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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

free people can govern themselves

what do people mean when they say that?

I've heard it often, most recently in the Republican party's pledge to America.

They start out by saying,
America is more than a country.

America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

Do members of the Republican party really believe that idea? What would be the actions of a person who believes that idea? Would that person support regulating businesses?

I am working on a blentry (thank my brother David for that term) about what people mean when they say "a right to" so I won't go into details on that here, but what would be the actions of a person who meant what they said when they use the phrase, "each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"?

Then they say,
America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Do they mean America the country, or America the idea that is stated above? If they mean America the country, can they verify this? Many people around the world know what America the country really is and it is no inspiration to anyone who yearns to be free. Do people who live in America yearn to be free? Do they have the ability to determine their own destiny? Or are they taxed and regulated and therefore prohibited by legislation and regulation from having the ability to determine their own destiny?

Then they say, paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence of those in a certain demarcated area of the north American continent from the rule of Great Britain,
Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

Is that conceptually identical to, "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."?

I don't think so, at any rate. The way I understand those two phrases, the one identifies the agenda of a government within that government's form. The other identifies the form used in an attempt to enact an agenda.

[Definition of AGENDA
1: a list or outline of things to be considered or done {agendas of faculty meetings}
2: an underlying often ideological plan or program {a political agenda} ]

Wouldn't the stated agenda of the government of the USofA be to secure the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? How can the agenda of the government then become destructive of these ends? Isn't that a contradiction? Isn't it more precisely the actions of those in positions of power that become destructive of these ends?
At what point do these actions become acts that violate the principles of "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God"?

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.
What proof do the authors of these words have to support their assertion that these principles have endured? What has actually been the fruit of the labors of those who for generations sacrificed for and were commited to them? Are we now able to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Or do we spend the majority of our time complying with government intervention into our lives and working to provide the resources to those who impose their whims upon us and murder and maim others supposedly in our names?

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

How does one assent to or revoke one's consent to be governed? What claim is the author of this statement making? Does consent only have to be given or revoked for particular policies of a particular iteration of a method of government? What policies is it to which the governed do not consent? Which governed do not consent to them? What can/are they doing about it?

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down longstanding laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

Are they saying this is a recent occurence with this current administration?
Are they saying these long standing laws and institutions were consistent with the principles stated above? Are they saying the consitution of the USofA has anything at all to do with "the will of the people"? Even if "the will of the people" is counter to the principles stated above?

Well, let's skip ahead to the pledge, no sense belaboring the rest of the preamble for now.

With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

Sounds pretty good so far. Not sure what they acually mean when they use those words, but if they use them with their precise meanings that is an admirable pledge.

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Seems like the Tenth amendment has become pretty popular lately. Do they state how they intend to follow through with that pledge? Do they plan to prosecute those who violate that amendment or who have done so in the past? What is the statute of limitations on violations of superior law by those promoting inferior law?

What about the second? In regard to the tenth, the second and the ninth at least, will those who are running for executive branch positions pardon all those currently in prison for non violent gun crimes, drug crimes and any other crimes where there was no victim? Will those running for legislative branch positions not attempt to enact new laws that make criminals out of people engaging in consentual acts with no victims? Will they repeal all legislative acts making criminals out of people who engage in consentual acts with no victims? Will those in the judicial branch cease supporting the conviction and punishment of those who have not engaged in any acts where there are victims?

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

Can we find mention of any of those policies anywhere?
What policies promote those things? Don't policies instead prevent those things? Wouldn't it be a lack of policies that prevent those things? Will they state in words that hold their meanings, policies that will do those things or are they just making statements they think people want to hear? I can state principles, not policies, that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity and national economic prosperity. Are they interested?
Here's one. Eliminate all bureaucratic agencies and their regulations. There is nothing in the constitution that authorized the delegation of the legislative process to bureaucratic agencies. Regulations are created to both create barriers to entry and to sustain the existence of bureaucratic agencies employing people who create nothing, add nothing to the economy and in effect drain resources from the economy.

And what policies will they advance that promote a robust defense? Will they advance policies that remove the threat of the military and all the covert agencies of the USofA of attacking people in other countries and subverting their choices as sovereign nations? Will they bring all of our troops home and close all our bases in countries not within the borders of the USofA? Do they understand the difference in definition between the words "defend" and "attack"? Will they end the standing army we were warned against by our founders?

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

What meaning does this statement actually express? How do those things form the core of our American values? Which American values?
Is it an American value to force your whims upon others regarding their choice of life partner?
To which faith-based organizations do they refer? I notice much ire has been directed to a faith based organization that intends to build a faith based community center in downtown Manhattan.

Isn't the core of our American values the principle that all men are created equal?

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

How do they plan to do that? Do they intend to continue to keep secrets from those whom it serves? If a government is not taking covert actions that work against the people it serves, why does it need to keep secrets from them?
Stewardship over what, in particular? Do they elaborate on that anywhere or is it another vacuous claim? The only entity over which they are charged with stewardship is the constitution to which they swear or affirm an oath. How do they plan to carefully steward the constitution?
What do they mean by honest in their dealings?

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

Can anyone explain to me what is meant by that statement?
What is the purpose and promise of a better America? What would make America better? What blessings of what liberty? Are the hopes of mankind buoyed for any thinking people anywhere in the world who observe the infringment of our liberties and the inherent stifling of any inherent blessings?

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

Since when are they to pledge their allegiance to the people they represent? How does that square with an oath to protect and defend the constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic? Isn't it quite possible that can conflict with said oath? If so, what or who wins out?

What are their plans for this new agenda? Why do we need a new agenda?

In essence, what in this pledge makes it clear those who make this pledge really intend for free people to govern themselves or even understand what it means for free people to govern themselves?