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Thread: We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident...

  1. #1
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    We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident...

    This summer marks my tenth anniversary of interest in gun rights. Think back to the summer of '06 when immigration was the social hot topic, and the UN was moving against possession of small arms.

    A lot of water has passed under the bridge for me. A lot of reading about history and rights. Not just gun rights, but all rights.

    What is the highest certainty I have been able to conclude with regard to freedom?

    The Bill of Rights is just a mile-stone on the road to freedom. The Bill of Rights is not the high-water mark (unless we allow it to be).

    For some years I have been an amateur student of English political history--because our freedoms today and yesterday proceed from English history.

    So, what is the greatest lesson I've been able to draw from English political history?

    Just this: ever since Roman Emperor Claudius invaded Britain in 43 AD., English history has been one long story of the fight for freedom.

    In the minds of historians, "pre-history" is the time before written history. The Romans destroyed English history when the Roman governor eradicated (genocide) the Druids. The Druids in England practiced memorized verbal history not too unlike the Vedic Hymns of India. So, when the Roman governor trapped and destroyed the last of the Druids on the island of Anglesey, he erased the pre-history of Britain.

    So, the written history of Britain begins mostly with the writings of Roman historian Tacitus. Before that, there is only archeology and a few passing blurbs by Julius Caesar who tried to invade Britain the 50's BC.

    So, coming forward from Claudius and Tacitus, English history is one long story of average people fighting for their rights. One long, see-sawing story of power versus rights, power versus freedom. Across seventeen centuries. Centuries.

    The milestones of freedom are easily marked. The history already exists. One just has to learn it.

    And, this one point stands out: the Bill of Rights is not the be-all-end-all. It is just a milestone.

    For example, today, the US fedgov holds that the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination is a "fighting right". That is to say, the fedgov disingenuously holds that you have to invoke your right against self-incrimination. Phhhht! The only reason it is a fighting right is because government never acknowledged it is full-power right. This goes back to the 1650's and John Lilburne's fourth trial for high treason. Afterward, the courts ruled that a person could not be compelled to testify against himself. Meaning, the government only conceded the hairline degree it felt it had to in order to avoid the populace breaking out pitchforks and torches. Nothing, nothing at all, stops the federal courts from fully recognizing the right against self-incrimination by holding that nothing said by accused can be used against him in court. The ancient Jewish courts--the Sanhedrin--supply the example that puts it in perspective. They held just exactly that: nothing the accused said could be used against him.

    The Bill of Rights was just a milestone. A very important milestone. But, just a milestone.

    So, we're not done, yet. The Bill of Rights was just a consolidation of gains up to that point--December 15, 1791.

    There is no reason whatsoever to stop there. For example, the Bill of Rights does not even hint at economic rights like the right to a stable currency. Huh? I have a right to a stable currency that cannot be inflated by government? Sure, you do. I have a right to a stable economy free of booms and busts caused by fractional reserve banking supported by government? Sure you do. Its like asking, "Do I have a right to have my savings remain more or less of equal value to the day I stored it away?"

    But, I don't want to get lost in the examples.

    My point is this: the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are milestones on the road to freedom. Of this I am sure: English political history is one very long story of people rising to more and more freedom.
    Last edited by Citizen; 07-04-2016 at 06:45 PM.
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  2. #2
    Accomplished Advocate color of law's Avatar
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    To "Secure the Blessings of Liberty" is the very basis of our inalienable rights. And those inalienable rights are never ending.

    Our problem is those elected that take the oath don't honor that oath.

    Freedom is not free.

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    Quote Originally Posted by color of law View Post
    To "Secure the Blessings of Liberty" is the very basis of our inalienable rights. And those inalienable rights are never ending.

    Our problem is those elected that take the oath don't honor that oath.

    Freedom is not free.
    Agreed.

    In fact, I would argue further: "...that to Secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."*

    First, notice that government cannot grab just any old power it wants. Government can only use delegated just powers.

    Second, think about the main statement for a moment, "...to secure these rights governments are instituted among men." That is the crucial justification for the American revolution. If that statement is not true, then the American revolution was a lie, and you and I are properly subjects of Her Majesty Elizabeth II. On the other hand, if that statement is true, then every government on this continent that did not adhere to that principle is invalid and illegitimate.


