judge is there to establish and rule on matters of law to be applied to those facts – that is NOT the job of the witnesses.  The jury is there to overlay those facts (they are called the “triers of fact” for a reason) on the law as presented by the judge and render a verdict.

There is no available verdict of innocent, only “guilty” (meaning the defendant did the deed as alleged) or “not guilty” meaning only that the case against him or her was not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  And impeachment is the only sort of criminal trial where, under the Consitution, the concept of “double jeopardy” does not apply so it is important to see a verdict of “not guilty” with no more meaning than it actually has.

But in this case, the “facts” were accepted by both sides.  The phone call and its general wording was not in question.  The question was only about the propriety and legality of the specifics of the call.   Impeachment is specifically NOT to be about policy disagreements which were at the heart of the committee’s witnesses, and that leaves only the issue of legality of the alleged conduct.  Various new “witnesses” whose policy agendas were in concert or opposition to the call or the President would not change the facts in question, and the final application of law was to be the sole purview of the judge and, in the end, a matter for the “jury” (the senate) to decide by a 2/3 vote.

The resulting vote was clearly partisan so the founders would not have accepted it anyway and would have likely declared the equivalent of a mistrial and sent everyone packing.  Both the impeachment hearings and the trial were completely along almost perfect party lines.

And now some of the more rabid in the opposition are still wanting to do it again. I think that is tactically, irrationally, illogically, and profoundly stupid and counter productive.  An election is coming up in a few months.  The proper solution, if the goal is removal, is to vote the one you see as evil spawn of the devil out of office properly and remove the issues stemming from a wildly partisan and very flawed process.  To continue down this already failed path merely serves to harden the hearts of his base, allows independents to see it as an apparently totally political and highly partisan move, and to see him as the victim, if not martyr, in this political theater.  I think if one wants to see someone else as president next term, continuing down this path, rehashing failed concepts over and over, ad nauseum, will only serve to aid his re-election bid.  So for those of you who so despise him and the very ground he walks on, if you continue down this path and if he wins re-election you will have no further to look for blame than the nearest mirror.

So there you have it. This is simply my opinion about the merits of the case as presented, it has nothing to do with my personal feelings about Trump as a president.  That does not and should not be a factor no matter what you think of him personally.  Because if personal animosity is allowed to be the foundation for impeachment and removal proceedings, then no future President is safe from this form of harassment and given the time spent on this to the detriment of needed governmental business, our whole system will simply grind to a horrible and pointless halt.

I, for one, think that will be the nail in our country’s coffin that ends it all and I do not wish to encourage any action or process that can lead to that result.

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Posted by on February 10, 2020 in Uncategorized


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Happy Birthday America

San Diego – On this day in 1776, some very brave individuals dipped their quill pens in an inkwell and signed their names to a document that was to alter the course of history not just for this country but for the world.  The values embodied in that writing were, for over 100 years, the values that motivated this nation and illuminated its character until it truly became the place symbolized by the lady with the torch in New York Harbor.

Those men had backbones of steel and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish the land of the free and home of the brave.  Their words were immortal even if their bodies were not; and for that they should be grateful.  Because if they were still alive to see what we have done with their trust, a trust for which many of them actually gave their lives and fortunes, I think they would be appalled and profoundly saddened to see their political progeny with backbones of cornmeal mush.  John Adams wrote:

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” 

If there is kindness in Heaven then Adams will not be allowed to look down.  As a nation we no longer truly understand the word ‘honor’, much less ‘sacred honor’.  I fear that in another 230-odd years into the future, if in fact we have that amount of time left, future historians will see this country as little more than a footnote in history as is Rome or Babylon to us.  Unless, that is, we quickly get our heads back on straight and our country back on course and away from the ruinous path we are now on.

Most of the celebrants today are simply out for a day off work and the chance to see some good fireworks displays where they are still allowed.  A recent survey showed that only about a 3rd of the people knew what year the Declaration of Independence was written, fewer still could name any of the signers,  a statistically insignificant number could recite any of the reasons for it, and an astonishingly low number, less than a quarter of them, knew from whom we were declaring independence.  And it gets worse,

We have so degenerated into partisan bickering that a recent Harvard study concluded that 4th of July events tended to benefit Republicans and gave no benefit to Democrats.  What???  We have a major party fielding candidates to lead the country who derive no benefit from remembrances of the date on which, for the first time, we defined this country as one which was, as noted in some of my previous posts, obsessed with freedom?  What does that say about them if it is true?  And if it is true why would anyone have any truck with them at all?

