Founding documents from the classical liberal period can provide clarity at times like these when people in our government have exceeded their allowed power according to our United States Constitution. The monopoly press will ignore one problem in favor of another and it is now ignoring economic transgressions against people’s livelihoods in response to a virus scare while they turn their spotlight on George Floyd’s death and try to win a good opinion from you by virtue signalling instead of doing real journalism. You can contrast their deceptions with the truth revealing approach of our Founders. The Founders believed that paying attention to the function of government and limiting its power could keep peace in our nation. The Founding documents contain wisdom. This is some of the wisdom that influenced the men that wrote the Constitution.
Quotes from Thomas Hobbes Leviathan published 1651:
“I authorize and give up my right of governing myself, to this man, or to this assembly of men, on this condition, that thou give up thy right to him, and authorize all his actions in like manner. This done, the multitude so united in one person, is called a COMMONWEALTH, in Latin, CIVITAS. This is the generation of that great LEVIATHAN, or rather to speak more reverently, of that mortal god, to which we owe under the immortal God, our peace and defense.”
“LIBERTY, or FREEDOM, signifieth, properly, the absence of opposition….a FREEMAN, is he, that in those things, which by his strength and wit he is able to do, is not hindered to do what he has a will to.”
“The obligation of subjects to the sovereign, is understood to last as long, and no longer, than the power lasteth, by which he is able to protect them.”
“Competition of riches, honour, command, or other power, inclineth to contention, enmity, and war: because the way of one competitor, to the attaining of his desire, is to kill subdue, supplant, or repel the other.”
Quotes from John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, published in 1690:
“The great and chief end, therefore, of men’s uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property.”
“When any one, or more, shall take upon them to make laws, whom the people have not appointed so to do, they make laws without authority, which the people are not therefore bound to obey;”
“Where-ever law ends, tyranny begins, if the law be transgressed to another’s harm; and whosoever in authority exceeds the power given him by the law, and makes use of the force he has under his command, to compass that upon the subject, which the law allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate; and acting without authority, may be opposed”
“The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands; for it being but a delgated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others.”
“But if a long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, all tending the same way, make the design visible to the people, and they cannot but feel what they lie under, and see wither they are going; it is not to be wondered, that they should then rouze themselves, and endeavour to put the rule into such hands which may secure to them the ends for which government was at first erected;”
Here are some quotes from Charles de Secondant Baron de Montesquieu from his Spirit of the Laws, published 1748:
“Before laws were made, there were relations of possible justice.”
“The united strength of individuals …constitutes what we call the body politic.”
“In republican governments, men are all equal: equal they are also in despotic governments; in the former, because they are everything, in the latter because they are nothing.”
“Political liberty is to be found only in moderate governments; and even in these it is not always found. It is there only when there is no abuse of power. But constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it, and to carry his authority as far as it will go. Is it not strange, though true, to say that virtue itself has need of limits?…to prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power. A government may be so constituted, as no man shall be compelled to do things to which the law does not oblige him, nor forced to abstain from things which the law permits.”
“There would be an end of everything, were the same man or the same body, whether of the nobles or of the people, to exercise those three powers, that of enacting laws, that of executing the public resolutions, and of trying the causes of individuals.”
Here are some quotes by Thomas Paine, “Commonsense” was published in 1776:
“Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a Government, which we might expect in a country without Government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”
“A government of our own is our natural right: and when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance.”
We have seen Federal Reserve experiments that are destroying the value of our money. These experiments, ZIRP, QE, unregulated derivatives trading, TARP, damage people’s wealth and property. We have also seen government officials who don’t respect our nation’s Constitution and choose to do whatever they imagine will give them money or power over other’s people’s money and property. We see trouble now on every side. George Floyd’s death happened because of local police using stronger policing tactics. They are the wrong tactics. It’s time for all Americans to reflect on the history of our nation. Consider next steps carefully.
It’s time to hold officials accountable for operating outside of our laws and principles of good government. It’s time for those officials to gather together some humility and admit that they have made mistakes that have hurt other people. It’s time to end abuses of power that exceed the powers allowed in the Constitution. It’s time to address hurts and harms that are being done against ordinary people across America. This isn’t a game where game theory is all-important. This looks like it could be a turning point that requires good care and attention so that our nation ends off better instead of worse.
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