    *Second paragraph of Declaration of Independence
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  4. #4
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    The intro is powerful... "It is a safe bet the continental congress never had in mind a performer like me--a black man." Morgan Freeman.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0awtAljLyxc
    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    SNIP
    My point is this: the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are milestones on the road to freedom. Of this I am sure: English political history is one very long
    story of people rising to more and more freedom.
    +1
    Good post!
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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    Quote Originally Posted by deepdiver View Post
    +1. Good post!
    +1. Good post! I wish we all, all US posters, could be as thoughtful as user Citizen. Me too! Happy Independence Day.

    Let's US, anyway, make a big deal of 15 December, Bill of Rights Day.

    Let's help our fellows understand that the Amendments to COTUS are NOT the Bill of Rights.
    Last edited by Nightmare; 07-05-2016 at 07:43 AM.
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  7. #7
    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    These days it seems America celebrating its independence and freedom is like a big fat guy celebrating the jeans that used to fit him.
    "I support the ban on assault weapons" - Donald Trump

    We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission - Ayn Rand

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    Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you've got 'Till it's gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by twoskinsonemanns View Post
    These days it seems America celebrating its independence and freedom is like a big fat guy celebrating the jeans that used to fit him.
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot
    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got
    'Till it's gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    They took all the trees
    And put them in a tree museum
    And they charged all the people
    A dollar and a half to see 'em
    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got
    'Till it's gone
    They paved paradise
    And they put up a parking lot

    https://youtu.be/94bdMSCdw20
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    If you think that you have any rights, think again ! Its rigged.

    A recent US Supreme Court case in which Justice Thomas noted:

    “The Court has simultaneously transformed judicially created rights like the right to abortion into preferred constitutional rights, while disfavoring many of the rights actually enumerated in the Constitution. But our Constitution renounces the notion that some constitutional rights are more equal than others. A plaintiff either possesses the constitutional right he is asserting, or not—and if not, the judiciary has no business creating ad hoc exceptions so that others can assert rights that seem especially important to vindicate. ... As the Court applies whatever standard it likes to any given case, nothing but empty words separates our constitutional decisions from judicial fiat. ... If our recent cases illustrate anything, it is how easily the Court tinkers with levels of scrutiny to achieve its desired result.”
    Whole Woman's Health ET AL. v. Hellerstadt, Commissioner, Texas Department
    of State Health Services, ET AL. .. Case No. 15-272, Supreme Court US, decided
    27 JUN 16, Thomas Dissent
    Last edited by davidmcbeth; 07-05-2016 at 05:13 PM.

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    Transcript Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt

    Last edited by Nightmare; 07-05-2016 at 04:58 PM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
    Fixed it (I hope) .. thanks for correcting it. Typo.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    The Bill of Rights is just a mile-stone on the road to freedom. The Bill of Rights is not the high-water mark (unless we allow it to be).

    ...

    There is no reason whatsoever to stop there. For example, the Bill of Rights does not even hint at economic rights like the right to a stable currency. Huh? I have a right to a stable currency that cannot be inflated by government? Sure, you do. I have a right to a stable economy free of booms and busts caused by fractional reserve banking supported by government? Sure you do. Its like asking, "Do I have a right to have my savings remain more or less of equal value to the day I stored it away?"

    But, I don't want to get lost in the examples.

    My point is this: the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights are milestones on the road to freedom. Of this I am sure: English political history is one very long story of people rising to more and more freedom.
    Nothing in your OP with which I can disagree. I've redacted only to reduce the length of quoted materials.

    I think that many less popular minorities would certainly agree with you about the Bill of Rights being merely a milestone. Formal Constitutional Amendments have extended citizenship to former slaves and other black persons, extended the protections of the bill of rights to all citizens regardless of the State in which they live, and extended the voting franchise to women and those over 18.

    Statutes have protected racial minorities, women, and the handicapped against discrimination on the part of both government and private businesses.

    Court rulings have added legal protections or benefits to women seeking abortions and to homosexual couples desiring the legal benefits of marriage.