Well the reason seems to be that Marx was right after all:  people will get soft after awhile and forget the fire that was in the bellies of their elders and ancestors and come to a point where all they want from a government is to be taken care of.  And they will give up the freedoms for which those signers risked everything, so that the fruits of the labors of others will be used to carry them.

Don’t think so?  Another poll taken just a few months ago showed that for the first time ever, over half of the citizens wanted the government to partake in wealth redistribution and have the people willing to work provide the goodies for those who are not.  As a nation and culture, this country cannot survive that attitude which is anathema to everything — EVERYTHING — those signers believed in.

Rather than accept the founders’ own words about what they believed and tried to accomplish, our universities are filled with liberal professors who have reinvented them in the images of their own beliefs and ignored all of the carefully written documents and letters to the contrary.  Those teachers are, to use Lenin’s appraisal, “useful idiots.”  And students, who know only what they are taught and no longer seem willing to take the time or expend the effort to go researching and analyzing evidence on their own, swallow that poison in big single gulps.  Who needs a Jim Jones when we have a cadre of professors pouring the cultural Kool-Aid for them?

I have written before and offered quotes to show that the social and political philosophies of the founders following Locke and Burke and elegantly phrased by Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other are not what is too often taught in our schools and certainly not in mine.  I have pointed to their own writing to demonstrate what they REALLY intended with the Bill of Rights and how it was NOT even remotely close to what we modernly have come to assert.

Though I have not previously written about one of those revisionist topics, a news article today encourages me to do so.  It is now popular to try to contend that the founders were not religious people and certainly not Christian. Even our president, King Barrack, said we are not a Christian nation.  We have usurped the founding fathers’ awareness of religious abuses and consequent fear of a State Religion to declare they were not, themselves, religious and spiritual people.  But as explained by Benjamin Rush, one of the founders and our first Secretary of Education,

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty; and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments…. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws.”

Much is made modernly of Jefferson’s religious thinking and many claims are even made that he was most likely an closet atheist.  It is true he held organized religions, especially those with a priestly caste that interfered in governments, in the lowest esteem.  But that is a different matter and in a letter to John Adams, discussing Calvin, with whom he disagreed, Jefferson wrote:

 “I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.”

Undaunted, much is also made of the alleged fact that even George Washington said that the U.S. was in no way founded on Christianity (though actually that is a quote from Adams) and also on the unfortunate fact that some quotes to the contrary by him have been shown to be, themselves, utter fabrications.  Indeed he may be one of the most often misquoted people outside of Yogi Berra and Abe Lincoln.

But there are plenty of Washington’s real letters and recorded speeches to draw from and we need to put those real lines in context as Madison admonished when he wrote that such reinventions of what people believed came from separating their words from the environments in which they lived.  In presenting one of the most critically important issues in trying to interpret the words of those no longer around to clarify things for us, Madison prophetically warned us,

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” 

The founders were fearful of a state religion and noted frequently the history of Henry VIII who made himself head of the Church of England.  But to separate church and state politically is a very different thing entirely from separating a culture’s reliance on foundational religious principles and values.  And we therefore need to accept that Washington also wrote:

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” and further “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Or let’s listen to John Adams…

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

I think we are now seeing the truth of that statement come true as we increasingly lose our moral compass as we throw away our religious values.  It is true that Adams railed against the abuses of religion throughout history and so fought long and hard to make sure the new country he was helping to found did not incorporate the co-founding of a State Religion.  But for himself and his own beliefs, he also wrote:

“But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.” 

Alas, modern revisions and attempts to reinvent the founders’ beliefs and intentions didn’t start with the religious issue and has hardly stopped there.  The new interpretations, as i’ve pointed out now and then, extend to other matters as well. James Madison, who wrote in defense of the 2nd Amendment (and contrary to a retired City College professor who asserted to me that the 2nd Amendment was written to avoid the draft— which NO ONE back then was talking about since after the war they virtually disbanded the army entirely)…

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Our professors and liberal leaders have clearly done what Madison advised against above and have taken words apart from their historical context as they tried to reinterpret and reconnect the founders’ words with the professors’ own desires.  And as a result we are, in my opinion, getting the very government he feared would intrinsically follow: “…a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

Perhaps in part that is because we did not heed Madison’s other prescient warnings, such as…

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

And elsewhere he noted.