    I think most would agree that most of the items I've listed represent a real increase in freedom as they are limits on government power that may be exercised against individuals.

    Some--including me--would take issue with a couple of the examples I've listed. We might believe that government has ignored or even infringed the rights of one group to provide benefits to another, politically favored group. I don't want to get lost in the specific examples I've provided. I think the disagreement, even among those who would all consider themselves liberty minded, is well known.

    Rather than simply declaring those who disagree with us to be "wrong", it might be fruitful to consider on why there is disagreement among those who are liberty minded.

    In broad terms, I think it can be most easily summarized as disagreements over what is or is not a right.

    Take the example of anti-discrimination laws. The owner of a private business may well believe he has a right to run his business as he sees fit and that includes peacefully declining to associate or do business with anyone he doesn't care to do business with, for any or no reason at all. This is a perfectly legitimate view of rights theory and hard to argue with.

    On the other hand, for an unpopular minority, whether discrimination is legally enforced/mandated by 10,000 voters, or simply the individual choice of both grocery store owners in town, is probably a difference without any material distinction. In theory, private choices to discriminate can be overcome by starting your own business. In practice if the grocery store owners, owners of gas stations, and the only bank in town all refuse to provide service to the small number of members of some unpopular minority, it can pretty tough to successfully operate your own businesses to provide these necessary services. For members of an unpopular minority it is not unreasonable to argue that without the right to freely engage in standard commerce, obtain rental housing, and secure employment without regard to minority membership status, government guaranteed rights ring a bit hollow. "Move to a friendlier town," is no more satisfying to such groups than is "Move to a location without government," to anarchist currently living in the USA.

    Again, don't get too caught up in the examples. The point is, neither group sees itself as infringing on the rights of others. Business owners may legitimately see a right to refuse service as they see fit; while unpopular minorities see a right to access without discrimination, goods and services provided by businesses operating in their community and at least somewhat reliant on taxpayer provided infrastructure. And yet there is clearly a conflict.

    An appeal to one particular view of rights theory may lead us to one answer, while an appeal to practical realities may lead us to the other.

    The question is, How to determine what is a right and what isn't a right.

    Because right now, methinks most of the attacks on our freedoms come not from brutal dictators or even necessarily from faceless bureaucrats. Rather, they originate--or at least are supported as essential--by our fellow citizens, most of whom are not evil, do not desire to live in a dictatorship, but have sincere differences about what is or isn't a right. Or worse, without much regard to what is or isn't a right.

    I think I have a right to keep the fruits of my labors, minus some modest, just (and a whole 'nuther discussion about how to define that) portion to support those functions that have been properly delegated to government. A growing number of my neighbors just as sincerely believe they have a right to some level of healthcare (and perhaps food, housing, clothing, and education) without regard to ability to pay.

    They are not thinking about rights theory and are not likely to be swayed by it. They want my property and if possible will take it. I can claim I am just defending my rights, but at the end of the day, I worked hard for my money and intend to keep as much of it as I can.

    Business owners may claim they care about rights, but it wasn't voluntarily they adopted various legal protections for employees. Employees may claim they care about rights but unions have demonstrated they will happily take ever increasing amounts of pay for ever less work simply because they can.

    In other words, among the thinking, there are often sincere disagreements about rights.

    Among the masses, it probably boils down to taking what one can get and using the word "rights" to justify it. Kind of like any law someone doesn't like must be "unconstitutional" regardless of what the constitution actually says. Most folks haven't read it anyway.

    Charles
    All experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. Thank heaven we do not permit a few to impose anarchy.

    "With Anarchy as an aim and as a means, Communism becomes possible."
    --Marxist.org

    "Communism and Anarchy [are], a necessary complement to one another. "
    --PETER KROPOTKIN, "Anarchism: its philosophy and ideal." 1898.

  13. #13
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    We must first agree to what the term "self-evident" means. Then...
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

    "Better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer" - English jurist William Blackstone.
    It is AFAIK original to me. Compromise is failure on the installment plan, particularly when dealing with so intractable an opponent as ignorance. - Nightmare

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