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. … It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad. … 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.”

Madison also had something to say to those who believe it is the role of government to provide a common trough from which all might feed.

“The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.” 

So what is the point of all of this recitation?  Why have I here and in other posts tried to show what the founding fathers and the intellectual mentors they admired wrote and meant as contrasted with modern, and mostly liberal, attempts to claim otherwise?  The reason is simple and straightforward.

I believe the country those great mean defined and founded was the best thing that ever happened to the history of man’s attempts to form “…a more perfect union.”  Yes it has flaws but our Constitution also provides the means to correct them.  But, to the point, we cannot accurately asses their words and deeds without accurately understanding their true intentions and foundational beliefs.  If we try to make course corrections without that understanding we are almost guaranteed to make mistakes and in this world those could be culturally and nationally deadly.

Many of the same issues facing them are facing us.  The world has grown and evolved but in some fundamental ways not changed all that much.  And human nature, sadly, has not appeared to have changed at all.  Our modern world may provide additional solutions to those problems facing us, but if we cannot accurately understand what the real problems they were addressing with their solutions and simply try to attack the bottom line, our chances of lasting success are virtually nil as are the chances of not doing some damage to the good parts as well.

My fear therefore stems from the fact that I believe that as we as a nation, following mostly liberal thinking, have drawn further and further away from the principles laid down by the founders starting with that document signed on the first 4th of July,  Our nation has gone, as a result, from growth to decline.

I believe that if the liberal socialist ideals embraced by much of Europe, and profoundly held by our current president, continue to expand and control, then we are doomed.  Like every other time in human history socialist economics has been applied and failed, it will fail with us too. There have been no exceptions to that litany of failure and we will not be the first.

In fact the country and especially this state (California) are poster children for the proposition that Socialist/Keynesian economics will bring any followers to ruin.  I fear, along with John Adams, that,

“… a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  And…

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” 

I also believe that when we find ourselves adrift in terms of core values just as we are adrift economically; when we reach, as we seem to have started doing, the point where we refuse to discriminate between right and wrong and insist morality is an old and obsolete concept, then our national soul is a rotten as our national purse and we, of right, are laying the seeds of our own destruction. Again, in the words of John Adams,

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” 

I sadly am increasingly of the belief that King Barrack knows his Adams well.   He is not very good with the sword, as we are seeing, but he is beyond excellent with debt.

So on this Fourth of July in 2011 I will be celebrating the birthday of what was, at one time, the greatest country on earth.  For those who feel that this celebration has no benefit to them then I would say you need to re-assess your thinking or seriously consider emigration to a country more in line with your beliefs.

You cannot have it both ways.  If you belong to the “blame America first” thinkers, and if, eventually, you get your way and we turn into another socialist country of the current European model, then we will simply have their problems (think Greece as the exemplar of that ideal) you will lose the good things you wanted to keep.

If, on the other hand, you help those like me turn the country back to what it was you may lose your place at the government trough because I would personally throw the trough away.  But with that comes a place of true freedom, a place where, for those willing to work for it, the pursuit of happiness can result in success to a level unachievable in those other places from which our immigrants have come.

And if you are an immigrant, legal or otherwise, please think about this: you came here to escape a place where you were treated poorly or had no hope of rising past the level you were in.  Why would you then want to turn us back into the place you came from?

So instead of turning your environment into little enclaves of “the old country,” do what our earlier immigrants did: buy into the hope and possibilities of this great land, buy into the words and meanings and values of the Declaration of Independence celebrated on this day, buy into the freedoms memorialized in our unique Constitution, and do all you can do to let us and help us grow and all you can do to keep us from slipping into the same approaches and attitudes and allegiances and corruptions that defined and described the places from which you came.

If we will only open our eyes and see it, there are benefits to us all from celebrating the birthday of the signing of our Declaration of Independence.


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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


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